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Portland REALTORS® Take Direction From Consumers’ Preferences

By HOM Editorial Team
June 2015

Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® helped fund and develop a regional consumer preference study on housing.

The Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area is growing fast. Its population is expected to increase from its current 1.9 million to 2.9 million over the next 20 years. The expected growth raises important questions about development, such as where and what type of housing should be added?

Historically, consumers — the ones actually purchasing and living in the housing — were left out of these discussions. The Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® has worked to change that process by getting consumers involved.

In 2014, the REALTORS® Association joined with Portland-area local and regional governments and housing-related trade associations to help fund and develop a regional consumer preference study — a one-of-a-kind collaboration between public and private entities. The study was designed to learn about residents’ preferred housing types and to help guide development decisions. Survey responses were apportioned by demographic factors in order to capture a fully representative cross-section of the population.

The results of the study, released in fall 2014, revealed a very strong preference for single-family, detached homes. Some 80 percent of the more than 6,500 individuals surveyed reported that they would prefer to live in this style of housing. Most of the people surveyed said they would be willing to add another 10 to 15 minutes to their commute to live in their preferred housing type.

The survey revealed unfortunate disparities between residents’ desired housing and actual housing. For example, despite the preferences of those surveyed, only 65 percent currently live in single-family detached homes.

The full impact of the survey is not yet known, but it is already helping to guide the future of housing in Portland. Metro, the area’s regional government, is considering the survey results as it embarks on a required review of the area’s urban boundary. The review is to determine whether that border should be expanded.

The REALTORS® Association is now better able to lobby for ordinances and decisions that allow for more single-family homes, following long-standing client demand. The survey also helps the Association develop priorities and informational resources for consumers, such as its comprehensive website.

The Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® is helping to make consumer voices heard in planning decisions. Using consumer preference to guide planning decisions benefits everyone involved.

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