Portland vacancy rates among lowest in U.S. with rents rising fa - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland vacancy rates among lowest in U.S. with rents rising faster than ever

Posted: Updated: Aug 06, 2015 09:30 PM

If you’re looking for a place to rent in Portland, good luck. 

The city says vacancy rates remain one of the lowest in the country and rents are rising faster than ever.  

When Elissa Cirignotta first moved to Portland years ago, things were much different for a renter.

“I was paying $330 a month for a three or four bedroom Victorian two-story house, with two other roommates,” said Cirignotta.

Those days are over.

“That was the end of anything that felt remotely reasonable,” said Cirignotta. “It feels like Portland is becoming San Francisco, and it really does make me question staying here long term.”

She’s not that far off either.

A study by Rentjungle.com shows that the average apartment rent within 10 miles of Portland was $1,118 back in May of 2013.

That same study shows in May of 2015, the average apartment now rents for $1,442. That’s a difference of $324 in just two years.

A study on apartmentlist.com ranks Portland as number four in the nation this year, for cities with fastest growing rents. Vancouver, WA came in at number one.

“It’s a very tough situation right now, I’m not sure I can say do x, y and z and it will go away,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau, tells FOX 12 their top priority right now is building more affordable housing and fast. But, he says until Portland salaries catch up with the cost to live in the Rose City, it’s a tough problem to fix.

“Portland wages have not grown as robustly as say San Jose,” said Saltzman. “Wages there have gone up significantly because of the tech industry, that’s something that’s not happening here. I personally believe we need to increase the minimum wage so people are making more.”

Cirignotta says she considers herself lucky, she and a roommate rent an apartment on SE Belmont for $1,160. She beat out a bunch of people to get the place.

“When I found this place, there were 45 people here just to look at it, it was ridiculous,” she said.

She tells FOX 12 her landlord upped the rent $20 this lease, but she’s staying put. It could always be worse, she added.

“A friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood, their rent went up $250, so that’s crazy," she said. 

The issue of rent control has been brought up to city in recent months.  

Saltzman tells FOX 12 there are certainly pros and cons to doing that, but the city doesn’t have the authority to enforce that issue, it’s up to the state.   

Saltzman says if you’re struggling to find affordable housing, you can always contact the Portland Housing Bureau and Home Forward to get assistance.

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