The Portland metro saw the nation’s fastest rising home prices in 2016, according to the real-estate website Zillow, and it was second only to Seattle for rising rents.
The average metro home value rose to $354,400 in December, Zillow said, up 13.8 percent from a year earlier. The website put the area’s median rental payment at $1,805, up 6.8 percent from a year earlier.
That has been painful for renters and would-be homebuyers, but there could be some relief on the way.
Zillow said it’s seen flattening in rent growth nationally and in Portland through much of 2016, though rent is still growing faster than the company forecast a year ago.
Slower rent growth combined with higher wages could leave renters on stronger footing than in recent years, when runaway rent hikes were paired with stagnant incomes.
Josh Lehner, an economist with the state Office of Economic Analysis, also wrotethat the Portland area’s affordability crisis might have reached its peak after years of new apartment construction.
“I think we’ve reached a point where, with the cumulative impact on the apartment side, you’re going to see price pressure respond,” he said. “That’s not going to be in every neighborhood and every type of apartment, but you’re going to feel the impact.”
Meanwhile, even low-income households are starting to see their economic fortunes improve as the state approaches full employment.
The slower rent growth could also lead homebuilders to refocus their attention on building for-sale homes instead of rental apartments, adding to the slim supply of homes on the market.
That would help rein in the bidding wars and escalating offers that have pushed home prices higher.
— Elliot Njus