Where Can You Afford To Live?


Peter Olden, Reporter


Housing expenses in the Portland-metro area has been rising rapidly over the past few years. It has put many people out of houses and even jobs, making it unreasonably expensive and hard for people to find a place to live close to their school or work. People have been known to take hour long commutes or longer to school or work so they didn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for rent. People also tend to get roommates to help pay for rent. Portland is ranked number 6 alongside Seattle in the most expensive places to live in the US.


The median annual income for a Portland resident is about $62,000, which is more than the median annual income in the United States. However, the average rent in downtown Portland for a studio/ one bedroom apartment is $1,600 a month without utilities. Of course there are other locations out of the downtown area, but these are the apartments that are most sought after by college students and young adults because of location. These apartments are closer to the colleges in downtown Portland, so they are mostly marketed towards these young adults. Brittney Bartz, an assistant property Manager at The Melrose Apartments in Gresham, Oregon was asked about the average price for a one bedroom apartment at her complex. She replied “The average rent for a 1 bedroom would depend on the location and the amenities the unit has such as appliances, in-unit versus on site laundry, stuff like that. I can say that a 1 bedroom in North Portland that is renovated, on site laundry, and stainless appliances at 800 sq ft is going in the $1000 range.  A 1 bedroom apartment in Gresham that has a garage and was built in 2009, at 750 sq ft is going for around $1200. Utilities (water/sewer/garbage) are often times charged separately.”


Young adults are urged to move out and become independent beings during college. With the rising economy, inflation is only expected to raise in the near future. When Bartz was asked if she believed the rent market was rising, she said yes. “The rental market has gone up in the last few years.  However, it is starting to look like supply is outweighing demand. From everything I’ve read the pricing has gotten high enough that many people are having to opt for shared housing or living with relatives and now there has become an increase in vacancy so pricing are starting to drop. In 2008, we rented a 2 bedroom apartment, about 900 sq ft for $830 a month. This included the utilities.” Inflation is expected to raise to above 2% coming 2020, which isn’t good news for people who are looking to rent or people who are paying off their mortgages. The only people the raising housing expenses wouldn’t hurt are people who own their houses. Bartz also stated “It’s hard to say if prices will rise because the economy can change greatly in a few years. I do think that we have heard such a peak in pricing that there is bound to be a drop. I think it will decrease over the next few years.” This is what a lot of people are hoping for.


People all over the Portland-metro area struggling to find housing and being able to keep it. Housing in certain areas is unrealistically expensive for middle and lower class people, which make up a majority of Oregon’s population. Wesley Tucker is an 18 year old PSU student is currently living in the dorms offered by the school. “I am paying nearly $13,000 a year to live in the dorms. I want to move into my own apartment, but balancing school and a full time job is difficult.” Tucker also has a plan to move into an apartment with two more friends to be able to afford rent. “The apartment we are looking at is a three bedroom in the outskirts of downtown Portland for $2,000 a month. I’m stressed about what it will be after amenities.” Realistically, a full time minimum wage job won’t be enough for someone to get even a one bedroom apartment in downtown Portland. With rent prices being well over one thousand dollars a month for a studio apartment, moving out and becoming an individual is becoming more and more difficult and harder to achieve.


Overall, housing in Portland is difficult to afford and is only growing in price due to the demand. Residents can only afford so much with their income. While there is also the market for older people and families, the youth of today are struggling to find housing near their schools or work.