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A snapshot of Portland-area housing costs

Metro News came out with an article that discusses Portland’s housing cost an the aspects that affect it.

How much it costs to live here – and who pays. 7 things to know.

Almost daily, the stories shout from greater Portland’s newspapers and screens. Evictions, rent hikes, struggling first-time home buyers. Rallies, hearings and government responses. Housing has long been a hot topic in Portland, but it seems to burn more people with each passing day.

So why are we struggling so much with housing costs in this region, and what can be done? Are there signs of hope? Here are some things to know about affording a home in the Portland region today.

  1. Quality of life, prosperity and affordability:
    Choose two? It’s a simple fact: Our population grew during the Great Recession, but housing production stalled. From 2006 to 2015, the region underbuilt by about 22,000 units relative to the population growth.

    The region’s growth has possibly made us a victim of what Oregon economist Josh Lehner calls the Housing Trilemma: The idea that there are tradeoffs between quality of life, economic strength and affordability. Success in two of these areas is matched by a decline in the third, Lehner asserts, based on analysis of cities around the country.

    housing trilemma

    Here in greater Portland, we’ve planned for decades to achieve the walkable, livable communities that have given the region a reputation for having a very high quality of life. We’ve also experienced a strong economic rebound from the Great Recession, increasing the median income and adding twice as many jobs as we had lost.

    But as we’ve been successful in these two areas, we’ve seen our region’s affordability slipping away. One of the ways we experience that change most acutely is in housing costs. Costs go up when there are more people looking for housing than there are places to live.

    Permits lagged far behind population growth during the Recession. The good news is builders are finally adding new housing at about the same clip as population growth, but there’s still a big backlog to fill.

    chart 2

    Census estimates say the region built about 5,300 new units of multifamily housing and 8,600 single family homes in 2015. Most of these multifamily units are concentrated in inner Portland, while the majority of the single family housing has been built in the suburbs such as Washington County, Wilsonville and Vancouver. (That said, the city of Portland is also adding single-family homes, ranking third among area jurisdictions in single-family permits in the first half of 2016.)

    To read the full article click here

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