Report: Rezoning Portland will increase housing, lower rents

Report: Rezoning Portland will increase housing, lower rents

An economic report released Thursday moves the Residential Infill Project closer to City Council consideration.

A rezoning plan working its way towards the City Council would result in almost twice as many new homes being built in Portland over the next 20 years, according to an economic report released Thursday.

The new homes would also be far less expensive to rent because they would be much smaller, says the report prepared by Portland-based Johnson Economics.

The Residential Infill Project recommendations are currently being considered by the Planning and Sustainability Commission. In recent months, the commission moved to substantial increase the recommended portion of exisiting single-family neighborhoods to be rezoned for smaller multifamily projects, like duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes.

The commission originally considered recommending that 60 percent of single-family neighborhoods be rezoned. It has now raised that 96 percent, or almost all of them.

The increase would result in 38,115 new homes being built over the next two decades. That compares to 13,665 new homes under the city's current zoning, the report says.

"You would expect high rates of redevelop" with the changes, says economist Jerry Johnson, the author of the report.

According to the report, under the city's existing zoning, the majority of new homes built over the next 20 years would be single-families houses that would rent for an average of $4,159 a month. If the council approves the recommendations, the majority would be duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes, with the average rent being $1,823 per unit.

"The impact on rental residential pricing was highly significant, with average rents dropping by 56% as compared to the default scenario (current zoning), which reflects a change in unit size as opposed to reduced rents per square foot," the report says.

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