Apartment outlook: 7,000 new units annually in Portland for at least 2 more years

Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal

The Portland market may be on track to add 7,000 new apartment units each year between 2014 and 2016, but according to Jerry Johnson, there may be even more than that on the way.

“What we know about and can talk about is around 25,000 units either under construction or planned for the region” this year and the next two years, said Johnson, a principal at the consulting firm Johnson Economics. “There are even more that I can’t talk about.”

Johnson’s remarks came during Multifamly NW’s Fall 2014 Apartment Report breakfast at the Multnomah Athletic Club. He was one of the panelists who spoke to the 400-person audience on the state of Portland’s apartment market.

To sum up Johnson’s take: the market here is strong, construction is likely to continue booming and demand will endure, at least until mid 2016. What could hasten the party’s end could be a failure for wages to rise in tandem with increasing rents, improvements in the home ownership rate, rising cap rates and the chance that developers may overbuild the market.

“We’re hoping for a second wind on the party,” Johnson said, “but it might be time to start thinking about that hangover and holding off on that next round of drinks.”