Portland’s housing shortage has created a type of insular effect when it comes to COVID-19. While other housing markets across the country have experienced significant impacts, the Portland market has carried on full steam ahead. Well, kind of. Let’s take a look at the state of Portland’s real estate market.


Safety first

Effective May 15, the Governor implemented slow reopening guidelines, to be carried out on a county-by-county basis. What this means for real estate is that social distancing guidelines remain in effect to maintain the safety of homeowners, agents, and buyers.


The name of the game is minimizing person-to-person contact, so virtual showings will remain in effect, with in-person house tours carried out with safety measures in place. All parties will continue to wear face masks, with hand washing and sanitizing in-place. Some agents or homeowners may require guests to wear gloves and booties as a further precaution. These measures won’t be going away anytime soon.    


For buyers

You’ll still want to proceed with caution when searching for your new home despite more businesses opening in the state. Portland realtors continue to follow social distancing and safety guidelines in all aspects of the home purchasing and selling processes. Take advantage of all of the virtual offerings available for those listings of interest to you. Explore available photos and videos, and by all means, ask for a virtual tour or attend a virtual open house. Feel free to drive by those homes that appeal to you to get a feel for the neighborhood and see the exterior in real life. When you’ve narrowed down your options, then request in-person showings. 


When you find the house, don’t hesitate to make an offer. Inventory levels in Portland are incredibly low, making the market more competitive than ever.


For sellers

Remember the insular effect mentioned earlier? The market still strongly favors sellers, so you won’t see significant changes in the economic atmosphere. In fact, home prices are up in Portland, compared to this time last year. Home prices are continuing to rise this selling season, with rates 5.6 percent higher in April than in March. Higher home prices are being matched with fewer days on the market. Low inventory levels have decreased the number of days homes are listed for sale to an average of 44 days, down from 61 days in March; May’s average is coming in under 30 days. 


Where you’ll see differences is in how much of the selling process is now conducted virtually. From listing to showings, and even virtual closings, virtual home sales are likely here to stay in some fashion or another. 


If you’re still in the “planning to list” stage, take the time to make any necessary fixes and repairs around your home before it hits the market. With rising home prices, buyers are picky about how they’re spending, which means that they don’t want to take on a home in need of work. Take care of those items before putting your home on the market if you want to sell quickly.


While COVID-19 has changed the transaction process involved in viewing, buying, and selling homes in the Portland market, it hasn’t stalled home sales as a result. In fact, the housing market has remained stable, despite the pandemic. It’s an excellent time to buy—especially with low-interest rates—and to sell.