Data dig: Is Oregon's housing affordable?

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
0512_DataDig_Housing_Medford
0512_DataDig_Housing_Salem
0512_DataDig_Housing_Table
0512_DataDig_Housing_Top10States
According to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2012, America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis, a full-time worker in Oregon needs a “housing wage” of $13.01 per hour in order to afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent (calculated by HUD at 40th percentile market rents). The average wage in Oregon of a full-time worker is $12.59 per hour. The biggest affordability gap in the state is in Columbia County where the average wage is $8.26 and the housing wage is $14.83. Portland has a small affordability gap because it has more multifamily housing and better-paying jobs; its housing wage also is $14.83 and its average wage is $14.33.

Van Vliet says persistent unemployment and underemployment have been most responsible for the inability of Oregonians to afford rents, as well as contributing to foreclosures. Hiring is slowly improving, though most of the new jobs are in the Portland metro area “so the recovery is going to be lopsided, and that’s going to put rural communities further behind,” she says. The five counties still suffering seasonally adjusted unemployment in excess of 12% in February were all rural: Crook, Grant, Harney, Jefferson and Lake. The statewide rate was 8.8%.

Within the state’s urban areas, Bend and Medford stand out as the least affordable housing markets, though both may be improving. In 2010, 48% of mortgage holders and more than 64% of renters in the two fast-growing metros were housing burdened. Since 2006 the burden hadn't changed for homeowners, but renters’ burdens grew 22% in Bend and 12% in Medford. Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s All-Transactions Home Price Index, an indicator of single-family home prices and refinance appraisals, dropped 40% for Bend and 30% for Medford.

Bend also witnessed the most dramatic surge of another indicator of unaffordable homes: foreclosures. In Deschutes County, notices of homeowner default shot up from 45 in 2007 to 314 in 2010. John Helmick, CEO of Eugene-based Gorilla Capital, which buys, remodels and resells foreclosed homes, says that after peaking in 2010, this indicator is finally brightening in 2011: “Throughout all the 20 Oregon counties in which we track the data, we saw an average of 25% decline in the number of new foreclosures being filed, and we see that same decline continuing in 2012.”

Jaynee Beck, a realtor with Duke Warner Realty in Bend and president of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors, also has reason for cautious optimism on the ability of new buyers to afford a home. “Our market has really done a big correction,” she says, “and it’s brought a lot of the buyers back to our market that were priced out of it in the boom.” That includes many locals who grew up and worked in Bend but had to commute 45 minutes away to find affordable housing when the minimum price in Bend was about $300,00.

“Now we actually have homes under $100,000,” says Beck, “so those people can come back to Bend.

Brandon Sawyer is research editor for Oregon Business. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



 

More Articles

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS