The Real Estate Beat

Real Estate Beat is sponsored by Portlandia Home

Welcome to our special coverage of how real estate and housing are closely intertwined with bicycling in Portland. We'll track the latest bike-friendly developments (both commercial and residential) and share our analysis of how low-car trends are impacting the places we live and work. The Real Estate Beat is edited and produced by our News Editor Michael Andersen.

The Real Estate Beat is brought to you by real estate broker Lyudmila Leissler of Portlandia Home/Windermere Real Estate. Let Mila help you find the best bike friendly home!

Can new-fangled mortgages finance Portland's tiny-home boom?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Kol Peterson, who also teaches classes for homeowners about developing ADUs, in his home.
(Photo courtesy Peterson.)

Real Estate Beat is sponsored by Portlandia HomePortland's enthusiasm for building small and tiny homes has been so abrupt, so unusual and so locally unique that the home mortgage industry hasn't figured out how to take advantage of it.

But people in both government and real estate who see accessory dwelling units as a boon for affordable density in bike-friendly, walkable parts of town are trying to help lenders catch up. And there are signs that it's working.

As we reported last month, Portlanders are responding to the surging demand for local housing by building and/or permitting hundreds of accessory dwelling units. One in 10 new homes in some inner north and Northeast neighborhoods is an ADU, a city specialist says.


Gallery: Here's how Portlanders store their bikes at home

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Portlanders have created some ingenious ways to store and secure their bicycles at home.
The Real Estate Beat is sponsored by PortlandiaHome.com

Portlanders have known for years that we're blessed with some of the best public and commercial bike parking in the country. But our private residential bike parking goes unsung, simply because it's harder to photograph.

Last week, we asked readers to share shots of their residential bike parking setups, and got a big response. Unsurprisingly, some folks have put in some pretty impressive efforts. I've collected a gallery of noteworthy ones below.

Start with image (1) at the top from Brandon, whose "six-adult household in Lents" makes room on an interior wall for six bikes, one trailer and a bike pump.

And here's what looks like an apartment setup (2), from Mike in Southwest Portland. Notice the precise placement of the red hooks on the ceiling joist:


Photo collection: How do you park your bike at home?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
residential bike parking shelter in SE Portland-13
A residential bike parking shelter in Southeast Portland.

The Real Estate Beat is sponsored by PortlandiaHome.com

Here on BikePortland's Real Estate Beat, we write a lot about commercial and apartment/condo bike parking. But we've never covered the bike parking Portlanders are probably best at: cool ways to store bikes at single-family homes.

Let's change that. Snap a photo of your setup and we'll share the most interesting, creative, impressive, attractive, whatever.

When high-end prototypes are being stolen from local garages, this is a matter worth talking about.

If you've got a bike parking setup at home that's worth sharing, text, email, tweet or Facebook message it to @bikeportland or to me directly: 503-333-7824 or michael@bikeportland.org. Include your first name and what city you live in.

And hey, if you know someone else whose parking setup is an inspiration, send this post to them.


How Oregon's unequal tax laws deter density where it's needed most

Monday, March 24th, 2014
Big apartment buildings at spots like this, at 300 SE 148th Ave., are increasingly subsidized by Oregon's 1997 freeze on taxable property values. The same law drives up the cost of new units in inner North and Northeast Portland.
The Real Estate Beat is sponsored by PortlandiaHome.com

Of all the problems with Oregon's spit-and-chicken-wire property tax system, one of the strangest might be this: It rewards developers who build new apartment buildings in Gresham while driving up the price of new units in inner Northeast.

This redevelopment penalty is an obscure but growing side effect of a system that also props up home prices in the central city and puts a disproportionate tax burden on East Portland and other recently redeveloped areas, the co-author of a new report says.

"In certain cases, it's a disincentive to develop or invest," Jeff Renfro of the Northwest Economic Research Center said in an interview Wednesday. "Potentially a pretty significant disincentive."


New 268-apartment project at Skidmore and Williams will have a Dutch 'woonerf' space

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
The new project as seen looking north from the corner of Williams and Mason.
(Renderings by Myrhe Group Architects)
The Real Estate Beat is sponsored by PortlandiaHome.com

A large lot on inner North Portland's Williams Avenue corridor would become one of the city's biggest new housing-retail projects under a proposal made public last week.

The site between Williams, Vancouver, Mason and Skidmore that currently hosts the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and Ethiopian restaurant Dalo's Kitchen would get 268 apartments and townhouse-style units plus, 25,370 square feet of commercial space and what the architect calls a "woonerf" running down the middle of the block: a narrow Dutch-style street that allows cars to pass through but treats them as "guests."

The project is the latest in a building boom that's about to change Williams — nationally known as an example of "bike-oriented development" — in much the way Southeast Division Street has changed in the last year.


In some central Portland neighborhoods, one in 10 new homes is now tiny

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Sally Spear, 63, moved into a 200-square-foot backyard cottage designed by her son-in-law Schuyler Smith, 33, in 2010. Last year he co-founded Polyphon, an architecture firm that specializes largely in accessory dwellings, using her Woodlawn cottage as the first template.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
Real Estate Beat is sponsored by Portlandia Home

Call it the people's density.

Four years after Portland slashed its transportation and parks fees for "in-law" units and other secondary dwellings in hopes of increasing the housing supply in its most in-demand neighborhoods, the city has gotten its wish.

Though they're still far from common — it's only about 3 percent of new dwellings citywide, and fans say those that exist remain in hot demand — the backyards, cellar doors and underused garages of Portland's central neighborhoods are rapidly filling up with "accessory dwelling units," which the city defines as living spaces of 800 square feet or less that have an entrance, bathroom and kitchen to call their own.


New apartments may slow rise of central-city rents in 2014, expert says

Monday, February 10th, 2014
we'll have a barrel of fun...
A Portland construction site in April 2013.
(Photo by sciencesque.)

People's seemingly boundless hunger to live in Portland, especially its bike-friendly eastside grid, will keep the apartment construction market booming in 2014, a local real estate expert says.

real estate beat logo

But that'll keep rents from rising quite as fast as they have been, he predicted.

"It looks like 2014 will again be all apartments, all the time," Greg Frick of HFO Investment Real Estate said in a talk at the Multnomah Athletic Club, echoing his firm's motto.

The surge of new units entering the market, he added, will probably drive up vacancy rates slightly and slow the rise of rents. Market-rate rents will probably grow a bit more slowly than the 6.6 percent hike the area saw in 2013, which was the third-highest rent increase in the country.


Portland, model city: Six skeptical questions for author Julie Campoli

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Writer Julie Campoli.
(Photos courtesy Campoli)

Julie Campoli's mission is to convince the world that Portland is, more or less, right.

In her books, Campoli makes the case that density is desirable, mixed-use neighborhoods are the best ones, and designing streets for walking and biking is good for everyone — even if it reduces auto travel speed and volume, because it'll foster proximity which is key to healthy behaviors. Free auto parking, on the other hand, hurts the economy by making proximity expensive.

For Portlanders (not to mention BikePortlanders) things were reaching dangerously high levels of self-reinforcement. So in advance of her free talk tomorrow in inner Northwest Portland, The Real Estate Beat decided to ask Campoli about six reasons her arguments might be wrong.

Here's what she said.

Your new book Made for Walking opens with the story of the Hurst family who live north of Vancouver, Wash, and drive 627 miles a week among them to get to work and school. Do you know why they choose to live in Venersborg despite the drive? Does their choice have any lessons for us?


After city code change, Overlook developer upgrades bike & car parking and moves upmarket

Friday, January 24th, 2014
A rendering of Overlook Park Apartments, which added an extra story, 17-20 auto parking spaces and almost 50 bike parking spaces in response to neighborhood concerns.
(Image: TVA Architects)
real estate beat logo

Nine months after Portland began requiring on-site auto parking to be included in all large apartment buildings, one of the first test cases is about to break ground.

Overlook Park Apartments, which will start construction in April at the northeast corner of Overlook Park in North Portland, has been completely redesigned after the developer switched architects and scrapped a plan that had his neighbors up in arms over its lack of on-site auto parking.

The resulting building will have paid auto parking, larger rooms, three fewer units, higher rents and half again as much bike parking: 108 indoor spaces for 63 units, with an on-site bike service stand and built-in tools.


Portland project gets 1,200 bike parking spaces, most in N America (and it might not be enough)

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Each of three new buildings planned for the four-block project will include more than 100 bike parking spaces. The fourth will get a basement valet storage area with 540 or more.
(Image by GBD Architects.)
real estate beat logo

Call it a bikescraper.

The 21-story, three-building apartment project now rising in Portland's Lloyd District will create more long-term bike parking than any other project in the nation, with four huge new storage facilities in four buildings and an on-site bike valet parking service to serve the biggest one.

But a project architect said Monday that he's not sure the 1,200 bike parking spaces planned will be enough to serve 657 Portland households, so the development team is considering adding even more bike parking before the project, called Hassalo on Eighth, opens in 2015.


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