Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Willamette Week Profile of Margot Black, Head of Portland Tenants United

The Willamette Week published a profile of Margot Black this morning, detailing her connection with newly elected Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, as well as her history as a tenant and activist in Portland. It also highlights her successes in shaming landlords and her goal of enacting an immediate rent freeze in Portland. At the end of the article, Black declares her intention to challenge Commissioner Fish in 2018. Read more.

State Audit Finds Oregon Housing and Community Services Suffers from Lack of Communication, Data Management, Written Policies

While it is no secret that rents and home values in Oregon have been rising sharply, a State audit of the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) department finds that the agency has not been effective at preserving or adding housing units. Despite using an award-winning system for collecting financial data on public housing projects until 2012, currently the data is woefully incomplete and inaccurate. Furthermore, despite state law requiring a housing plan, OHCS has failed to keep track of the need for or supply level of affordable housing. With many cities feeling the effects of a housing crunch and state and local leaders seeking to introduce new rules to solve affordability issues, the results of the audit are not likely to inspire confidence among Oregon residents. Read more.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Opinion: Portland Landlord Landon Marsh Discusses Rent Increases

Portland landlord Landon Marsh wrote an editorial opinion for the Rental Housing Journal discussing the action taken against him by Tenants United since he raised rents at his 12-unit apartment building on SE Ash Street a few months ago. He explains that he raised rents to market value after making upgrades to the property that had been requested by tenants, and goes on to discuss the issues faced by smaller operators who make up 80% of the owners of Portland rental properties. Read more.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Rent Control in Berlin Mostly Benefiting Upper Income Households

Economist Joe Cortright has written on the City Commentary blog about a new study that evaluates the effects of rent control in Berlin since it was enacted in 2015. Berlin's rent control system is more complex and nuanced than others that have been put into effect in cities such as New York and San Francisco, but the study finds that the new rules are not working as intended. The rent controlled apartments are seeing rent reductions compared to non-rent controlled units, but the benefits have been greatest for residents of large, expensive apartments.

Read Joe Cortright's article on City Observatory

Read the working paper on rent controls in Berlin

Friday, December 2, 2016

Saltzman Recommends Softening Inclusionary Zoning Requirements for First 2 Years

The Portland Tribune reports that Commissioner Dan Saltzman has responded to requests from LOCUS to ease inclusionary zoning requirements for developers by lowering the required percentage of affordable units until 2019. Previously, developers would have been required to set aside 20% of units for residents making 80% MFI, or 10% of units for residents making 60% MFI. Under the new changes, developers will only be asked to set aside 15% and 8%, respectively, until the law goes into full effect in 2019. Read more.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

ABODO Report Indicates Portland Is Not Growing As Fast As Residents Think

A new study put out by ABODO, a residential research organization, suggests that Portland is not growing as rapidly as is frequently reported. While the number of people moving to the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metro area equaled 7.28% of the population in 2015, 6.6% of the population actually moved out of the area, resulting in a net gain of only .91%. The report ranks Portland 13th in the country for net migration. Read more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Developers Rushing to Get Projects Approved Before Inclusionary Zoning Takes Effect

With the inclusionary zoning proposal going before Portland City Council in December, many developers are trying to get projects approved prior to February, when the new requirements will go into effect if passed. Currently there are more than 14,000 units in the approval pipeline in Portland, a significant increase even from recent years. Many investors and developers are concerned due to a lack of transparency - though there has been some discussion of what the policy could look like, the specifics have not been nailed down. The Oregonian reports that developers will likely be required to set aside 20% of units for households making less than 80% median family income, but the incentives the city will ultimately be willing to provide are less clear. Incentives will likely include some combination of tax breaks, increased density, and waived parking requirements, but without specific details investors are wary of funding projects that might not be feasible. Read more.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sold! 46 Units in Cornelius, Oregon

The Davis Street Apartments (circa 2004) was purchased in 2013 and efficiently managed by investors as they upgraded the property and brought rents to market. When listed with HFO, the property was near 100% occupancy with stabilized rents. HFO was able to quickly locate a buyer wanting a well-maintained asset with solid cash flow.