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PORTLAND The real estate market continues to heat up in the Portland Metro area and it's not showing any sign of cooling down soon.

It's still a seller s market; they re calling the shots and buyers are reacting. Homes for sale are on the market for less time and sellers are getting more in return.

For realtors it's a trip back to 2006.

Some homes are creating bidding wars, and more buyers are using an escalation clause to beef up the offer if another one comes in higher.

Competition is stiff. Investors are back in the game. And they often pay in cash, which could trump buyers who need financing.

The biggest thing is: inventory is down. The peak was January of 2009, we had about 19.4 months of inventory, said Gary Potts of Meadows Group Realtors. Now we're at 3.1 months of inventory, so you need to make a decision quick.

Inventory is slowly starting to increase, but so are home sales. And that's helping to drive prices up, around 15 percent more than last year.

The uptick in sales is also having an effect on interest rates, which for the first time in years are approaching four percent. It's another factor that's helping buyers make up their minds more quickly, for fear rates will continue to climb.

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KGWBusiness Reporter Joe Smith contributed to this report.

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