Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Portland: Life in an expensive bubble

If Portland is too expensive, logic tells us that people would quit coming here and go someplace more affordable.  So far, there aren't refugee camps of immigrants waiting to be housed.  But as long as people decide to cram themselves into micro-mini apartments, the market will accommedate their needs.  Or, they might want to take up their housing preferences with Metro and their state legislators who control the UGB if they actually want anything else.

So far, left-leaning, green Oregonians have trapped themselves and everyone else in these cramped, very expensive bubbles that many do not like and few can afford.  Will these same people vote for the status quo on election day?

Working class priced out, kicked out in new Portland housing boom
The Oregonian/Oregonlive, Jeff Manning, Spetember 22, 2015

Five-story micro-apartment building with no parking, where a single house once stood. 

Enrique Rios, a 26-year-old Los Angeles transplant, lives with his fiancée and small dog in a 250-square-foot "micro-unit" apartment in Northwest Portland. It is the size of a college dorm room with space for a bed, a toilet and not much else. He cooks meals in a communal kitchen shared with other tenants.

Rios pays $995 per month.

Call them "a-pod-ments," or hipster hovels, there are now hundreds of these micro-units in Portland. They are part of a real estate gold rush that is transforming Portland and is propelling housing costs to levels never before seen.

Despite 22,000 new apartments coming on line in the metropolitan area since 2012, more than half in Portland proper, vacancies remain practically non-existent. That has freed apartment owners to charge eye-popping rents -- think $1,200 for a 400-square-foot studio, as much as double that for a one-bedroom.

The average rent in Portland has jumped 41 percent since 2010 to $1,242, according to Axiometrics, a Dallas real estate analysis firm.

Because of the strong in-migration, vacancies hover at just 3 percent, which gives landlords enormous leverage to raise rents. Portlanders suffered a 15 percent year-over-year average rent increase in the 12 months ended in August, the steepest increase in the country, according to Axiometrics.

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