Construction Rates, ADUS, and Zoning

Supply vs. demand drives the Portland real estate market. Increased zoning density, ADU opportunities, and new home construction rates can create more supply or their lack can indicate a shortage.

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Licensed since 2004

portland real estate zoning changes

Starting 2021, a Six Plex can be built next to any Portland Home.

November 9, 2020

Travel back in time to Portland 150 years ago, and you’d see a housing mix that is different from today’s suburban, single-family-home-dominated neighborhoods. There were garden houses, rowhouses, courtyard apartments and cottages. Density was higher, and nobody needed parking because they used the Portland streetcar to get around (plus cars hadn’t been invented).  This vision has inspired a piece of legislation five years in the making: the Residential Infill Project. The goal of RIP, as it is known around Portland, is to reconstruct that higher-density time in Portland’s housing mix, in a contemporary way. The idea isn’t to strip away all zoning rules and create a housing free-for-all. In fact, RIP received a record-setting 15,000 public comments as it moved through...

new construction rates portland

New Home Construction Dropped in Portland 2020, Will it Recover in 2021?

November 2, 2020

Like everything else this in 2020, new construction in Portland was hit by the pandemic, but signs are already pointing to a healthy recovery in 2021.  To understand what’s going on with the new construction market, let’s take a look at new construction permits that have been issued, under review, and finaled (meaning the building was completed) in Portland, and compare those to previous years.  Here are the new residential construction permit numbers for the first nine months of 2020, direct from the City of Portland database. So far this year: 540 new residential construction permits have been issued 294 are under review 714 have been finaled As you can see from the chart below, 2020 will be a five-year...

additional dwelling units ADU portland

Portland ADU, Additional Dwelling Unit Guide 2021

October 16, 2020

Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are a popular form of housing in Portland. They can be created in a variety of spaces, from a converted garage or basement to a new structure in the backyard. For some homeowners, they’re the secret to home affordability in the metro area, while for others, they create a vital space for a family member or aging in place.  Whatever the case, the good news is that ADUs are now allowed in every city in Oregon. In this article, we’ll dive into the types of ADUs we typically see in and around the Portland metro area, how you can use them, and what the regulations are for the different cities and counties that make up...

basement adus portland oregon

Basement ADUs: 2020 Portland Guide

February 28, 2020

For many Portland homeowners, having an Accessory Dwelling Unit might be the ticket to affordability, renting out a second unit on your property. Or, an ADU might allow you to take care of an aging relative, or simply create housing out of what was unused space.  Most people think of a backyard cottage when they think of an ADU, but in fact, many Portland homeowners have legal ADU potential right under their feet: in the basement! Now that Portland has updated its zoning rules to allow for ADUs on most city lots, 2020 may be your year to build a basement ADU. But before you start picking out wall colors and furnishings, there are four essential questions you must ask...

portland real estate zoning changes

The End of Portland Single Family Zoning

September 30, 2019

In late June, 2019, the Oregon State Legislature passed a bill that requires cities to allow homeowners and real estate developers to add housing units where the demand is highest. How does this affect the zoning changes already developed by Portland’s Residential Infill project? And how will it affect the look and feel of Portland neighborhoods? HB 2001 and Portland Real Estate The new bill, HB 2001, requires Oregon cities of more than 10,000 to allow “missing middle” housing types to be built in all residential zones. In other words, it eliminates single-family-only housing zones, mandating that cities permit duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and additional accessory dwelling units to also be built in these zones.  This new law affects Portland as...

portland basement adu

Basement ADUs in Portland, 10 Things to Know

July 26, 2019

How many unfinished basements are there in Portland? As a top local Portland real estate agent, I can say with confidence – thousands! Many of those are perfect candidates for a basement ADU. Accessory Dwelling Units are of interest to Portland home buyers and home owners alike because of their potential to offset the high costs of owning a home in Portland. With the trend toward rezoning vast areas of the city to allow for higher density housing, the ADU option is looking better than ever before.  Those without big backyards in which to build the traditional stand alone ADU can still participate. ADUs inside the home, built in an attic over a garage, or down in the basement are...

new home construction portland real estate

New Home Construction Down in Portland – 2019 Update

March 29, 2019

Portland’s economy is booming and our rate of commercial construction is grabbing national attention. In fact, the number of construction cranes over downtown Portland — 26 — was tied with Chicago this winter, despite the fact that Chicago (proper) has a population of 2.7 million while Portland (proper) rings in at 630,000. It follows that if there are new commercial buildings being built and expanded, that Portland is creating jobs and bringing in new people fill them. And, in fact, we still have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, even with a growing population.  So, where is the residential construction to house these workers? The number of new building permits issued for single family homes in Portland...

portland adu guide

2019 ADU Guide – Portland Real Estate

March 4, 2019

Thinking about adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit to your Portland home? Shopping for a home or real estate investment where adding an ADU might be feasible? Read on for these answers and more. ADUs on the Rise in Portland ADUs — also known as backyard cottages, mother-in-law units, granny flats or, simply, studio apartments — have been around a long time, but they’re gaining in popularity.  According to a recent Citylab article, about 70 percent of Portland is zoned for single-family housing. ADUs are stepping up to fill the gap, “popping up faster here than anywhere else in the U.S., with the city issuing building permits for about one unit per day in 2016.” In 2018, a whopping 660 ADU...

portland real estate home demolition construction

New Construction Steady, Home Demolitions Down – Portland 2018

August 31, 2018

Want to know the future of the real estate supply in the City of Portland? One strategy is to look to the past — specifically, to old homes that are being demolished. Portland suburbs have been adding housing on new tracts of land as population pressures push growth outward. For residential construction in the City of Portland, these large tracts of land simply don’t exist. Usually, to build, developers first have to tear down an older home. (We are not advocating this, just reporting on it.) Home Demolition Increased Between 2000 and 2016 in Portland, there was an explosion in home demolitions that had some real estate experts worried that the old city would soon be gone. According to a...

portland adu real estate guide

2019 Portland ADU Guide – Additional Dwelling Units, How To

August 10, 2018

The movement to accessorize Portland with accessory dwelling units (ADUs) is growing. Portland is now one of the “friendliest” places in the United States to build an ADU, defined as a self-contained living space — whether detached in the backyard or incorporated into the existing building footprint. Why are ADUs so hot in Portland? Portland has garnered some national attention for the rate at which accessory dwelling units are popping up, and of course social media is full of them because they tend to be cute and attractive! For more practical reasons, ADUs appeal to homeowners because: they offer the potential for homeowners to age in place by moving into a one-level flat they can be a source of housing...