Home Buying in Portland>Question Details

Matthew, Home Buyer in Portland, OR

What are the benefits and negatives between purchasing a home in Portland, OR vs Vancouver, WA?

Asked by Matthew, Portland, OR Tue Jan 5, 2010

Im considering buying a home in Vancouver, WA but Im a little concern since there are way too many homes up for sale there. Should I be concerned?

Help the community by answering this question:


building was more prominent in Vancouver due to the availability of land, and less building restrictions and land was cheaper. Builders had more inventory when the market crashed, making it harder for resellers to sell. In a typical market, Vancouver has always had slower market times and more inventory than Portland. However, during the boom, one could not tell the difference.

Pros to living in Vancouver. More bang for your buck. Infrastructure to the city is better laid out, for example roads and freeways. No income tax if you work and live in WA. Less traffic in the suburb to suburb commutes.

Pros to Portland. No sales tax. Most of the jobs are on the Portland side. Schools in parts of Portland are better. Never have to deal with Columbia bridges if you keep commutes South of the river. But suburb to suburb traffic is higher, due to higher density, and that makes the lot sizes smaller, giving less bang for your buck.

In summary... if you have a job in Vancouver or are retired with no kids, and land plus affordability is your hot button, move to Vancouver.

Otherwise, if you like people, trendy nightlife, better shopping, and you don't like driving and hour to work, Move to Portland.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010

They do not have really tight growth controls in Clark County and therefore overbuilding is more common. Now they have built themselves into a hole. Having said that I see that changing as more and more people and Businesses move across the border to get away from Oregon's Punitive Corporate Tax Structures. Go for the best value. There are some great ones in Vancouver and Portland too.

Do a plus minus chart and see where all the benefits are for your family and then make a smart choice.

Best wishes;

Dirk Knudsen
Re/Max Circle of Legends
Re\Max Metro Gold
Web Reference: http://www.theknudsens.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
Hi Matthew,

There are a lot of homes for sale in Vancouver and Portland. I would say it depends on what area would be more comfortable for you and your family. Both have pros and cons. The good thing is that both have foreclosures saturating the market.

Good Luck!

Aaron Majors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 6, 2010
Hi Matthew,
Another point to consider is that Washington has a real estate excise tax when you sell property there. Tax rates vary by location and range between 1.28% and 2.03% depending on where the home is located. My clients who have jobs in Portland and have investigated living in Washington, all decided to buy in Oregon due to this and the other reasons cited by my colleagues below. Hope that helps! Best of luck to you. Alexis

Alexis Halmy - Broker
Windermere C&CRGI
503 819-3439

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Happy New Year Matthew,
There could be more excess inventory in the Vancouver area as they had lots of land to develop during the "real estate rush"! If your concern is absorption of that inventory, it will take awhile but we are seeing inventory dropping in the Portland area and Vancouver should eventually follow. Our recovery still needs jobs and those jobs will fuel the economy and small businesses will hopefully start to reappear. The commercial real estate market is taking quite a hit right now. Since there are less chances for employment in Vancouver it may be a bit slower than Pdx...
Janeese Jackson, Principal Broker
Real Estate Resource
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Hi Matthew,

I had the same thought as Stephen . . . the commute.

I'm providing you with a "Cost of Commuting" calculator . . . which might help you "figure" it out!


Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
EBA Portland, LLC
Exclusive Buyers' Agent
Assisting Buyers in Metro Portland since 1999
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Hi Matthew,

Having an excess inventory is always a concern when selling and having it priced right it will sell. When will you be selling? Buying now is the right time and if you buy in this down market live in it for 5 to 10 years you can price it right to sell if the market inventory is high then. Home prices will almost have to go up with all the people moving here and are expected to in the next 20 years.
I agree with Steve in that Vancouver offers more bang for the buck. Unless you work in Portland, that commute is the worst.

Kevin Sucher
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Where do you work? I would have to know the answer to that question first. A lot of people work in Portland and live in Vancouver. If that is the case, many people regret their decision because their personal commuter time skyrockets.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
I think what you need to look at Matthew is where you want to be...if Vancouver has the home for you in the right price range - go for it! There is easy enough access to get back and forth to places in Portland from there - including the airport. You will need to be the one to decide which place works best for you - but I really dont see negatives!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer