The competition for homes in Portland is
intense, with offers landing well above the
asking price, and more and more people
showing up with cash in hand to outbid even
the most qualified of applicants.
You’ll find charming bungalows and modern
high-rises across the city and surrounding
suburbs, but building a home on your own will
require some dedication and perseverance.
One of the many draws to living in Port-
land, Oregon, is how quickly you can escape
the urban area. While most cities stretch
out as they grow, turning rural areas into
suburban sprawl, Oregon law as established
an urban growth boundary to control urban
expansion, and protect farms and forest that
surround Oregon’s cities.
Thanks to the urban growth boundary, a short
drive will land you in the countryside where
fresh air, trees, and farms abound. The land
within the urban growth boundary supports
the development of metropolitan infrastructures, like roads, water and sewer systems,
parks, schools, and fire and police protections, while land outside of the boundary is
protected from urban sprawl, to preserve the
abundance of nature and local farmers that
area residents depend on.
In order to keep up with the housing
demand and preserve the farms and
forest that surround Portland, urban infill
has been utilized to optimize the use of
already developed areas. Infill is an urban
planning term, defined as the use of land
within a built-up area for further construc-
tion. More specifically, abandoned lots
and underutilized spaces are converted
into homes to serve the rising demand,
without taking over more land.
Portland has a reputation for urban sustainability. In 1991, zoning changes were approved
by the city to redevelop existing urban land
into housing. This led to developers purchasing
lots, subdividing them into much smaller
lots, and building contextually inappropriate
tract housing on those slivers of land. (Tract
housing is a type of development in which
nearly identical houses are built on a tract of
subdivided land.) The intention was good —
building more houses in the space that existed
— but the result was visually unappealing to
many neighborhood residents.
The “Living Smart” program was launched
in Portland in 2003 and ran through 2011, in
response to that rise in small lot, tract housing.
This program limited infill to currently vacant
lots and added design requirements, ensuring
that new properties would not become an
eyesore on the existing neighborhood. This
led to a dialogue between designers and
builders, and an international competition
was launched to encourage design firms and
individuals to design houses with specifically
defined, compact parameters. Entrants were
encouraged to use sustainable approaches to
their designs. Winning designs were chosen
and became models not only for Portland, but
for International urban development.
This progression of the urban growth boundaries, infill, and the Living Smart program
showcase Portland’s dedication to constantly
evolving as a sustainable, livable city.
As the city continues to grow, the urban
growth boundaries are revisited every twenty
years to assess the population growth within
the city, and adjust the boundaries if necessary.
To better manage the expansion of boundaries over time, urban and rural reserves were
created. These reserves currently exist outside
of the urban growth boundaries, but designate
T I P S for bu Ying
The demand for housing in the Portland area is strong due to solid
job growth and people who want to live in Portland. In a competitive
real estate market, a local top real estate expert offers this advice:
in Portland’s Hot Market
1. Move quickly!
In a hot market, you can’t dawdle. When you find a house you like, go
see it that day and if it’s the house for you; make the offer. The longer
it takes to make the offer, the more likely it is that someone else will
find it and make an offer.
2. Be prepared to pay over list price
You may not have to pay over list, but be prepared to. Have your
agent do some research and find out the ratio of list to sales price
for that neighborhood. That way you’ll have an idea of what homes
are going for in the area, and you won’t have to lose out on several
homes before getting the one you want.
3. Don’t put the cart before the house
Do all your homework before actually going to look at houses. Meet
with your agent and get educated on the process and the area
you’re looking in. Meet with a lender and get fully pre-approved.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than finding your “dream
house” first, and then starting these things. By the time you’re ready
to make the offer, the house is already gone.
Tips provided by Rick Sadle, Principal Broker with The Sadle Home Selling Team.
Rick is licensed in Oregon and Washington. For more information and resources,
please visit www.PortlandVancouverHomeSearch.com