Portland’s Housing Market Future – New Downtown Plan 2015

portland plans

City planners, business owners, economists – and busy real estate agents! – agree: Portland’s population is growing. The metro area, which encompasses Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Clark, Skamania, Yamhill and Columbia counties, is forecast to reach 2.3 million next year. And that number could hit 3 million or more by 2035.

That’s probably why the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is including plenty of housing in its plan to redesign downtown over the next 20 years. The West Quadrant Plan, which will serve as a guide for future Portland downtown investment and development, covers the western areas of Central Portland and areas along the Willamette River, including the Pearl District, Old Town/Chinatown, Downtown, Goose Hollow, University District and South Waterfront areas.

The headlining aspects of the West Quadrant Plan are public-use: a redesigned waterfront that encourages mixed-use access, a 10-mile walking and biking “Green Loop”, and a new park over the I405 (a trick known as “freeway capping”).

A less flashy, but much more vital goal of the Plan is to increasing housing downtown, and not just those who can afford typical downtown rents and home prices. The West Quadrant Plan actually calls for a mix of housing types, with the goal of increasing diversity in the Central City. It establishes an affordable housing target for 2035 with 20,000 new units added.

To put this in perspective, the entire Portland metro area added about 7,000 new housing units in 2014. It is expected to add 22,000 more in just the next three years (Colliers), to keep up with the population growth mentioned earlier.

The West Quadrant Plan went before the City Council for the first time on February 4th, and the public comment focused mainly on density and building heights in the Goose Hollow and West End neighborhoods. But, according to BPS’ news release on the meeting, “affordable housing took center stage when Commissioner Dan Saltzman co-sponsored the resolution to adopt the plan, along with Mayor Charlie Hales. Commissioner Nick Fish also spoke passionately about the need to keep Portland from becoming like San Francisco and other high-cost cities through regulations and programs that would support affordable and workforce housing on the west side of the Central City.”

No matter how affordable housing is in the inner city, not everyone will want to live there. That’s why Portland will also be looking at expanding its Urban Growth Boundary this year. For those who want to live, work and play in this forward-thinking city by the river, there’s never been a better time to invest in a home. Contact your Portland real estate agent today to establish your housing goals in the midst of this expanding city.

February 20, 2015

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111.

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