The more I travel, the more I marvel at the quality of life Portland, OR offers. We have vibrancy, relatively EZ traffic although it’s starting to feel big city-ish this past year, there are very few areas I would consider “unsafe”, and in a relatively short amount of travel time, you can transverse our fair city in about 45 minutes. That’s tip to tip, 4 counties wide, and in another 15 minutes in just about any direction thereof, you can find the deep woods too. We have two amazing rivers, and 3 fantastic snow capped mountains to ogle year round. It just is a good place to be………..
Which all now gets me to the recent articles in our various newspapers, and even the TV stations are doing it…..the “whoa is me rental market blues if you are a tenant” stories. OK, I get it, rents are rising, but against EVERY OTHER SIGNFICANTLY SIZED METRO AREA on the west coast, we are still the cheapest…..where else are the rental rates supposed to go? The kicker for me though isn’t that rents are rising, but that the stories talk about affordability, meaning income versus rent paid. Well….I still think Portland is cheaper than most, and I’ll prove that point alone right here.
The photo with this blog is the skyline of Norfolk, VA. It’s certainly nowhere the size of Portland, but the MSA here (I happen to be in Norfolk at this time writing this), it’s statistics are roughly 1.6 million residents, making it the 37th largest MSA in the United States. For relativity, Portland is 2.3 million, in 24th place MSA nationally. Median income in Norfolk, call it $43,000 annually, Portland is $52,000.
Here is where the rental analysis gets interesting…..with more Googling I find Norfolk 2014 Q1 median rent, $1119 (from what I can tell, rent has grown in Norfolk the past year too). For Portland, median rent is $1450 right now. So Portland is horrifically more expensive……..or is it? I say no, because what folks are forgetting is the income side of the equation……using these two cities in comparison, Portlanders have another $9k per year as a potential offset……and unless I’m not seeing this correctly, the roughly $300 per month delta in rent is easily offset and then some by the $750 delta in income.
In conclusion, if you want cheaper rent, I guess move to Norfolk. The folks here are real nice, and have a nice southern drawl which is quite comforting to listen too. Or stay in Portland, it seems to me in the overall grand scheme of things, you’ll be money ahead, get to wear sandals a lot, and nobody seems to have an accent that I can tell :)…….