The Single-Family Ban in Oregon Could Triple Portland’s Available Housing

July 19, 2019
portland oregon
Photo: Unsplash/Zack Spear

If it passes, Oregon’s ban on single-family zoning could triple the for-sale housing stock in Portland, Redfin reports.

The bill, which is an attempt to curb price growth and provide more affordable housing options to Oregon residents, would require cities of more than 10,000 to allow duplexes and cities of more than 25,000 to allow triplexes, fourplexes, attached townhomes and “cottage clusters” in areas currently zoned for single-family homes only. The bill also applies to all cities within the Portland metro area, regardless of size. We’re going to look at the impact this could have on the Portland area, where home prices have shot up about 37 percent since the beginning of 2016.

Hypothetically, the bill could help create 14,000 new homes—the equivalent of an entire spring’s worth of new listings in the Portland metro, which would nearly triple the available housing supply in the area—if all the new homes were built at the same time.

Adding new units would help keep Portland home prices in check and help more residents afford homes. That’s especially true if the units are duplexes, triplexes, townhouses and other multi-family dwellings, as those tend to be less expensive than the single-family homes they’re replacing: The typical two-bedroom home in a two-to-four-unit complex in the Portland metro sells for $264,200, while the typical two-bedroom single-family home in the area sells for a median of $337,418. 

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