Take a look at the graph above, which shows home sales for 2015. Keep in mind that recorded sales dates are generally 30-45 days following the initial contract, when the agreed price is set.
This shows us that somewhere around April – when the relentless winter storms began to dissipate – the market started heating up very quickly.
To make sure this wasn’t just following a yearly trend, I also ran the numbers averaged over all years of sales data. The scale is naturally lower because of the historically cheaper homes, but it’s useful to see that the pattern we’re observing here is not replicated over the average of all years combined – something different was happening in 2015.
Maybe this is a recent trend? I pulled 2014’s data also (which you can see below) to make sure we didn’t see the same pattern there. Prices were down slightly during the winter months (to be expected), but again, there weren’t any observable correlations between the 2 years beyond that.
There’s a lot more tests that could be run to verify these ideas, but I think it’s safe to say the market started heating up in April 2015 and hasn’t shown us any signs of slowing yet.
Above you can see Single Family home sales shown in blue. These follow a similar trend with condo price / sq. ft. over time, with condos pricing slightly higher.
My assumption is that the higher average cost for condos is a result of geography. Most condos in the city are located on the peninsula, in higher-priced neighborhoods. I hope to break out the sales data by neighborhood at some point to determine if this is the case.
One interesting observation is that the gap between condo prices & home prices has grown much larger in recent years. Could this be indicating that more desirable neighborhoods (where these condos are present) have risen faster in price than other parts of the city? Segmenting the data by neighborhood will be the only way to know for sure. More to follow on that idea.
I analyzed the sales data for residential condos in Portland over the past 30 years and found some interesting results. While we may be seeing a spike in housing costs over the past 5 years, the period between 1995 and 2005 was when most of the growth actually happened – nearly tripling the average cost per square foot.
Nearly 9 months ago, the Press Herald reported some alarming news from Zillow about housing costs in Portland, ME:
The real estate data firm Zillow said Tuesday that prices nationally climbed a seasonally adjusted 4.3 percent in May from a year ago. Rents still are rising at double-digit rates in Denver, San Francisco and San Jose, California, with their job opportunities drawing new residents at a faster pace than construction can match.
But two smaller cities led the gains in May. Houses in the Mississippi capital of Jackson are renting monthly for $1,169, a 22.7 percent yearly increase. On the northeastern end of the United States, rental prices in Portland have shot up 17.4 percent.
Portland officials have recognized the affordability problem and pushed for development of more housing in the city.
Locally, this article received a lot of attention, especially from renters concerned they could be priced out of the city when their lease ended.
The news story has become a frequent reference point over the last year for residents as well as city officials, concerned with the growing housing crisis in the city.
What kind of data is available to help us understand and verify these claims, and are there other trends that would benefit city residents to be aware of?
By analyzing data from the Portland Assessors database, I hope to find some of the answers to share with you here.