Think Real Estate is a collection of expert real estate agents dedicated to providing smart service to our clients. We are passionate about real estate, and this love makes us energetic and always excited to meet new people so we can keep making Portland smarter.
Last week, the Oregon Senate passed House Bill 2001 which would fundamentally change residential zoning laws in Oregon. In cities of 10,000 or more people, duplexes will be allowed in areas currently zoned for single-family homes. In cities of 20,000 or more people, triplexes and fourplexes will be allowed in areas currently zoned for single-family homes. The bill has bipartisan support and Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign it.
Supporters of the bill argue that “middle” housing is missing in America. This is housing somewhere between single-family housing and mid- or high-rise apartment living. According to The Missing Middle, “These building types, such as duplexes, fourplexes, and bungalow courts, provide diverse housing options to support walkable communities, locally-serving retail, and public transportation options.”
They’re historically missing because they’ve been illegal to build since the 1940s when zoning laws changed to favor detached, single-family homes and mid- to high-rise apartments.
According to reporting by City Lab, restricted access to land through single-family zoning leads to “increased costs, worse affordability problems, and deepened inequality in urban centers.”
The areas where attached homes were originally banned, closely lines up with areas with expensive homes.
Exclusionary zoning creates racial and economic segregation by insulating the wealthy, higher-educated and predominately white homeowners in trendy and desirable locations. This pushes out poorer, less-educated folks who are often people of color.
By increasing housing density, middle housing is anticipated to reduce housing prices by bringing more units to the market and walk back some of the segregation created from exclusionary zoning.
What does Middle Housing look like?
Middle housing share many desirable characteristics like walkability, community, and smaller-footprints. They have higher density than single-family homes but much lower than traditional apartment buildings.
Walkability is very important for middle housing because renters or homeowners are trading yard size and square-footage for proximity to public transportation, restaurants, work, and other amenities.
The walkability context also plays a key role in building community within middle housing. Especially with cottage clusters or courtyard apartments, having central community space adds another dimension and allows renters or homeowners to interact with neighbors right next door or run into each other at a neighborhood cafe or the bar on the corner.
Here are some examples:
Duplexes: small or medium-sized dwellings either side-by-side or stacked on top of each other.
Cottage Clusters (or Bungalow Courts): small or medium-sized detached dwellings that share outdoor space and sometimes an indoor community space. See our Mason Street Townhomes for an example. Portland already has several of these types of communities.
Townhomes: anywhere from four to eight small or medium-sized attached dwellings that are usually placed side-by-side.
Fourplex (or quad-plex): four units usually two dwellings side by side with two more dwellings stacked, they can share a common entrance or each have their own.
The Oregon House passed HB 2001, a bill that prevents cities from the exclusive use of single-family housing. According to reporting by OPB, this first-in-the-nation measure passed on a bipartisan 43-16 vote and now moves to the Oregon Senate. HB 2001 follows closely behind Minneapolis which banned single-family housing in December.
“Fundamentally, the status quo in Oregon is not working for housing supply,” House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland said. “Our crisis is statewide, we don’t have enough housing for our communities and these communities are expected to grow.”
If the bill passes the Senate, HB 2001 would require cities larger than 25,000 to allow for duplexes, triplexes, and quads in neighborhoods that are currently zoned for single-family housing. And cities of 10,000 or more must allow for duplexes.
Opponents of the bill argue that creating more units would have little impact on affordability. Some are also concerned that these changes would affect a neighborhood’s character. While supporters of this bill argue that this would address the shortage of affordable units and provide a “middle” housing option that will be in the price range for a larger group of homeowners and renters.
According to Willamette Week, HB 2001 “faces uncertain support in the Oregon Senate. Republicans have blocked any bills from being considered today by ... denying Democrats a quorum. The bill is expected to need Republican support to pass in the Senate.”
If Oregon Senate Republicans don’t return by June 30, this bill and several others will die at the end of this legislative session.
The Portland Real Estate market saw some strong numbers last month. After a strong April, we saw that momentum continue into May with new listings and closed sales up over last year by 5.1% and 5.9%, respectively. The Median Home Price also increased by 2.7% over last year to $420,000 — the highest we’ve ever seen in the Portland Metro Area.
The amount of time it takes a home to sell increased quite a bit over this time last year, (from 37 days to 48 days) but that’s not surprising as the Total Market Time has been significantly higher this year than last. If we compare May’s Total Market Time to last month, it has actually decreased by 9.4%, which is a reflection of the seasonal increase in activity we see this time of year — there are more people out shopping for homes in the spring, so they are selling more quickly. This is also reflected in the change in inventory compared to last month, which decreased slightly to 2.1 months. While inventory is still higher than this time last year (by about 1 week), at 2.1 months it’s still reflecting a buyer’s market.
Looking forward, a strong increase in New Listings this month means we’re likely to see another month of higher closed sales next month. We also expect to see the Median Home Price continue to rise next month as it tends to peak each year in June or July.
Come celebrate Pride with us June 15 and 16 in Downtown Portland at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Think agents will be walking in the Portland Pride Parade, on June 16 at 11 am. The parade route travels through Northwest Portland and along SW Naito Parkway to end at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon. Approximately 8,000 LGBTQ+ and allies walk in the parade, and as many as 45,000 spectators line the 1.1-mile route. We are listed as group number 50.
We want to extend an invitation to all of you to march with us. All friends and families are welcome to participate as well!
To participate, please arrive by 10:30 am on June 16 at NW Everett between 8th and Park. Wagons for kids to ride in are perfectly fine.
If you can’t make it to the parade, we will also be running a booth in Section E at table #10 (see the image below) with lots of Think swag on Sat. June 15 from 12 pm - 8 pm and Sun. June 16 from 11:30 am – 6 pm.
Congratulations on your new home, Albert and Charles!
Albert, a friend and fellow rugby player with the Portland Lumberjacks, had lived in his one bedroom, classic Buckman condo for 11 years and he, and his partner, Charles, were at the point where they needed more space to grow as a family.
With dreams of barbecues in the backyard, relaxing evenings spent in the hot tub, and sharing meals with their family & friends in the dining room, they started their house hunting process.
This would be Charles’ first time as a homeowner, and more importantly their first home together, so we wanted to make this as exciting and positive an experience as possible. We saw quite a few properties: mold castles, critter dens, and our fair share of ‘underwhelming’; they had all but resigned themselves to the prospect of a “fixer” that still left a lot to be desired.
One Sunday I got a text from Albert saying they wanted me to go and see a home they had checked out at an open house. I went over and was delighted to find the home was pristine and preserved with tasteful fixtures and Albert’s most important criteria: level floors.
The home was “priced to sell” with warning signs of multiple offers. Knowing that this was the right home for them, Albert and Charles made the decision to submit a bid above ask and the seller responded with an accepted offer.
There’s nothing more gratifying or fulfilling than when you’re able to help a loved one with the purchase of their new home. When my brother, Henry, reached out to me when he was in the process of downsizing from his current residence and was looking into buying a condo. Serendipitous that the condo market had stagnated somewhat, making his position as a buyer all the better.
Not only did we locate a condo below his anticipated price range but it also had a deeded parking space and was right across the street from where a good friend of his lives.
What better way to start off the holiday season than that? Congrats Henry!
I recently had the pleasure of helping my wonderful client, Dave through the homebuying process. Like any savvy buyer, Dave was looking for the best possible house for the best price. What set Dave’s experience apart, however, was that he planned to fix up whatever home he ended up purchasing, so the aesthetics of the home itself weren’t of much importance.
He went into the process thinking that he might need to see dozens of homes before finding one that he would be happy with. To ensure that his time was well spent, I took his wishlist and translated that into a highly curated list of properties for him to see – as a result, Dave found his perfect home after seeing just three properties!
The first two were fixer uppers.One ticked most of the boxes and needed mostly cosmetic updates, but it didn’t quite feel right to Dave. The second one felt as though we had walked onto the set of a horror film and was way more work than Dave wanted to take on.
Then we found the “Glass Slipper”, a perfect fit. While the location was a tad further out than what Dave had originally wanted, it was only 10 blocks from some of his closest friends and offered a short trek to the airport that perfectly suited him with his frequent travel for work. While the design and fixtures in the house were dated, the house itself came back with a clean inspection and the updates could all be completed without too much work.
I’m so happy for Dave and so excited to see how he takes his new home to the next level!
If you’re anything like me, you LOVE brunch. Not only the food but the totally justified (compulsory?) day drinking that accompanies it. But not all brunches are created equal; sometimes you get served a saltless Bloody Mary that tastes like straight-up Clamato or a hash that comes out soggy from the inordinate amount of kale that was included for some reason. My partner and I have very different dietary restrictions and coupled with the sometimes outrageous wait times( I’m looking at you Alberta) for the places we like, brunch can prove to be a fruitless experience.
In our deep dive of what St. Johns has to offer we had the good fortune of coming across Paiku. From the specialty cocktails (big fan of the Orange Julio) to the flavorful hashes served with home-made hot sauces – this place is the Bona-fide real deal. Each meal is typically served with a biscuit or peasant toast (go with the peasant toast, you will not be disappointed) and a ramekin of some top notch home-made marmalade. There’s rarely if ever a wait and on Sundays they switch to a limited menu which makes their food expediting a lot quicker.
If you happen to find yourself hungry in NoPo and are looking for some killer brunch, give Paiku a try.
Let the record show, I love all my clients. That being said, my Frient™ (Friend who’s also a Client), Katie is in a word “excelsior”.
Katie and I first started talking several months back when she told me she was ready to move out of her adorable condo. She had spent over a decade there and was ready to find herself a stunning Mid-Century Modern home with a yard for her dog, Willa (pictured… can you find her?). After a few unfortunate misses we found the ‘cream puff’; this Woodlawn MCM checked all the boxes and with a compelling, no regrets offer (She also wrote what may have been one of the best buyer letters I have ever read. Seriously.), we got Katie her dream home!
Did I mention Katie is a librarian? Librarians are pretty darn cool.
April’s market numbers are showing a stronger market than we’ve seen in the last few months. This is typically the busiest time of the year in the Northwest, so it’s not unexpected to see a stronger April than March. Last month both new listings and pending sales were down, so now we’re seeing the effect of that in a drop in Closed Sales during April. Fortunately, both listings and Pending Sales were up in April compared to last year (5.5% and 3.1%, respectively). In fact, we had more new listings in April than we’ve had in any April since 2010, so we should see Closed Sales increase next month as a result.
The Median Sale Price increased slightly over last month ($6,000), but is exactly the same as it was this time last year at $405,000. Again, this is a sign of a more balanced market that’s not seeing large price increases year-over-year anymore. As we push through the busy season we expect to see the Median Price continue to rise a bit for the next couple of months before it drops again in the slower fall and winter seasons.