Thursday, June 30, 2016

Harvard Report: State of the Nation's Housing 2016

The State of the Nation’s Housing report has been released annually by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies since 1988. Now in its 28th year, it continues to serve as an essential resource for both public policy makers and private decision makers in the housing industry. This year’s report provides a current assessment of the state of the rental and homeownership markets; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demand; the state of mortgage finance; and ongoing housing affordability challenges. Click here to download this report. 

MPF Research: Apartment Construction Will Test Portland's Strength Next Year

Portland led the nation for apartment rent growth in 1st quarter 2016, with fundamental strength seen across market segments. But growing supply volumes could hamper the market’s ability stay on top of the national leaderboard next year. MPF Research economists dive into the Portland apartment market’s recent performance and discuss how building activity affects the near term outlook in this Apartment Market Dynamics video.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Considering Electric Car Chargers at Your Community?

The Multifamily Electric Vehicle Working Group was formed in August 2014 by Mary Nitschke, Director of Ancillary Services at Prometheus Real Estate. The group holds discussions on trends in electric cars and how to properly accommodate them at apartment communities.

Members include apartment management professionals from more than a dozen companies and offers webinars and conference calls approximately every six weeks to discuss best practices, legislation, technology and other topics. The events are moderated by John Kalb of EVChargingPros, a vendor and independent industry analyst.

If you are interested in joining the group, contact Mary at

Apartment Owners' Liability for Loss of Renters' Personal Data [Video]

USI Vice Presidents Heidi Tapasa and Ted Stark discuss the liability exposure for loss of residents' personal information to cyber criminals.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

U.S. Apartments Shrink to Smallest Size in a Decade

According to MultiHousing News, the average size of new apartments (those completed in 2016) is now at 934 square feet -- 8 percent smaller than those 10 years ago. 

According to a recent survey, Portland's apartments average even smaller -- at 460.75 square feet for a one bedroom.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

HFO-TV: Sustainable Design Trends for Multifamily [Video]

In this installment of HFO-TV, HFO Partner Greg Frick explores trends in sustainability and energy efficiency in new and redeveloped multifamily properties.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sold! 100 Units in Gresham, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the Hogan Woods Apartments in Gresham, Oregon.

This 100-unit property was constructed in 1991 and consisted largely of one-bedroom units. Hogan Woods was well-maintained, but had been managed for occupancy and rents were extraordinarily low.

HFO took the property to market priced and advertised its availability to its extensive database of potential buyers and was able to demonstrate the asset's exceptional value-add opportunities. This led to a bidding war that brought in a final sale above asking price.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Vancouver's Affordable Housing Emergency Subject of November Property Tax Vote

Last night the City of Vancouver's city council decided they will let voters decide in November whether to increase property taxes to help with the city's affordable housing emergency. Read more.

State Economist: Oregon Nears Full Employment

Oregon State Economist John Lehner writes that Oregon continues to see full-throttle rates of growth and higher wages. The state's economy is quickly approaching full employment. Read more.

Sold! 46-Unit Mixed-Use Building in Portland's Kenton Neighborhood

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the Kentwood Apartments, a mixed-use asset in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland.

Built in 1910 as a hotel, the Kentwood Apartments includes some SROs and two commercial spaces. The unreinforced masonry property was renovated prior to sale including a new exterior envelope and updates to most interiors.

HFO was selected by the seller for its ability to locate a buyer familiar with the challenges of unreinforced masonry buildings with a borrowing relationship sufficient to overcome lender objections to this product type.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sold! 72 Units in Beaverton, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of 72-unit Castlewood Arms in Beaverton.

The property had been owned by the same family for more than 30 years and although well-maintained, was in original condition. Castlewood Arms' proximity to the Nike world headquarters and the lack of competing housing in the immediate area made the asset an attractive value-add investment.

HFO was selected for its multifamily expertise and market knowledge and was able to work with both buyer and seller in negotiating the challenge between current operations and the property's value-add opportunity. Castlewood Arms sold for $7,950,000.

Vancouver City Council Ponders Affordable Housing Tax; Seattle Considers Forcing Developers to Build Affordable or Pay

Tonight the Vancouver City Council will vote on whether to place an affordable housing property-tax levy on the ballot to raise $42 million over the next seven years. The money would be used to purchase, construct and preserve low-income housing in addition to supporting renter-assistance programs.

The City of Seattle will hold a hearing tomorrow morning to consider forcing developers to build affordable units, or pay a fee to avoid it.  Seattle recently passed an ordinance prohibiting rent increases on units with health or safety violations. 

$100 Miliion Homeless Campus in Portland?

Two of Portland's leading developers are proposing a 14-acre riverfront homeless campus on city-owned property. The $100 million campus, which could serve up to 1,400 people daily, would be called the "Oregon Trail to Hope." Read more.

Since the Oregonian published their original story, Willamette Week investigators reported that city zoning wouldn't allow for the proposed use. But mayor elect Ted Wheeler and developer Homer Williams still want to find a way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bend Apartment Vacancy 0.62%

Scarcity of rental housing isn't confined to the Greater Portland area. The Bend Bulletin reported earlier this month that Central Oregon's rental vacancy rate currently stands at 1.04% with the apartment vacancy rate in Bend at 0.62%. Read more. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Apartment Management Industry Offering Jobs & Reduced Housing Costs to Homeless

Nonprofits and property management partners are joining a project called Shelters to Shutters.This non-profit organization makes a palpable connection between property management employers and qualified individuals facing homelessness. The organization liaises with local nonprofits to identify candidates for jobs with property management partners, which often already offer their managers the option of onsite housing at a reduced rate.

Shelters to Shutters currently operates in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro (NC) , Nasvhille (TN), Austin and Dallas (TX). Shelters to Shutters is currently expanding our efforts across the country. To get involved, email: or call: 703.634.5679. Learn more.

Study: Portland Median Apartment Rents Just Under National Average

A recent study by discovered that the median rent for one-bedroom Portland apartments is just under the national average, as is the cost of basic utilities. However, one-bedroom apartments in Portland ranked as having the smallest average square footage.

The averages for each key factor from all 50 cities on the list:

  • Median rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $1,234.43
  • Square footage of 1-bedroom apartment: 678.32 square feet
  • Cost of basic utilities: $147.06
  • Walkability score: 52
  • Percentage of apartments for rent with a dishwasher: 68%
  • Percentage of apartments for rent with a washer-dryer: 39%
  • Percentage of apartments for rent with a pool: 61%
  • Percentage of apartments for rent with a fitness center: 53%
  • Percentage of pet-friendly apartments for rent: 26%
  • Percentage of apartments for rent that have parking, either covered or with a garage: 36%

Read how all 50 cities ranked.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

City of Seattle Forbids Apartment Rent Increases on Units Failing to Meet Basic Requirements

The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed legislation prohibiting landlords from raising rents on units that don't meet basic maintenance standards.

Approval of the bill was cheered by tenant-rights advocates, who vowed to push an additional bill to cap move-in expenses, saying requiring first and last months' rent in advance has become unaffordable. Read more in the Seattle Times. 

The law will join the roster of Seattle tenant protection laws, including a once-per-decade required inspection program and relocation assistance requirement.