Portland Housing Center

Portland Housing Center is teaming up with Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America to offer $15,000 in down payment assistance to income qualified households! We wanted to let you know about this great opportunity so you can share it with your clients.

NeighborhoodLIFT provides eligible borrowers with a $15,000 forgivable loan that can be used for down payment on homes in the City of Portland. Be sure to check out the flyer for all the details.

Unlike many available down payment assistance programs the NeighborhoodLIFT program is available to households up to 120% of the Median Family Incomedepending on financing type*.

Don't let your clients miss out on this great opportunity!
  1. Visit www.portlandhousingcenter.org/lift to learn all the details on the program
  2. Have your clients register for the NeighborhoodLIFT Launch event onDecember 13th and 14th - this is the only opportunity to reserve NeighborhoodLIFT funds so make sure they get registered
  3. Make sure they review the NeighborhoodLIFT website for a list of all documentation they need to bring to the event
At the event they'll have an opportunity to meet with someone to determine their eligibility for the NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance program and learn next steps if they receive a reservation.

Have questions? Check out FAQs on our website.

If you would like to schedule a information session on the NeighborhoodLIFT program at your Realtor office please contact me at feliciat@portlandhousingcenter.org or 503-797-4023 to schedule.

New (Seasons) Math

PROXIMITY TO URBAN AMENITIES seems to be the drumbeat of today’s highly desirable neighborhoods. But can having a grocery store or cinema within walking distance really raise the value of your home? In theory, yes, according to a 2007 Metro study. Using hedonic modeling (fancy math to measure complex behavior, like home buying), local real estate consultancy firm Johnson Gardner evaluated more than 400 Portland home sales in 2006 and determined that, indeed, some amenities appear to have a statistically significant impact on home price. Top of the list: cinemas, wine bars and shops, and specialty grocers. But appraisers haven’t embraced the new math in their calculations. “There’s no standard adjustment for proximity to New Seasons,” says Mark Hepner, co-owner of Portland Residential Appraisals. “When you talk about the hip neighborhoods, you’re talking about areas that have diverse housing stock. When you try to narrow down your adjustment to a specific item, like a New Seasons, there’s not enough consistency in all the factors to make a fair comparison.”

Kings of Division

ANDY RICKER’s Pok Pok might have captured the culinary heart of Division, but seven-year-old Urban Development Partners has claimed something more tangible—land. The development firm owns six properties on Division, between 31st and 39th, among them the Reliable, a LEED Gold-certified building with 13 residential units hoisted atop popular eateries like the Sunshine Tavern and Wafu. UDP came to Portland in 2006, after transforming Oakland’s historic  Mutual Creamery building into 26 live-work spaces. Division immediately caught their eye. “When the city puts investment or intention behind an area—with tax incentives, up-zoning, even just cleaning up the streets—it’s a recipe for reinvention,” notes cofounder Eric Cress. The firm’s first Division Street building, the Richmond, opened in 2008, anchored by the Victory Bar. Next came Reliable, in 2010, followed by a 26-unit LEED Platinum mixed-use building at 38th and Division in 2011. Up next: a 39-unit building at 3339 SE Division St, slated for completion this fall. (Salt and Straw and St. Honoré have already signed up for ground-floor retail spaces.) And in 2014, UDP will debut two more mixed-use projects at 3360 and 3330 SE Division St.  

An ADU Explosion

WHEN THE PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL approved waiving system development charges and upped the maximum size of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to 75 percent of the main house in April 2010, the number of completed backyard cottages grew by more than 30 percent: from 52 in fiscal year 2009 to 70 in 2010 and 104 in 2011. The savings—typically several thousand dollars per dwelling—helped encourage a wave of these backyard bargains, but so did the emergence of an übertight rental market. And since the city voted to extend the waiver for another three years, look for more of these charming cottages coming to a backyard near you. 



Home Improvements and Which Ones to Do

Whether you plan to sell in the near future, or just want to improve the value of your home, here is one low cost improvement you should consider.
Refinish the front door. First impressions do mean a lot, and a front door in need of work sets the wrong tone.
Refinishing your front door doesn't usually take much effort. If it is painted, be sure to rough up the surface prior to putting on a new coat of paint. If it is stained, use a very fine grade of sandpaper to ensure the sealer will adhere to the surface.
While you are preparing the door for the finishing coat, be sure to check the weather stripping for damage. With soaring energy costs, adding some new weather stripping can quickly pay for itself in utility savings.
And start the job early in the morning so the surface dries before you have to close the door for the evening.

Housing Starts Rise 5.9 Percent in July

Nationwide housing starts rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units in July as multifamily construction rebounded from a dip in the previous month, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, single-family construction recorded a modest decline from a rate that was upwardly revised for the previous month.

“Builders are making every effort to keep up with the rising demand for new homes and apartments, and construction in both sectors is running well ahead of the pace we saw at this time last year,” notes Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “However, ongoing issues with accessing credit and limited supplies of finished lots and labor are making it tough to do that, particularly for single-family builders.”

“Today’s report is in line with our forecast for continued, gradual strengthening of housing starts and permit activity through the rest of the year,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The double-digit bounce-back on the multifamily side was in keeping with typical month-to-month volatility in that sector,” he noted, “while the sideways movement in single-family was a result of unusually wet weather in the South and West.”

Single-family housing starts declined 2.2 percent from an upwardly revised pace in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units in July. Meanwhile, a 26 percent gain to a 305,000-unit pace on the multifamily side offset a similar dip in the previous month.

Regionally, combined housing starts activity posted solid gains of 40.2 percent in the Northeast, 25.4 percent in the Midwest and 7.2 percent in the West, respectively, in July, while the South posted a 7 percent decline.

Issuance of building permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 943,000 units in July. Single-family permits dipped 1.9 percent to 613,000 units from a strong pace in the previous month, while multifamily permits gained 12.6 percent to 330,000 units.

Regionally, combined permit issuance increased across the board in July, with gains of 1 percent, 2.8 percent, 1.1 percent and 7.1 percent in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West, respectively.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org.