Everything you need to know about moving to Greater Portland.

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The Portland Apartment Market

Photo courtesy Park Avenue West Apartments

It takes significant time and energy to understand a new city and navigate the many neighborhoods that one could potentially call home. Many new Portlanders will opt for an apartment when they first relocate, giving them time to explore the variety of options before committing themselves to home ownership.

Others will find that renting works out just fine for them. Rent in Portland, even in the most desirable neighborhoods, is relatively affordable compared to many big cities. Renting gives Portlanders a little more flexibility in which neighborhood they choose, as well as the freedom to move elsewhere, should their neighborhood preferences change.

The Portland area is changing quickly, and you’re sure to discover more and more to love about living here. For those opting for apartment living, you’ll find the search for your first Portland apartment to be an exciting adventure into what makes our neighborhoods and our city so special.

The Apartment Market in Portland

Everyone is moving to Portland.

That’s a slight exaggeration, of course. But not by much. According to the 2014 National Movers Study, Oregon is the number one destination for people who are relocating. Word of Oregon’s impressive livability is spreading across the country. The mild temperatures, stunning natural surroundings, and the craft food and beverage scene are calling many. And for many of those newcomers, Portland is the Oregon city of choice.

A surge in Portland residents means that apartment prices are going up. Over the past five years, the average rental price has risen roughly 20%, making it the 6th fastest rising rent in the country.

On the upside, Portland still offers affordable options compared to bigger cities like New York City and San Francisco, with comparable offerings in urban amenities, from museums to top-rated restaurants. Those who are looking for an exciting, up-and-coming city that doesn’t require celebrity wealth or multiple side jobs, will find just that in Portland.

The average rental price of a one-bedroom within Portland is $1,323. The average two-bedroom is going for $1,470. You’ll find more affordable rental options as you move away from the city center, especially in the far east side and North Portland.

Exceedingly low vacancy rates are making the competition for properties a fierce one. It’s not uncommon for landlords to rent out apartment units, sight unseen, to potential tenants who are anxious to jump on appealing options in their neighborhoods of choice.

The prevalence of craftsman style bungalows in Portland means that many apartments are in houses, and many Portland residents enjoy the affordability and amenities of sharing a house over an apartment. Houses are an obvious choice for families, but singles can also find apartment options in houses. Whether you’re looking to rent your own, or split one with roommates, the houses for rent in Portland are attractive alternatives to apartments — giving you the cozy comfort of a home (often with a yard!) within the confines of a city.

Houses are the more traditional residential option in Portland, but high-rise apartment buildings are popping up with greater size and frequency in most neighborhoods.

Real estate experts are now predicting that as the influx of new residents continues in Portland, the city will shift to one that’s dominated by apartment buildings. Forecasts state that approximately 123,000 new housing units will be added to the city between 2010 and 2035. Of those 123,000, 94,000 will be apartments or condos — roughly ¾ of all new homes.

Renters should be ready to move fast when searching for apartments in Portland. Whatever it is you’re looking for — a downtown apartment, a Southeast Bungalow, or month-to-month room — there are going to be other people who want that, too.

Preparing your paperwork in advance of viewing apartments in Portland is a must. Landlords all have different requirements, but it’s always a good idea to have your proof of income in the form of W-2 forms, rental history, and references on hand. Open houses will welcome plenty of worthy candidates, and having the necessary paperwork to begin the approval process will land you ahead of the line.

The apartment market in Portland might be competitive, but considering the many desirable traits of this city — from the most bike friendly streets to the booming craft beer scene — calling Portland home is well worth the effort. With a little time and patience, you’re sure to find an apartment in Portland that will soon feel like home.