Monday, December 28, 2015

Seismically Retrofitting Portland's Unreinforced Masonry Buildings - Part 3

HFO partner Greg Frick interviews Carmen Merlo, director of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management about a proposed City of Portland ordinance to retrofit old brick buildings that appears headed for the City Council in the spring of 2016. Merlo discusses the reasoning behind the recommendations.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Should Oregon Thank California for its Current Growing Pains?

by Spencer Marona, Managing Director

Oregon’s historic campaign slogan of “Welcome to Oregon – Please Enjoy Your Visit” seemed to reappear recently—in a new and vitriolic form—as residential For Sale signs were tagged with “No Californians” stickers. For those who want economic expansion, it seems important to step back to ask ourselves: “Do we really want to bite the hand that feeds us?”

On September 22nd, Josh Lehner, with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis (OEA), posted an online report which commented on Oregon’s economic outlook. His statement included this:

Migration is vital to Oregon’s economic health. It is one of the two primary reasons Oregon outperforms the typical state during an economic expansion…Americans want to live in and move to Oregon…our state’s ability to attract skilled, young working age households is a huge economic benefit.

True to Lehner’s statement, an estimated 128,000 new residents migrated to Oregon in 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau reports one out of four (roughly 32,000 people) are moving to Oregon from California. Low cost of living, a wider array of employment opportunities and superior quality of life are among the enticements that caused Oregon to lead the nation, in 2014, for in-migration. The arrival of Californians, among residents from other states, is nothing new.

According to Rich States, Poor States, published by The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), $6.5 billion moved from California to Oregon between 2003 and 2013. This influx of capital, alongside growing in-migration, has impacted employment growth and the state’s booming multifamily market.

Portland continues to lead the nation in effective rent growth, at 14.3% year over year as of October, 2015 according to MPF Research. Driving heightened rents are a high level of sales transactions for multifamily properties.

Between the start of 2014 and September, 2015, almost one fifth of all multifamily properties of eight or more units were purchased by California buyers. According to CoStar, those buyers paid $1.25 billion in aggregate value for property in the greater Portland-Vancouver-Salem markets. New residents and multifamily investors from California have affected Oregon’s multifamily industry–and our economy as a whole–through these investments.

These investment funds might not be pouring into Oregon’s economy without an analysis of Oregon’s sustainable employment market. Companies like Apple, eBay, Google and Under Armour are claiming Oregon ground, as companies like Nike undergo significant expansions. These companies and others are gambling on the hope that newly created jobs will be filled. With increased employment opportunities comes new demand for living spaces.

Other industries, such as retail and education, also feel a positive effect from this growth. More employed workers spend more money–thus creating a flywheel effect.

The multifamily market has a less positive flipside. The impact of California capital and in-migration may become too much of a good thing. According to the Oregonian, potential residents have awaited 22,000 new apartment units to be delivered since 2012. As well, vacancies are practically non-existent. The demand for rental units is so strong that Portland’s City Council declared a housing state of emergency on October 7, 2015.

Rents in the Portland-Vancouver market have skyrocketed due to its extraordinary 97% occupancy rate. This has caused an increase in the homeless population. The Oregonian reporting an approximate 1,800 people live on the streets in Portland.

The ultimate impact of these stresses on the rental market remains to be seen. The Portland City Council recently increased the notice period to evict or raise rents from 30 to 90 days for rents over 5%.

As job growth continues, and Californians plant their money in Oregon, our golden age of apartment investments seems poised to continue, regardless of outside pressure.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Can't find an apartment? Oregon's vancancy rate was nation's lowest, data show -

New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that in 2014, Oregon's rental vacancy rate was 3.6 percent. That's lower than the 2014 rate for any other U.S. state, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. 

Read the full story on

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Vancouver Housing Authority offers $100 For Each New Section 8 Tenant Lease

The Vancouver Housing Authority is offering an incentive to landlords who sign on new tenants with Section 8 vouchers. The incentive was created to help offset the cost of paperwork required at the initiation of a lease and resulting delays in lease start dates.

For information on the program please contact the Vancouver Housing Authority at (360) 993-9563.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Report: Multifamily Rents Steady in November, Hottest Markets Show Signs of Deceleration

According to YardiMatrix November 2015 data, Portland (14.7%) and San Francisco (11.0%) once again led the pack in year-over-year data. Ongoing hot markets include Sacramento (10.7%), Seattle (9.5%), Atlanta (8.9%) and Denver (8.5%).

In recent months, however, some of the Western tech-oriented growth markets have been showing signs of slipping and rent growth has been led by warm-weather metros in the South and Southwest, including Miami, Phoenix and the Inland Empire.

Rentals Comprise Most New Housing Units in Portland Metro

Data made public last week by the U.S. Census Bureau provided the first-ever snapshot comparing five-year periods between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014.

Most new Portland-area housing units are rentals. Read more in The Oregonian.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Citing Rent Crisis, The Oregonian Sets Community Forum for Wednesday, December 9

Today's Oregonian carries an advertisement for a community event from 6:30-8pm at The Cleaners at Ace Hotel.

The event subhead asks: "Is Portland Becoming a Gated City?"

The forum will be moderated by Oregonian editorial board members and includes panelists Dan Saltzman, Portland city commissioner, Sam Chase, Metro Councilor, and Dike Dame of Williams and Dame Development.

Registration required.

What Is the Hottest Market in the Country?

Is it San Francisco, Seattle, New York, San Jose, San Diego, Boston or Los Angeles?

Nope. It's Portland, Oregon.

Recently, Axiometrics stated that the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area has been the hottest market in the country for the second half of 2015. Several facts lend credibility to this statement including Portland's comparison of rents among other major West Coast markets, Portland's average hourly wage vs. the national average, and that more than one out of four residents is a millennial between the ages of 25-34 (the "cool" crowd).

Portland's average monthly effective rent of $1,336 in October is still lower than neighboring West Coast markets like Seattle, San Francisco-Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. It is the highest in the United States among Axiometrics Top 50 Markets based on number of units.

This would partially explain the surge of new migrants who continue to flock to the City of Portland, where the average hourly wage is $1.67 more than the national average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics enabling renters to get more bang for their buck with a $289 advantage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported a 3.3 percent bump in job-growth rate over the national average of 2 percent with 36,000 jobs added at the end of September.

Consequently, many Portland apartment developers and owners are smiling knowing their year-over-year average rent was $148 higher than in October of 2014. This translates into $53,280 per year of potential additional revenue for an owner of a 30-unit.

Read more about why Forbes ranked Portland No. 18 in its list of "Best Cities for Millennials" and other indicators that "Portlandia" is the hottest market.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Update on Nearly 2,000 Additional Apartments Planned Near Lloyd Center

The Portland Design Commission recently approved plans for 944 units near Lloyd Center known officially as Oregon Square. The project involves four buildings ranging from 11-30 floors in height. Plans call for 708 parking spaces with an additional 200 parking spaces for retail customers, along with 1,647 stalls for bicycles. Read more about the design and details of this development.

Meanwhile, in response to plans by the Lloyd Center/Cypress Equities and southern California developer Bob Bisno, Regal Cinemas has filed suit. Regal claims its lease is good for another 11 years and does not want to give up its existing building and associated parking, which brings in $6.3 million in annual revenue. Cypress Equities and Bisno had announced plans to develop 980 apartment units with retail and parking for 873 cars.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from HFO

Thanksgiving is not something we feel once a is an attitude we carry all year long. We could not be successful without our valued clients–who trust us to provide advice and services for the properties they invest in. We are extremely grateful. 

On behalf of the HFO team, we express our sincere appreciation for your confidence and loyalty. It is a pleasure to declare that the past year has been successful for our clients and we thank you for your unending support which has helped both of us grow. 

We wish each and every one of you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.


Spencer Marona
Managing Director

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sold! 24 Units in Gresham

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the Fircrest Apartments in Gresham. The seller of this 24-unit apartment community selected HFO to handle the sale of the property based on the firm's strong reputation in the market. The property garnered multiple qualified offers within a week and the final sale price was above listing with no financing contingency.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Metro Council Votes Not to Expand Urban Growth Boundary Until At Least 2018

The Metro Council voted unanimously last week against expanding the Urban Growth Boundary, making this the first time in 10 years that no land was added for future development.The issue will be revisited again in 2018.

For more information read our prior posts on this topic:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Seattle Apartment Market Is Nearing $4 Billion in Sales for 2015

The greater Seattle market continues to post record setting numbers with apartment sales. According to Dupre & Scott, the average price per unit is a little $170,000 for 2015. Over 19,000 units have sold, bringing the total volume for apartment sales in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to approximately $4 billion for the year. More information and insight into the greater Seattle multifamily market can be found in Dupre and Scott's weekly apartment video updates and articles. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Newberg and Tualatin Are Among Finalists For Economic Development Prize - Portland Business Journal

According to information from Carr Biggerstaff, board chair of the Chelam Valley Chamber of Commerce in a Portland Business Journal report, Newberg is one of 50 quarterfinalists in the contest and has already received $50,000 to develop its plan. The city of Tualatin is also among the quartefinalists.

CVCC is made up of a team of community partners in Newberg who have worked over a year to submit a plan to America's Best Communities, which finds Frontier Communications, DISH and other partners to stimulate local economic growth.

In early January, the contest will narrow the list down to 15 semifinalists, who will then attend a summit to present their strategies. From that group, eight will move on with $100,000 each to implement their plans. About a year after the plans are implemented, in April 2017, the contest will name three winners based on how effective the plans have been.

First place will get $3 million, second place gets $2 million and third place will get $1 million.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Brian Gerritz on Practical Ramifications of Requiring Seismic Retrofits to Unreinforced Masonry Buildings

HFO marketing director Aaron Kirk Douglas interviews Pavilion Construction's President Brian Gerritz about a City of Portland plan to retrofit old brick buildings that appears headed for the City Council in the spring of 2016. Gerritz discusses the expenses and practical ramifications of implementing such laws. Among other things, the new city ordinance could require owners to notify residents that they are living in a seismically vulnerable building.

U.S. Multifamily Rents Flatten in October

The YardiMatrix report for October was the first survey of 2015 in which rents did not increase month-over-month.

Out of 111 markets tracked by YardiMatrix, Portland remains number one in rent growth at 15.1%. Close behind are:

  • San Francisco – 12.1%
  • Seattle – 11.5%
  • Denver – 10.3%

Another trend YardiMatrix reports is short-term bifurcation of growth: higher-end lifestyle property increases are cooling relative to working-class Rent-By-Necessity properties. This is because supply of high-end properties is rising rapidly in many markets while affordability issues are producing more demand on the lower end of the quality spectrum.

For detailed information on granular-level rent trends throughout Oregon and SW Washington, contact any HFO broker at (503) 241-5541.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Seattle Microunits of 120-235 Sq. Ft. Named Finalist for Affordable/Workforce Housing Award

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports that the "Base Capitol Hill" microunits, which range in size from 120-235 SF and rent for $800-$1,000 per month, have been named a finalist in the Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award from the Urban Land Institute. Read more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sold! 154-Unit Fieldstone Luxury Apartments in Fairview

The Fairview apartments sold for $20,800,000. The owner had worked with HFO in the past and decided to re-engage the firm for the sale of their property due to the current state of the market and HFO’s specialized focus on multifamily dispositions.

HFO’s collaborative and strategic approach generated offers from 13 pre-qualified investors, enabling the client to close the transaction with a satisfied buyer out of California and setting a record price per square foot for the Fairview market.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

U.S. Census: Portland Vacancy Rate Increases Slightly

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that the rental vacancy rate for the Portland-Vancouver- Hillsboro metro area was 5.1 percent for the third quarter of 2015. Despite local survey reports to the contrary, the U.S. Census Bureau data has shown an increase in the Portland vacancy rate from 2.7% in Q1 to 5.1% in Q3.

In every survey over the past two years, Portland metro has ranked consistently among the nation's lowest vacancy rates. In this latest Census Bureau Report, Portland metro is tied for 24th lowest with Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue was in a 2-way tie with San Diego for 4th place with vacancies at 2.0%, down from 4% the prior quarter.

The nation's lowest vacancy rates were as follows:
  • Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI - 0.9%
  • Greensboro-High Point, NC - 1.0%
  • Worcester, MA - 1.6
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA [TIE] - 2.0%
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA [TIE]
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH - 2.8%
  • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI [TIE]
  • New Haven-Milford, CT [TIE]
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA - 3.1%
  • Raleigh, NC - 3.2%
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA - 3.6%
  • Providence-Warwick, RI-MA [TIE]
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA [TIE]
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC - 3.9%
  • Knoxville, TN [TIE]
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI [TIE}
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL -4.1%
  • Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN - 4.5%
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA [TIE]
  • Richmond, VA - 4.7%
  • Fresno, CA - 5.0%
  • North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL [TIE]
  • Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT - 5.1%
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA [TIE]
The average national rental vacancy rate for Q3 2015 was 7.3 percent for multifamily dwellings of five or more units, and was 0.1 percent lower than a year earlier. The U.S. rental vacancy rate has been falling since 2009. It is at its lowest level since 1993 and far below the 11 percent average vacancy rate of 2009.

Although rents in the West and specifically Portland metro lead the nation, average rents remained flat.

U.S. Homeownership Rate Remains Flat
U.S. Homeownership rates have fallen from a recent high of 65.1 percent at the end of 2013 to an estimated 63.5 percent in Q3 2015. Homeownership remains at its lowest level in 22 years.

Homeownership rates in the Western U.S. increased slightly from 58.5 to 58.7 percent, near its 24-year low.

[Note: The US Census vacancy estimate is 2.23% higher than the vacancy rate of 2.87% reported by MultifamilyNW in its Fall, 2015 Apartment Report.]

Portland Listed as Nation's Rent Growth Leader at 14.3%

MPF Research reports on the latest quarterly results which put Portland and the rest of the west on the rent growth leaderboard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Security Properties Going Strong on Apartment Projects in Bellevue

The Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that just months after Security Properties broke ground on a 5-building 309-unit project in Bellevue's $2.3 billion Spring District, it's submitted plans for another. The second phase plans call for 3 buildings with an additional 279 apartments.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Portland Approves 90-Day Notice For Rent Increases, Evictions

On Wednesday, landlords were only required to provide tenants one month's notice for rent increases in the City of Portland. That has changed.

The Portland City Council voted yesterday to require landlords to provide 90-day notice for no-fault evictions, and for rent increases of more than 5 percent.

The council also proposed a $25,000 tax on home demolitions.

Oregon Public Broadcasting Report 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Detailed Breakdown of Survey Results for Vacancies and Rents for Oregon, SW Washington

According to the fall 2015 MultifamilyNW Apartment Report, vacancies in cities and neighborhoods stood at rates varying from 1.4% to 3.7%. Rents per square foot increased at an overall average rate of 9%.

Additional $60 Million Affordable Housing Funds

At this mornings MultifamilyNW breakfast, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said an additional $60 million in funding for affordable housing to be officially announced soon.

According to Kafoury, the county is working in partnership with City of Portland to provide $5 million of those funds.

Breaking... MultifamilyNW Releases Fall 2016 Vacancy and Rent Rates

In its Apartment Market Report released this morning, MultifamilyNW relorts the fall 2015 rent and vacancy rates as follows:

Portland/Vancouver vacancy factor declined to 2.8%. 

Portland/Vancouver rent rates have increased at an annual rate of 9%.

Apartment lobbyist Gwenn Baldwin indicated the Portland City Council is expected to approve a 90-day rent increase notice requirement at its meeting today. If approved, the rule would take effect November 13th.

Friday, October 9, 2015

City of Portland Approves Housing Emergency Plan

The Portland City Council approved a housing emergency plan on Wednesday, which enables leaders to bypass city codes to allow temporary emergency homeless shelters, to open day-storage areas, and to use city properties to address a growing crisis.

The City Council also held a public hearing Wednesday on proposed rules to strengthen renters' rights. One proposal included to require landlords to give tenants 90 days' notice, opposed to 30 or 60 depending on longevity, for no-cause evictions.

Read the full story on

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

HFO-TV: Current Trends in Multifamily Lending and Finance with Mark Paskill

HFO Partner Greg Frick discusses the current multifamily lending environment with Mark Paskill of Intervest (a subsidiary of Umpqua Bank).

Property Management Insider recently published its quarterly multifamily lending brief.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Metro President: No UGB Expansion Needed

Stating that the area has enough available land to accommodate the next 20 years of growth, Metro will not expand the Urban Growth Boundary, according to Metro President Tom Hughes.

Metro released a draft report in 2014 that said capacity already existed to provide housing for another 400,000 people as long as about 123,000 mostly multifamily units are built.

Metro's full  Council is scheduled to hold two more public hearings on the boundary decision at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29. and  2 p.m. Nov. 2. Both will be held at the Metro Regional Center, 600 N.E. Grand Ave., Portland. Read more.

On HFO-TV: The Latest Economic Update for the Clark County/Vancouver Area

Greg Frick interviewed Scott Bailey, a regional economist with Washington State, about the Clark County/Vancouver area economy. Here's what we learned.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 Portland Rents up 12% as U.S. Apartment Rent Growth Sets New High

Growth continues to be dominated by metro areas in the Pacific Northwest and the Western lifestyle markets. Portland (12.0%), Denver (11.8%) and San Francisco (11.7%) all saw double-digit growth in the trailing 12 months. Read more

Meanwhile, MPF research reports U.S. Apartment Rent Growth Hit a New High in the 3rd Quarter

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

HFO Adds Director of Operations

HFO Investment Real Estate (HFO) is pleased to announce the hiring of Donna Brunner in the newly-created position of Director of Operations.

With over 23 years of real estate experience, Brunner is well-versed in multifamily and commercial leasing, new development, and multifamily management. Her prior experience includes managing a portfolio of over 15 apartment communities and 1,000-plus units.

Mostly recently, Brunner spent nine years as Operations Manager for the Portland office of the nation’s largest real estate investment company.

“Donna brings a wealth of experience to our team,” says HFO managing director Spencer Marona. “Her background with real estate operations and ability to lead others is an integral part of our strategic growth.”

Before earning her Oregon real estate license, Brunner was licensed in New Jersey and Virginia.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Seattle Developer Plans 102-Story Apartment Skyscraper

The 102-story building which would be home to 1,200 apartments at 701 Fourth Avenue, would be the West Coast's tallest building and the eighth tallest in the country. The apartments would sit atop a 14-story podium made up of two floors of retail, six floors of office and six floors of hotel rooms. The proposal goes to an early design guidance meeting with city officials in November. Read more.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Who's Hiring in Commercial Real Estate?

We are looking for a unique, energetic, intelligent and passionate individual to join our sales team. The right person will value the relentless pursuit of each clients' success. 

If you have ever considered a career as an investment sales broker and/or appreciate the benefit clients and customers receive from working with experts, give us a call. Click the image below the number to read the job description.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oregonian Cover Story: "Developers Can't Build Apartments Fast Enough"

From today's Oregonian:
Despite 22,000 new apartments coming on line in the metropolitan area since 2012, more than half in Portland proper, vacancies remain practically non-existent.
And according to some quoted in the article, Portland still remains a bargain compared to other West Coast cities. One source says:
"The portion of income Portlanders can expect to devote to housing has increased from 25 to 35 percent. Renters moving from major West Coast cities are used to paying 40 to 50 percent of their income for housing."

Meanwhile, the question being posed by Metro government: "Is Portland the next San Francisco?" is being debated. Last Friday a Metro panel discussion on the subject was packed. A report of that hearing is here, and a 21-minute video was posted by Metro here.

City of Vancouver Passes Ordinances Changing Rental Notice Requirements Beginning Oct. 21

The Vancouver City Council has passed three new ordinances affecting rental housing. Those changes take effect October 21st and require the following:

  1. 60-day notice period for no-cause evictions (an increase from the former 20-day notice requirement). For-cause eviction notices remain unchanged.
  2. 45-day notices for rent increases of more than 10% (this is an increase from the previous 30-day notice requirement).
  3. Landlords may not deny tenancy based on tenant's source of income, including public assistance, social security, retirement programs and vouchers.

On Monday September 15th, The Columbian editorial board published this editorial on affordable housing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Landlords Question City of Portland Proposed Changes to Tenant Notifications

Landlords have responded less than a week after The Oregonian reported that Dan Saltzman is asking the city council to approve his plan to ensure all renters receive a 90-day notice for no-cause evictions and any rent increase over 10%.  

The Portland Tribune report quotes MultifamilyNW executive director Debrah Imse, who stated that tenant notice requirements are dictated by state landlord/tenant law. Saltzman plans to bring the issue before the City Council in October.

Will Mother-In-Law Units Ease Housing Issues? One Owner Says His Property Taxes Doubled

In its latest in a series of housing reports, local TV station KGW examines the significant number of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) being approved, and encouraged, by the City of Portland. Read more.

Meanwhile, the Portland Tribune reports that one property owner who added an ADU had his property taxes doubled to $8,000 a year. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More Than Weather Was Sizzling in Seattle This Summer

Seattle area rents have jumped over 10% in the past 12 months. In the third quarter of 2015 alone, rents in King and Snohomish Counties rose 3.1% to $1,451, or $1.74 per square foot.

King and Snohomish County, Washington appear poised to experience record-breaking apartment construction in 2015: 10,642 apartments are scheduled to open this year, several hundred more than the prior record of 10,056 set in 1989. An additional 13,000 units are slated to open in 2016 and 11,000 in 2017. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mayor's Proposed Demolition Fee Wouldn't Apply to Homes Removed for Construction of Multi-family

According to Willamette Week, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales' proposal to charge a fee for demolishing homes would not apply to homes in areas zoned for mult-family housing.

The fee is proposed to support a fund for affordable housing.  Read more.

Portland Metro Apartment Rents in the News - Again

It seems no matter where you look right now, everyone is reporting on rental trends in and around the Rose City.

The National Real Estate Investor has a story about "Apartment Rents Growing Faster Than Incomes."
“Across most markets, renters are paying a higher percentage of their incomes in rent,” says Luis Mejia, director of U.S. multifamily research with the portfolio strategy division of research firm CoStar.
The Portland/Vancouver metro area is no exception to rising rents. While The Mercury featured a story in last week's edition about Portland-area renter concerns, recent surveys have placed both Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon as the nation's fastest growing rental income markets. 

A story published on used data from Apartment List rentonomics which indicated that Vancouver's rental rates were rising faster than Portland.  The Apartment List research concluded that July 2014-July 2015 rent increases were highest in Vancouver, followed by Miami, Seattle, and Portland. The survey reports Vancouver rents increased an average of 9.5% a 2-bedroom apartment. 

Meanwhile, in a survey released in August by YardiMatrix, Portland apartment rents were reported to have grown in excess of 16% from August 2014 to August 2015 among the 107 U.S. markets tracked by the company.
Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Sacramento, Seattle, Orlando and Atlanta lead the pack

At this point, regardless of who you ask, all signals seem to be pointing to the fact that the fastest rising rents in the U.S. are right here in river city.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Portland City Council Slated to Consider Future Development of Pearl District Site, Adding Housing for 3,100 including 600 Affordable Housing Units

Portland Development Commission Preferred Site Plan
Future redevelopment of the 14-acres of land now occupied by the U.S. Post Office in the Pearl District could look something like this, according to the Portland Development Commission.

The City Council will consider a proposed funding plan in mid October. Development of the land would take place over nearly a decade, from 2019-2027.

Read more. 

Portland Mercury Article Highlights Renter Concerns

Last week, the Portland Mercury published a two-page article outlining concerns of some renters who have been evicted to allow for apartment property upgrades. Read the article.

In South Lake Union, Explosive Growth is Just Getting Started

South Lake Union Panorama -- Night
The incredible, ongoing change at the south end of Lake Union is about to continue! Thirteen towers are on track for construction at the south end of Lake Union, including two residential towers that have already been approved for construction. A total of 5,000 new units of housing are anticipated. Read more about the parade of skyscrapers now on their way. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

KGW Talks to Portland's New Housing Director About Growth

Northwest native Kurt Creager talked to KGW about how much housing prices will rise, what he's doing to make rents more affordable, and why the parking situation will only get worse. Read the story & watch the video here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Are We Entering One of the Strongest Housing Markets in U.S. History?

by Spencer Marona, Managing Director

CoStar recently reported that the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expects between 13.9 million and 15.9 million of additional households will be formed by 2024, projecting one of the strongest housing markets in U.S. history.

The MBA report, titled "Housing Demand: Demographics and the Numbers Behind the Coming Multi-Million Increase in Households," finds that surge in household formation, and expected related housing demand, will be driven largely by Hispanics, Baby Boomers and Millennial.

The implications multifamily industry are significant, according to the MBA. Some include:
  • U.S. population expected to grow by 24 million over the next 10 years, increasing the demand for all types of housing
  • 2.6 million additional renter-occupied households in 2024
  • Baby Boomers will be a large portion of that growth with 3 million more renter households in 2024
  • Millennials are expected to be a total of 2.7 million additional renter households.
More information can be found in CoStar's recently published article

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wealthy Chinese Investors Are about to Flood the US Real-Estate Market

The volatility and chaos of the Chinese stock market over the past few weeks will cause an acceleration in the purchase of real estate by wealthy Chinese buyers in the US and elsewhere according to a recent report from Business Insider.

The Chinese see the US real-estate market as a relatively moderate risk, high-return investment, and like the idea of diversifying their holdings for their children who study abroad, according to a Western Washington King 5 News report.

In 2014, Chinese investors led foreign buyers in purchases of single-family homes and condominiums at 16%, according to the US National Homebuyers Association. A reported $2 billion of Chinese capital was invested into Seattle and the greater Puget Sound market in 2014, according to the Puget Business Sound Journal.

With the influx of foreign capital and combination of limited inventory for residential real-estate, one should speculate on how much may ripple into the multifamily market. Chinese buyers have been purchasing multifamily investment properties in major markets across the country, but primarily new developments or trophy assets.

In addition, as cap rates continue to compress to numbers that have many scratching their heads in markets like San Francisco, LA and Seattle, will Chinese investors point their radars towards Portland?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zumper: Where Are the Cheapest and Most Expensive Neighborhoods to Rent in Portland this Summer?

Image Source
In July, Portland remained the thirteenth most expensive city in the rental market throughout the 50 major metropolitan markets across the country. One bedrooms saw an increase of 3.9% in the month to a median of $1,330, while two bedrooms similarly jumped 3.3% to $1,550. Such movements have placed the city ahead of Atlanta, Denver, and Dallas on our list of rent prices across the 50 largest cities in the United States.

Zumper Report

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Portland and Seattle among the Top 20 Most Expensive Cities for Renters

Business Insider highlighted the top 20 most expensive cities to rent a one-bedroom unit from Zumper's recent rental report. One-bedroom listings for #13 Portland average $1,300 per month and $1,600 for #10 Seattle.

Leading the pack is #1 San Francisco with an average one-bedroom listing at $3,500 per month.

How are you staying current with rising rents? What are you doing to improve operations and position your multifamily investment to achieve maximum value?

Our team can help answer these questions. Call an HFO broker to learn more and click on either report to see the full lists.

Zumper National Rent Report.

America's 20 most expensive cities for renters - Business Insider.

Monday, August 24, 2015

GlobeSt.: Yes, the Correction Will Affect CRE

There have been rumblings in the market for some time that commercial real estate property prices are inflated and beyond their "true" value. Currently, many in the global business community are eager to know if Federal Reserve Bank Chair Janet Yellen will pull the trigger on raising interest rates in September or after.

Combined with the uncertainty about China's economy and last week's correction in the stock market, the commercial real estate industry will be impacted sooner than later. The depth of this impact is unknown.

Read more in an article published today on

New Stoves That Stop Kitchen Fires

New built-in technology can shut off electric coil burners before the oil even ignites. The appliance industry and fire prevention officials will soon implement a standard requiring all new electric stovetops to shut off before cookware contents reach ignition temperatures. Read more.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Oregon Economist Christian Kaylor Gives a Mid-Year Economic Update for Portland Metro

HFO-TV is pleased to present Christian Kaylor's mid-year economic update for Portland metro and the state of Oregon.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chinese Firm Joins With Seattle Area Investor To Build Apartments in Bellevue

A private Chinese real-estate company broke ground Monday in downtown Bellevue on a six-story, 162-unit apartment building, the first of several it plans on the West Coast. Read more of this story in The Seattle Times. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Housing Wants and Needs of Baby Boomers

According to the 25,099 respondents to an exclusive survey of renters nationwide by J Turner Research in partnership with Multifamily Executive, apartment marketers need to pay close attention to the growing significance of online ratings and reviews. A full 63 percent of baby boomers conducting an apartment search use online ratings and reviews to gather information about  communities they’re interested in -- and they have a compelling effect on boomers’ rental decisions. Read more survey results.

City Councilor Seattle Times Op-Ed: Time for Rent Control

In a recent Seattle Times opinion piece, Seattle City Councilor Nick Licata discussed his reasons for co-authoring legislation asking the Seattle City Council go on record requesting the state to lift its current ban on rental regulations. The legislation comes up for a vote in Seattle's housing committee next month. Read his editorial.

In Case You Missed It: Burnside Bridgehead Project Named: Yard

The 21-story, 284-unit tower going up on the east end of the Burnside Bridge has a name. Yard.

Not The Yard. Just Yard.

The HFO marketing department was excited to the point of gleeful exclamation to read in the Portland Tribune that "The floor plan of the tower is a near-parallelogram," but even more excited to learn that, "The design is said to include a hot spring-themed spa."

Field trip, anyone?

Read more in the Tribune.
Read more in the Oregonian. 

Parking Meters for NW Portland Delayed Again

Originally planned for installation next month, parking meters in NW Portland have been delayed for months, perhaps longer, because of a bribery scandal investigation. The news is a disappointment to area businesses, who had hoped for some relief from a lack of short-term street parking. Read more.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Top 50 Cities for Median Rent - Zumper National Rent Report: August 2015

Following last month in Zumper's National Rent Report, Seattle ranked 10 and Portland 13 for the most expensive in median one bedroom rents out of the 50 largest U.S. cities acrosss the county.

Zumper National Rent Repot: August 2015.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

277 Apartments Planned for AmberGlen in Hillsboro

The Oregonian/OregonLive is reporting that planners in Hillsboro are looking at a proposal by Arizona-based developer The Wolff Company to construct four buildings totaling 277 apartments on 3.75 acres in AmberGlen. Read more. 

DJC: SolTerra To Build 1,500 Apartments in Seattle & Portland, Plus New Portland Office

SolTerra, which designs, builds and manages mixed-use projects, has gone on a hiring spree and announced it will build 1,500 apartments in Portland and Seattle by 2018.

The company, which has doubled in size in the past six months, now has a staff of 150 in Seattle and Portland, with plans to hire still more.

SolTerra is working on six Portland projects and seven in Seattle. Its Seattle projects include:
  • 95-Units on Queen Anne, called the Niwa.
  • 115 Units near Alki Beach, called the Perch
  • 60 units on Capitol Hill, called Pike
  • 100 units in Belltown, called Parq
The company is looking at additional properties on Capitol Hill and in the International District.

Its Portland projects include its own brand new new office building at SE 9th and SE Division that broke ground in May, 2015. The 35,000 SF building will have office, retail and warehouse space and will feature a large tree in the center growing through the roof.

Read the full story.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

National Apartment Association Releases 2015 Survey of Operating Income and Expenses

It's more important than ever to find the right balance between managed growth, maintaining product quality, service excellence, controlling operating costs, and investing for future changes.

Over the next 24 months, those owners and/or operators who can successfully balance these four factors will benefit for years to come. Click here to download a PDF of the survey of operating income and expenses in rental apartment communities.
finding the right balance between managed growth, maintaining product quality and service excellence, controlling operating costs, and investing for the future changes ahead. Over the next 24 months, those owners and/or operators who can successfully balance these four factors will benefit for years to come. - See more at:

Monday, August 10, 2015

MPF Research Portland #2, Seattle #6 in Apartment Renewal Rent Growth

Not only is Portland the #2 leader for effective rent growth, but the Rose City holds the same position with respect to Renewal Rent Growth, pegged at 8.2 percent, as Seattle ranks #6 with 7.4 percent rent growth on renewals.

As we've learned, the apartment industry traditionally measures rent growth only by sticker prices for new leases, yet renewals typically comprise half the rent roll, and are equally critical to performance.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Business Insider: The True Cost of Living in Seattle

Thinking of moving to Seattle? Join the crowd! 

This bustling metropolis has been the fastest growing big city in America since 2010. 

To prepare for your relocation, check out this handy calculator for figuring out the cost of living in the Emerald City. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Southeast Examiner: Is Parking A Challenge With No Solution?

The cover story of this month's edition of the Southeast Examiner outlines how the existing need for parking already far outweighs supply. For example, Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) has 18,000 employees, 3,000 residents, and 3,000 customers, for a total of 24,000 needed parking spaces. But the actual number spaces available is 14,000 -- just 10,000 short!

The fact is, cars are in use only 5% of the time, and when they are in use, they are 80% empty. Can there be a better way? Will we ever find a solution, or have solutions already started finding us? Read more.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

HFO-TV: Will Portland's Urban Growth Boundary Expand in 2016? Meet Metro's Principal Planner, Ted Reid

HFO Partner Greg Frick met recently with Metro's Principal Planner Ted Reid about the status of this year's review of the Urban Growth Boundary, along with discussion of housing issues ranging from boom in multifamily construction to housing affordability. This interview took place the same day that Metro's COO recommended that the boundary not be expanded for another six years.

In January, HFO released this video interview with the head of Portland State University's Gerard Mildner, who has roundly criticized Metro's housing plan. 

Sold! Portfolio of Two 47-Unit Lake Oswego Apartment Communities- $16.6 Million

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of The Oswegan, and Uptown at Lake Oswego.

In this case, HFO had recently completed a 1031 exchange sale in another Portland asset for an investor client looking to trade into a replacement property.

Through strategic collaboration, HFO's team was able to identify this portfolio of well-located, fully rehabilitated Lake Oswego properties and negotiate a transaction that satisfied the needs of both buyer and seller.

The Uptown at Lake Oswego and The Oswegan each consist of 47 apartments. The properties sold for a combined price of  $16.6 million.

HFO represented all parties to the transactions.

Monday, August 3, 2015

News Report: The Hidden Reason Behind Seattle's Increasing Housing Costs

Seattle's alternative weekly, The Stranger, reported last week that parking spaces cost between $20,000 and $50,000 each.

According to the article, Seattle rents are an average of $246 higher than they would be without a parking space, and Portland's rents average $500 per unit more for the same reason.

Read the story.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Portland, OR Is Number One In Rent Growth Out of 101 Markets Surveyed -Yardi

Multifamily rent growth is not showing signs of slowing down. In July's Yardi Matrix Montly Report, apartment rents rose a 6.5% year-over-year, up 20 basis points from June and the highest rate of growth in the current market cycle.

Out of 101 markets surveyed, Portland led with a staggering 14.6% year over-year-growth. Following was Denver (13%), San Francisco (12.7%) and Sacramento (9.8%).

The Western U.S. technology-fueled markets continue to set the bar for rent growth.

Click to enlarge image
Click here to read more.