Friday, January 19, 2018

IZ Rules Are Preventing Developers from Building in Portland's Historic Districts

Developers looking to build new housing in historic districts in the city of Portland are finding that the combination of historic requirements and inclusionary zoning requirements are keeping projects from penciling out. The 13-story Omni Tower project on NW 5th Avenue and Glisan in Old Town would have been allowed under zoning rules, but the Historic Landmarks commissioners said the height was out of context with the rest of the district. The owners argue that the tower wouldn't pencil out at a lower height, given the requirement that 20% of the units remain affordable. The Old Town neighborhood has a high concentration of affordable units, but that is not factored into the IZ requirement. The Historic Landmarks Commission suggested that the developer appeal the decision to the City Council, which would be more likely to approve it, but that would extend the timeline and add additional costs to the project. When the City Council voted to implement the inclusionary zoning policy, it did not consider exempting historic districts. Read more.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

USA Today: Oregon Nation's 6th Fastest-Growing State

Since 2006, Oregon’s population has grown at an average rate of 1.1%. The state’s population growth rate spiked in 2016, when the number of residents in the state grew 1.7% — faster than nearly any other state. Approximately 3 in every 4 new Oregonians in 2016 moved to the state from elsewhere in the country, with the remaining population increase due to natural growth — the number of births less the number of deaths. Many new residents likely came to Oregon for economic opportunity. The state’s unemployment rate fell from 5.6% in 2015 to 4.9% in 2016, one of the largest percentage-point declines of any state. Read more.

LA-Based Developer Proposes Fixes for Housing Crisis - Oregon Should Take Note

Urbanize LA, a website dedicated to reporting on real estate and development issues, published a list of 25 suggestions for fixing California's housing crisis, written by a local developer. The list is comprised of solutions that would enable more building to take place in transit-oriented neighborhoods where people want to live, and prioritizes the construction of housing over retail space. While some of the items on the list are specific to California, many could be implemented in other states, including Oregon and Washington. Suggestions include:
  • Allow 100% residential development on commercially zoned properties
  • Create new zones for missing middle housing
  • Upzone properties within 1/2 mile of a rail stop
  • Mandate local housing production goals
  • Audit planning policies to make sure they are helping to create housing
  • Incentivize & remove planning approvals for as much affordable housing as possible

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Seattle Seeing Rents Decline in Neighborhoods Where New Units Are Coming Online

For the first time this decade, Seattle-area rents are dropping. The city saw a 2.9% decline in rents over the 4th quarter of 2017, with renters signing new leases in downtown neighborhoods saving an average of $100 per month. Year over year, rents in the Seattle area increased 4.5%, a significantly slowdown from the double-digit increases renters have been seeing for the last few years. Over the previous five years, rents in the Seattle region had increased 48%. The city has seen a large number of new units coming online, and vacancy rates have increased significantly in neighborhoods that have seen the most new construction. Read more.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - January 15, 2018

This week: Portland-area real estate professionals weigh in on how the new tax law will impact the commercial real estate industry; the Historic Landmarks Commission and neighborhood residents are pushing back on a low-income housing project being proposed in the Historic Alphabet District; two moving companies confirm that Oregon is still a top moving destination - the state added 65,000 people last year.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Petition Circulating for Vote on Residential Infill Project

A group calling itself Stop Demolishing Portland seeks to discourage demolition and gentrification while supporting subsidized housing and preservations. Another group, the Multnomah Neighborhood Association, is determined to block rezoning of approximately 85,000 residential properties and plans to take its case to the Oregon Court of Appeals if necessary. The group has started a fundraising campaign to support its actions. Read more in this month's Southeast Examiner.

HFO's 13th annual multifamily investor event a major success

HFO hosted its largest annual event of the year yesterday to a packed house at the World Forestry Center. Event speakers included economist John W. Mitchell, developer Rob Justus, CPA Michael Lortz, industry spokesman John McIsaac of More Housing Now! and republican candidate for governor of Oregon, Knute Buehler. Videos from the event are coming soon to HFO-TV.  2018 sponsors of events and information are USI, JR Johnson, and AMF Capital.

Historic Landmarks Commission Pushes Back Against Affordable Housing Project

The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that the Historic Landmarks Commission and neighborhood residents are pushing back against a project that would bring 116 workforce housing units and 49 affordable senior housing units to the Alphabet District in Northwest Portland. The Northwest Housing Alternatives project would preserve the 90-year-old Buck-Prager Building on NW 17th Avenue and Hoyt Street, and includes plans for seismic upgrades. Two additional buildings would also be constructed to the north and south of the historic building. Residents testified against the project, citing parking and height concerns, while Matthew Roman of the Historic Landmarks Commission expressed concerns over the compatibility of the two additional buildings. Portland is in its third year of a housing state of emergency, and rents in the Alphabet District are among the highest in the city. Read more.