Friday, August 30, 2019
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Monday, 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.
Monday, 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.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Funding of OneApp Oregon through Rental Services Fee Receives Criticism from Landlord and Tenant Groups
Monday, 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.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
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.
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.
Monday, August 5, 2019
Despite Ongoing Construction, Seattle and Portland's Rental Vacancy Rates Remain Among Nation's Lowest
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:
- Cleveland, OH - 1.5%
- San Jose, CA - 2.0%
- Columbus, OH - 2.2%
- Boston - 2.9%
- Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue - 3.3%
- Akron - 3.6%
- Riverside, CA 3.7%
- North Port, FL - 3.9%
- Rochester, NY 4.0%
- Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro - 4.1%
- Denver - 4.4%
- Salt Lake - 4.4%
- L.A. 4.5%
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%.
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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.
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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.
Thursday, August 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.