PORTLAND, Ore. — Since the Hottest 'Hoods project began several years ago, the Business Journal has highlighted the ZIP codes with the most home sales, the fastest-selling homes and, of course, those with the highest-priced homes — measuring all as indicators of residential desirability.
However, an increasingly sought-after characteristic on the part of metro-area buyers has been affordability, something the region once prided itself on compared to other large West Coast cities.
SEE SLIDESHOW: 25 most affordable neighborhoods in the Portland metro area
Therefore, we've turned the Hottest 'Hoods project on its head to highlight the ZIP codes where first-time homebuyers and lower-income buyers might have a better shot at finding a home they can afford. The data is based on 2020 sales data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) and property tax rates obtained from SmartAsset's Property Tax Calculator.
To do so, we equally weighted the average sale price, the median sale price and the number of homes sold in 2020, along with the relevant county's property tax rate multiplied by the median sale price. Ranking ties were broken using the lower average sale price.
Of course, a lot of other factors may influence a home's affordability, such as mortgage interest rates, utility bills, energy efficiency and cost to commute to work, but the index we've created gives one a good idea of some of the most affordable places to live in and around Portland.
Despite the pandemic and associated economic recession, home prices have generally continued to rise in the Portland region. According to RMLS data, the average median sale price in 100 metro-area ZIP codes increased 7.8% last year to $459,034. And according to Realtor.com, the median listing price for the metro area reached $525,000 in January of this year, up 9.2% from January of last year when it was $480,748.
A recent report by the Oregon Employment Department, examined whether the pandemic made the state's real estate market any more affordable. In it, regional economist Damon Runberg noted: "In an unexpected turn we have seen a large increase in the demand for housing during this pandemic recession. The high demand has led to historically low inventories of residential real estate for many communities across the state. High demand and low inventory is leading to dramatic home price appreciation, further increasing concerns around housing affordability."