Housing is a crucial issue for Oregonians across the state. With inflation, rising interest rates, and a persistent shortage of available homes, too many Oregonians are struggling to afford a place to live. Now, leaders in the Oregon Legislature and Governor Tina Kotek are renewing their focus on this issue.
Oregonians think the economy is worsening and are increasingly financially vulnerable.
Only 14% of Oregonians think the economy is improving, with 53% saying it is getting worse and 29% saying it is staying about the same. Looking at these numbers over time, there is a notable increase in those who think the economy is worsening, up from 26% in 2019. 60% of those surveyed think economic conditions are poor. Learn more about this here.
Many are struggling to afford their housing.
When asked if their housing situation is affordable, 37% of Oregonians said no. “Affordable” here is defined by HUD calculations, according to which housing that accounts for more than 30% of income is unaffordable. Similarly, 34% of Oregonians would not be able to financially recover from a $1,000 emergency and still pay their rent or mortgage on time. This number has increased from 22% in 2016 as housing has become more expensive and less available.
Housing prices are rising, and Oregonians think it is a bad time to buy a home.
In addition to being more financially vulnerable, people are more cautious about making the investment to own a home. The proportion of people who see it as a bad time to buy a home has risen since 2019, and more than two thirds (70%) now see it as a bad time to buy. Some (50%) also predict the price of homes in their communities will stay about the same or decrease in the next year, more so than in previous years surveyed. This could be a response to rising interest rates, and with 53% of Oregonians saying economic conditions are worsening, Oregonians could be anticipating the effects on housing prices.
However, there is not agreement among Oregonians on whether the average price of homes in their community will increase or decrease, with 45% predicting an increase and 50% predicting a decrease or stagnation. Breaking down the data a bit further reveals that younger people (55%), those who make less than fifty thousand dollars annually (58%), and those who rent their homes (64%) are more likely to think housing prices in their communities will increase.
Some Oregonians want the prices of homes in their community to increase—but those who are more vulnerable would prefer a decrease.
Turning from predictions to preferences, these same subgroups are more likely to want the prices of homes in their communities to decrease. Overall, 38% of Oregonians prefer an increase in housing prices in their community. This shows a disconnect between what people expect from the housing market and what people hope might come out of it, especially for those already at a disadvantage in the housing market. Similarly, only 13% of Oregonians said the priority for policymakers should be increasing home values. This trend shows a desire for leaders to slow the increase in housing prices, but the gap between these two statistics also indicates a potential reluctance for policymakers to intervene. An even smaller proportion of Oregonians want leaders in the state to increase average rents, at only 7%. While there are obvious differences between homeowners and renters, this is still indicative of wariness toward increasing home prices, and Oregonians are expecting economic conditions to worsen.
For homeowners, however, a majority (68%) want the value of their own home to increase. This is no surprise, but a closer look at the data reveals differences in opinion for homeowners looking at their own home, versus homes in their community.
Many people (71%) do not see rising home prices as a sign of economic growth in the state, and increasingly less so as home prices increase while the economic situation does not seem to improve. When asked if they think rising home prices are good for the state, only 23% of Oregonians said they agreed, compared to 38% in 2019.
Oregonians are supportive of proposed tax incentives and deductions in the legislature but oppose building on farm and forestlands.
When asked about current bills in the Oregon Legislature to address housing, the level of support varies widely. The most supported (81%) among those surveyed was freezing property taxes on residences for those ages 67 or older. A majority of people also support both providing tax incentives to convert office buildings to housing (64%) and creating a tax deduction for people who rent out a room in their primary home (61%). Oregonians are split (41% support, 41% oppose) on eliminating the mortgage tax deduction for second homes, and are opposed (20% support, 71% oppose) to allowing new housing development on farm and forestlands.
These findings come from a DHM Research (DHM) online survey of 500 Oregonians conducted from February 24 to March 1, 2023. Quotas were set by age, gender, area of the state, level of education, race, political party, income, and homeownership status to ensure a representative sample of Oregon residents. The margin of error for this survey is ±4.4%.