Friday, September 30, 2016

Zumper Report Indicates Rents are Down in Portland

[Updated October 11, 2016 8:30am]
Zumper's National Rent report for October 2016 indicates that Portland's rents may finally be decreasing.  According to the report, rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is down 4.1% from last month, and rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is down 0.71%. As a result, Portland dropped one spot on the list of most expensive cities for renters, coming in at #16 behind Philadelphia. Read more.  Contrary to Zumper's report, the national apartment market data service Axiometrics has forecast average rent growth for Greater Portland at 7% for 2016, and 3.5% per year for 2017-2020.

Willamette Week Questions Cost Effectiveness of City Investments in Affordable Housing

City of Portland's Housing Bureau has spent $73.5 million annually over the past decade on housing and homeless services, and is currently looking for voter approval for a $258 million affordable housing bond. The Willamette Week published an investigation into how the city is spending this money, and evaluated whether the city is prioritizing bringing as many units on line as possible.  The article discusses one renovation that cost the city $514 per square foot, and juxtaposes the city's spending with that of private developer Rob Justus. Read more.

White House Recommends Cities Rethink Construction and Zoning Restrictions

Politico reports that the Obama administration has published a "toolkit" for cities in an effort to combat housing shortages that contribute to rent increases.  It takes particular aim at NIMBY attitudes that result in overly restrictive zoning policies and overly complicated permitting processes.  Additionally, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman argues that barriers to new construction are contributing to slower economic growth. Read more.

687 Unit Development in Lloyd Cinemas Parking Lot Approved

According to NextPortland, the Design Commission has approved the redevelopment of the Lloyd Cinemas parking lot. Plans include 677 apartment units and 12 live-work spaces, along with 37,780 square feet of retail, 536 parking spaces, and 1304 long term bike spaces. The architect is Holst Architecture. A pedestrian pathway dividing the site links Sullivan's Gulch to the MAX stop. Read More.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Affordable Housing Units in SE; Early Look at Riverfront Homeless Shelter

In separate stories this week, the Portland Business Journal announced this Friday's groundbreaking for 154 affordable housing units in SE Portland, and gave an early look inside Homer Williams idea for Harbor of Hope, a proposed homeless shelter in riverfront Pearl.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In Portland Tribune Interview, Eudaly and Novick Discuss Rent Control

The Editorial Board of the Portland Tribune interviewed City Council Commissioner Steve Novick and his opponent, Chloe Eudaly on a number of issues at the forefront of the coming election in November. Eudaly claimed Novick was disinterested in affordable housing, and also suggested the City of Portland could enact rent control despite a statewide ban. Novick argued that the state should overturn the ban, and called for a "much bigger discussion" of a rent control policy in Portland. Read more.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Associated Press: Portland Hospitals Join Health Care Plan to Donate $21.5 Million for Affordable Housing

The Associated Press reported on Friday that five major Portland hospitals and a nonprofit health care plan will donate $21.5 million toward construction of nearly 400 affordable housing units. The funds will be part of a larger $69 million capital plan. The donors are OHSU, Adventist Health, CareOregon, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health and Providence.

Construction on the 382 units is expected to begin in 2017 and with opening in 2018. Read more.

Oregonian Editorial: The Consequence of Rent Control is More Expensive Housing

In a weekend editorial, the Oregonian Editorial board writes it cannot support rent control. The reason: the unintended consequences include more expensive housing. Read more.

Friday, September 23, 2016

New High Rise Apartment Building in Pearl District Approved by Design Commission

NextPortland reports that the Modera Davis, a 204-unit, 12-story apartment building that will be located at NW 10th and Davis, was approved by the Design Commission.  Along with the apartment units, the plan includes 7,600 square feet of ground floor retail, 145 parking spaces in a below grade garage, and 308 long term bicycle spaces. Amenities include a fitness room, club room, dog lounge, dining room, and terraces. The half block site is the current location of jazz bar Jimmy Mak's. Read More.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

More Accolades: Money Magazine calls Portland "Best Place To Live" (in the West) for 2016

September, 2017
Money Magazine

Population                    622,004
Median Home Price     $349,000
Average Property Tax  $4,285
Unemployment Rate    4.7%

Portland is the place where Portlandia seems more documentary than satire. Farm-to-table restaurants, stretched earlobe rings, craft-beer-swilling hipsters, and cries of “Bicycle right!” are common in this burgeoning Pacific Northwest city. But that quirky spirit, coupled with a vibrant tech culture, is precisely why people are moving here—or moving back.

“When I graduated from the University of Oregon in the ’80s, my college counselor told me to leave the state because there were no jobs,” says Leslie Carlson, a partner with Brink Communications, a small firm that combines social activism and marketing. That’s not a problem today. Portland’s unemployment rate stands at 4.7%, and its 3.3% job-growth rate puts it in the top 10 of large U.S. cities. The arrival of technology companies including wind-power giant Vestas, home-sharing site Airbnb, and venture-backed Puppet Labs has earned treelined Portland the nickname “Silicon Forest.”

Evictions Process in Portland Comes Under Scrutiny

The Portland Mercury did an investigation into the evictions process and contentious landlord-tenant relationships. It points to wide political support for ending no-cause evictions, and dissatisfaction among tenants who feel like winning is "impossible" in the court system as it now exists. The article also offers Clark County as an example of a region with a better system for adjudicating landlord-tenant disputes. Read More.

Slim Majority of Oregon Voters Support Rent Control, As Do Many Oregon Politicians

The Portland Tribune and the Oregonian have published the results of a survey of Oregon voters on rent control. A slim majority of 52% support eliminating the rent control ban. In Portland, the percentage is higher at 58%. Outside of Portland and the Willamette Valley, only 42% support removing the ban, while 44% oppose it. Read more on the Portland Tribune. Read more on Oregonlive.

Meanwhile, Willamette Week asked Oregon elected officials the same question, and most supported lifting the ban on rent control, though they were not as forthcoming on what they thought should be done in Portland. Read More.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Oregon Household Income is Nation's 3rd Fastest Growing

The Census Bureau has released the American Community Survey data for state and local jurisdictions last week. The results show that Oregon's median household income grew by 6% from 2014 to 2015, the nation's third fastest behind Montana and Tennessee. The poverty rate dropped by a point, but it is still not back to pre-recession levels. Read more on the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog.

Rents Up Nationwide, Starting to Fall in Some West Coast Cities

According to the Abodo National Apartment Report for September, rents are up overall nationwide, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment increasing from $932 in August to $940 in September. However some West Coast cities have seen rents drop. Seattle tops the lists of cities that have seen a large decrease in rents, with a 13%  decline since August. Also on the list are California cities such as San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Francisco. Miami, Bakersfield, CA, and Philadelphia topped the list of cities with the fastest rising rents. Read more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

HFO Announces Charitable Giving for 2015-2016

In addition to thousands of hours of volunteer time by our team members, HFO’s cash contributions in excess of $46,750 have been made throughout 2015-2016 to charities including the following:

Big Brothers & Big Sisters Columbia NW
Cedar Sinai Park Dignity by Design
Children's Cancer Association
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
Friends of the Children (Portland)
Habitat for Humanity
Medical Teams International
NAMI Oregon
New Avenues for Youth
Oregon Food Bank
Outside In
Portland Rescue Mission

The dedication of HFO's team members to community giving is exemplified by this year's publication of the book Growing Up Twice: Shaping a Future by Reliving My Past by HFO marketing director Aaron Kirk Douglas. In the book, Douglas recounts his decade-long mentoring experience of a troubled young Latino boy through Big Brothers/Big Sisters Columbia Northwest.

Oregonian: Backroom Deal at City Hall Helps Avoid Another Gentrification Controversy

"Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman canceled a $7.25 million promise and redirected the money behind closed doors to a nonprofit that serves African Americans to avoid racial controversy in Northeast Portland." The Oregonian reports.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Please Stop: Despite Housing Emergency, Portland Ranks Tenth Best City in the World to Live In! (Metropolis Magazine)

Metropolis just released its rankings of the 10 best cities in the world to live in, and Portland is the only U.S. City, listed at #10,

#1 Copenhagen
#2 Berlin
#3 Helsinki
#4 Singapore
#5 Vienna
#6  Tokyo
#7  Oslo
#8  Melbourne
#9  Toronto
#10 Portland

Metropolis magazine has a monthly reach in print and online of 500,000.

Safe to say, publicity like this is probably not going to help our housing shortage.

Read the article.

Inclusionary Zoning: Help or Hindrance to Affordable Housing?

Joe Cortright, a panelist at this month's Urban Land Institute forum on inclusionary zoning, had this to say about whether it actually works as a solution:

"...despite the enthusiasm among legislators and housing advocates for inclusionary zoning, there’s precious little evidence that it’s had a meaningful impact on alleviating the shortage of affordable housing in major US cities.  As we’ve reported at City Observatory, at least to date, these programs have produced remarkably few units in some of the nation’s largest and strongest real estate markets.

The bigger concern about inclusionary zoning is that it tends to drive up the cost of building new housing, thereby restricting supply, and actually aggravating market-wide affordability problems. While the comparative handful of new units set aside for low or moderate income households are visible, there is an invisible cost in the form of units not built, and consequently, higher market rents for everyone. Whether, and how much, inclusionary zoning drives up costs is a subject of intense debate." Read more. 

HFO-TV: Drs. Gerard Mildner and Mike Wilkerson on Portland's Affordable Housing Crisis

HFO partner Greg Frick discusses Portland's affordable housing crisis Gerard Mildner, Director of PSU's Center For Real Estate and Mike Wilkerson, economist with ECONorthwest.


Oregon Ranks 15th Most Educated State in U.S.

In a new 24/7 Wall Street survey, Oregon ranked 15th in terms of most educated, behind both Washington State and California. The survey indicates 90% of adults have a high school diploma and 32.2% have a bachelor's degree or higher. Read more.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Design Approved for Framework, Likely Tallest Mass Timber Building in US

NextPortland reports that the design for Framework, likely the tallest mass timber building in the country, has been approved.  The Pearl District development on the corner of NW 10th & Glisan will be home to office space as well as 60 affordable housing units reserved for people earning less than 60% area MFI. The project has received funding for fire and seismic testing from the 2015 Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, and will be constructed using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). Read more.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Portland Releases Inclusionary Housing Program Recommendations

This week, the City of Portland made recommendations for its inclusionary housing zoning program.  Download the PDF summary of these recommendations.

Coming up: 
September 19 - The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will publish a proposed draft of the inclusionary housing zoning code. 

October 11 - The Planning and Sustainability Commission will then hold a hearing followed by  a work session on October 25.

December, 2016: The Portland City Council will consider recommendations.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

House Speaker Announces Push for End to No Cause Evictions, Support for Rent Control

At an event last night at the Oregon Opportunity Network, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek announced her support for a statewide cap on rent hikes, and an end to no-cause evictions. Read more in today's news:

Willamette Week article.

Oregonian/Oregon Live article.

Also at last night's event, Kotek sent out a stream of tweets on the issue:

New Affordable Housing in the Pearl District Celebrating Grand Opening This Friday

The Portland Business Journal reports that the Abigail, located at NW 13th and Raleigh, will have 128 affordable units for families making 30-60% median family income, as well as 27 market rate units.  The site was developed by BRIDGE Housing and designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects. It will most likely achieve Gold LEED certification.  Read more.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Former NE 82nd Landfill Site Future Home of Multi-million Dollar Retail Center

The Oregonian/Oregonlive reports that a 12.5-acre site across from Madison High School in NE Portland has been purchased by Portland developer Capstone Partners. Capstone, the developer of multifamily projects Grant Park Village and other high-end apartments, plans to invest millions in developing the site for national and regional retailers. Read more.

Parkside Apartment Homes in Gresham Sells for $37.25 Million

For investors, Portland apartments have become all the rage in recent years. Now, some of the metro region's submarkets are picking up steam as well. One in particular: Gresham, at least according to HFO Investment Real Estate, which recently brokered the $37.25 million sale of the Parkside Apartment Homes. Read more in the Portland Business Journal.