Economist: Few vacant units mean more rent increases in Oregon


by: Brandon Thompson


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s annual cap on rent increases will balloon in 2023, from 9.9% in 2022 to 14.6%.


The formula, which determines the rent cap, takes a 7% base and adds the 12-month average of inflation in the Northwest region of the country. Inflation stood at 7.6% over the last 12 months, according to State of Oregon Economist Josh Lehner.


“We have a very low vacancy rate in Oregon. We have a historical underproduction of housing. That’s contributing to increases the cost of housing because there are not other places to move to if you want to live in Oregon. There are very few vacant units,” Lehner said.


The increase marks the highest seen in the five years rent stabilization has been law in Oregon, with the next highest being 10.3% in 2019, the first year of the regulation.


Kim McCarty, the executive director of Community Alliance of Tenants, says for lower-income homes, a rent increase of 14.6% is “in and of itself an eviction.”


“It’s all piling on and when you add the inflationary elements of housing, people are at their breaking point,” McCarty said.


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