Life in Portland Blog

What Portlanders Need to Know About Buying a Condo


Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Condo in Portland

As Portland's home market continues to rise in terms of price, competition, and home scarcity, prospective homeowners are starting to consider other options. These days, buying a condo in Portland is trending, as buyers are searching for where they can get the most square footage for their money.

If you’re weighing the pros of condos versus homes in Portland, there are a few things you should know. What are the advantages of condo ownership? Will buying a condo instead of a home really save you money in the long run? Let’s take a look at exactly what Portlanders need to know about buying a condo in PDX.

Starting With Basics, What Makes Condos Unique?

We all have stereotypical ideas about condos. Some of these preconceived notions are often true, such as most condos share walls with other units, and many condos require HOA fees. But these quirks do offer benefits.

Often, shared walls mean lower prices, saving condo owners money on the cost per square footage of their homes. Likewise, HOA fees aren’t always required in Portland. And, even if a Portland condo does come with HOA fees, owners receive other cost breaks like lower utility bills and lower property taxes, again saving the condo owner money in the long run.

But are these saved costs enough to offset the value of owning a regular detached home? Let’s dig in.

Talking Numbers With Portland Condos

Looking at real estate report numbers, Portland’s 2018 median listing price for condos is currently $348K. This figure closely resembles the average single unit home cost in Portland, but from three years ago. Today, the median price for a single-family home is $545,000.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the average family to afford a home in Portland, as most homes sell for well over half a million dollars. But with condos, there’s still ample opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a new home.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo in Portland

Buying a condo is a smart move in the world of Portland real estate. Whether or not buying a condo makes sense for you, depends, of course, on your needs.

If you’re looking to flip your residence quickly, you might want to opt for a property that’s going to skyrocket in value. But if you have a busy lifestyle and you’re eager to forego tasks like weeding, raking leaves, and maintaining property, a condo is an ideal home choice.

In either situation, here are a few general pros and cons of condo ownership that you should consider:

Pros: If you’re planning to stay in Portland for at least four years, it might make sense for you to invest in buying a condo. As Portland’s rents rise and rental availability shrinks, mortgage rates remain low.

If you’re on a tight budget, or you’re a young first-time buyer, a condo is a great way to break into the real estate market and start building equity. You’ll spend less up front, compared to buying a home. And you’ll be spared many potential maintenance costs that are associated with owning a home — remember, unforeseen re-roofing and plumbing fails won’t fall entirely on you as a condo owner.

Cons: While real estate, condos included, doesn’t tend to lose value in Portland, the demand for a single-unit detached home still ranks higher than the current demand for condos. This means that buying a condo won’t yield the same exponential growth in market value that a home might.

However, it also means that, “there are still a number of condos on the Portland market that are a decent buy.”

Think Outside the Box

Like we said, gone are the days of “one-size-fits-all” cookie cutter condos. Today, condos feature high-end design and reflect modern architecture standards. One of our current listings, the Hayashi Row House, proves that sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows, day-lit staircases, and skylights aren’t just for traditional homes. Condos, too, can boast upscale finishes and swaths of natural light you’re looking for.

If you’re searching for traditional home amenities, but you can’t swing the price tag of owning a home, it’s time to expand your search, Urban Nest can help you find a modern condo, without HOAs. Curious? Check out our current listings here: Urban Nest Homes.