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Portland's Rental Market Is Not New Grad Friendly


Portland consistently ranks as a top destination for new college graduates, but a new study suggest that there may not be anywhere for them to live.

Data from real estate website Trulia found that Portland is the least affordable rental market for recent grads based on rent, income and vacancy rate when compared to the nation’s 25 largest metro areas.

San Francisco, New York and even our northern neighbor Seattle have more expensive rentals than Portland, but affordable housing on a starting salary budget is tough to come by.

“The main reason that Portland was ranked as the least affordable for new grads is not because the median rents are so high there, but because the median income for new grads … entering the workforce is so low,” said Trulia spokesperson Kristy Hessman in an email.

According to Trulia’s data, incoming young professionals working full and part time are making a median income of $18,500 annually, which means they should be seeking housing for about $479 a month. When’s the last time you saw rent like that for an apartment in Portland? Right now, the median rent for the metro area is about $1,215.

As OPB reported last month, Portland’s overall vacancy rate is just 3 percent, making it one of the most competitive rental markets in the country. Currently, the city has a deficit of about 20,000 affordable units, leaving both new grads and low-income individuals and households scrambling to find housing.

Recently, organizations on both the local and state levels have announced their commitment to creating more affordable units in Portland. The Portland Tribune reports the City of Portland’s North/Northeast Neighborhood Strategy, ad hoc committee A Home For Everyone, housing provider Home Forward, Metro’s Equitable Housing Initiative and the state Legislature are all making moves to meet demand.

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