Rents Continue to Rise


Higher prices in the rental market continue to force Oregon families to choose between paying rent, putting food on the table and paying utility bills according to the Housing Alliance.  A national study reports that the cost of renting an apartment in Oregon has increased again, an alarming trend for a state with unemployment at ten percent.

“The on-going recession, high unemployment and continued wave of foreclosures in Oregon continues to make it more difficult for hard working Oregonians to find a safe, decent and affordable place to call home,” said Janet Byrd, chair of the Housing Alliance, “In Oregon, we believe everyone needs a place to call home. As we work together to solve the current budget crisis, the Legislature needs to prioritize providing basic needs to those most impacted by the ongoing recession.”

According to the report released recently by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the average rent and the income required to afford those rents continue to rise despite high unemployment and foreclosures. As rents continue to increase, more and more Oregon families find themselves homeless for the first time.

“Every year it is becoming more difficult for hard-working Oregonians to find decent homes they can afford,” said Sharon Miller, executive director of Neighbor Impact in Central Oregon. “This year, someone making minimum wage in the Bend area would have to work more than ten hours a day, seven days a week just to be able to afford a place to call home.”

“Hard-working people should be able to afford housing and still have enough money for groceries and other basic necessities,” said Cyndy Cook, executive director of Housing Works in Redmond.  “Unfortunately, high rates of foreclosure are contributing to low vacancy rates putting upward pressure on the rental market and creating challenges for low income Oregonians to find affordable rental housing.  In the Bend area, we’ve seen increases in rent as high as 18 percent over the last 12 months – making it difficult for families to find safe, stable places to call home.”

The report, Out of Reach 2010, was jointly released by the NLIHC, a Washington, DC-based housing advocacy group, and Oregon’s Housing Alliance. The report provides data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country. The report also defines a “Housing Wage,” which for the Bend area is $15.23, or nearly double Oregon’s minimum wage. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn—working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year—to be able to afford rent and utilities in the private housing market. The average fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Bend is $792 —a number that has increased 36 percent since 2000.

This year, Oregon is the twenty-ninth most expensive state in the nation for renters. The National Housing Wage is $18.46 in 2011.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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