Wednesday, October 16, 2019

City of Portland Upcoming Workshops for Multifamily Owners on Rental Screening and Other Laws

The Rental Services Offices of the City of Portland is offering a traveling helpdesk for landlords with questions about their rights and obligations under the Portland City Code, including the new rental screening ordinance and security deposit regulations that will take effect in March of 2020.

The traveling helpdesk is available to provide technical/non-legal assistance on Saturdays at the Multnomah County Library branches and dates listed below:



October 2019
19th - Capitol Hill 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
19th - Belmont - 2:30-3:30 pm

November 2019
2nd - Holgate 10:30 am - 12 pm
2nd - Gregory Heights 1-3 pm
9th - Midland 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
9th - St. Johns 2-4 pm
16th - Capitol Hill 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
16th - Hollywood 1:30-3 pm

December 2019
7th - Holgate 10:30 am - 12 pm
7th - Gregory Heights 1-3 pm
14th - Midland 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
14th - St. Johns 2-4 pm
21st - Capitol Hill 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
21st - Belmont 2-3:30 pm



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Portland Metro Area Rents Decreased in September, but Rents in the Valley Are Picking Up

RentCafe released its rent report for September 2019 - while many Portland metro area cities have seen slight decreases month over month, rents in the Willamette Valley and along the southern part of the I-5 corridor are beginning to increase. In Springfield, just outside of Eugene, rents were up 1% month over month, while in Keizer and Salem they were up 0.7% and 0.4% respectively. While Tualatin's rents decreased by 2.9% in September, year over year the Washington County city had the highest rent increase at 7.3%. Nationwide, rents decreased by 0.1% month over month in September. Lake Oswego still boasts the highest rents in the state, but rents there decreased 3.4% last month. Read more.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - October 14, 2019

This week: Under orders from a Federal Judge, the Portland City Council will have a public hearing October 23 on the court's mandated rollback of its ordinance requiring placards on unreinforced masonry buildings; and the Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear a case challenging the legality of inclusionary zoning.



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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

City Council to Consider Repealing URM Placard Requirement October 23rd

The Portland Tribune reports that the Portland City Council plans to consider repealing the URM placarding requirement at a meeting on October 23rd. According to lawyer John DiLorenzo, the City has agreed to repeal the requirement in order to settle the law suit brought by owners of URM buildings. Along with the placarding requirement, the City may also choose to repeal the requirement for landlords to include warnings regarding earthquake safety on tenant lease agreements. Read more.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch - October 7, 2019

This week: CoStar reports that multifamily investment has picked up again after a brief slowdown following the implementation of statewide rent control; Sightline Institute researcher Michael Anderson warns that Portland's Better Housing by Design initiative could be held back by parking requirements; and startups are aiming to disrupt security deposits by requiring less money upfront from tenants and providing insurance to landlords.



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Monday, September 30, 2019

HFO-TV: Federal Judge Orders Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Hardesty to Appear in Court if Council Fails to Comply

U.S. Federal Judge John Acosta has already ordered the City of Portland to pay the legal fees of unreinforced masonry (URM) owners for the battle over placard signage of URM buildings. In a hearing on September 17, the Judge scheduled in-person court dates for October 24th and 31st to ensure that the Portland City Council holds a hearing and a vote on its repeal of the placard ordinances on October 23rd and 30th, respectively. The Judge indicated that if the City Council fails to abide by the City Attorney's promises to the Court, he will require Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Hardesty to personally appear before the Court to explain the failure to comply.

City of Portland Better Housing by Design plan for Apartment Buildings - Public Hearing Oct. 2, 3 pm

The City of Portland's Bureau of Housing Development is updating the rules to improve design and livability of new development. The recommended draft of the Better Housing by Design plan is now availalable and serves as the Planning and Sustainability Commission's recommendation to City Council.

The Better Housing by Design project is part of a broader Housing Opportunities Initiative that includes the residential infill project and a new anti-displacement action plan effort. 

The public hearing is scheduled for 3 pm on Wednesday, October 2nd at Portland City Hall. Three hours have been allotted for the hearing. Discussion and vote will take place at a subsequent council meeting.

Want to comment but can't make the hearing? 
Testimony may be submitted online through October 2nd using the online map app.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Allowable Rent Increase in Oregon for 2020 Will Be Lower than 2019

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis posted the allowable rent increase for 2020 under the new statewide rent control law. HB 608, which passed earlier this year, limits rent increases to 7% plus CPI (All Urban Consumers, West Region). In 2019, the total rent increase allowed in Oregon under the new state law was 10.3%. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, CPI has decreased from 3.3% to 2.9%. As a result, the allowable rent increase for 2020 is 9.9%. Read more.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Washington Post Editorial Board: Populists Are Wrong, Rent Control Does Not Help Cost-Burdened Renters

The Washington Post Editorial Board published an editorial over the weekend explaining why rent control does not help most renters. The Post cites a study from Stanford University published earlier this year that found that rent control laws are driving gentrification in San Francisco. The Editorial Board argues in favor of policies that can make it more affordable to build new housing, such as increasing density and combating NIMBYism. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - September 23, 2019

This week: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that the city will be investing $115.3 million from the city's housing bond in 9 new projects; the Southwest Corridor MAX Line's steering committee will meet to discuss a handful of planning and budgeting issues that have arisen; a new working paper published by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies highlights the steep decline in the number of affordable rental units nationwide.



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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

HFO Named Among Area's Most Generous Corporate Philanthropists


HFO volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank, September 2019
Tien Nguyen, Nick Quandt and Rachel Reuter
For the third time in the company’s 20-year history, and the second year in a row, HFO is slated to be recognized by the Portland Business Journal among the area’s top 10 corporate philanthropists in its category at an awards ceremony on October 3rd.

Each year, the Business Journal ranks the most generous corporate philanthropists in four categories. For years HFO has ranked among the top 25, but this year marks the third time HFO has been in the top 10 for area businesses with annual revenue of $10 million or less.

HFO regularly contributes to charity for each transaction in the client’s honor. We created a corporate matching fund that makes annual year-end donations to nonprofits selected by brokers and staff.

HFO’s top charities in 2018 were:
$5,000 - Outside In
$5,000 - Morrison Child and Family Services
$1,000 - Meals on Wheels

For 2019 HFO’s top charities are:

$5,000 - Face 2 Face Portland
$5,000 - Girls Inc.

HFO Brokers and staff particularly enjoy volunteering annually at the Oregon Food Bank.

Pictured here (L-R) Rachel Reuter and Donna Brunner.

Below: (L-R) Stephen Wendt and Rob Stigle. 


Monday, September 16, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - September 16, 2019

This week: Oregon’s Congressional representative Earl Blumenauer issues a call for federal action to address the housing crisis; CityLab reports that housing construction in all major US metros stalled out in the last decade; California passes statewide rent control.  



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Thursday, September 12, 2019

California Passes Statewide Rent Control

Yesterday, the California legislature approved a statewide rent cap limiting annual rent increases to 5 percent after inflation. Read more.

The President of the National Multifamily Housing Council, Doug Bibby, issued the following statement in response:
"The most effective way to fix California’s housing crisis is by building more housing across a range of price points and AB-1482 makes that harder to do. After Californians overwhelmingly rejected the rent control ballot initiative less than a year ago, lawmakers today went against their constituents by passing a measure that will discourage investment, shrink the availability of affordable housing that already exists and squeeze even more people struggling in the housing market. This makes the problem worse. The housing affordability crisis is real, real Americans are being harmed by it every day and we need real solutions – not restrictive policies that we know don’t work.” 



Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Apartment Industry and Residents Contribute $3.4 Trillion to the National Economy

 A new study commissioned by the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) offers a detailed look at the economic contribution to the national economy by renters and the apartment industry. 


The report indicates that 328,000 new apartment homes are needed each year to meet demand, but producing that housing requires new approaches to development, more incentives, and fewer restrictions.

Recent apartment construction has contributed more than $150 billion to the national economy and created 752,000 jobs.

Areas with high to moderate barriers to new apartments include Seattle and Portland.

Comparison - Seattle vs. Portland Metro (Survey Data)

Total Apartment Homes | 356,000 vs. 178,600
Total Annual Economic Contribution | $34.4 billion vs. $32.2 billion
Total Jobs Supported | 101,800 vs. 160,100
Total Apartment Residents |   679,700  vs. 345,200
Apartments Built Before 1980 | 40%  vs. 41%

Highlights from the report include:

  • All four sectors of the industry have posted very strong growth, punctuated by the construction industry ramping up to meet the unprecedented demand for apartments this cycle – reaching a height of 346,900 completions in 2017, up from 129,900 in 2011.
  • Previous research by Hoyt Advisory Services found that we need to build an average of 328,000 apartments per year at a variety of price points to meet existing demand, which would bring continued economic activity. This number of multifamily completions has only been surpassed twice since 1989.
  • Hoyt research also found that a significant portion of the existing apartment stock will need to be renovated in the coming years, boosting spending in the renovation and repair sector.
  • The combined contribution of apartment construction, operations, renovation, and resident spending equals $3.4 trillion per year, or more than $9.3 billion daily. 

“The apartment industry’s contribution is one that has grown in recent years, fueled by increased rental demand overall as population and employment growth continue and renting becomes a preferred tenure choice for millions of Americans,” said Eileen Marrinan, Managing Director of Eigen 10 Advisors, which partnered with Hoyt. 

“Construction is still moving ahead, as there’s a need for additional apartments in many states. And, due to an abundance of aging stock, there’s a growing need for renovations and improvements on existing apartment buildings. Construction and renovation/repair will provide a sizable boost in jobs – and the economy – nationwide, and will continue to be a hefty contribution to the country’s economy for decades,” said NMHC President Douglas M. Bibby. 

“The multifamily industry is an economic engine powering the economy very significantly at the national, state and local levels,” said NAA President Robert Pinnegar. “This clearly illustrates the tremendous positive impact our apartments have on the communities they serve.”

This study provides data to back up the assertion that the apartment industry contributes to national, state and local tax economies. Tax payments associated with apartment operations, as well as tax payments by apartment residents, contributed $408.9 billion to the national economy. These taxes support schools, improvements to local infrastructure, and other critical services in communities across the country. 

Additional information can be found at http://www.weareapartments.org.



Monday, September 9, 2019

Despite Evidence That It Improves Returns, Commercial Real Estate Industry Lags on Diversity and Inclusion

ULI reports in its current issue of Urban Land Magazine that the Commercial Real Estate industry has fallen behind on diversity and inclusion. Despite evidence including a 2015 McKinsey report showing that gender and ethnically diverse teams perform significantly above industry median, 75% of senior executive executive jobs in the industry are held by white men. Just 1.3% of these positions were held by black men, 14.1% were held by white women, and fewer than 1% were held by nonwhite women. There is some evidence that the industry could start to change, however. Deloitte's 2019 Commercial Real Estate Outlook found that 86% of respondents acknowledged the impact of diversity on returns, and 79% said the industry is not doing enough to promote diversity and inclusion. As tech based innovations including crowd funding gain in popularity, more doors could be opened to those who have traditionally fallen outside of the old industry "boys' club." Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - September 9, 2019

This week: King County Washington plans to divert nearly $100 million to affordable housing over the next 20 years without raising taxes; Sacramento, California passes a rent control measure; and almost two-thirds of Portland residents say they have no input into city decisions that are important to them.



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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch - September 3, 2019

This week: a survey of Portland residents find that 61% do not feel like they have a say in city decisions that are important to them; a new law in Washington could allow King County to divert nearly $100 million to affordable housing projects over the next 20 years without raising taxes; and Portland and Seattle are in the top 10 among cities with the highest shares of residents with college or professional degrees.



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Friday, August 30, 2019

Rent Increases in Portland Metro Are Beginning to Pick Up Again

As a large amount of units came online in 2017 and 2018, rent growth in the Portland Metro Area began to flatten. But RealPage reports that Portland area rents are up 3% since last year. While rent growth in the central city has remained relatively flat, suburban markets are seeing rents rise more quickly. In Beaverton and Vancouver, rents are up nearly 5%. While the Oregonian reports that a large number of new apartment units are still on the way, reporter Elliot Njus cautions that development permits in Portland are down due in large part to the city's inclusionary zoning requirement. Read more.

Can a Landlord say "No Guns" in a Rental Lease?

The answer to the question of whether a landlord can prevent guns from being kept in an apartment is considered by author John Triplett in this article from the Rental Housing Journal. Read more. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

RentCafe: Rents Increases in Oregon Outpace National Average in July

According to RentCafe, month-over-month rent growth in Oregon cities largely outpaced growth nationwide in July. While Wilsonville saw the highest rent growth in Oregon at 1.7%, nationally average rent went up just 0.2% last month. Lake Oswego, which also boasts the most expensive average rent at $1,704 per month, saw average rent increases of 1.3% in July. Beaverton, Bend, Portland, Springfield, and Tigard also saw rent increases of at least 1%. Read more.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - August 26, 2019

This week: while more than 70 percent of economists think a recession will begin in the next two years, its predicted to have less impact on housing; insurers are dropping customers in areas of the west more prone to wildfires--leaving state insurance plans as the only option; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to implement a rule this fall that would make it harder to bring certain discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act.



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Monday, August 19, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch - August 19, 2019

This week: Representatives of landlord and tenant groups question the Portland Rental Services Office's use of funds generated by the new rental services fee to pay OneApp Oregon for renter data; economic indicators are causing investors to worry about a potential recession; a report from the Terner Center for Housing finds that impact fees are negatively impacting housing construction in California.



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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Funding of OneApp Oregon through Rental Services Fee Receives Criticism from Landlord and Tenant Groups

Since the city approved an annual $60 per unit fee on rental housing in Portland last week, critics have come forward questioning a line item in the Rental Services Office budget that funnels $128,000 per year to private company OneApp Oregon. According to the Willamette Week, Multifamily NW executive director Deborah Imse expressed concerns over OneApp's handling of data that landlords are not able to ask tenants for under the Fair Housing Act. She also said that landlords who have used OneApp have found that tenants who have been told they qualify for a unit frequently do not meet screening criteria. Meanwhile, Margot Black of Portland Tenants United, who does not often find common ground with landlord groups, expressed similar concerns. Black does not believe that OneApp has successfully met the needs it sought to address. She is urging the Rental Services Office to be more accountable, and to use its limited funding more wisely. Read more.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - August 12, 2019

This week: The Portland City Council approved an annual $60 per unit fee on rental housing; Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno released a report on end-of-budget-cycle spending among state agencies, issuing 16 recommendations to improve transparency in state budgets; the National League of Cities' Housing Taskforce is calling on cities to work together to collect and share data in order to take on the nationwide housing shortage.



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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Minneapolis Rejects Single Family Zoning, But Is It Enough to Improve Affordability?

Bloomberg Businessweek reported last week on the adoption of the Minneapolis 2040 plan, which ended single family zoning in the city. While single family buildings are still permitted, now duplexes and triplexes can be built in these neighborhoods as well. Since the passage of the new zoning code, the state of Oregon passed its own ban on single family zoning in cities throughout the state (HB 2001). But while many Minneapolis homeowners believe that the 2040 plan will lead to the destruction of established neighborhoods, developers argue that the new rezoning does not go far enough. Steve Cramer of the MPLS Downtown Council estimates that developers will need to spend $3 billion in order to make up for a decade of underbuilding in the city, as well as an additional $1.3 billion per year to keep up with population growth. Duplexes and triplexes will not enable developers to efficiently bring enough units to market to meet demand. Read more.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Portland City Council Approves $60 Per Unit Annual Fee for Rental Housing

The Portland City Council voted this morning to approve a $60 per unit annual fee for rental housing, which will provide funding for the Rental Services Office. Commissioner Fritz was the only Commissioner of the four present to vote against the fee (Commissioner Hardesty was absent). Fritz indicated that she would have voted in favor of this fee last year, prior to the passage of recent local and statewide regulations impacting landlords. She also believes the flat fee structure is regressive, and that mobile home parks should have been exempted.

The city council passed the fee over the objections of landlords, who testified a week earlier that the charge was a tax that would be passed on to renters since all the services it supports were for renters. Read more. 

Multifamily Marketwatch Special Edition: Greater Portland, Inc.

HFO Partner Greg Frick discusses the challenges of recruiting businesses to Portland in the current environment with Larry Holt, Vice President for Greater Portland, Inc. Greater Portland Inc. provides support and services to companies seeking to relocate or expand in the Portland metro area.



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Monday, August 5, 2019

Developer Switches Lloyd Condo Development to Market Rate Rentals

The Oregonian reports that mere weeks before the slated opening of a 162-unit seven-story condo building in the Lloyd District, its developer has flipped it to market-rate apartments as the result of sluggish demand. Read More.

Despite Ongoing Construction, Seattle and Portland's Rental Vacancy Rates Remain Among Nation's Lowest

Greater Seattle has the nation's 6th lowest rental vacancy rate while Portland ranks 11th.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that second-quarter 2019 rental vacancy rate for the Portland/ Vancouver/ Hillsboro metro area was 4.1%, a drop of 0.7% from one year earlier.

Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue's metro area vacancy rate was listed at 3.3%, down 0.8% from a year ago.

The nation's lowest rental vacancy rates, by metro area:

  1. Cleveland, OH - 1.5%
  2. San Jose, CA - 2.0%
  3. Columbus, OH - 2.2%
  4. Boston - 2.9%
  5. Allentown-3.2%
  6. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue - 3.3%
  7. Akron - 3.6%
  8. Riverside, CA 3.7%
  9. North Port, FL - 3.9%
  10. Rochester, NY 4.0%
  11. Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro - 4.1%
  12. Denver - 4.4%
  13. Salt Lake - 4.4%
  14. L.A. 4.5%
Average National Rental Vacancy Rate

The average national rental vacancy rate for Q2 2019 was 6.8 percent for multifamily dwellings of five or more units -- no change from one year earlier, despite continuous delivery of multifamily units throughout the national market.

Year-over-year vacancy rates in the Western U.S. decreased, from 5.1% to 4.8%.

Click to Enlarge


U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls
After falling to a 26-year low in 2016, the homeownership rate has rebounded but fell slightly over the past year to 64.1%. Homeownership in the West has also decreased from 59.7% in Q2 2018 to 59.3% in June 2019.
Click to Enlarge

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - August 5, 2019

This week: An Investigation by The Oregonian uncovers plans to use funds from the recently passed clean energy tax to purchase and rehab affordable housing; the New York Times questions why developers are seen as the bad guys rather than as central to a solution in the fight for more housing.



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Thursday, August 1, 2019

$60 Per Unit Fee Will Go to Second Reading before City Council

At yesterday's City Council meeting, Mayor Wheeler presented a plan developed in conjunction with the Housing Bureau that would assess a $60 per unit fee on rental housing in the City of Portland in order to fund the Rental Services Office. The $60 per unit fee is designed to rise with inflation, as well as additional program costs as needed. The Mayor, Shannon Callahan, and a number of people who gave testimony acknowledged that in the future significantly more funding will be needed in order to build the expanded rental registration system. If it passes, the fee will be due with taxes in April 2020 - it is retroactive, with the effective date set at January 1, 2019.

Callahan explained to the Commissioners that the fee would be used to fund the Rental Services Office. Among the office's plans for the next few years are a mediation services pilot, expanded education and training services, and enhanced data collection. The office intends to provide more streamlined support for renters.

Commissioner Fritz asked for clarification on the rules for exemption from the fee - she inquired as to whether the Housing Bureau considered tying the fee to the rent a unit charges rather than to whether it is a specifically regulated affordable unit. According to Callahan, there is no way to know what market rents are without the data collection system the city hopes to set up within the next few years. Fritz also wanted to know if mobile home parks, where rents are some of the lowest in the city, would be exempted. Matthew Tschabold, equity manager of the Housing Bureau, confirmed that mobile home parks are considered rental dwellings and would not be exempt from this fee.

Tschabold indicated that the "stick" to get landlords to comply with the registration system is a civil penalty that under local law can be up to $500. While he does not believe that a $500 fee would be imposed for landlords who fail to pay a $60 fine, he acknowledged there could be be some cases where a person may have a number of outstanding fees, in which case a higher fine might be warranted. Commissioner Fish suggested that the Council and Housing Department iron out an appropriate penalty for noncompliance.

During the public testimony portion of the hearing, twelve people spoke - six in favor, and six against. The first person to speak was a landlord who explained that the cost would likely end up getting passed to renters. He also read from an email between a friend of his and an unnamed member of City Council, in which the City Council member agreed that they too would be inclined to raise rents due to the fee. Commissioner Fish interrupted him for a polite back and forth in which the Commissioner asked that if any of his words or actions worked to "demonize" landlords, he would like to be directly called out on it. Commissioner Eudaly agreed that it is not her intent to demonize landlords. The broker and apartment owner who testified directly after pointed out that 90% of the Rental Services Office's activities support tenants, but the cost burden is being pushed on to landlords.

Other property owners who testified against the fee pointed out that while on its own would not be unreasonable, in conjunction with other legislation recently passed at the local and state level it represents a last straw. Landlords are already spending money on legal advice in order to implement the new tenant screening and security deposit ordinances, as well as relocation fees required by the city and state. Chris Nguyen of Commerce Properties argued that the confluence of extra costs are reducing funds available for unit maintenance.

For those who testified in favor of the law, it seemed that specific aspects of the proposed registration system will benefit tenants immensely. Nico Serra of Real Choice Initiatives shared their story of trying to find an ADA accessible unit that could accommodate their wheelchair after a bike accident. The Mayor confirmed he is working to put forward a proposal to provide accessibility and price range data as part of the enhanced rental unit registry in the Fall. Serra confirmed that this information would be incredibly beneficial to those who have struggled to find ADA compliant apartment units. Sarah Iannarone, Katrina Holland, and Margot Black all testified in support of the fee, also largely due to the benefits they believe will come from better data collection about rentals in the city.

The ordinance will now go to a second reading before the City Council. A date has not yet been set.

Sold! 21 Units in SE Portland, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 21-unit asset in the popular Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland. This mixed-use building was completed in 2014 and includes three fully-leased ground-floor retail spaces and 21 apartments. The building is elevator served and includes five secured parking spaces. 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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Report: The Fallacy of Rent Control

In the August 2019 edition of the Pathfinder Report, Senior Managing Director Lorne Polger shares his thoughts on why rent control will fail to help produce affordable housing:
"Make it easier to build and make it easier to build with increased density to reduce the cost per unit. San Diego’s Mayor, Kevin Faulconer, was very much in tune with this concept. In 2018, he backed an update to the Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program to incentivize developers to increase the production of smaller and more affordable units and backed several code changes to streamline the development process, remove unnecessary barriers to development and increase production.
"This past June, the Mayor proposed to wipe out height limits for apartment and condominium projects built near transit lines. He said the proposal would spur construction of more housing, especially housing for middle-income residents, by allowing taller buildings with smaller sized units and then streamlining the approval process for such projects. Harrumph said the local planning groups! Harrumph said the local NIMBY’s (not in my back yard). Harrumph said the local BANANA’s (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything). Quoting one of my favorite singers, Alanis Morrissette, isn’t it ironic? Isn’t it ironic that many of the same groups leading the charge on rent control are the ones restricting new supply."
Read the full piece here.

Fed Cuts Interest Rates for First Time Since 2008

As anticipated, the Federal Reserve announced that it is cutting its target range for the federal funds rate. The new range is 2 to 2.25%. This is the first rate cut since the recession started in 2008. The Fed also plans to speed up the process of shrinking its balance sheet - it now hopes to complete the siphoning off of securities by August, rather than September. The Fed plans to continue monitoring the economy, and has not announced any plans to cut rates further this year. Read more.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Seattle Times: Seattle Now Most Expensive Big City for Renters Outside of California

The Seattle Times reports that the Emerald City is now more expensive for renters than any other city in the U.S. outside of California. Read more.

Oregonian: Developers Hope to Access Clean Energy Funds for Affordable Housing

Today's Oregonian/Oregonlive reports on a New York/DC-based company that intends to raise $150 million to launch investment funds that purchase, rehab and finance construction of affordable housing in Portland. The firm, Centri Capital, plans to buy large, aging apartment complexes where rents are low because of the units’ location or state of disrepair.

According to The Oregonian, the company would rehab the buildings, improve their energy efficiency, then commit to holding rent increases modest for decades while turning profits for investors.

While supporters of the clean energy tax cited energy-saving retrofits as a prime expenditure, "voters were told the money, raised by a 1 percent tax on retail sales by large corporations operating in Portland, would be spent on renewable energy infrastructure, energy efficiency retrofits and green jobs training," according to the paper.

The news story also explores various political ties that include Chloe Eudaly's Chief of Staff, Marshall Runkel. Read more.

Sold! 30 Units in NE Portland, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this listing. The asset was well-maintained but in original condition. Units included washer/dryer hookups, off-street parking and interior hallways. Each unit has a wood-burning fireplace, and ground floor units have private patios. Recent updates include new roof, seal coat and paint.

The property was owner managed and rents were below market. The asset's upside was attractive to numerous investors and HFO worked with the seller to determine the strongest buyer with the ability to close in a timely manner.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - July 29, 2019

This week: The Portland City Council will have a public hearing at 2 pm Wednesday, July 31 on its plan to charge a $60 per year annual fee on all apartment units; studies continue to list Portland among the top choices for Millennials to call home; and rents in the Seattle market are increasing once again as new units are absorbed and the vacancy rate declines.



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Thursday, July 25, 2019

After Brief Slowdown, Rental Rates in Seattle Area Climbing Once More

The Seattle Times reports that rents are once again on the rise in Seattle metro as well as surrounding communities. Read more. 

Beginning January 1, 2020: Landlords in Oregon Can't Consider Previous Marijuana Convictions

On June 6th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law Senate Bill 970. The bill prohibits landlords from considering past convictions for the use or possession of marijuana when screening prospective tenants. A second bill also becomes effective on that date, Senate Bill 420, establishing procedures for Oregon residents to set aside past convictions for marijuana-related offenses that are no longer illegal.

Oregon Adopts New Corporate Activity Tax That Appears to Impact Property Managers and Housing Providers

Oregon has adopted a business activity tax that will be used to support schools and education initiatives. The tax applies to partnerships, sole proprietors, LLC's, S and C corporations, trusts, estates, and others. The tax takes effect on January 1, 2020.

The tax appears to apply to all rents collected by housing providers.

There are some possible deductions and exclusions. Please consult with your CPA or tax attorney for additional information.
Here's a summary explaining the tax and how to calculate what you will owe.

Oregon State Bar Releases Q & A on Landlord/Tenant Law in Oregon

The Oregon State Bar has released a revised and updated version of a Q & A document about Landlord/Tenant Law in Oregon. You can read and download the latest version here

Sold! 25 Units in North Portland

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 25-unit asset in North Portland. The property had been extensively renovated prior to sale with a complete envelope replacement. The property's historical operations - high vacancy and high expenses resulting from the renovations - challenged many investors. HFO positioned the property as an outstanding opportunity to purchase a newly renovated asset with additional management upside.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Sold! 18 Units in North Portland, OR

The seller of this asset reached out to HFO to communicate he wanted to sell. HFO was able to quickly identify a buyer in San Francisco who was in a 1031 exchange. The property was a good fit for the buyer's acquisition criteria and set a new benchmark price for the St. Johns neighborhood.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Portland Announces Proposed Technical Changes to Relocation Fee Ordinance; Feedback due August 30.

The Portland Housing Bureau is releasing a draft of technical changes to the Mandatory Relocation Assistance Exemption Eligibility and Approval Process administrative rules.

HFO has reviewed these changes, and they do not appear to change the substance or intention of the law. Rather, they appear to clarify and reduce confusion by:

1)    Clarifying definitions
2)    Reducing some paperwork for nonprofits
3)    Increasing paperwork for most owners
4)    Clarifying processes
5)    Clarifying various requirements

The public is invited to testify on the technical changes of the proposed draft which you can view and download here.

Beginning Monday, July 22, 2019, you can submit testimony or feedback on the draft.

Testimony may be submitted via email, fax, letter, or in person at the public hearing (details below).

Written comments or testimony must be received by August 30, 2019 and must include a first and last name to be considered. 
  • Email your testimony to: RentalServices@portlandoregon.gov
  • Fax your testimony to: 503-823-2387
  • Mail your testimony to: PHB c/o Mandatory Relocation Assistance Exemption Eligibility and Approval Process, 421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500 Portland, Oregon 97204
  • Testify in person at the public hearing: Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 6 – 8pm at
    IRCO – 10301 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97220
To request translation services at the hearing, contact Andrés Oswill at Andres.Oswill@portlandoregon.gov at least three business days prior to the hearing. If you have questions regarding the proposed rule changes or the rulemaking process, please contact the Relocation Assistance Rules Coordinator, Andrés Oswill, at Andres.Oswill@portlandoregon.gov. 





City of Portland Considering Annual $60 Per Unit Fee on All Apartments July 31st

**IMPORTANT NOTICE**
[Courtesty of Multifamily NW]
On July 17th the Portland Housing Bureau unveiled a plan to assess a $60 per-unit annual fee on market-rate units to fund the city’s rental housing initiatives.

It’s anticipated that this $60 per-unit fee proposal will be presented to Portland City Council on Wednesday, July 31st.

You're invited to attend the hearing at City Hall on July 31st and testify against the city’s continued pursuit of untested and unfunded policies. This fee will cost the typical 75-unit apartment building $4,500 per year. Portland City Council’s policies continue to drive up the cost of existing housing while showing little to no results in creating affordable housing for everyday Portlanders.

Further details about this proposal will not be confirmed until Friday, July 26th, the last day possible the city is required to publish the following week’s city council agenda and share the proposal language.

Deborah Imse
Multifamily NW
Executive Director

Portland anticipates collecting 60% of assessed fees during the first year and has prepared this preliminary budget. 

The fee would be used to cover the rental services office and to:

  • Provide resources for maintenance costs for an expanded rental registration system
  • Adjusted annually to account for inflation or deflation
  • Regulated affordable housing at 60% AMI and below will be exempt

HFO urges you to contact your council representatives with your thoughts and concerns. We will forward additional information as it becomes available.

Mayor Ted Wheeler
mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-4127

Commissioner Nick Fish
nick@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-3589

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
chloe@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-4682

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
joann@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-4151

Commissioner Amanda Fritz
amanda@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-3008

Pacific Northwest Tops List of Where Millennials Are Moving

Insurance company Haven Life recently released a ranking of the cities that have seen the highest increases in their millennial populations over the past five years. The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metro area ranks first in the nation for its growth in millennial residents, while Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, and Austin round out the rest of the top 5. Over the past five years, the number of millennials in Portland has grown by 22.8% - 18.6% of Portland area residents are now millennials. The cities where millennials are leaving include Tuscon, Virginia Beach, Rochester, Memphis, and Pittsburgh. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - July 22, 2019

This week: a new report finds the Portland metro area's recent addition in the housing supply has slowed rent growth; Oregon mobile home park residents face increased displacement risk; Washington State's department of transportation releases a report outlining a business case for high-speed rail in the region;  enactment of the federal tax cut and jobs act has resulted in the loss of more than 15-thousand affordable housing units in California, and tens of thousands more nationwide. Next week: Portland slated to consider $60 per unit annual fee at its July 31 City Council meeting.



Listen to our latest podcast.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

NY Times Reports: New York Landlords Sue to Dismantle Rent Control

This week, landlords in New York City filed a lawsuit in federal court to dismantle the entire rent-regulation system, arguing that the laws are unconstitutional. Currently, nearly 1 million apartments and 2.4 million tenants are covered by the regulations. Read the NY Times story. 

Newly Released: Portland's Final Screening and Security Deposit Ordinances

The City of Portland has released unaudited final versions of its ordinances on tenant screening and security deposits that will take effect on March 1, 2020. A schedule of the city's "Traveling help Desk" for landlords is also included. Read and download here.

Sold! N Interstate 6-Plex

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 6-plex in North Portland. Tenants of this building live within walking distance of a New Seasons and the MAX light rail. The property was very well maintained with many historical details including hardwood floors.

The apartment building was owner managed and rents were below market. HFO utilized its extensive network of investor relationships to secure a buyer with the wherewithal to close quickly on this unique property.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Yardi Matrix: Portland Year-Over-Year Rent Growth 1.2% in May

Yardi Matrix reports that Portland's rent growth has slowed in light of a high development cycle and dampening gains. Read more. 

Sold! 5 Units in SE Portland

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of the SE Gladstone Apartments. HFO was hired to market the sale of this property and it went under contract very quickly.

Interest was high for this asset and multiple offers were received. The transaction closed smoothly without any issues.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Recall: Universal Security Instruments Smoke & Fire Alarms

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled approximately 180,000 smoke and fire alarms that were sold by Universal Security Instruments between July 2015 and December 2016. People who have purchased these smoke alarms can test their alarms by pressing a test button on the device. Owners of broken alarms can contact Universal Security Instruments for a replacement. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - July 15, 2019

This week: Home prices drop a bit in Seattle but are still up significantly in the past two years; The Portland City Council weighs gutting the power and influence of its neighborhood groups; Oregon house bill 5006 provides funding to support 2,100 affordable homes throughout the state, and house and senate democrats in the nation’s capital propose legislation that would restrict the ability of public housing providers to evict residents for criminal activity.



Listen to our latest podcast.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sold! 6 Units in Sellwood

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this new 6-plex located in the desirable Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland, Oregon. The property features high-end finishes and appliances, private decks and balconies, two secured vehicle garages and off-street parking. Through HFO's marketing, the seller received an all-cash offer from a California-based 1031 buyer and closed for more than $358,000 per unit - a benchmark high for new construction in SE Portland.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sold! 20 Units in SE Portland

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 20-unit property in SE Portland. Interiors and exteriors of this asset were extensively renovated by the seller in 2016. The property was previously owner-managed for occupancy and its expenses did not align with the current market. HFO sold the asset to an exchange buyer looking to build a critical mass of units in the Portland metro area.

Monday, July 8, 2019

State of Oregon Spends $400k More in Limited Resources on Public Market Idea

The State of Oregon has pitched in an additional $400,000 of extremely limited resources into an idea that Portland needs a touristy public market similar to Seattle's.

The James Beared Public Market project has been on the drawing boards for over a decade. Proposed  and still remains basically in concept form after $250,000 in grant money from the State of Oregon's taxpayers in 2013. The project has received nearly $1 million in taxpayer funding that includes $312,000 from the City of Portland.

Read more in this week's Oregonian.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Sold! 12 Units in Beaverton, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 12-unit townhome community in Beaverton. This property consists of 2-bedroom townhomes with private laundries, carport parking, and backyard patios. The seller had completed extensive updates to the property's exterior, including new roofs and siding. Most units had some interior updates.

Historical operations at the property were impacted by the renovations and a lack of management oversight. Vacancies were above market for the submarket and ongoing renovations limited the ability to lease apartments. HFO targeted investors with portfolios on the west side of the metro area, helping those potential buyers understand the management upside opportunity.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Senate Votes to Eliminate Single Family Zoning in Oregon Cities

Republican state senators returned to the capitol on Saturday, and on Sunday night voted to pass HB 2001, which eliminates single family zoning in cities with populations above 25,000 across Oregon. The bill passed in a 17-9 vote and heads to the governor's desk for a signature. Most of the law's provisions will not take effect until 2020, in order to give municipalities time to update zoning codes. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch - July 1, 2019

This week: Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its State of the Nation's Housing Report for 2019; companies in the Portland and Seattle Metro areas continue to announce positive hiring news; President Trump issued an executive order that creates a commission tasked with recommending ways to cut regulations in the housing market.

 

UPDATE: Oregon Republicans returned to the senate and passed HB 2001 late Sunday night. It heads to Governor Brown's desk for a vote.



Listen to our latest podcast.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch - June 25, 2019

This week: the Portland City Council approved Commissioner Eudaly's tenant screening and security deposit ordinances with a 3-1 vote; proposed changes to the US census could result in an undercount of over 4 million residents nationwide, including over 75,000 people in Washington and over 35,000 people in Oregon; Democrats vying for the 2020 Presidential nomination are facing pressure from voters to address housing affordability.



Listen to our latest podcast.

Sold! 36 Units in Beaverton, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 36 unit property in Beaverton. The asset is walking distance to the WES commuter rail and Washington Square, Oregon's largest regional shopping mall. The property was well-maintained with newer windows and roofs, but the interiors had limited updates.

In the summer of 2018, a large portion of the siding was replaced and repainted, delaying full marketing of the property. The property was managed for occupancy and rents trailed the market. HFO was key in positioning the property against its historical operations with low rents and high expenses for a successful sale.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

City of Portland Announces Traveling Helpdesk for Landlords and Tenants

The Portland Housing Bureau Rental Services Office announced today it will begin a traveling helpdesk service on Saturdays throughout the summer. The plain is aimed at helping renters and landlords navigate the complex web of recently enacted rental housing regulations. Landlords and tenants can have their questions answered by the experts visiting a neighborhood library on select dates. Click here for the traveling helpdesk schedule.

Portland, Ore. Council Approves Sweeping Tenant Screening Ordinance

As reported in The Oregonian, Portland's city council approved significant restrictions on landlords' ability to screen tenants. Official rules will be drafted by the Portland Housing Bureau in the coming months and will take effect next March.  Read more.


Sold! 89 Units in Aloha, Oregon

HFO is pleased to announce the sale of this 89 unit building in Aloha, Oregon. This property was owned by the same owner/manager 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.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Portland City Council Likely to Adopt Screening & Security Deposit Ordinances Weds. June 19

Following a final reading at 4:15 pm Wednesday, the Portland City Council is expected to pass Commissioner Eudaly's proposed screening and security deposit ordinances. Last week, the council passed nine of 10 proposed amendments.

A final adopted version will be available relatively soon after the meeting.

Sold! 40 Units in NW Portland, Oregon

This 2018-property features a diverse mix of units including some studios -- a rarity for suburban apartments. All flats include a private deck and an in-unit washer/dryer. The site has ample off-street parking. This highly desirable Washington County location is one mile north of Tanasbourne Town Center and adjacent to Portland Community College's Rock Creek Campus.

The asset was taken to market after completion and management companies were switched during lease-up, which resulted in limited historical operations and a longer timeline to full occupancy.

HFO successfully found a buyer seeking new product that was able to offset the impact of the property's limited financials.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - June 17, 2019

This week: The Portland City Council appears poised to adopt a proposed renter screening ordinance that some argue will only serve to increase homelessness; Oregon House Bill 2001 moved forward in the state legislature, the bill would legalize duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in single-family neighborhoods in all cities with more than 25,000 residents; and a new report finds that tech workers from some of the most expensive cities on the West Coast are viewing Portland as a more affordable alternative.



Listen to our latest podcast.

Multifamily NW: Portland's New Tenant Screening Will Likely Lead to Increased Homelessness

In an op-ed, Multifamily NW stated that Portland will likely see homelessness rates increase as a result of additional evictions caused by the reduction in rent-to-income ratios.

For decades, many landlords and banks have held firm to the standard that a person should not rent a unit or buy a home that is more than 30% of gross income. The new standard set by Portland would be 50% of gross income. For people living paycheck to paycheck, any bump in the road in terms of a medical emergency, job loss or other emergency situation could lead to there not being enough savings to avoid eviction. Evictions follow a renter around for three years, which will make re-renting even more difficult for someone in that situation.

Read the op-ed piece here. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sold! 197 Units in Portland's Bethany Area

This 2002 asset was originally built as condos with oversized two-and three-bedroom floor plans. Amenities include private decks, a full-sized washer/dryer, gas fireplace, HVAC, and master bedrooms with vaulted ceilings. A road improvement project impeded rental income for over a year. HFO worked with potential buyers to highlight the assets' typical stabilized operations along with a long-term exit strategy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Report: U.S. Tech Workers Migrating to Portland as "Affordable Alternative"

The online data service Apartment List reports that Portland is seen as an affordable alternative to San Francisco and Seattle. The company compiles data on user searches to determine where people are looking to make their next home. Read more in Rental Housing Journal online.  

Report: Portland Rent Growth Cools to 1.9% in 2019

The software and data firm Yardi Matrix reports that rent growth for the Portland multifamily market will cool to an estimated 1.9% in 2019. The company says rents are remaining flat due to the delivery of more than 5,000 units in 2018.

“The metro added 27,500 positions in 2018, a 2.4% year-over-year employment growth rate. The construction boom taking place in the metro is supported by the office sector, which has more than 2.4 million square feet of space under construction,” the Yardi Matrix report says.

“With more than 9,320 units underway and some 6,900 units expected to be delivered this year, there are major concerns about oversupply, but a strong occupancy rate is indicating that there is a rapid absorption of new deliveries and demand for housing outpaces supply. The high occupancy rate and steady rent growth are drawing investors to the metro.

“With demand high, we expect rents to rise 1.9% in 2019,” the report says.

Read more.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sold! 9 Units in SW Portland

Built in 1902, this asset consists of spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The remarkable archecture was designed by A.E. Doyle, known for his work on the Multnomah County Central Library and the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland.

This apartment building was owner-managed and rents were significantly below market. Utilizing our extensive network of investor relationships, HFO secured a buyer with the wherewithal to close on this unique property.