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Columbia County a best buy for homes as sales, prices surge

Portland area has seen spike in purchasing, as well as sale prices

Home sales and prices are continuing to increase in the greater Portland metropolitan area, according to the most recent monthly report by the Regional Multiple Listing Service, but Columbia County remains one of the most affordable places to buy a house.

According to the report, pending sales in April increased nearly 28 percent over April 2014. And the average sale price increased 3.5 percent from $325,100 to $336,400 for the first four months of each year.

"Real estate activity in the Portland metro area is still buzzing this April," the report says.

Though home prices have skyrocketed in Portland, Columbia County still presents as an island of affordability. The median home price in Columbia County in April was $209,500.

In April, Columbia County had 241 active listings, and pending sales had increased compared to the same time last year by 5.4 percent, according to the RMLS report.

The RMLS report found the highest median home price in April was $469,900 in Lake Oswego/West Linn. The lowest was $190,000 in central Vancouver, Wash.

In Portland, the highest median price was $414,400 in west Portland, and the lowest was $273,000 in southeast Portland.

The increases come among concern from city, county and regional leaders that housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable for most people. A new report from the Value of Jobs Coalition found median wage earned cannot afford to buy median-priced homes in Portland.

There were 3,613 pending sales in April compared to 2,825 one year ago. Last month's housing inventory decrease to 1.8 months and total market time decreased to 61 days.