Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Cascadia Region Has Too Many Large Housing Units

According to the Sightline Institute, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia have significantly more homes with at least three bedrooms than there are families with three or more people. While recently cities have focused on building family-sized units due to a perceived oversupply of studios and one-bedrooms, homes in major metro areas may still be trending too large. In Portland, 49% of homes have at least three bedrooms, but only 34% of households have three or more residents. In Seattle, 38% of homes have at least three bedrooms while only 26% of households have at least three residents. Michael Anderson argues that this mismatch can be attributed to zoning laws that restrict where smaller homes can be built, making it difficult for households to downsize. While newer construction does tend to consist of smaller units, it appears that may be due to demand from smaller households. One- to two-person households account for 59% of the Portland area's housing growth since 2005. Anderson argues that addressing the oversupply of large homes will help free up some of those homes for larger families that do need them, but have been priced out. Read more.

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