Point of Interest
The Beaver State is not the cheapest of places to live and buy property, and current mortgage rates in Oregon are higher than the national average. Still, there are still plenty of reasons to consider this beautiful Pacific Northwest state.
The housing market in Oregon has improved vastly over the last few years. Home values increased by 5.6% in 2018 and continued to climb at a rate of 3.9% throughout 2019. The market has slowed as of late due to the coronavirus crisis, but once the situation has passed, Oregon’s housing market may bounce back.
The downside is that current mortgage rates in Oregon are higher than the national average, as is the cost of living, so while Oregon has plenty of draws, a move to the Beaver State might not be suitable for all budgets.
Getting a mortgage in Oregon
The process of acquiring a mortgage in Oregon is similar to acquiring a mortgage in any other part of the country. Once you’ve established a budget using a mortgage calculator, you can begin the exciting process of searching for a property. You’ll need to shop around for the best rates, but once you find a home and a lender, you can finalize your mortgage and start your home buying journey in Oregon — as long as you meet the lender’s criteria.
As a whole, mortgage rates and refinance rates in Oregon are higher than the national average, so you’ll want to factor this into your decision to move to this beautiful part of the nation.
- Median home price: $287,300
- Average 30-year fixed rate: 3.73%
- Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,647
- Homeownership rate: 61.9%
Oregon state mortgage trends
Mortgage rates in Oregon hit a dizzying high of 14.55% back in 1982, when the recession was at its worst since the post-war era. Since then, mortgage rates and refinance rates in Oregon have fluctuated, but have shown a general pattern of dropping, which is what is happening currently.
Mortgage rates in Oregon have historically hovered around the national average — sometimes drifting higher or lower — which puts Oregon in line with the typical mortgage rates for the U.S. Since the 1980s, mortgage rates in Oregon have only been lower than they currently are two other times — in 2016 and 2012, respectively.
Oregon state current mortgage rates
Oregon may not be the best choice for homebuyers on a tight budget. The current mortgage rates in Oregon are higher than the national average, at 3.73% compared to the national average of 3.51% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. For homeowners looking to refinance or draw money from their existing property, refinance rates in Oregon are also higher than the national average, at 3.79% compared to the national average of 3.54% for a 30-year fixed refinance rate.
Compounding this issue is the fact that the cost of living in Oregon is, on average, higher than in the rest of the country, and unlike some states, the higher interest rates in Oregon are not offset by a lower cost of living. However, for those whom it is financially viable, Oregon is a breathtaking piece of country, with everything from deserts and forests to lakes and volcanoes for you to enjoy.
Most and least expensive places to live in Oregon
While the cost of living may be high in Oregon, it has certain areas that are more and less expensive places to live. Generally, living closer to Oregon’s major cities will be more expensive than living in less populated areas.
5 most expensive
- Multnomah County: Multnomah is within commuting distance of downtown Portland and home to great schools and other utilities, but the average home price in this county is $400,900.
- Washington County: Surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges, Washington is the state’s second-most populous county, but the average home price is $449,950.
- Clackamas County: Great for nature lovers, Clackamas is packed with nature trails and camping opportunities, but the average home sells for about $450,000 in this county.
- Deschutes County: Great for jobs and with a strong and lively community, Deschutes has something for all tastes, but the homes are pricey, with a list price of $436,000 on average.
- Hood River County: A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Hood River is also famous for great fruit produce such as apples, pears and cherries, but the homes are expensive, with an average list price of $545,000.
5 least expensive
- Harney County: A sparsely populated rural area with about 75% of its area designated as federal land, Harney County is one of the most affordable places to live in Oregon, with a median list price of $159,900.
- Morrow County: Famous for its wide-open spaces and the Umatilla National Forest and Wildlife Reserve, Morrow County has a median home list price of $229,900.
- Grant County: Grant County is home to the John Day Fossil Beds National Park and the stunning Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Homes in this county are affordable, with the average list price of $198,000.
- Malheur County: Named for the river which shares its moniker, the city of Ontario is Malheur County’s major population center. Homes in this area have an average list price of about $157,600.
- Umatilla County: Also famous for the eponymous national park and forest it shares with Morrow County, homes in Umatilla County have an average list price of $227,750.
Oregon state mortgage resources and intricacies
Oregon has a ton of resources available to make it easy to get started on your homebuying adventure. Purchasing property can be a complex and expensive affair, but there are multiple resources to help take the sting out of the process.
These resources include information on how credit ratings work and what you can do to improve yours, as well information on protecting yourself from unscrupulous lenders and loan fraud.
There are also programs that offer direct assistance for individuals who meet the requirements. The Portland Housing Center offers counseling and classes on homeownership and the home buying process, as well as deposit assistance and a matched savings program. The Hacienda CDC: Camino a Casa organization offers many of the same programs for people who speak Spanish.
The final word
Mortgage rates and the cost of living in Oregon is higher than you’d expect to pay in the rest of the U.S., but the low population density and breathtaking scenery make the price of entry well worth it. There are also tons of programs to help out, which may help make Oregon living a reality for you.