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Expect housing prices to skyrocket

Home prices in the already overheated Portland area housing market are expected to skyrocket when the rains let up in the spring, according to local real estate experts who have reviewed the most recent supply and demand figures.

“The Portland metro housing market continues to be red hot on a seasonality basis, but this winter will be even more intense given the decrease in the number of homes for sale in a market that was already experiencing dangerously low inventory levels,” said Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

“There is more pressure on new listings than we had last winter and a higher number of homes are selling within the first 30 days,” Scott said. “This is setting the stage for a frenzy market in the spring of 2016. Even if interest rates go up slightly, buyer demand and low inventory still push prices up.”PMG FILE - Higher still - Prices in the Portland area housing market are expected to continue their dramatic increase in the spring, attributed largely to a reported shortage of available homes on the market.

According to the most recent Regional Multiple Service Listing (RMLS) report, Portland area home sales in December were the strongest on record since 1992. But that left the inventory at just 1.2 months’ worth of homes, the lowest amount since at least 1999. Largely because of the shortage of available homes on the market, the median sale price rose 8.1 percent from $285,500 to $308,000 over the year.

Little has been proposed so far to help potential home buyers who are facing the most competitive market since before the recession. According to the RMLS report, the median home price in Portland ranged from $317,000 to $412,800 in December 2015.

“Appreciation and inventory continues to dwindle during the holiday season,” said Michelle Maida, a broker in Portland. “The appreciation is hovering at about 7.5 percent for all close-in Portland except North Portland, which continues in double digits. There is a little more on the market that is still in the affordable range of $300,000 to $450,000.”

Some areas outside Portland are equally expensive. For example, the median home price in the Lake Oswego/ West Linn communities was $450,000 in December. It was $362,000 in the Tigard/Tualatin/Sherwood/Wilsonville area.

But in general, area home prices were lower outside Portland. For example, the median home price in the Beaverton/Aloha area was $279,500 in December. It was $258,000 in the Gresham/Troutdale/ Sandy/Corbett/Fairview area.