Rent in Portland increasing at sixth-fastest rate


Rent in the state’s largest metropolitan area rose at a rate of 20.45 percent over the past five years.

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BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that rents in the Portland metropolitan area increased at the sixth-fastest rate in the nation.

The average rent rose 20.45 percent over the past five years, OregonLive.com reports.

In a somewhat surprising note, the realtors’ study saw the the incomes of Portland-area renters aged 25-44 nearly kept pace with the rise in rents, gaining 19.53 percent over the last five years. That’s better than the national averages, which saw typical rents rise 15 percent while renters’ income rose by 11 percent. In Seattle, for example, incomes rose a little more than 15 percent while rents rose more than 32 percent over the last five years.

The association has sounded the alarm before about the increasing unaffordability of rents in many metro areas. Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, said Monday that the disparity between rent and income growth has become unhealthy, making it harder for renters to become homeowners.

“With rents taking up a larger chunk of household incomes,” Yun said, “it’s difficult for first-time buyers — especially in high-cost areas — to save for an adequate down payment.”

The areas with rents rising the fastest: New York, Seattle-Tacoma, San Jose-Santa Clara, Denver-Aurora, St. Louis.

Another report, from  data analytics firm RealtyTrac, found that homebuyers in the Portland area (Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties) pay more than the national average for a down payment, about 14%, OregonLive.com reports.

But buyers in the three Portland-area counties made higher initial payments. The highest ticket to homeownership was in Multnomah County, where the average down payment was 17.74 percent. RealtyTrac says Multnomah’s county median home price last year was $274,000, which means the average buyer of a median-priced Multnomah County house put down about $48,608.

In Washington County, where the median price was $270,000, the average buyer made a 16.18 percent down payment. In Clackamas County, the median price was $282,500 and the average down payment was 16.47 percent. The Portland area represents a kind of Goldilocks climate in terms of the average size of down payment. In high-priced, competitive housing markets like New York and San Francisco, buyers put down $300,000 or more, on average, to make a down payment of from 30 to 37 percent. But recession-ravaged towns like Flint, Mich., last year put down less than 9 percent of the value of the home for an average down payment of about $6,300.

In Lane County, the housing market has soared due to a warm winter, allowing an earlier-than-normal start to the construction season.

New listings and pending sales were both on the rise, the Register-Guard reports.

Realtors have complained in recent months of a shortage of new listings, which they said was putting a damper on sales. For most of last year, Lane County’s real estate market was what brokers consider a seller’s market, with an inventory of homes for sale that was below — often well below — six months, which they consider a balanced market. But last month, 467 sellers listed their homes — 33 percent more than in February 2014. And pending sales were up by 45 percent compared to a year ago, to 368.

“It was the strongest February for pending sales in Lane County since 2007, when there were 399,” according to the RMLS.

The median price of homes sold is down 6 percent compared to 2014.

 




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