A new report from the Oregon Department of Economic Analysis released a report indicating that only 1 in 5 people can afford a home in the Portland metro area, a similar rate to other cities in Oregon. This has an impact on demand, fewer people are able to buy homes, which can decrease competition for existing homes for sale.

A quick back of the hand calculation using Portland median household income of ~$73,000 and a 25% allocation for living expenses suggest that an affordable home in the Portland area would be between $200,000 and $300,000, depending on the down payment and loan terms. The inventory available in this price range is limited to tear-downs, extreme fixer uppers appealing to investors, manufactured housing in parks, and floating houses with high monthly slip fees. 

This means that anyone trying to purchase a home in the Portland area at the median household income will not likely find something that will build value without a significant cash investment. Coupled with the slowdown in apartment building, rising rents, and increased property taxes, Oregon is becoming increasingly unaffordable. 

So what is a new home buyer to do? Get creative. Firstly condos are good options in some cases. They can increase in value depending upon the unit and location. There is a reduced maintenance cost since the monthly fee is spread amongst many residents. If that isn't appealing consider purchasing a home with a family member or group of close friends. While this can increase complications, in the right circumstance it can make entering the property ladder possible. When neither of these options seem possible reach out to a lender and real estate agent. You might be surprised with what is possible. Build a team of people that can support and encourage you towards your goal. Happy house hunting!