MDA DataQuick. The San Diego firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. The number of homes sold in May was the lowest for that month since at least 1994, when DataQuick's complete (all home types) Portland region sales statistics begin. The May total marked the 39th consecutive month in which total sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis. Portland region sales have been the lowest on record for that particular month for the last 13 consecutive months.
The regional median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos combined in May was $240,000, down 0.4% from April and down 12.7% from $275,000 a year earlier. The May median was 16.9% below its $288,858 peak in August 2007 and was the lowest for any month since it was $237,000 in July 2005. Another price gauge, the median price paid per square foot for resale detached houses, suggests more price erosion since the peak: Buyers paid a median $145 per square foot in May, up slightly from $143 in April but down 17.1% from a year ago and down 22.4% from the $187 peak in June 2007. The Portland area's median sale price declines are well below those in many U.S. markets, especially in the West. Portland's 12.7% annual drop in its overall median price in May compares with a 32.7% drop in Southern California, a 43.7% decline in Las Vegas and a 38.4% decrease in Phoenix. Last month about 35.8% of all Portland-area buyers used government-insured FHA loans, a popular choice among first-time buyers. Absentee buyers, including many investors, made up 14.7% of all purchases - a relatively low%age in the West and a reflection of the smaller role that low-cost foreclosures play in Portland. In addition to investors, absentee buyers include any others whom public records show will have their property tax bills go to an address other than the one for the home they just purchased. DataQuick's Portland area statistics reflect sales in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.