Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Washington State Developing Mandatory Lead Inspection Program for Rentals

In May, Governor Inslee of Washington State issued a directive to the Department of Health (DOH) regarding lead in water systems. The directive included the following:

"DOH shall determine the viability and potential policy changes associated with developing a Lead Rental Inspection and Registry Program, to require residential rental properties built before 1978 to register and complete a lead inspection and demonstrate safety at each change of occupancy."

Washington State is considering changes to the Residential Landlord and Tenancy Act that would mandate that landlords disclose whether the rental was constructed before 1978 or face fines, and tenants would be able to break their leases and move out. (It is estimated that 60% of all homes in Washington State are pre-1978.)

In addition to the above, the DOH is considering:
  1. Whether to target pre-1978 or pre-1960 housing.
  2. How to get landlords to register their properties
  3. Whether landlords would register each building or each unit
  4. Whether data on testing would be available to the public
  5. What would be required if a landlord fails an inspection
  6. Whether to require inspection and maintenance:
    • At the change of occupancy; or
    • Every three years
The Department of Health is to report back to the Governor by October with policy recommendations and a plan to pay for them.

Watch this space for updates.

Monday, August 29, 2016

167-Unit $29.5 Million Apartment Project Slated for Downtown Vancouver, Washington

The Portland Business Journal reports that the Uptown Apartments are on their way in downtown Vancouver. The 167-unit, mixed-use building will rise from a full city block along Main Street. Read more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Moving Forward: City of Portland Releases Draft Economic Analysis on Inclusionary Zoning

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

National Apartment Association Completes 2016 Survey of Apartment Operating Income & Expenses

The NAA sponsored a survey of nearly 1 million apartments nationwide. The survey found that in order to guarantee success, relevance and competitive advantage, apartment owners and operators need to ensure they take the following steps:

  • Lock in long-term debt.
  • Consider the disposition of non-core assets and re-evaluate holdings in non-core locations.
  • Maximize brand differentiation.
  • Take steps to protect information from cyberattacks.
  • Continue to enhance the quality and array of resident services.
  • Take steps to know more about your residents.
  • Continue to upgrade and train exceptional talent.
  • Assure business continuity.
  • Deploy a robust social media strategy.
  • Adopt a long-term focus on investments, development and operations.

These findings are just a few of the many conclusions drawn from CEL & Associates, Inc. research and the recently completed National Apartment Association's 2016 Survey of Operating Income & Expenses in Rental Apartment Communities. The survey was conducted by Los Angeles-based CEL & Associates Inc., once again indicated that improving conditions for the rental housing market continue to be reflected in improvements to operating fundamentals.

Read a summary of the results here. Full copies of the report are available for purchase.

Amazon Locker Testing Service to Apartment Communities

Amazon Locker boldly entered the conventional apartment resident package delivery market in July by debuting its program at 37 Mark-Taylor Residential communities in the Phoenix market. Read more in this month's Units Magazine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

City of Portland Developing Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program

The City of Portland's panel of experts meets again on August 23rd to review a feasibility analysis being finalized with a consultant team from DRA and ECONorthwest. 

The City plans to hold two meetings for its panel of housing experts to ask questions and submit comments. These meetings will be held Thursday, August 25th from 1-4pm and Tuesday, August 30th from 9am to noon at the City of Portland Housing Bureau office located at 421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland OR 97204.

The City of Portland's Panel of Housing Experts are:
  • Shannon Callahan – Office of Commissioner Saltzman
  • Matthew Tschabold – Portland Housing Bureau
  • Sarah Zahn – Portland Housing Advisory Commission, Gerding Edlen
  • Dike Dame – Portland Housing Advisory Commission, Williams and Dame Development
  • Dr. Lisa Bates – Portland State University
  • Dr. Ronald Lehr – KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.
  • Amanda Saul – Enterprise Community Partners
  • Vivian Satterfield – OPAL PDX
  • Margaret Tallmadge – Coalition of Communities of Color, Portland Planning/Sustainability
  • Eric Cress – Urban Development + Partners
  • Greg Goodman – Downtown Development Group, Portland Business Alliance
  • Kira Cador – Rembold Companies
  • Nolan Lienhardt – ZGF, 1,000 Friends of Oregon

Monday, August 15, 2016

What We're Reading This Week: Yardi Matrix Article on "Portland's Promise"

Yardi Matrix reports that Portland's broad-based job growth and a constant influx of Millennials have propelled apartment rent increases to among the highest in the nation. Yardi projects rent growth at 8.8% for 2016. Click here to download the Portland Multifamily Summer 2016 Report.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Clark County Growth Management Plan May Lead to Housing Shortage

by: Steven Horenstein, Horenstein Law Group.

In a recent Vancouver Business Journal article, attorney Steven Horenstein writes extensively about the recently adopted 20-year growth management plan. He expresses his concerns that the plan "only provides for a medium level growth projection for a population increase to 562,000 by the year 2035. This translates into a population growth rate of something less than 2 percent. In reality, the current growth rate in our community is noticeably greater than 2 percent annually."

Horenstein goes on to note that ". . .our community is currently in the midst of a housing boom that will not produce enough housing units of various types to accommodate growth as it is actually occurring. If our current rate of growth continues, we may find that available land prices will increase and housing affordability will become problematic. This will make it difficult for those migrating here for jobs to find housing." Read more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

City of Portland Blows Timeline to Set Price For Affordable Housing Land

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports that City of Portland housing officials have failed to meet a July, 2016 deadline set by the city council for determining the market price for acquiring affordable housing land on the city's South Waterfront.

Just last year, officials touted their plan to set a price by July, saying it was necessary to avoid running into problems acquiring land for affordable housing as happened in the Pearl District. Read more.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

In Seattle, $290 Million Affordable Housing Levy Passes in Landslide Vote

The Seattle Times reports that Seattle voters signed on to a $290 million property-tax levy for low-income housing Tuesday, twice the amount approved seven years ago at the tail end of the Great Recession. The new seven-year levy, on the ballot as Seattle Proposition No. 1, will cost the owner of a $480,000 home about $122 annually, $61 more than the current levy. Read the full story.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Residential Building Permits on Track to Reach Levels Not Seen Since 2006

The City of Portland plans more housing than the next 13 cities in the region combined, led by historically strong apartment construction. When adjusted for population, only Lake Oswego and Hillsboro are building more housing per capita. Cities with relatively little new housing planned include Milwaukie, Tualatin, West Linn, Beaverton, Gresham and Forest Grove.

Even with building permits and housing construction on the upswing, Portland economist Christian Kaylor notes, "Given our low unemployment rate, if our economy continues to add 30,000 or more jobs every year, the majority of those jobs will need to be filled with new migrants to the region. Until the region is able to create new housing at the same impressive rate we create jobs, expect housing to remain scarce and expensive."

(Source: State of Oregon Employment Department, July, 2016 Economic Indicators report, by Christian Kaylor)

Monday, August 1, 2016

U.S. Census: Portland Metro Vacancy Falls 1.7% in Q2

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the rental vacancy rate for the Portland-Vancouver- Hillsboro metro area was 4.9 percent for the second quarter of 2016. Census data indicates a decrease in Greater Portland's vacancy rate from 6.6% in Q1 to 4.9% in Q2, and up 1.4% from a year earlier, when the rate was at historic lows.

Seattle Vacancies Nation's 5th Lowest
Census estimated Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue's vacancy rate at 2.7% vacancy rate, making it the nation's fifth lowest. Metro areas with lower vacancies than Seattle were Fresno (0%), San Diego (1.4%), Providence-Warwick RI-MA (2.5%) and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ (2.6%).

Average National Rental Vacancy Rate
The average national rental vacancy rate for Q2 2016 was 6.7 percent for multifamily dwellings of five or more units, roughly even with a year earlier. Vacancy rates remained lowest in the western U.S.


U.S. Median Rents
U.S. median asking price for rent has been advancing steadily for years but dropped back slightly to median rates charged in Q4 of 2015. 

Greater Portland Rents 
The national apartment research firm Reis reports that Portland metro rents have increased annually since 2006 at an average rate of 4.2%. The total increase in rents over the past decade has been approximately 33%.

U.S. Homeownership Rate Continues to Fall
U.S. Homeownership rates have fallen from a recent high of 65.1% at the end of 2013 to an estimated 62.9% in Q2 2016. Homeownership rates in the Western U.S. fell to 57.9 from 58.7 percent, its lowest level in 26 years.