Affordable Housing Programs In Portland

While rising home values in the Portland area may be good news for existing homeowners, the prospects for first-time buyers to find affordable housing are become increasingly bleak. The average home price appreciation of nearly 17% over the past 12 months is easily outpacing job and wage growth over the same period. What’s a first-time buyer to do?

A recent newsletter from the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors (PMAR) touched on this very subject, highlighting some financing options and resolutions passed by both the City of Portland and Metro.

Portland Housing CenterAffordable Housing Programs
The Portland Housing Center sponsors a number of affordable housing programs, as well as home-buying education and credit repair services.

Note: Some of these programs use ‘median family income’ limits to define participation. Here are those incomes for Multnomah County:

  • One person: $46,850
  • Family of two: $53,500
  • Family of three: $60,200
  • Family of four: $ 66,900

American Dream Down Payment Assistance – This program offers up to a $10,000 “loan” which can be used toward a down payment and/or closing costs to buyers in Multnomah County. The loan interest rate is 0%, but must be repaid at the time the owner sells the property. Buyers must have an income no greater than 80% of the median family income (see above).

Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) – In this scenario, the buyer qualifies for a traditional 80% mortgage, and uses the MAP to fund the remaining 20% (i.e. your down payment) at a fixed, 30-year rate of 6.00% (which is a great deal, compared to 80/20 programs offered through standard lender programs).

Individual Development Account (IDA) – The IDA is savings account on steroids, in which the Portland Housing Center deposits $3.00 for every $1.00 you place into your IDA ‘savings account’. You can deposit up to $2,000 into your IDA, giving you up to $8,000 towards closing costs, down-payment, home inspection fees, etc.

Oregon Tax Credit – A new program in 2006, qualified buyers can receive up to a $2,000 credit on their Oregon income taxes. You must have established an IDA (see above) and have an income of less than 80% of the median family income.

For more information, please contact the Portland Housing Center.

[tags]affordability, loans, mortgages, housing, prices, Portland, Metro, first-time, ownership [/tags]

Moving? Consider the Cost (of Living, that is)

Calculator photo by partsnpiecesClimate. Lifestyle. Environment. Livability. All reasons cited for what attracts people to the Portland metro area. Is affordability an issue, too? Depends on where you come from.

I recently came across an interesting Cost of Living Calculator provided by Bankrate.com. You can use this calculator to compare the cost of living between U.S. cities.

The calculator displays the income required to maintain your current standard of living, along with the percentage difference between the two cities. The calculation takes into account dozens of items in six broad categories — groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services. It does not include the effects of state and local taxes.

As expected, housing costs appear to have the greatest impact on cost of living.

I took an increasingly common scenario: a family making $75,000 a year, living in Orange County, CA now considering a move to the Portland area. According to the Bankrate calculator,

The equivalent income is $55,499.06. You may take a 26.00% decrease and still maintain your standard of living.

Product
Orange County CA
Portland OR
Difference
HOME PRICE
$804,080.00
$373,514.00
$430,566.00
PAYMENT+ INTEREST
$3,705.26
$1,688.00
$2,017.26
APT RENT
$1,483.00
$821.00
$662.00
TOTAL ENERGY
$173.41
$179.82
$6.41
LIPITOR
$121.68
$123.96
$2.28
PART ELECTRICAL
$96.54
$90.15
$6.39
DOCTOR VISIT
$92.10
$91.00
$1.10
OPTOMETRIST
$86.60
$84.40
$2.20
DENTIST VISIT
$80.90
$78.60
$2.30
OTHER ENERGY
$76.87
$89.67
$12.80
WASHER REPAIR
$51.80
$56.20
$4.40
BEAUTY SALON
$45.70
$40.00
$5.70
VET SERVICES
$38.20
$39.30
$1.10
WOMENS SLACKS
$35.49
$32.00
$3.49
MENS SHIRT
$29.69
$34.11
$4.42
PHONE
$28.27
$32.99
$4.72
NEWSPAPER
$18.94
$11.99
$6.95
BOYS JEAN
$16.99
$25.80
$8.81
HAIR CUT
$13.70
$14.20
$0.50
TIRE BALANCE
$10.45
$10.19
$0.26
PIZZA
$9.88
$11.49
$1.61
MOVIE
$9.28
$8.45
$0.83
DRY CLEANING
$8.63
$10.34
$1.71
T BONE STEAK
$8.58
$9.83
$1.25
BEER
$7.94
$7.79
$0.15
IBUPROFEN
$7.47
$5.91
$1.56
CASCADE
$5.83
$4.60
$1.23
WINE
$5.69
$6.82
$1.13
SAUSAGE
$5.47
$4.19
$1.28
BOWLING
$4.63
$2.75
$1.88
PARMESAN CHEESE
$4.41
$4.13
$0.28
CRISCO
$4.18
$3.45
$0.73
FROZEN MEAL
$4.01
$3.03
$0.98
CEREAL
$4.00
$3.53
$0.47
COFFEE
$3.99
$3.89
$0.10
ORANGE JUICE
$3.96
$3.83
$0.13
POTATOES
$3.26
$2.15
$1.11
POTATO CHIPS
$3.12
$2.99
$0.13
TENNIS BALLS
$2.96
$2.99
$0.03
2-PC CHICKEN
$2.91
$3.20
$0.29
TOOTHPASTE
$2.85
$3.16
$0.31
HALF GAL MILK
$2.84
$1.77
$1.07
GASOLINE
$2.74
$2.61
$0.13
GROUND BEEF
$2.72
$3.23
$0.51
PEACHES
$2.38
$2.02
$0.36
KLEENEX
$2.36
$2.01
$0.35
HAMBURGER SANDWICH
$2.35
$2.74
$0.39
SUGAR
$2.34
$1.50
$0.84
DOZ EGGS
$2.18
$1.57
$0.61
FROZEN CORN
$1.93
$1.82
$0.11
COKE
$1.73
$2.13
$0.40
SHAMPOO
$1.61
$1.21
$0.40
FRIED CHICKEN
$1.46
$1.69
$0.23
BREAD
$1.28
$1.01
$0.27
LETTUCE
$1.17
$1.05
$0.12
MARGARINE
$1.00
$0.97
$0.03
SWEET PEAS
$0.99
$1.14
$0.15
TUNA
$0.89
$0.76
$0.13
BANANAS
$0.68
$0.63
$0.05
Mortgage (%)
6.23%
6.05%
0.18

A few other comparisons: You could reduce your income by 32% for the same standard of living by moving from San Francisco to Portland, 23% less moving from San Diego, and 15% less moving from Boston.

By the same token, moving from Phoenix to Portland, you’d need an additional 15% income to maintain your standard of living. You’d need to earn 22% more if from Dallas and 5% if from Las Vegas. Seattle is a push, according to Bankrate.

Try the calculator at Bankrate.com.

Photo by: PartsnPieces.

[tags] housing, Portland, affordability, cost+of+living, comparison [/tags]

Open Season for Portland-Area Farmers’ Markets

Radishes by taminsea1Today’s opening of the Willamette Farmers’ Market just up the street from my office has reminded me that the season for fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, and creative crafts is just about upon us.

Oregonians heartily support local farmers and these open-air mercados are great community gatherings. Fresh food, music, artwork, and good camaraderie abound.

And no offense to California produce, but, really, is there anything better than the Oregon-grown sugar bombs we call strawberries? It’s no comparison, but their season is coming soon and is very short, so hit those market stands and make the most of it.

Here’s a list of metro Portland Farmers’ Markets:

Market Location Days/Times Season
Alberta NE 15th & Alberta Sat., 10am—2pm May—Sept.
Beaverton (mid-week) Hall Blvd. bet. 3rd & 5th St. Wed., 3—6pm June—Aug.
Beaverton Hall Blvd. bet. 3rd & 5th St. Sat., 8am—1:30pm May—Oct.
Canby 1st St. bet. Ivy & Grant Sat., 9am—1pm May—Oct.
Forest Grove 19th Ave. Plaza Wed., 4—8pm May—Oct.
Gresham Miller St., bet. 2nd & 3rd Sat., 8:30am—2pm May—Oct.
Hillsboro Courthouse Sq. 2nd & Main Sat., 8am—1:30pm May—Oct.
Hillsboro (Tuesday) Main St., 1st to 3rd Ave. Tue., 5—8:30pm June—Aug.
Hillsboro (Orenco) Cornell Rd & Orenco Station Sun., 10am—2pm May—Oct.
Hillsdale Wilson High School Sun., 10am—2pm May—Mar.
Hollywood NE Hancock, bet. 44th & 45th Sat., 8am—1pm May—Oct.
Lake Oswego Millenium Park, 1st & Evergreen Sat., 8:30am—1:30pm May—Oct.
Milwaukie SE Main bet. Harrison & Jackson Sun., 9:30am—2pm May—Oct.
Moreland Glenwood & Milwaukie Wed., 3:30—7:30pm May—Oct.
Oregon City 2051 Kaen Rd. Sat., 9am—2pm May—Oct.
People’s (Powell) 3029 SE 21st Ave. Wed., 2—7pm Year-Round
Portland Downtown South Park Blocks, SW Salmon & Park Wed., 10am—2pm May—Oct.
Portland Farmers (Eco-Trust) NW 10th, bet. Irving & Johnson Thus., 3:30—7:30pm June—Sept.
Interstate (Portland) N. Fremont Ave. across from Kaiser Wed., 3:00—7:00pm May—Sept.
Sherwood Veteran’s Park Old Town Sat., 9am—1pm May—Sept.
Tigard Washington Square 2, Greenburg Rd. Sun., 9am—2pm May—Oct.
West Linn 1725 Willamette Falls Dr. Wed., 4:30—8:30pm May—Sept.

For a comprehensive list of Farmers’ Markets, check out the Oregon Farmers’ Market Association website.

[tags]farmers, markets, fresh, Oregon, Portland[/tags]

Photo by taminsea1.

Portland-Area Residential Market Activity – April 2006

For SaleMixed news greets the residential real estate community with the announcement of April 2006 results.

First, inventory is rising ever so slightly. New listings are up 7.5% over this time last year. Accepted offers and closed sales are down 18.2% and 16.2% respectively. At the current pace of home sales, the active inventory would take 2.4 months to sell out (up from 1.8 months a year ago).

However, sales continue to be brisk and appreciation remains strong. The average market time for properties year-to-date is 44 days, versus 56 days this time last year. Twelve-month average appreciation for Portland-area residential properties is 16.8%. The average sale price over the past 12 months in the market is now $296,600 (vs. $254,000 for 04/2004 through 05/2005).

The bottom line? The market is moving much more slowly toward a more balanced dynamic between sellers and buyers than I had anticipated. There are perhaps more properties for buyers to choose among, but prices have not flattened.

For a more complete grid of average and median sale prices, appreciation, and days on market by community, visit my Market Action page.

Source: RMLS Market Action, May 2006.

[tags]Portland, real+estate, market+activity, appreciation, homes, sales[/tags]

Portland – A Dog-Friendly City

Foster the CattleDogWhile it might not be appropriate to bring Fifi into a salon like it is in Paris, dogs are still highly regarded here in the Portland-area.

Dogs enjoy rabid support here with a wealth of dog parks, 14 dog-friendly restaurants (Lucky Labrador, et al.), and plenty of pet-walkers, sitters, and other dog services.

There’s even an event downtown called the Doggie Dash, an event featuring a 2-mile road-race with our canine friends, plus dog trick and owner/dog look-alike contests, and more. My Australian Shepard/Cattledog mix, Sydney, won the trick contest in 1995.

Dog-lovers in Portland even have our own portal for pups — PortlandPooch.com. It features lists of dog parks, pet service vendors, events, and even pet-friendly rental properties.

I highly encourage you to paw through its contents.

[tags] dogs, Portland, pets, rentals [/tags]