4. Most homes for sale under $300,000
"It has an undiscovered feel,” says architect Chuck Stalsberg of this working-class neighborhood near Gresham. That’s one way to describe what has traditionally been a rather gritty area. But times may be changing. (Hey, NoPo was once gritty too.) Stalsberg just finished building a few homes here, and in March, the Portland Development Commission and HOST Development completed a small collection of affordable townhouses and single-family homes at SE 118th and Schiller. In fact, this hotbed for first-time home buyers boasts the most homes under $300,000 in Portland. So what do you get for your money? Room to grow. Lots can run up to half an acre—about twice as big as the average city lot—and they’re mere biking distance to 603-acre Powell Butte Nature Park. Granted, your acreage might include a ranch-style home in need of renovation, and the nearest shopping center might be a strip mall, but if rising home values have priced you out of the market, Powellhurst-Gilbert offers an attractive alternative. But move fast: With a MAX line extension opening here in September ’09, the secret is bound to get out. —BB
Schools in Healy Heights give kids top-notch educations, without the private-school price tags.
5. Fewest days on the market (tie)
The consummate example of Old Portland’s marriage to urban renewal, Hollywood is teeming with residents eschewing Truman Show_-esque suburban living in favor of a ’hood with equal parts beauty and bustle. A tiny hamlet unto itself (locals refer to their busy stretch of NE Sandy Blvd as “downtown”), the neighborhood boasts plenty of shops within walking distance (stroll to the farmers market or to the gloriously preserved, 1920s-era Hollywood Theatre) and sits near the almost 20-acre Grant Park. Add to that its close proximity to MAX, a nearly straight shot to I-5, and the leafy charm of Hollywood’s wide streets, and it’s easy to see why everyone wants to live here. Last year, houses averaged a mere 23 days on the market, 43 fewer than the city average, and according to former resident and real estate agent Jerry Poirier, the buyers aren’t coming just in pairs. “You literally cannot find a street here that isn’t full of kids and dogs,” he says. And, apparently, moving trucks. —_SW
One of only three Portland neighborhoods whose elementary, middle and high schools consistently make straight A’s on the Oregon Department of Education’s yearly assessments, this West Hills community near Council Crest has become a destination for prosperous parents looking to give their kids top-notch educations, without the private-school price tags. Not that cost is really an issue: The average home here sells for a hefty $776,400. But even at those prices, Healy homes sat on the market for an average of only 23 days last year.
And not just because of the schools: Residents also enjoy a three-minute commute to downtown (no freeway required) and narrow, shaded streets lined with quaint 1950s ranch- and Craftsman-style homes. Plus, with zero violent crimes reported in 2007, Healy Heights is that rare, close-in ’hood where parents can rest easy about sending the kiddies out to play for those much-needed study breaks. —SW