Portland’s rents rose at nation’s sixth-fastest rate, study finds
Rents in the Portland metropolitan area rose 20.45 percent over the last five years, giving the area the sixth-fastest rise in the nation, according to a new study from the National Association of Realtors.
That’s roughly twice as rapid an increase as homeowners saw during the same period, according to the study.
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,” said Yun, “it’s difficult for first-time buyers – especially in high-cost areas – to save for an adequate down payment.”
Portland’s low vacancy rates have helped fuel an apartment building boom. But many of the new units are entering the market at with rents above the median. A study by Zillow last month found that Portland-area rents rose 7 percent year over year, the seventh fastest rent rise in the country. The area’s median rent was $1,587, Zillow said.
Units at the recently opened Grant Park Village apartments range from $1,194 for a studio to $2,619 for a three-bedroom unit, according to the project’s website. At Hassalo on Eighth, studios will start at $1,008 and three-bedroom units will range up to $3,338. At Tupelo Alley on North Mississippi, listed rents range from $1,100 to $2,590.
Portland appraiser Mark Barry of Barry & Associates reported last fall that 31,378 rental units were proposed, under construction or recently completed around the metro area, with the largest share of the activity in Multnomah County.
The association said the fastest-rising rents were found in the metro areas of New York, Seattle-Tacoma, San Jose-Santa Clara, Denver-Aurora and St. Louis.
— Mike Francis