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Portland’s housing affordability continued to decline in the last year, marking the fourth consecutive year of a citywide rent increase above 5 percent among other indicators, according to the 2016 State of Housing in Portland Report. The second annual report by the Portland Housing Bureau provides a real-time look at Portland’s housing market by geography, housing type, and relative affordability to Portlanders based on their income, household composition, and race and ethnicity using the latest available data. It also details the City’s own policies, programs, and funding for affordable housing.
The new report shows the average monthly rent in Portland rose 7 percent in the last year, with increases as high as 18 percent in units with more than one bedroom. The city’s average rent has increased nearly 30 percent overall since 2012.
The trends are especially troubling for the average Black, Latino, Native American, and single-mother households in Portland, for whom there are no neighborhoods in the city where they can afford to rent. Senior households also saw the number of affordable neighborhoods fall from four to just one in 2016.
In the real estate market, the report shows a steady rise in home prices which has put homeownership increasingly out of reach for many Portlanders. The median home sales price exceeds $400,000 in more than half the city's neighborhoods and the average Portland household can only afford to purchase a home in eight of the 24 neighborhoods. Meanwhile, no neighborhoods anywhere in the city are currently affordable for the average Black, Latino, or Native American household, senior household, or single-mother household to purchase a home.
“A Portland where people can’t afford to live and work, or realize the dream of homeownership if they are a person of color, a mother trying to provide for her children, a senior citizen, or a low-wage earner working to get by is a Portland we can’t accept,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “It’s disheartening to see the picture is still bleak for many Portlanders, but I am proud that that we have taken swift action as a City since the last report and are devoting resources and advancing policy to turn the tide on our housing crisis.”
Significant increases in rents and home prices in many East Portland neighborhoods raise serious concerns over economic displacement and housing stability. East Portland neighborhoods saw consistent 10-20 percent increases in home sales prices, as well as some of the city’s largest rent increases.
The report also details the robust City response to the housing crisis since the first report was published last October, including hundreds of millions in new resources for affordable housing, advances in policies to protect vulnerable renters, and the development of an Inclusionary Housing program, which will go before a City Council vote next week. In addition to the 400 affordable housing units produced by the Portland Housing Bureau over the last year, the report also shows that an unprecedented funding award by the bureau this spring added 840 units to City’s pipeline, which now has more than 1,900 affordable units in production, 20 percent of which are targeted to serve the lowest-income households at or below 30 percent Area Median Income ($22,050 a year for a family of four).
“We are dedicating more resources than ever to affordable housing," said Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager. “As a City, we are doing more than just increasing our investment. The Commissioners, together with the bureaus and the community, have expanded the tools we have to be more nimble in a rapidly changing market and have a greater impact in areas and communities like East Portland where we had limited reach before.”
Click here to download the report.