Million-dollar condo market heats up in Portland

Million-dollar condo sales are booming in Portland. Who is spending seven figures to live in Portland's core neighborhoods? 

What $1 million buys you in Portland

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Portland’s million-dollar condominium market is on the rise.  

Last year, 48 condos sold for $1 million or more in Portland, up from 26 luxury $1 million condos in 2009.

“It’s really hot right now,” said Redfin Agent Michael Morris. “We’re seeing huge influx of buyers coming in with large amounts of cash.”

Related: 15 priciest homes sold in Portland in 2015 

Seven-digit prices are being driven by cash buyers and a lack of inventory.

“It’s pretty slim,” said Morris. “There are just no new condos being built right now, so it is all resale condos.”

Portland’s luxury condo market started in the Pearl District but has quickly expanded.

Gallery: $1 million condos for sale in Portland and beyond

“We’re seeing a lot more focused interest on the part of the buyers for living closer to the metro area,” said Gerard Mildner, Director of Portland State University’s Center for Real Estate.

Million-dollar properties include a wide range of amenities, views and locations.

A two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,720-square-foot luxury condo in “The Henry” in Portland’s trendy Pearl District is listed for $1,125,000.  

A unit in Northwest Portland’s historic “705 Davis” building is listed for $899,000. The 1,933-square-foot condo has three beds and two baths.  

In Southwest Portland, a 5,512 square foot luxury condo sits atop a boutique hotel along the Willamette River.  It has three beds, three-and-a-half baths and is listed at $2,185,000.

“If you’re going to have a million-dollar dwelling unit, it is either going to have to have a lot of square footage or a great location,” explained Mildner.

One of the only new developments in the luxury condo market is the Cosmopolitan on the Park in the Pearl District.  Of the building’s 36 units priced at a $1 million or more, all but eight condos have already sold.  The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2016.

Real-estate experts say luxury condo owners typically come from two different categories.

The first is retirees. Often, retired buyers want to move closer to their adult children and grandchildren.

“From what I’m seeing, the phone calls I get, people looking, it is people coming from a house that want to downsize,” said Erika Wrenn of (W)here Real Estate

The other significant population of luxury condo buyers include transplants. These younger professionals worked in the tech industry before migrating north from the Bay Area.

“Many of them are cashing out on homes in California, where a million dollars is not that unusual and so for them, they feel like they’ve landed in heaven,” said Mildner.

Compared to other major markets, Portland is still considered a bargain.

An online search shows a condo near Russian Hill in San Francisco listed at $1,030,000.  It has one bedroom, one bath and 1,084 square feet.

A one-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,550-square-foot condo near Seattle's Pike Place Market is listed at $1.4 million.

Real-estate experts anticipate luxury condo prices in Portland will continue to climb due to limited inventory and very few new projects on the horizon.

“We do have an influx of people moving to Portland that are willing to pay $1 million plus for properties,” said Wrenn. “We have a lot of pent-up demand.”

More: KGW investigates 

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Published March 2, 2016 on KGW.com 

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