In Portland, Oregon, the average apartment rent is about $1,300, compared to about $1,180 just one year ago. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Portland is ranked as one of the tightest housing markets with a vacancy rate of about three percent.
What exactly is driving such a tight rental market in Portland? A variety of factors have contributed to such a low vacancy rate, including a rather slow economic recovery as well as low wages.
The New Reality in Portland Rental Market
No longer are prospective tenants able to take advantage of months of free rent or other sign-up bonuses. Instead, prospective tenants find themselves vying over an ever increasingly small pool of available properties. It has now become a common sight in Portland for prospective tenants to line up outside available rentals, often bringing blank checks with them in hopes of landing a property. Renters have become so desperate in Portland that they have even taken to posting ads on Craigslist, often willing to pay well above the advertised rent price in an effort to secure a rental.
At the same time, rents are continuing to climb at such a fast rate in Portland that many prospective renters find affordability slipping away. This has proven to be particularly true in the Pearl District and Downtown area. Consequently, more renters have found it necessary to search for available properties closer to the outside of the city. While it may be easier to find available properties on the edges of Portland, doing so can often add to the cost of housing, as renters must spend more money on commuting.
Such changes have significantly affected the way in which property owners also do business. Now, property owners and managers will list a property as available for rent and within just a few minutes, they have eager tenants asking for a viewing. If there is a challenge in the new rental market in Portland, it is trying to fill the growing demand.
Managing Rental Properties in Portland
Landlords who are concerned about properly managing their Portland properties will find it necessary to implement a few measures to ensure their properties are adequately protected. When there is literally a line of eager applicants standing outside your property, with completed applications and blank checks in hand, it can be all too easy to forego the formal process of conducting a background check. This can ultimately prove to be an extremely dangerous oversight; however, as it can lead to renting properties to applicants who have been previously evicted or who may have a criminal background.
One way to avoid this problem is to utilize a service like VerticalRent that allows you to send mobile-friendly links to applicants, allowing them to complete online applications. This also gives landlords the opportunity to track the progress of applicants in real time. Mobile friendly services also give landlords the ability to quickly evaluate applicants using a full credit report along with eviction, sex offender, and criminal searches.