Monday, December 31, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 31 Special Edition

Liz Abauf of Prosper Portland discusses recent developments with the Broadway Corridor, Lents, and Alberta area projects. Prosper Portland was previously known as the Portland Development Commission. Prosper Portland serves as the redevelopment and economic development agency for the City of Portland.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Wondering About the State of Housing in Portland?

If you're like us, you're always wondering about the state of housing in Portland. The City surprised us this month with an early Christmas present in the form of it's "State of Housing in Portland" report. This 158-page tome by the Portland Housing Bureau covers everything from demographics and affordability to neighborhood profiles. We're not typically in the habit of regifting, but this year we're making an exception! Enjoy!

State of Housing in Portland: 2018 Report

The City of Portland released its State of Housing in Portland report for 2018 today, which shows that average rent growth in the city was just 2% in the second quarter of 2018, down from an average rate of 8-9% in 2015. Additional report highlights include:

  • Vacancy and rent concession rates were above the 7 year average in 2016 and 2017
  • The median home price rose 58% between 2011 and 2017
  • Racial diversity in the city is increasing in almost every neighborhood except MLK-Alberta, the Interstate Corridor, and St. Johns
  • Central City, MLK-Alberta, and Lents-Foster were the fastest growing neighborhoods between 2011 and 2016
  • Northwest, the Central City, and South Portland-Marquam Hill saw the highest level of household growth
  • Portland added 7,300 new housing units in 2017 - 91% were in multifamily buildings

The report also includes information on what neighborhoods are affordable to residents based on race, family size, and income levels. Read more.

RentCafe | Yardi Matrix| Portland Rents Up 3.1% in 2018

In the latest analysis of Portland metro rents, Yardi Matrix and RentCafe report the areas rents increased 3.1% in 2018--an exact match with the national average. Read more.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Report: Oregon House Speaker to Push For Statewide Rent Control

The Portland Tribune is reporting that Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek says the 2019 Legislature will consider a statewide rent control and tenant protection program. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 17, 2018

This week: TriMet may spend twice as much on free park-and-ride lots than affordable housing along a planned MAX line; a study by Zillow indicates that in cities with residents spending more than one-third of income on housing, homelessness increases; and local Portland governments are working on an agreement to use lodging and tourism tases for homeless services.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Important Tax Roundup for Multifamily Developers and Owners

Assessors Directed to Assess New Construction as if Stabilized
County assessors have been directed by the Oregon Department of Revenue to value newly completed income properties, including multifamily, at stabilized occupancy regardless of where the property is in lease-up.

Assessors are starting the income approach assuming 95% occupancy.

Assessors are assuming that concessions are temporary, and in many cases are using rents from the property’s website displaying asking rents -- not effective rents. Assessors are using low expense ratios—failing to recognize that over typical investment period expenses will increase as properties mature. For newly completed properties these are aggressively low in our opinion.

For 2018 and 2019 it will be critical to monitor assessors’ valuations as the multifamily investment market has changed from the last valuation cycle for newly completed properties with a 1-1-17 valuation date.

For 2018 assessments being mailed in November, the appeal deadline will be December 31, 2018.

New Construction Exemption Requirements
The Oregon Legislature passed legislation providing an exemption of newly constructed improvements for up to two years. The requirements are as follows:

1. The property is income-producing;
2. The property is under construction as of January 1 for the year in which the exemption is sought;
3. There has been no occupancy or income prior to that date; and
4. Construction is expected to take more than one year from commencement.

Commencement of construction is normally interpreted to be the pouring of foundation for the vertical building. Demolition and land preparation do not qualify as the commencement of construction.

The application deadline is April 1 for the tax year in which the exemption is sought. Timing is important to maximize the benefit of the exemption. Development should commence early in the calendar year. If you commence construction late in the calendar year you are not taking full advantage of the exemption. Please remember that this exemption applies to all types of income producing properties.

Christopher K. Robinson is an attorney specializing in property tax issues. He can be reached by phone at (503) 635-9330 or by e-mail at

Friday, December 14, 2018

Tina Kotek Drafting Legislation to Ban Single Family Zoning in Oregon Cities

The Willamette Week reports that Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek is working to draft a proposal that would require cities with more than 10,000 people within an urban growth boundary to allow up to four homes to be built on land zoned for single family housing. Kotek's plan would give cities 16 months to come up with a plan to allow for duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, and housing clusters. Portland has been working to pass a similar law, known as the Residential Infill Project, for the past few years. The vote on that plan is scheduled for Summer 2019. A recent report from Seattle finds that single family zoning in cities with high levels of population growth contributes to economic and racial segregation. Read more.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Interview with Liz Abauf, Prosper Portland Development Team Manager

Liz Abauf of Prosper Portland discusses recent developments with the Broadway Corridor, Lents, and Alberta area projects. Prosper Portland was previously known as the Portland Development Commission. Prosper Portland serves as the redevelopment and economic development agency for the City of Portland.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sold! 43 Units in Olympia, Washington

Campus Lofts was an adaptive reuse conversion.  Originally an office building adjacent to the capitol mall, Campus Lofts was converted into multifamily in 2017 under the City of Olympia’s community renewal program. The conversion also included the addition of townhome units with tuck-under parking. The asset features plentiful off-street parking, in-unit washer/dryer, multiple lounge areas, and modern interior finishes.

The unique conversion and newer construction - which included abated property taxes for 8 years - made Campus Lofts an attractive investment opportunity. The lease of the property and unstabilized operations—as well as the unknown market conditions in Olympia—was challenging to investors unfamiliar with the area. HFO positioned Campus Lofts as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of multifamily housing in the state capitol’s emerging urban core.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Multifamily Tax Rates, Inclusionary Zoning, Opportunity Zones

Attorney Chris Robinson discusses the tax rates on newly completed multifamily properties in Gresham and Fairview. Recently adopted legislation allowing cities to adopt change property ratios which are resulting in unique tax issues for new properties.

Mr. Robinson also discusses inclusionary zoning. His prediction: the city realizes it has not worked and will be making changes.

Finally, Mr. Robinson discusses federal opportunity zones and the attempt to encourage new development in underdeveloped areas.

Apartment List: Millennial Renters Are Putting off Home Buying in the Near Term

A new study by Apartment List finds that while 90% of millennial renters would like to purchase a home, the majority are still struggling to afford a down payment. According to the study, 48% of millennial renters have no money saved for a down payment, and two-thirds would require at least two decades to save enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced condo. Student loan debt is a major contributor to the lack of savings among the millennial generation. Only 12.1% of millennials who have a college degree and student loan debt will able to save enough for a 20% down payment within the next five years. Read more.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 10, 2018

This week: The Seattle Planning Commission has found that restrictive single family zoning is contributing to segregation and income inequality; the Portland Housing Bureau is re-evaluating spending of the 2016 affordable housing bond with the recent passage of a recent change in state law, and a new study finds that low-income residents living in states with expanded Medicaid are less likely to miss rent and mortgage payments.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sold! 89 Units in Aloha, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the Susan Marie Apartments. Susan Marie (1978) is a low-density garden-court apartment community. Its strong location near Aloha high school and the diverse unit mix made it an attractive investment opportunity.

Susan Marie was owned by the same owner/manager Susan Marie for more than 10 years. Although well maintained, the asset was purchased for its value-add opportunity. A portion of the units had been updated with washer/dryers. The new owner plans to upgrade unit interiors to market standards.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Landlords and Tenants Join Forces to Sue City Over Mandatory Rental Inspections

Landlords and tenants in Seattle have joined in a class action lawsuit against the city's ordinance requiring inspection of units. Tenants object to the inspections on invasion of privacy grounds, while landlords object to the City's fines for inspection delays. The lawsuit wants the city to obtain either tenant consent or a warrant.

Read the Institute for Justice news release on the lawsuit here

Read Seattle's Rental Registration and Inspection Code here

Read the King County Superior Court Complaint filed against the City of Seattle

Sold! 172 Units in NE Portland, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the Binford Garden Townhomes. This unique, 1940s-vintage, low-density community is located near the Rose City Golf Course in SE Portland.

The property offers direct access to Portland’s downtown and eastside neighborhoods. Approximately 80% of the Binford Garden Townhomes are two-story townhomes averaging 1,057 sq. ft. 

The property had been owner-managed for occupancy for more than 35 years. This long-term, owner management required strategic positioning for sale. Binford Gardens had to be marketed using projected operations because costs not associated with the property appeared in historical operations.

The HFO team also helped property owners overcome additional challenges that included its vintage. Unlike most assets of similar age, Binford Garden’s mechanical systems—including heat and electrical systems—were all original. HFO effectively demonstrated the opportunity in rent upside available to a new owner through market-rate management and value-add mechanical updates.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The City of Portland's (draft) 2019 Legislative Agenda

The City of Portland released its draft 2019 legislative agenda on November 14th.  The Portland Mercury reported that only a single town hall meeting on the agenda was held -- on November 27th.

There are a number of issues the city will be lobbying for at the state level relating to housing. They include:

  • Establishment of a "just-cause eviction standard"
  • Advocacy of rent control
  • Funding tax exemption for developers who include affordable units in their projects
  • Funding for social services for newly housed people

A final version of the agenda is due to be adopted on December 19th.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 3, 2018

Oregon's governor released her proposed $23.6 billion budget which includes $406 million for new affordable housing units, construction financing, and programs to help the homeless; Portland State University's population research Center says Oregon grew by more than 50,000 residents in the past year, and the federal reserve signals it may less aggressive in raising interest rates over the next few years.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Sold! 28 Units in Gresham, Oregon

Stark Street Station was the newest property in a large portfolio of assets. This gated community features a balanced unit mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Stark Street Station’s operations required adjustment for costs associated with capital improvements and owner-management. HFO Investment Real Estate worked with investors familiar with outer eastside neighborhoods of Portland and Gresham to complete a successful sale of the asset.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tacoma City Council Passes New Rules for Landlords When Renovating Units

The City of Tacoma has passed a new ordinance requiring landlords to provide information and notices when conducting renovations.

The ordinance requires:
  • 20-day notice to vacate and relocation assistance for low-income tenants authorized by RCW 59.18.440, when a landlord intends to change the use, substantially rehabilitate, or demolish a dwelling unit.
  • 60-day notice to vacate for no-cause eviction
  • 60-day notice requirement for rent increase
The new Rental Housing Code also provides a requirement that landlords:
  • Distribute certain information
  • Prohibits retaliation
  • Allows installment payments for various deposits and fees
  • Provides authority to enforce violations, as well as codification of relocation assistance when the City declares a building uninhabitable.

The code passed unanimously on November 20th and replaces the city's temporary protections that sunset on January 31, 2019.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sold! 25 Units in North Portland, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the Metropolitan North Apartments. This asset features an attractive unit mix with a strong north Portland location. Metropolitan North was extensively renovated prior to sale with a complete envelope replacement. The historical operations challenged many investors with its high vacancy and expenses resulting from the renovations. HFO positioned the property as an exceptional opportunity to purchase a newly renovated asset with additional management upside.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Portland Tribune: Lawsuit Threatened Against City of Portland Over Unreinforced Masonry Warning Signs

Portland attorney John DiLorenzo has sent the City of Portland a letter warning that a group of owners of unreinforced masonry buildings in Portland plans to sue the city over its recent adoption of an ordinance requiring warning placards on buildings. The article contains a link to the actual letter mailed to Mayor Ted Wheeler. Read more. 

Multifamily Marketwatch Special Edition - November 26, 2018

Angie Even of Save Portland Buildings offers a recap and update on the status of the City of Portland's regulations on unreinforced masonry buildings inside the city limits of Portland.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Sold! 96 Units in Spokane Valley

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of The Blake in Spokane Valley. This newer construction asset was completed in two phases of 48-units each in 2014 and 2018. The property features an attractive unit mix and apartments averaging nearly 1,000 square feet.

The Blake was placed under contract off-market and was an exchange for the buyer. The newest phase of the property was under lease-up during escrow and operations were not fully stabilized as a result. These unstabilized operations challenged the property’s ability to place new debt. HFO worked with the management company and seller to help the lender achieve maximum value.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - November 19, 2018

This week: Oregon economists are predicting that the state's economic growth will start to slow over the next two years, but do not anticipate a recession; local transportation advocacy groups are supportive of Portland's Central City in Motion plan, but have expressed concerns over a recently released parking loss mitigation strategy; and a new report in the Journal of Planning Education and Research finds that Millennial first-time home buyers are more likely to purchase homes near city centers than their Gen-X peers.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sold! 21 Units With Ground Floor Retail in Sellwood

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of Madison @ Sellwood. This mixed-use building was completed in 2014 and includes three fully-leased ground-floor retail spaces and 21 apartments. A unique feature of the property is the spacious two-bed two-bath units with large decks and in-unit washer/dryer. Madison at Sellwood is located in the heart of the popular Sellwood neighborhood, a few blocks from New Seasons market.

Previously listed unsuccessfully by a national firm, HFO used its extensive market knowledge to communicate the special nuances of the opportunity and identified an experienced out-of-state private equity buyer.

Tribune Podcast: 147-Unit Broadstone Reveal Apartments in the Pearl Get Their Close-Up in Preparation for Opening

The Portland Business Tribune goes behind the scenes to discuss the final days in preparation for opening of the Broadstone Reveal apartments in the Pearl. The 147-unit property anticipates opening in just a couple of weeks.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - November 12, 2018

This week: historic midterm elections bring Democratic supermajorities to both chambers of the Oregon legislature and deepen the urban-rural divide in Washington; Portland, Tualatin, and Tigard are working on a plan to upzone land near the proposed Southwest Corridor MAX line; and the LA Times reports on the growing income inequality between landlords and renters.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Update on the City of Portland's Unreinforced Masonry Placard Requirements & Status of Seismic Upgrades

Angie Even of Save Portland Buildings offers a recap and update on the status of the City of Portland's regulations on unreinforced masonry buildings in the city limits of Portland.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

OR Election Results: Supermajorities in the State Legislature, Hardesty on City Council

Democrats and Progressives won races across the state of Oregon, resulting in the re-election of Kate Brown, Democratic supermajorities in both chambers of the Oregon legislature, and the election of Jo Ann Hardesty as the first black woman on Portland's City Council.

While ballot measure 104, which would have required a 3/5 vote in each chamber in order to enact new tax increases, got only 33% of the vote, the new Democratic supermajorities in the house and senate will facilitate the passage of more progressive legislation at the state level, including revenue raising actions.

School bond measures were passed in Oregon City, North Clackamas, and Tigard-Tualatin. Metro-area voters also passed the $653 million affordable housing bond by a wide margin, with statewide voters enabling the bond to provide up to 3,900 homes through the passage of Measure 102.

Read the full results from the Oregonian here.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Portland's $100 Million School Bond Overrun Raises Questions for School Board

In August, the Portland Tribune reported that the $790 million PPS bond approved by district voters is unlikely to cover the costs of the planned school renovations. According to the Tribune, professional cost estimator Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) had projected the costs were likely to end up between $894.7 million and $1.06 billion. School board chair Rita Moore says she does not know why the district informed voters that it would cost $790 million, but in January 2017 a poll found that a majority of voters would support a school bond measure priced between $750 and $850 million. Read more.

U.S. Census: Year-Over-Year Rental Vacancy Rates in Greater Portland Fall as Seattle Metro Vacancies Increase

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that third quarter 2018 rental vacancy rate for the Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro metro area was 4.5%, a decrease of 1.7% from a year earlier.

Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue's metro area vacancy rate was listed at 5.5%, up from 3.6% a year earlier.

Average National Rental Vacancy Rate

The average national rental vacancy rate for Q3 2018 was 7.1 percent for multifamily dwellings of five or more units -- 0.4% lower than one year earlier, despite ongoing delivery of multifamily units throughout the national market.

Year-over-year vacancy rates in the Western U.S. decreased, from 5.8% to 5.1%.
Click to Enlarge

U.S. Homeownership Rate Increases

After falling to a 26-year low in 2016, homeownership rate remained flat from the prior quarter. The current homeownership rate in the West increased from 59.7% to 60.2%.

Click to Enlarge

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - November 6, 2018

This week: Houses in Seattle are selling below asking price for the first time in four years; a new Harvard study finds that the number of low-income renters is growing significantly faster than the number of affordable housing units; and economist Joe Cortright explains why housing can either be a good investment, or affordable -- but it can't be both.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fewer Inclusionary Housing Units Likely to Get Built than City Predicted

The DJC published an article today that looks at how many Inclusionary Housing units are actually likely to be built in Portland. Since February 2017, 8,758 units have entered the city's permitting pipeline, but it is unlikely that all of these units will actually get built. Two projects by Urban Asset Advisors should receive building permits soon, and may be the first market rate projects built with inclusionary units. But a provision introduced by former city Commissioner Steve Novick allows developers to count bedrooms rather than units when calculating the affordability requirement. At the 39-unit Multnomah Station apartments, one three bedroom unit will be affordable at 60% AMI, satisfying the inclusionary housing requirement. Urban Asset Advisors President Tim O'Brien said he believes the slowdown in multifamily construction will result in another housing shortage in about two years. Read more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

National Apartment Construction Slows

The National Real Estate Investor reports that building permits for apartments fell nationally in September. Read more.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - October 29, 2018

This week: The US Treasury released new guidance for Opportunity Zone investments, which could be good news for developers; two new ECONorthwest reports find that a statewide housing shortage is contributing to regional unaffordability and homelessness; and a new survey from California reveals that voters there don't necessarily see eye to eye with academics and politicians when it comes to housing issues.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Washington Voting Roundup: Major Races, Measures, and Endorsements

Washington State is facing a sweeping election this November - all 98 state house seats, 29 state senate seats, 10 US congressional districts, and one US senate seat will be determined by this election. The state is also poised to decide on a number of ballot initiatives regarding hot button issues. While we are not providing detailed information on every race in the state, we hope this resource guide will be a good place to start.

General Election Information
Voters' Pamphlet
Video Voters' Guide
State Elections Website
FAQ about Elections in Washington State MyVote
Seattle Times - Election 2018: What You Need to Know

The Stranger's Endorsements for the November 6, 2018 General Election
Seattle Times Editorial Board Endorsements
Spokesman Review - Editorial Endorsements
The News Tribune Endorsements

Ballot Measures - Washington
NBC - What Is Initiative 1631?
Spokesman-Review - Big Money Pours into Fight over Washington's Carbon Fee
News Tribune - Here's What Yes and No Votes Mean for the "Grocery Tax," Washington Initiative 1634
Spokesman-Review - Lopsided I-1634 Campaign, with Millions from Soda Industry, Blankets Airwaves
Spokesman-Review - Advisory Vote 19 Involves a Tax on Crude Oil
King5 - What Is Washington I-1639 on Gun Safety?
Olympian - I-1639: a Big Nudge to Safety for Gun Culture
King5 - What Is Washington I-940 on Police Use of Deadly Force?
KOMO News - Both Sides of I-940 Agree "Use of Deadly Force" Measure May Just Be First Step

National Races
KREM2 - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown to go Head-to-Head in Nov. Election
Columbian - McMorris Rodgers, Brown Spar on Taxes, Economy, and Health Care in Second Congressional Debate
Spokesman-Review - Where 5th District Candidates Stand on the Issues
Columbian OPB - Poll Shows Herrera Beutler and Long in Virtual Tie in Race for Congress
Spokesman-Review - Cantwell, Hutchison Get Down to Details at Spokane Community College Debate
Spokesman-Review - US Senate Candidates Debate Taxes, Guns, Civility
The Olympian - A Midterm "Kavanaugh Bump?" Why All Sides Are Watching this Washington District

State Legislature
King5 - Washington State Legislature Races to Watch This Election
OPB - Legislative Landscape to be Decided by Washington Voters
Seattle Times - Washington's Legislature: Democrats Could Pick Up 4 GOP Seats in Senate
Seattle Times - Beyond Seattle, Legislative Candidates Try to Woo Voters with Plans to East Housing Costs

Local Races - Clark County
Columbian - Clark County Hopefuls Clash on Issues
Columbian - Sequel of Sorts for Lebowsky, Fox in Unusual Race
Columbian - Stewart, Lentz Give Voters Clear Contrast
Columbian - Vancouver City Council Hopefuls Discuss Housing

Local Races - Spokane
Spokesman-Review - Spokane County Commissioner Candidates Debate Housing, Public Safety, Economy
Spokesman-Review - Jeff Holy, Jessa Lewis Vying for Washington's 6th District Senate Seat
Spokesman-Review - Spokane County Treasurer Candidates Square off over Office's Role in Policymaking, Proper Investments

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Oregon Voting Roundup: Major Races, Measures, and Endorsements

With election day just two weeks away, we're providing links with information to help you fill out your ballots in Oregon. 

There are a lot of candidates and ballot measures. Hopefully, you can find the answers to any questions you may have while you’re trying to make important decisions.

General Election Information

Willamette Week Endorsements


Governor’s Race

Portland City Council

Ballot Measures – Oregon

Ballot Measures – Portland




Monday, October 22, 2018

Rental Reduction: Illegal AirBNBs Expected to Eliminate 1,500 Rentals

AirBNB has admitted it's the reason rentals have been reduced by at least 1,400 in Portland. There are probably more, but the city isn't doing much to enforce regulations on the industry. Read more.

Meanwhile, could Portland's increasing rental regulations be contributing to the selloff in area homes? Read: "Homes For Sale Stack Up Across Portland Metro."  [Note: prices are still increasing despite the additional homes being marketed.]

Report: Oregon Has Underproduced Housing by 155,000 Units Since 2000

A new report issued by Up for Growth and ECONorthwest finds that Oregon has underproduced new housing by approximately 155,000 units since 2000, despite robust construction activity over the past few years. At the same time, the regional population has been growing. Between 2010 and 2016, fewer than one housing unit was built for each new household in Multnomah County. In order to make up for this, the report suggests increasing the percentage of medium- and high-density housing that is built over the next 20 years. Previously, 67% of new housing has been single family homes - the report suggests decreasing that to 8% of new housing units. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - October 22, 2018

This week: Will Oregon's record low unemployment rate and increased hiring plans by employers put upward pressure on wages? The Portland metro area apartment vacancy rate remains relatively flat from a year ago according to a new report, and in Washington State, the legislature appears up for grabs in the midterm election which may result in rent control being taken up once again in the coming year.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

HFO Recognized by the Portland Business Journal as a Top Corporate Philanthropist

At yesterday's Corporate Philanthropy awards event, HFO ranked among the largest cash donors to charity in its size category. Marketing Director Aaron Kirk Douglas accepted the award from publisher Craig Wessel at the event.

(L-R) Aaron Kirk Douglas, Craig Wessel

Opinion: Let's Not Save Land Next to Rail Line to Bridgeport Village for Mansions

Do we really need giant houses along a future light rail line that will cost local residents at least $1 billion?

In a recently published article for the Sightline Institute Author Michael Anderson argues: "Portland should legalize apartment buildings near its future rail stations, then find offsets that ensure a meaningful number of those new homes are affordable to people who truly need to ride the train."

Read more. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Multifamily NW Fall 2018 Apartment Report Released

At this morning's Multifamily NW Apartment Report breakfast, the fall 2018 report was released.

The metro-area rental vacancy rate has decreased slightly over the past six months, but the current 4.4 vacancy rate was basically unchanged from 4.37 percent one year ago.

Submarket vacancies were reported as follows:
Click here to view and download the full report.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - Monday October 15, 2018

On Sunday, the Oregonian/Oregonlive endorsed Knute Buehler for Oregon's next governor. Now that the race for governor is a statistical dead heat between Buehler and incumbent Democrat Kate Brown, we're making available the audio from Buehler's speech to apartment owners from our roundtable event held earlier this year. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

City of Portland: URM Signage Required on Private Buildings by March 1, 2019 | Commission Takes Up Renter Screening Proposal Tuesday 10/16/18

The Portland City Council voted yesterday to require signage for unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings according to the following timeline:

The signs are required to be durable 8”x10” placards with 50-point bold font lettering that are posted in a conspicuous location on the exterior at the main entrance stating:

This Building is an Unreinforced Masonry Building. Unreinforced Masonry Buildings may be unsafe in an event of a Major Earthquake.

January 1, 2019 - publicly-owned buildings
March 1, 2019 – privately owned buildings
November 1, 2020 - non-profit buildings

Tenant Notification and Lease Notices

  • Building owners must notify existing tenants that the building is an unreinforced masonry building, and that unreinforced masonry buildings may be unsafe in the event of a major earthquake.
  • Every lease or rental agreement entered into or renewed after the timeline for placarding noted above, must contain the above statement.
  • Building owners must record an agreement not to remove the placard and acknowledgment of compliance with tenant notification requirements.
Read more in the Oregonian

Read more in The Mercury


Meanwhile, the City of Portland Rental Services Commission will take up the issue of the Renter Screening Proposal once again on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, from 2:30-5 pm. Public testimony will be taken from 3:10 to 3:40 pm. The meeting will be held at the Portland Housing Bureau, 421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204.  Read the fully revised September 27, 2018 draft. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - Monday October 8, 2018

This week: An 18-month review of the City of Portland inclusionary Housing Program leads the Housing Bureau to plan refinements to the program. The Portland City Council will vote Wednesday morning on an ordinance requiring owners of unreinforced masonry buildings to post signs stating the builds are unsafe. And the New York Times reports a national cool-down in the housing market as prices outpace wage growth.

Check out this episode!

Upcoming Rental Services Commission & City Council Meetings on Tenant Screening, URM Placards

The Portland City Council did not vote on October 3rd on the placard/notice issue. They are taking a vote on Wednesday, October 10th at 9:45 am at City Hall. Read the final draft here.

The Rental Services Commission (RSC) serves as the primary public forum for discussion of rental housing law and regulation, and renter-owner programs and services in the City of Portland. The group recently paused (for now) its plans to set up regulations on tenant screening and security deposits. However, this plan is expected to be discussed at a meeting rescheduled to Tuesday, October 16th - time TBA.

RSC meetings are open to the public and public testimony is invited. Agendas and meeting materials will be posted online here. For more information, visit here to sign up for the Rental Services Commission email list to receive meeting notices and related updates.

Next meeting: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 [rescheduled from Weds. Oct. 10th]
Time: TBA
Place: Portland Housing Bureau, 421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland 97204

This post updated September 25, 2018 with additional information.
This post updated again October 8th with the cancelation of its 10/10 meeting which was rescheduled to 10/16.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Bend Bulletin Editorial: Don't Be Like Portland

An editorial in the Bend Bulletin urges the city to avoid following in the footsteps of Portland when it comes to landlord-tenant law. The Bulletin takes particular issue with Portland's 90-day eviction notice ordinance as well as Commissioner Chloe Eudaly's proposal to change the way landlords can screen tenants. According to the Bulletin's editors, "No city, not Portland and certainly not Bend, should eviscerate the decision-making power of business owners." Read more.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Portland Housing Bureau 18-Month Review of Inclusionary Housing Program

The Portland Housing Bureau released an 18-month review of the city’s inclusionary housing program last week. The report, which lacks clarity regarding many of its data points, finds that there are still 8,294 pre-inclusionary housing units in the pipeline, and that so far the program has resulted in a pipeline of 362 affordable units. The Housing Bureau estimates that the inclusionary units in the 36 privately financed projects that are currently in the process of being permitted represent the equivalent of a $32 million public subsidy. Most of the units proposed are studios or one-bedrooms, rather than the family-sized units the city has previously said are most needed. 

The report also finds:
  • Annual rent increases are below 2%
  • Concessions have increased by 2-3%
  • Occupancy at delivery rates have fallen to 30%
In January 2019, the Housing Bureau and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability plan to consider increasing the FAR bonus for projects in the central city and will recalibrate the off-site program options to allow for more flexibility.

Inclusionary Housing will be on the docket at a Planning and Sustainability Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday October 9th at 12:30pm. Written testimony can be submitted by email to, with the subject line “Inclusionary Housing Extension Zoning Code.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Real Clear Politics: Oregon Governor's Race a "Tossup"

Now that the race for Oregon Governor is a statistical dead heat between incumbent Democrat Kate Brown and her Republican challenger Knute Buehler, we're reposting Buehler's speech from the HFO Investor Roundtable for those who missed it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Eudaly Eliminates Leaf Fees

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who is newly in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, announced today that she is eliminating the leaf fees property owners have had to pay since 2010. Leaf collection costs will now be paid by PBOT's general fund. The additional costs are not expected to impact other bureau services. The typical leaf collection fees in Portland's leaf districts range from $15 for small residences to $65 for businesses and apartment complexes with 4 or more units. Read more.

Gubernatorial Candidates Brown & Buehler on Housing Issues

As part of an ongoing series on policy platforms, the Oregonian published an article highlighting gubernatorial candidates Kate Brown and Knute Buehler's stances on housing policy. 

On the Affordable Housing Shortage
While both emphasize the need for more affordable housing units, some of which may be produced by the state, Buehler has also argued for reducing regulatory costs, fees, and timelines associated with building affordable housing. While Brown believes the state should build 2,200 new housing units and preserve 400 existing units, Buehler does not believe the state should own or operate housing. 

On Tenant Protections
Brown wants to revive a measure that would end no-cause evictions, while Buehler voted against a similar bill in 2017. In 2016, Buehler co-sponsored a bill that would have prevented landlords from raising rent in the first year of a month-to-month tenancy. Neither Brown nor Buehler supports repealing the state ban on rent control.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - October 1, 2018

This week: Metro Council is working now on plans to quickly allocate monies to build or preserve up to 3,900 units of affordable housing if a $516 million bond levy is supported by voters in next month's midterms; US Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes a federal bill that would raise estate taxes to bankroll a $500 billion fund for affordable housing.

Check out this episode!