Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Local apartment manager plays Santa, pays for layaway items in the nick of time

Donations by Sage Apartment Communities totaling more than $71,000 were made to cover holiday items purchased on layaway through December 19th at K-Mart Stores located at 440 NW Burnside Road in Gresham and 12350 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland.

“As a manager of more than 1,200 market-rate and low-income housing units in the Gresham/Fairview area, we realized we couldn’t fit a bag of presents down the chimney in every house this year—so we thought a random act of kindness was in order, Sage President Amber Monte said. “Our team has always found inspiration from those who volunteer to make a difference in the lives of others, and it is in honor of their generosity that we made our gifts today.”

Checks arrived at both stores via FedEx on Thursday, December 21. Store managers began calling customers to let them know Santa had arrived early. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Congress Passes Tax Overhaul - What it Means to the Multifamily Industry

The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act today, which will impact real estate owners throughout the country. The National Multifamily Housing Council has summarized key components of the bill, including:
  • Individual and pass-through income will be taxed in seven brackets, with rates ranging from 10-37%
  • A portion of pass-through business income will qualify for a 20% deduction
  • REIT dividends are fully eligible for a 20% deduction
  • The current-law 27.5-year depreciation period for multifamily buildings is now extended to 30 years
  • Businesses may expense $1 million in qualifying property in the year of purchase
  • Like-kind exchanges for real properties are preserved
  • Assets must be held three years to receive capital gains tax treatment
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credits and private activity bonds will be preserved, but will likely be affected by the cut in corporate tax rates
  • The estate tax exclusion is doubled from $5.49 million for a single filer and $10.98 million for a married couple
Click here to download a 6-page summary by the National Apartment Association and the National Multifamily Housing Council. 

Read more on the NMHC website, or find details on specific provisions in their tax reform chart.

Oregon Was the 9th Fastest Growing State This Year

Between July 2016 and July 2017, Oregon's population grew by 1.4%, making it the 9th fastest growing state in the nation. The state gained 57,000 new residents, with domestic and international migration accounting for 81% of the total population growth. Oregon's growth rate of 3,800 net newcomers each month this year brought the state's total population to approximately 4.1 million. Washington was the 4th fastest growing state, with a growth rate of 1.7%. Its population is now 7.4 million. The fastest growing state in the nation was Idaho, which has seen a recent influx of retirees. Read more.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Experts & Legislators Discuss Statewide Housing Shortage at Oregon Leadership Summit

State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer discussed housing as a statewide issue while serving as a panelist at the Oregon Leadership Summit on December 4th. She emphasized the state's responsibility to treat housing as a core responsibility like transportation, education, and health care. Kelly Ritz of Stone Bridge Homes NW explained why a goal of building 30,000 new homes per year is unrealistic, citing a shortage of skilled construction workers, rising system development charges, and processing delays. Keny-Guyer also discussed proposals on the table for this year's short legislative session, including a proposal to increase the real estate transaction recording fee to $75 in order to raise funds for housing services and production. Read more.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fed Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 1.5%

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.5% today, forecasting that inflation will remain below 2% over the next year. Fed officials expect that the rate will reach 3.1% by the end of 2020. Read more.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Republican Josh Hill to Challenge Mark Meek in OR House District 40

Republican Josh Hill has announced that he will be running against Democrat and incumbent Mark Meek in Oregon's House District 40 in 2018. Meek currently represents Oregon City, Gladstone, and Johnson City in the Oregon State Legislature. Last year, Meek supported the tenant protection bill that would have lifted the statewide ban on rent control. Hill has indicated that he will make this issue a major talking point for his campaign. Read more.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Portland's 2035 Comprehensive Plan Approved by State Dept of Land Conservation & Development

The state's Department of Land Conservation and Development has rejected all objections filed against Portland's Comprehensive Plan, moving the plan closer to implementation. The Multnomah Neighborhood Association already plans to appeal the decision to the Land Conservation and Development Commission. The appeal must be filed within 21 days of approval. The Department rejected arguments that residential infill plans were added too late, saying that necessary public comment and documentation were received by the city council. The Portland City Council voted last week to delay the implementation date of the Comprehensive Plan from January 1, 2018 to May 24, 2018 in anticipation of likely appeals. Read more.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Willamette Week: Six Cities Smarter Than Portland About Housing

Willamette Week reports there are six cities around the world that the City of Portland would be well to copy ideas from to solve the affordable housing crisis. They are: Montreal (row houses); Tokyo (taller buildings); Pittsburgh (tax vacant land); New Orleans (Ban Airbnb); Singapore (increase public housing); and Chicago (cut red tape to 5 months from the existing 12-18 in Portland).

According to the paper, all these ideas except the last two are opposed by Mayor Ted Wheeler. Read the full story.

Portland Seeing Unintended Consequences of Law Aimed at Developers

The Oregonian reports on the high fees homeowners are being charged for sidewalk maintenance when they apply for building permits to improve their homes. The fees are a result of the Local Transportation Infrastructure Charge, which requires people building on a street without sidewalks to either pay for a sidewalk along the property line, or pay a fee of $600 per foot of frontage. The city hoped that this would result in developers paying for pedestrian infrastructure where the city had failed to provide it, but the law was overly broad and is now affecting homeowners looking to upgrade their homes. According to the Oregonian, a Portland resident who applied for a permit to install a new mobile home on her property was faced with a $54,000 sidewalk charge. The City Council is set to discuss this week whether the charges should be limited to $30,000 in most residential zones. Read more.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Seismic Retrofits for Unreinforced Masonry Take Center Stage

A front page report in this month's Southeast Examiner outlines the dilemma many owners of unreinforced masonry in the City of Portland find themselves in: upgrade or tear down and rebuild?

Owners hope to engage politicians in finding a financial solution that works for them as the clock starts ticking on a 15-year reinforcement deadline they say will result in renter displacement and demolition of thousands of affordable apartments. Read the full story.