| Straight into Brooklyn: A quarter-mil could buy you a house like this |
IMAGE: Jaclyn Campanaro
Take heart. The median price for the whole metro area finished '06 at $270,000—steeper than the national figure of $220,000 but still about half of California's median. The average Southeast Portland pad sold for about $235,000 last year. That means there are still relative bargains out there. We pored over rmls.com and scouted properties listed at $250,000 or less. These particular spots were all on the market in mid-March. They might be long gone by the time you're reading this, but this list should give you a rough feel for what to expect (hope for?) on the warpath.
THE VERNON RANCH: $205K
What you get: Radiant heat, a fireplace, water filtration and a fenced, private back yard. It's like your grandmother's house.
Neighborhood: Vernon. On a quiet street smack dab in between Northeast and North Portland, near Lombard Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Square feet: 888
Year built: 1950
THE SOUTH TABOR BUNGALOW: $209K
What you get: The rooms are small, but the garage is big.
Neighborhood: South Tabor. Sure, it's a little far out, and sure, one of the neighborhood boundaries is 82nd Avenue. But the streets are quiet and surprisingly homey.
Square feet: 1,130
Year built: 1905
THE SUNNYSIDE CONDO: $216K
What you get: The upside to a small condo is that you have more reason to get out and explore. And when you do, you can marvel at the Spanish-inspired exterior of the building.
Neighborhood: Sunnyside. Just blocks from both the Belmont and the Hawthorne shopping districts and all of their bars and quirky shops. There's a reason there aren't any affordable houses in the area.
Square feet: 700
Year built: 1927
THE SELLWOOD RANCH: $229K
What you get: Making up for an unimpressive lot, this small, single-level ranch house has a nicely finished interior, a large utility room, a shop and a garage.
Neighborhood: Sellwood, home to antiques, boutiques and the biggest sushi rolls in Portland (Saburo's).
Square feet: 752
Year built: 1947
THE NORTHWEST CONDO: $229K
What you get: Old apartment buildings converted into condo units pack a bit more charm than the cookie-cutter affairs in the Pearl; this one has hardwood floors and a patio.
Neighborhood: Northwest Portland. For all of its faults (abysmal parking, snooty shoppers, drunken kids on the weekends), this enclave is actually a pretty nice place to live.Square feet: 552
Year built: 1909
THE BOISE TOWNHOUSE: $239K
What you get: A newish townhouse with a bay window in the living room, three bedrooms and parking in the back of the lot.
Neighborhood: Boise. Not far from Mississippi Avenue shopping, the neighborhood has a quiet feel that belies its proximity to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Interstate 5.
Square feet: 1,140
Year built: 1995
THE BROOKLYN BUNGALOW: $249K
What you get: Slightly awkward frontage hides both the useful (two bedrooms and an office) and the sublime (a staggering vine-covered yard with bricked pathways).
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, split by railroad tracks and Powell Boulevard, sports the rough-and-tumble feel of what Southeast Portland used to be: grungy bars, bizarre bookstores and cheapo Asian restaurants.
Square feet: 2,012
Year built: 1911
THE WEST HILLS TOWNHOUSE: $250K
What you get: A two-story townhouse in posh West Hills is apparently more affordable than you would think. This one has a large deck overlooking downtown, slate floors and an impressive tiled bathroom.
Neighborhood: West Hills. There's a surprising amount of charm in the winding roads around Broadway and Patton Road, including a smattering of neighborhood haunts and a bustling grocery store.
Square feet: 867
Year built: 1968
HABITAT: Table of Contents
Become Donald Trump in One Day!
A Renter's Survival Guide
I'm Buying a What?
Way of the Ninja
Guns for Hire
Cracking the Code
What the Hell Does $250K Buy, Anyway?
The Final Frontier
Armed & Dangerous