Mid-Century Inspiration

My listing on SW Greenleaf Court was built in 1981 but was inspired by the styles seen so often in mid-century architecture. By incorporating some of the colors, furniture, light fixtures and details from that time, this property would feel fresh yet stay true to its inspiration. For more information on my listing, click here. 

Posted on July 14, 2017 at 8:54 am
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Three Things to do in Portland

• Take a salsa-making class at SE Portland restaurant Xico

• Sign up for an art class at Carter and Rose

• Visit Washington Park’s International Rose Garden

Posted on June 26, 2017 at 6:03 pm
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4137 SW Greenleaf Court

Posted on June 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm
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Portland Dining News

Food & Wine recently named one of Portland’s new restaurants to it’s list of 2017 restaurants of the year. To find out what hotspot made the list, click here.

Posted on May 19, 2017 at 6:26 am
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Greenhills Mid-Century Vibe | $1,050,000

Posted on May 12, 2017 at 8:34 am
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Design Spotlight: Gourmet Eat-in Kitchens

Posted on May 9, 2017 at 8:56 am
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NW Portland Spotlight | The Yo! Store

NW Portland’s Yo! Vintage is more than what it seems – with a bright interior, chic vintage finds and sustainable children’s clothes, this shop is more than your average “vintage” store.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 10:45 pm
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Portland-area home prices push higher

By Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on March 28, 2017 at 8:31 AM, updated March 28, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Home prices in the Portland area, already at record levels, pushed higher in January.

Prices climbed 0.1 percent during what is usually a seasonally slow month, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, reaching a level 9.7 percent higher than a year earlier.

That’s second only to Seattle’s 11.3 percent increase, year over year, in the 20-city index.

The median home price in Portland was $350,000 in January, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. It climbed to $353,400 in February.

The limited supply of homes on the market has helped push prices higher. In Portland, the end of February saw just 3,109 homes on the market, according to RMLS.

Prices are rising fastest among the lowest-priced homes, where first-time homebuyers and investors are competing for deals, but middle- and high-priced homes are seeing similar increases.

Climbing prices continue to take a toll on affordability. Mortgage rates have stayed relatively low, helping would-be homeowners maintain their buying power.

Future increases, however, could put a damper on homebuying, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee.

“At some point, this process will force prices to level off and decline,” he said in a statement. “However, we don’t appear to be there yet.”

Despite the eye-popping annual increases, there are signs that Portland-area home prices are losing steam.

For six months, monthly home-price growth on a percentage basis has hovered near the national average.

Portland area puts brakes on rapidly rising home prices

Rapid increases in Portland metro home prices may have run out of steam in the second half of 2016.

— Elliot Njus


Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm
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22 Treasured Chests | Luxe Magazine

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 8:57 pm
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Portland’s New Housing Stock is Tilting to Accessory Dwelling Units

Created on Thursday, 02 March 2017 | Written by Steve Law

Portland’s new housing stock is getting miniaturized, with builders planning nearly as many accessory dwelling units as regular single-family houses.

Newly released data show the city issued 615 building permits for new accessory dwelling units or ADUs in 2016, approaching the 867 permits issued for regular houses.

Once a tiny niche in the market, ADUs — also called granny flats or mother-in-law apartments — now are poised to surpass regular home construction in the city. Data from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Bureau of Development Services shows ADUs are growing in popularity each year, while the number of new regular houses seems to have plateaued.

In contrast, a decade ago, the city issued 30 times as many permits for single-family houses as ADUs.

“If you look at the growth chart (in ADU permits), it looks kind of exponential,” says Eli Spevak, a developer of co-housing, ADUs and other innovative housing, and a member of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.

The city permit data likely undercounts the number of new ADUs, because many Portlanders are known to do garage conversions without getting permits, or remodel their basements and attics to provide new rentable spaces. The City Council and Planning and Sustainable Commission also are debating a proposal to allow two ADUs on many city lots as part of the city’s infill housing strategy. One ADU would be allowed inside the house and one as a separate building in the yard.

One reason single-family construction seems to have plateaued is the lack of undeveloped large parcels of land, forcing homebuilders to focus on infill homes on vacant lots or replacing demolished homes, rather than traditional subdivisions. But lenient city rules allow an ADU to be built on most single-family lots, meaning there are tens of thousands of available sites remaining. Homeowners can build them next to their main homes without buying land, or paying for costly utility hookups and driveways.

The average cost to build ADUs these days in Portland is about $160,000, typically for the maximum 800-square-foot unit, says Kol Peterson, an ADU consultant and blogger, and co-owner of Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel on Northeast Alberta Street.

The housing affordability crisis and growing traffic congestion are driving up the popularity of ADUs in Portland, especially in close-in neighborhoods. ADUs provide separate spaces for in-laws, adult children returning from college, or for private rentals that supplement homeowners’ incomes. Some are turning their ADUs into Airbnb rentals, which, in desirable locations, often yield higher incomes than regular rentals.

There’s also a growing “cottage industry” of ADU players, Peterson says. Those include developers, builders, architects and lenders. Banks have been slow to gear up lending for new ADU construction. But many people are now financing their ADUs via home equity lines of credit, Peterson says.

Portland has encouraged ADUs like few other municipalities, starting with a 1998 ordinance when Vera Katz was mayor that allowed one on nearly every lot that had enough space.

Perhaps the biggest boon to the ADU industry was the City Council’s moves — starting in 2010 — to exempt ADUs from systems development charges levied on other new development to cover the impact on roads, parks and utilities. So-called SDCs add several thousand dollars to the development cost of new homes.

In 2009, the city issued only 27 permits for new ADUs, but that number more than tripled the next year, when the SDC waiver took effect. The City Council has renewed the waiver twice since then; the current one expires in July 2018.

Peterson fears if the waiver isn’t renewed, it could destroy momentum in the ADU market. In his annual tours of ADUs around town, attended by several hundred people interested in adding ADUs to their lots, he asks people if they’d build them if they had to pay $17,000 in SDCs. About three-fourths of the people say they wouldn’t, he says.

Spevak isn’t so sure, because fees for ADUs could be based on their size, making them half the price of SDCs for regular single-family homes.

“It all has to do with how they’re set,” says Spevak, who owns Orange Splot LLC. “It’s fair to charge SDCs for new ADUs,” he says. However, in his view, “they should be quite a bit less than single-family homes.”

While developers and homebuilders often face the wrath of neighbors when they build infill houses or demolish homes to build replacements, there’s been relatively little neighbor opposition to ADUs.

Just because the city issues a permit for an ADU or a single-family house doesn’t mean it will get built. But a permit for an ADU costs $5,000, Peterson says, so he calculates that 92 percent of those getting permits wind up building. A permit to build a new single-family house costs even more, says Ross Caron, spokesman for the city Bureau of Development Services, so those shelling out such sums usually wind up building.

Peterson, who is writing a book about ADUs, says Vancouver, British Columbia, has issued about 6,600 permits for them, tops in North America. With unpermitted ADUS added in, that city claims more than 20,000 of them, he says.

Portland has the most in the United States, with some 2,200 ADU permits issued cumulatively, he says. Industry observers calculate that there is a far larger number of units here that were never permitted, though Peterson senses that share is declining.

What is an ADU?
Accessory dwelling units are secondary homes on residential lots. They can be inside a house or an outbuilding in the yard.

Under city rules, they can be no more than 800 square feet in size or three-fourths the size of the main house, whichever is smaller.

What about tiny homes?
There’s also a parallel boom in Portland for “tiny homes.”

Those can get smaller than 300 square feet, and could be classified as an ADU if they are built as permanent housing, such as on a slab of concrete or a foundation.

But many tiny homes are built on wheels so they can be moved easily. Under current city code, they are classified as RVs for residential purposes, making them illegal for habitation in peoples’ yards.

As with ADUs, though, tiny homes can provide an economical solution for Portland’s housing affordability crisis. City officials and homeless advocates are exploring ideas to make tiny homes more widespread in Portland.

Posted on March 22, 2017 at 7:58 am
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