'Skinny homes' mean big business for Portland housing market - KPTV - FOX 12

'Skinny homes' mean big business for Portland housing market

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It’s no secret, the Portland housing market is big business these days. Real estate agents say there's a trend taking over the cityscape - skinny homes.

Love them, or hate them, experts say we had better get used to them.

They definitely stand out. In a neighborhood full of old, craftsman style homes, tall, skinny homes are becoming the new normal, and not everyone is happy about it.

“I like the skinny house, so I probably would choose the same style [if I did it over again],” says Hsingchi Lu, who owns a skinny house in northeast Portland.

“Construction like that is kind of ugly and I don’t like seeing it. I wish they were able to refurbish homes that are here and keep the old construction,” Margaret Butler tells us, who also owns a home in northeast.

Local real estate agents say they’re selling more and more skinny houses.

“Real estate is still all about location. So the fact that people will sacrifice to have a skinny home, they are still getting into their desired neighborhood,” Ben Andrews, owner of Willamette Realty Group, explains.

Andrews has seen dozens of these tall and trim homes sell just in the last few months.

“The big trend is the developers will buy an older home, tear it down and build maybe two or three,” Andrews says.

But these skinny homes can come with a fat price tag.

“I feel really sorry for the renters and people who are looking to buy a house right now because there’s nothing you can buy,” Margaret Butler, homeowner, tells us.

Butler says a house in her Northeast Portland neighborhood was bought up and torn down, and in its place three new homes were built.

“The first one sold for over $500,000,” Butler adds.

Hsingchi Lu has lived in her tall house for a few years now, and says it's perfect for her lifestyle.

“We wanted to find a small house. This one was definitely cheaper than some of the other big houses,” Lu explains.

But, no matter how you feel about the aesthetics of the skinny house, experts say we can expect many more squeezing into the Portland market.

“I don’t think we’re going to see an end to this trend because more and more developers are going to go after this. Now really all you have is very skinny lots or they’ll take an older home and tear it down and start over,” says Andrews.

Andrews says generally skinny homes don't cost as much as larger homes. 

A new, attached skinny home in Northeast Portland near the Halsey area is currently offered at $429,000.

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