PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Realtors, economists and local leaders sat down for several hours Thursday to talk about Oregon’s housing supply and affordability crisis, as well as how to solve it.
According to data laid out during the fourth annual Oregon Housing Economic Summit, the state ranks number four in the U.S. for underproducing homes.
“While nearly every state in the U.S. currently faces housing underproduction, few are experiencing it as severely as Oregon,” said Tony Kelly, Portland real estate broker.
Kelly also said that currently, there’s not enough housing for everyone in the state, saying there’s a shortage of roughly 140,000 housing units and believes that in the next 20 years, Oregon will need to build more than 550,000 new units to accommodate the growing population.
“This causes many negatives on our state and on our communities, such as rapid housing pricing increases, displacement and segregation, increasing rates of homelessness and worsening inequities,” he said.
Ariel Nelson with the League of Oregon Cities says the challenges cities are facing include infrastructure costs, and some cities don’t have enough land to build on, while others don’t have enough people to process, approve and plan for needed housing.
“All cities are struggling to meet the demand now and produce housing faster to meet that deficit that we have across the state,” she said.
Nelson explained how much of it stems from the U.S. recession and housing crisis in 2008.
“During that time, governments were in the same position as a lot of business and having to cut in places and without housing getting built, a lot of planning departments were cut and so we lost a lot of workforce there,” she said.
While these challenges won’t be easy to overcome, Nelson says her organization is working with lawmakers toward long and short-term solutions.
“We’re going to be having a conversation about what are the bureaucratic or red tape barriers to the development process,” she said.