The good and bad of Portland's rising home prices

The numbers in the Portland, Oregon, housing point to a seller's market. Inventories are low and sales are still rising. The only problem is prices, which are gaining at a faster rate than both wage growth and historical norms. The big jump in home prices nationally last year put a chill on sales in the first half of this year. Those jumps have been moderating, but not to normal levels yet.

"The market here in Portland has a very positive attitude and outlook," said Brian Ramsay, a real estate agent with Hasson Company Realtors in Portland. "People are rebuilding again with confidence."

Portland, Oregon
Terrence Leezy | Getty Images
Portland, Oregon

Closed sales in July rose 2.3 percent from June, according to Regional Multiple Listing Service, but they are down just over 3 percent from a year ago. This, as the median price of a Portland home, at $299,000, is up nearly 7 percent from a year ago. Prices in Portland are unlikely to slow much, given the unique nature of the market and limited new residential construction in the area.

"Portland has a very distinctive culture, entrepreneurial spirit and price point on the West Coast that attracts buyers who are focused more on lifestyle verses form and function," Ramsay said.

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New listings are up barely 2 percent from a year ago, but at least the numbers are growing. Last year around this time, listings were still falling. It should come as no surprise that Portland homes are selling faster than they have in a year, with total market time averaging just 57 days.

"Inventory continues to climb, and it continues to remain tight. There seems to be a buyer or two for most listings right now," Ramsay said.

—By CNBC's Diana Olick.