Where Home Prices in Towns Surrounding Portland Rose Most in the Past Two Years

Home prices in Rhodedendron rose 46% last year.

Ever heard of Brush Prairie, Washington?

Plenty of other people have, and they’re snapping up houses there. It’s a town of about 3,000 people just north of Vancouver. House prices have risen there by 42% in the past two years, according to Zillow, compared with a 25% increase for Portland.

Brush Prairie is just one of 89 nearby towns that have outpaced Stumptown in housing prices. The biggest rise was in Rhododendron, Ore., where prices soared 47%.

Why are prices in the sticks soaring? Is it because antifa and the Proud Boys brawl in Portland? Or because there’s human poop on the streets? That may be part of it, says Oregon state economist Josh Lehner. But a bigger factor is price.

“Realtors tell clients, “Drive until you qualify,’” Lehner says. Prices usually fall as one gets farther from the urban core. “That’s a lot of what this is.”

The pandemic reinforced the trend, which is a national one, Lehner says. (See “What You Get in the Suburbs,” WW, April 13.) Many companies are letting employees work from home most of the time. “If you’re going into the office one day a week, then you put up with the commute,” Lehner says.

So what can you get in Brush Prairie for around $578,000, the typical price in Portland in the first quarter of 2022, according to Zillow? How about a weird-looking ranch house built in 1980 that hasn’t been remodeled since? It does have four bedrooms and two baths, and it’s only 40 minutes from downtown when there’s no traffic.

Brush Prairie, here we come.

CITY2020 Q1 PRICE2022 Q1 PRICEPERCENT CHANGE
Rhododendron, OR$299,767$439,40946.6%
Amity, OR$416,757$605,31142.2%
Welches, OR$340,565$484,29442.2%
Brush Prairie, WA$575,624$818,06642.1%
Yacolt, WA$439,051$615,36140.2%
Sheridan, OR$274,004$383,85640.1%
Willamina, OR$242,405$339,46840%
Dayton, OR$366,056$511,23139.7%
Ridgefield, WA$471,360$658,24239.6%
Brightwood, OR$332,981$464,69339.6%