March 2016

March 2016

in Multnomah County now need to spend close to 50 percent of their income to buy a median-priced house — well above the national average of 37 percent of income, according to RealtyTrac. The good news is affordability in Multnomah County is still much better than at the peak of the housing bubble in the second quarter of 2007, when average wage earners needed to spend 70 percent of their income to buy a median-priced home. But Pantages isn’t taking any chances, even listing her own home for sale with plans to become a renter until a market correction occurs. “We plan to become renters until the market adjusts. I’m very fortunate because our family owns several rental properties so I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have that,” she said. “If the market keeps going up we’ll be in that (rental) property for a long time.” Grubb believes the days where Portland is a truly an affordable alternative to cities like San Francisco and Seattle are likely gone forever. “Portland will never be affordable again,” he said. “It will be a political nightmare for those who have to figure out affordable housing.”

over asking. … I had one home go $70,000 over asking. I would say the majority of the homes I list are going over asking and getting competing, multiple offers,” she said, cautioning that this pattern is not sustainable for the long term. “I think if we ride this wave for another year, I think it would be good. … even if it just stabilizes because we’ve just seen it go up and up.” Pantages agreed, opining that the Portland market is close to a ceiling. “I think we’ve kind of peaked, or close to it. And our incomes don’t support the prices right now,” she said. The average weekly wage in Multnomah County increased 2 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but median home prices increased 7 percent during that same time period, according to RealtyTrac data. Since bottoming in the fourth quarter of 2011, Multnomah County median home prices had risen 28 percent through the first quarter of 2015 while average wages had risen just 1 percent during the same time period. That disconnect between price growth and wage growth during the housing recovery means that average wage earners Affordability Dream Deferred

SOURCE: Portland Metro Council


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