FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabriel Mathews, Portland Housing Bureau
PORTLAND, OR (March 22, 2023) – Today, the Portland Housing Bureau releases the latest State of Housing in Portland report, which shows continued struggles with affordability in our local housing market, both for renters and prospective homebuyers. While incomes are rising across the board and the city is becoming more educated and more racially diverse, disparities persist: Portland’s renter households and Communities of Color continue to earn less than their white, homeowning counterparts.
From 2021 to 2022, the average overall asking rent increased by 3.7 percent, and median home sale prices citywide increased 17 percent from 2016, reaching $525,000 in 2021. Meanwhile, rental vacancy rates have decreased from 6.4 percent in 2021 to 6 percent in 2022.
No neighborhood in Portland is affordable to an average Black household seeking a 2-bedroom unit for rent. Other BIPOC groups fare somewhat better, but several neighborhoods are out of reach for all ethnic groups, including white households. Very few neighborhoods are affordable to senior households, and none are affordable for households led by single mothers. Half of all Portland renters are cost burdened, paying over 30% of their income in rent. 1 in 4 pays over half their income in rent.
“This year’s report comes at a critical time in Portland’s housing landscape. While the city continues to grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic, an affordable housing shortage, deepening disparities, and a housing market that continues to leave nearly half of all renters cost-burdened, the city also faces a ‘perfect storm’ of market conditions that are making housing less affordable, including rising inflation and interest rates,” says Commissioner Carmen Rubio.
Even so, Portland is making progress, with unprecedented affordable housing production since the City declared a Housing Emergency in 2015. In that period, PHB has opened and preserved more than 4,300 units of affordable housing, providing homes to an estimated 8,720 low-income Portlanders. The Bureau has more than 3,400 additional units in the pipeline, which will house another 6,300 people in the coming years. And since 2017, nearly 1,000 affordable units, open or in permitting, have been created in the private market through the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program. “I am encouraged to see how we as a City have responded to these issues with the urgency they demand,” says Rubio, “and that we have continued to set ambitious goals to meet these challenges head on.”
This year’s report is only step one, as the Housing Bureau, Commissioner Rubio’s office, and other bureaus ramp up efforts to better understand and address the complex issues contributing to Portland’s housing crisis. Over the course of this calendar year, they will be conducting studies and issuing reports on: the overarching cost drivers in housing; local cost drivers compared to other cities; the performance of the Inclusionary Housing policy; and the types of housing we will need. This foundational work will build into the development of a housing production strategy led by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability later this year.