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Portland-area home sales took off in October, leaving behind a new low in the supply of homes for sale. Figures released Wednesday by the Regional Multiple Listing Service show 2,103 metro homes sold during the month, an increase of 42.7 percent from a year ago and 11 percent from a month earlier.


The surge in sales left just 7,981 homes on the market, a low supply not seen since the housing bubble was at its peak. At October's sales rate, it would take only 3.8 months to sell off all the homes on the market, indicating demand far outpaces supply.


The median sale price, meanwhile, rose to $243,300 in October, up 11.7 percent from a year ago. The persistent low inventory has been one of the driving forces behind rising home prices. Would-be homebuyers have found themselves competing with other offers, and sellers have become more bold, asking prices for their homes.

But higher sale prices also reflect the declining influence of foreclosures, which sell for less on average than other comparable homes.


Foreclosures made up about 11 percent of homes sales in September, the most recent numbers reported by real estate information website Zillow. Last year, foreclosures were 22 percent of area home sales.


Home sales are poised for a strong finish to the year. Contracts representing deals that will close in coming months jumped 15.9 percent in October, according to RMLS.


Homes that sold during October spent an average of 102 days on the market, nearly five weeks less than a year ago.


–Elliot Njus, The Oregonian, November 16, 2012