Monday, September 30, 2019

HFO-TV: Federal Judge Orders Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Hardesty to Appear in Court if Council Fails to Comply

U.S. Federal Judge John Acosta has already ordered the City of Portland to pay the legal fees of unreinforced masonry (URM) owners for the battle over placard signage of URM buildings. In a hearing on September 17, the Judge scheduled in-person court dates for October 24th and 31st to ensure that the Portland City Council holds a hearing and a vote on its repeal of the placard ordinances on October 23rd and 30th, respectively. The Judge indicated that if the City Council fails to abide by the City Attorney's promises to the Court, he will require Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Hardesty to personally appear before the Court to explain the failure to comply.

City of Portland Better Housing by Design plan for Apartment Buildings - Public Hearing Oct. 2, 3 pm

The City of Portland's Bureau of Housing Development is updating the rules to improve design and livability of new development. The recommended draft of the Better Housing by Design plan is now availalable and serves as the Planning and Sustainability Commission's recommendation to City Council.

The Better Housing by Design project is part of a broader Housing Opportunities Initiative that includes the residential infill project and a new anti-displacement action plan effort. 

The public hearing is scheduled for 3 pm on Wednesday, October 2nd at Portland City Hall. Three hours have been allotted for the hearing. Discussion and vote will take place at a subsequent council meeting.

Want to comment but can't make the hearing? 
Testimony may be submitted online through October 2nd using the online map app.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Allowable Rent Increase in Oregon for 2020 Will Be Lower than 2019

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis posted the allowable rent increase for 2020 under the new statewide rent control law. HB 608, which passed earlier this year, limits rent increases to 7% plus CPI (All Urban Consumers, West Region). In 2019, the total rent increase allowed in Oregon under the new state law was 10.3%. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, CPI has decreased from 3.3% to 2.9%. As a result, the allowable rent increase for 2020 is 9.9%. Read more.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Washington Post Editorial Board: Populists Are Wrong, Rent Control Does Not Help Cost-Burdened Renters

The Washington Post Editorial Board published an editorial over the weekend explaining why rent control does not help most renters. The Post cites a study from Stanford University published earlier this year that found that rent control laws are driving gentrification in San Francisco. The Editorial Board argues in favor of policies that can make it more affordable to build new housing, such as increasing density and combating NIMBYism. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - September 23, 2019

This week: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that the city will be investing $115.3 million from the city's housing bond in 9 new projects; the Southwest Corridor MAX Line's steering committee will meet to discuss a handful of planning and budgeting issues that have arisen; a new working paper published by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies highlights the steep decline in the number of affordable rental units nationwide.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

HFO Named Among Area's Most Generous Corporate Philanthropists

HFO volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank, September 2019
Tien Nguyen, Nick Quandt and Rachel Reuter
For the third time in the company’s 20-year history, and the second year in a row, HFO is slated to be recognized by the Portland Business Journal among the area’s top 10 corporate philanthropists in its category at an awards ceremony on October 3rd.

Each year, the Business Journal ranks the most generous corporate philanthropists in four categories. For years HFO has ranked among the top 25, but this year marks the third time HFO has been in the top 10 for area businesses with annual revenue of $10 million or less.

HFO regularly contributes to charity for each transaction in the client’s honor. We created a corporate matching fund that makes annual year-end donations to nonprofits selected by brokers and staff.

HFO’s top charities in 2018 were:
$5,000 - Outside In
$5,000 - Morrison Child and Family Services
$1,000 - Meals on Wheels

For 2019 HFO’s top charities are:

$5,000 - Face 2 Face Portland
$5,000 - Girls Inc.

HFO Brokers and staff particularly enjoy volunteering annually at the Oregon Food Bank.

Pictured here (L-R) Rachel Reuter and Donna Brunner.

Below: (L-R) Stephen Wendt and Rob Stigle. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - September 16, 2019

This week: Oregon’s Congressional representative Earl Blumenauer issues a call for federal action to address the housing crisis; CityLab reports that housing construction in all major US metros stalled out in the last decade; California passes statewide rent control.  

Listen to our latest podcast.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

California Passes Statewide Rent Control

Yesterday, the California legislature approved a statewide rent cap limiting annual rent increases to 5 percent after inflation. Read more.

The President of the National Multifamily Housing Council, Doug Bibby, issued the following statement in response:
"The most effective way to fix California’s housing crisis is by building more housing across a range of price points and AB-1482 makes that harder to do. After Californians overwhelmingly rejected the rent control ballot initiative less than a year ago, lawmakers today went against their constituents by passing a measure that will discourage investment, shrink the availability of affordable housing that already exists and squeeze even more people struggling in the housing market. This makes the problem worse. The housing affordability crisis is real, real Americans are being harmed by it every day and we need real solutions – not restrictive policies that we know don’t work.” 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Apartment Industry and Residents Contribute $3.4 Trillion to the National Economy

 A new study commissioned by the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) offers a detailed look at the economic contribution to the national economy by renters and the apartment industry. 

The report indicates that 328,000 new apartment homes are needed each year to meet demand, but producing that housing requires new approaches to development, more incentives, and fewer restrictions.

Recent apartment construction has contributed more than $150 billion to the national economy and created 752,000 jobs.

Areas with high to moderate barriers to new apartments include Seattle and Portland.

Comparison - Seattle vs. Portland Metro (Survey Data)

Total Apartment Homes | 356,000 vs. 178,600
Total Annual Economic Contribution | $34.4 billion vs. $32.2 billion
Total Jobs Supported | 101,800 vs. 160,100
Total Apartment Residents |   679,700  vs. 345,200
Apartments Built Before 1980 | 40%  vs. 41%

Highlights from the report include:

  • All four sectors of the industry have posted very strong growth, punctuated by the construction industry ramping up to meet the unprecedented demand for apartments this cycle – reaching a height of 346,900 completions in 2017, up from 129,900 in 2011.
  • Previous research by Hoyt Advisory Services found that we need to build an average of 328,000 apartments per year at a variety of price points to meet existing demand, which would bring continued economic activity. This number of multifamily completions has only been surpassed twice since 1989.
  • Hoyt research also found that a significant portion of the existing apartment stock will need to be renovated in the coming years, boosting spending in the renovation and repair sector.
  • The combined contribution of apartment construction, operations, renovation, and resident spending equals $3.4 trillion per year, or more than $9.3 billion daily. 

“The apartment industry’s contribution is one that has grown in recent years, fueled by increased rental demand overall as population and employment growth continue and renting becomes a preferred tenure choice for millions of Americans,” said Eileen Marrinan, Managing Director of Eigen 10 Advisors, which partnered with Hoyt. 

“Construction is still moving ahead, as there’s a need for additional apartments in many states. And, due to an abundance of aging stock, there’s a growing need for renovations and improvements on existing apartment buildings. Construction and renovation/repair will provide a sizable boost in jobs – and the economy – nationwide, and will continue to be a hefty contribution to the country’s economy for decades,” said NMHC President Douglas M. Bibby. 

“The multifamily industry is an economic engine powering the economy very significantly at the national, state and local levels,” said NAA President Robert Pinnegar. “This clearly illustrates the tremendous positive impact our apartments have on the communities they serve.”

This study provides data to back up the assertion that the apartment industry contributes to national, state and local tax economies. Tax payments associated with apartment operations, as well as tax payments by apartment residents, contributed $408.9 billion to the national economy. These taxes support schools, improvements to local infrastructure, and other critical services in communities across the country. 

Additional information can be found at

Monday, September 9, 2019

Despite Evidence That It Improves Returns, Commercial Real Estate Industry Lags on Diversity and Inclusion

ULI reports in its current issue of Urban Land Magazine that the Commercial Real Estate industry has fallen behind on diversity and inclusion. Despite evidence including a 2015 McKinsey report showing that gender and ethnically diverse teams perform significantly above industry median, 75% of senior executive executive jobs in the industry are held by white men. Just 1.3% of these positions were held by black men, 14.1% were held by white women, and fewer than 1% were held by nonwhite women. There is some evidence that the industry could start to change, however. Deloitte's 2019 Commercial Real Estate Outlook found that 86% of respondents acknowledged the impact of diversity on returns, and 79% said the industry is not doing enough to promote diversity and inclusion. As tech based innovations including crowd funding gain in popularity, more doors could be opened to those who have traditionally fallen outside of the old industry "boys' club." Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - September 9, 2019

This week: King County Washington plans to divert nearly $100 million to affordable housing over the next 20 years without raising taxes; Sacramento, California passes a rent control measure; and almost two-thirds of Portland residents say they have no input into city decisions that are important to them.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch - September 3, 2019

This week: a survey of Portland residents find that 61% do not feel like they have a say in city decisions that are important to them; a new law in Washington could allow King County to divert nearly $100 million to affordable housing projects over the next 20 years without raising taxes; and Portland and Seattle are in the top 10 among cities with the highest shares of residents with college or professional degrees.

Listen to our latest podcast.