Portland housing forecast: Supply still not keeping up

Wheeler: "There's an urgency to this issue"

A home under construction. (Portland Tribune)
A home under construction. (Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — According to economists who spoke at the 2017 Home Builders Association (HBA) Housing Forecast, Portland is seeing continued population and job growth, but the housing supply still isn’t keeping up.

Portland Mayor-Elect Ted Wheeler speaks at the 2017 Home Builders Association Housing Forecast. November 4, 2016 (KOIN)
Portland Mayor-Elect Ted Wheeler speaks at the 2017 Home Builders Association Housing Forecast. November 4, 2016 (KOIN)

Until it does, they say housing prices are going to continue to soar.

“The solution is really figuring out a way to create more supply, more areas to build, so that we can keep prices down,” said incoming HBA President Brian Schmidt.

The economists who spoke attributed the lack of a supply to an aging construction workforce with unfulfilled jobs, a low supply of lots with lot value increasing, and rising regulatory costs to build, which have gone up almost 30% in the past five years.

Schmidt cited the regulatory fees as a major problem.

“There’s about $80,000 right on the front end of costs that come down to regulation and city fees and national fees as well,” he said.

Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler also spoke Friday morning. He said city regulations have become a roadblock to meeting the demand for more housing, and he wants to examine the design and inspection process, along with the high fees builders are being charged.

“All of these things need to be streamlined,” Wheeler said. “The time needs to be reduced, the cost needs to be reduced and we need to get as much supply as we can.”

Wheeler says he knows that’s a lot to ask in a short period of time, but he sees no choice but to push through.

“Somebody somewhere will dislike any proposal that’s ever offered, but here’s the deal. From my perspective, there’s an urgency to this issue,” he said.