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Saturday, November 18, 2006

All fall down

To each and every one of you now getting soaked in the Portland condo bathtub of fools, let me offer a heartfelt nana nana boo boo. And please call your friends down in California right away and tell them how bad it is! Go to the poor farm by streetcar!

Comments (23)

What I notice from the link to the property site is that most of them are 1 BR. Any chance of buying two adjacent to each other and then knocking down a common wall? Then I'd be interested.

I'm kind of surprised the readers of Blue Oregon don't recognize the Housing Bubble in Portland. I like condos, but the ones in the Pearl are ridiculously over priced, and they're going to take a real hit when the Housing slowdown hits Portland.

The buyers that are left in this market don't want to take out an ARM to buy a home. So, the sellers are going to have to reduce their prices to meet the demand that is available for someone with a 30 year fixed mortgages. And that price is significantly lower than the one paid three years ago buy someone with an ARM.

“it’s been so weird." Go figure!

Don't spose any Mafia members will be holding bag on any of this torpedo.

Id like to laugh and say I told you so, but the ramifications can be drastic. Study the history of the condo market in Florida and San Diego. Like dominos they shall fall, the question is what will they bring down with them?

I like condos just fine, but I don't like paying $250,000 for a one-bedroom unit. I also don't like my taxes subsidizing luxury units and the developers who make them (with non-union labor, no less!).

When housing bubbles burst, some people get left holding the bag, which sucks for them (though it does afford the rest of us some nice schadenfreude). But for most people, especially renters, the only effect is a return to sanity in market rates.

It's funny how many people use the term "overpriced". Compared to what? A single family home in Sandy? The housing market prices itself. If they're this high, it just means there are enough people with enough money who WANT to buy at these prices. If not, people will adjust prices accordingly. Take a look at condo prices in Seattle, SF and San Diego (yes, even post "crash"). We're at only half their prices. No, we're not that big a city. Yet. But we're moving in that direction, like it or not. Portland is a great city to live in and so naturally, people are going to move here. People have a right to live where ever they like.

Furthermore, I think it's petty for any one to actually wish economic misfortune to someone just for being a condo owner. I am a condo owner myself and quite frankly I don't care what happens to the market. Believe it or not, I (and others) actually enjoy LIVING in condos. Having many neighbors you see on a near daily basis. Walking to go get a meal. Not having to deal with house maintenance. Believe it or not, not every single condo owner is looking to flip their condo (I've had mine for over 5 years now and stuck with it even through the years where the prices didn't budge.)

Though not as much, the housing market in Portland has also gone up along with the condos. Yet, you don't hear condo owners laughing at potential economic misfortunes of house owners. I honestly don't understand this pettiness.

Maybe because the homeowners are stuck subsidizing the condo development and lifestyles through the PDC's urban renewal schemes.

I guess misery loves company.

Ah, Pancho...they're only "stuck" if they:

* continue to live inside the city limits


* if their candidates for office don't win (who would presumably cease funding PDC and change tax policy)


Because they refuse to move outside city limits and because their candidates keep losing, all they have left is blog-rage.

And don't tell me Portland's population is shrinking. It's not. People are still voting with their feet to come here. So while there may be a temporary condo supply imbalance, the market will fix it by lowering prices as Hahn said.

If you bought in the last couple years and are looking to flip, you'll get burned (and deservedly so). But if , as Hahn claims, you're in for the long haul, then what's the big deal?

It's Jack's blog, so he can laugh at the 500 people who bought Pearl condos and are now looking to flip them. Clearly, he derives joy from it. Other than that, not sure what else it accomplishes, but...

Bye, Reg.

Maybe because the homeowners are stuck subsidizing the condo development and lifestyles through the PDC's urban renewal schemes.

I guess misery loves company.

I'm single and don't have kids. I also am very healthy so I've never benefitted from state healthcare funding. Even if I wasnt', I have private healthcare. Yet, a big chunk of my state taxes goes towards education and healthcare. I also didn't complain during the 3 years of the ITAX. It's part of living in a community. Should I think of myself as being stuck subsidizing the education and healthcare of others since the money I paid into it didn't come back and benefit me directly? You speak as if, first of all, condo owners are responsible for the tax policies, we should receive absolutely no benefits from the taxes we pay, and third, as if our owning a condo somehow is ruining your life.

The taxpayers of Portland are shelling out at least a half billion dollars to build an empty nester wonderland down in the SoWhat district -- ripping off people's views, sticking a stupid aerial tram over people's homes and yards, and bankrupting the city, while dozens, if not hundreds, of crazies roam the streets, we hire bullies as cops, the schools rot, etc.

I'd rather we'd spent all that money on health care, public safety and education, and left the California retirees down in San Diego, where they're needed and would be welcomed. Instead, with Vera Katz and Erik Sten running things and Neil Goldschmidt jerking their low-judgment chains, we gave our future away to the ugly concrete jungle specialists.

I'm sure there could have been some wonderful multi-family, even condo, developments in Portland. But over the last decade or so, there haven't been many, if any. If you're part of the group that moved into a condo here in that timeframe, you are part of the problem.

I don't believe that tracing tax burden to personal benefit is a particularly meaningful exercise, but since you started it, let me tell you, the condo types get a far better deal than the traditional homeowners on that score. Like you, I and my family have never directly benefitted from governmental health care or education. But we fronted the money for the sidewalks and totem poles of the Pearl, which we loathe. We pitch in toward the $1 million a year in city funds for the streetcar, which we never ride. We'll pay toward the hundreds of thousands a year of city money for the aerial tram, which we'll never board. The only people getting anything out of all that nonsense are you and developer creeps like Homer Williams. The backlash of resentment is really not that hard for a smart condo buyer like you to understand, is it?

Is that sarcasm really necessary? I don't consider myself to be a "smart" condo buyer. Coming from NYC, I simply like condo living. I've never had any hand in making tax policies and I go with whatever I'm told to pay. I never bought for investment purposes - just to live somewhere. I didn't complain when my home value jumped, but are you against your home going up in value? So no, I don't understand the resentment towards condo buyers. I've never voted for anything that would be harmful to non-condo residents of Portland. I've never had the expectations of special treatment as a condo owner. Yet, here I am having to defend my choice of lifestyle to people I have never even met who somehow seem to think that me and other condo owners are second only to terrorists on the scale of evil things. Does that strike you as fair?

And for the record, I didn't start the argument of tracing tax burden to personal benefit. I was merely pointing out the fallacy of the previous poster's argument that condo owners benefit off of other people's tax money. Other people also benefit from condo owners' tax money. I DON'T complain about portions of my taxes going to benefit others - that was the point. On the one hand you say it's not meaningful, but you immediately follow-up with why you're pissed off at condo owners - precisely for the reason you JUST said wasn't meaningful! Isn't that contradictory?

For the record, I am all for having a paid Streetcar that would support its own costs or at least most of it. I actually would like to have people pay some fee (say $20?) per month for the use of the Streetcar and/or other Tri-Met public transportation. I don't think public transportation should have to be paid for by people who don't use it. Same goes for the Tram, but I'll hold judgement on that until I find out how much operating costs are and how much they will be charging. You might do the same before you complain that it's going to cost you xx amount of dollars.

here I am having to defend my choice of lifestyle

The only thing you have to do is deal with the fact that those of us who have paid an unfair share of the overhead of having you here, aren't happy about it. And we will gloat when you lose money on your unit.

the fallacy of the previous poster's argument that condo owners benefit off of other people's tax money.

It's not a fallacy. You do. If you live in the Pearl or SoWhat, the rest of us are financing the street in front of your "home." And you pay nothing -- NOTHING -- toward basic services. The city would be a much better place without your building.

I DON'T complain about portions of my taxes going to benefit others

You spent dozens of words whining about it.

I go back to the original post. Call your friends in New York and L.A. and tell them what a lousy investment a condo in Portland is. And how oppressive the weather is. And how backward the locals are.

Hahn, you have been around this post for a while, so maybe this may be repetitive. I agree, not all condo developments are not paying their fair share. On an individual basis many are not due to historical classification, TOD tax subsidy, etc.

But if you take the eleven citywide urban renewal areas where much of the condos are being built, then collectively condos are not fairly paying their fair share.

For example SoWhat will be costing the Portland taxpayers close to $1.5 BILLION in tax subsidies for a 20 year life cycle. The present $320M in direct city of Portland tax subsidy for SoWhat after paying for the bonds for the TIFs amounts close to the $1.5B. This is without the cost overruns that have developed for EVERY single project so far started in the district.

Now compound this fact to the other ten urban renewal districts, the taxpayers who are paying their fair share are subsidizing those who are not paying for streets, police, fire, social services, etc. That is why even the Multnomah Co. Commissioners have even testified and questioned the affects on county revenue because of urban renewal. Even local fire districts, like Clackamas Co. Fire District 1 see the implications of urban renewal to their bottom line.

You may respond that some day these urban renewal areas will be paying taxes back to the city. But when, there has not been one urban renewal area sunsetted after their intial 20 year period, they get extended. Who pays the bills until then, and when they do it is at a discounted portion because of inflation loss through all those years. You know the math.

It is not that I or many of us hate condos, rowhouses, etc., or those who live in them, but what the whole is doing to our city, and not being fair about it.

@Jack - Sorry that you have to feel that bitter towards me. Don't know why you would want to gloat though. If my condo actually plunges more than 50% in value (which I seriously doubt), I suspect your house will take a similar plunge. And anyhow, since I plan to live here awhile (a LONG while), I won't be losing anything at all.

I don't understand how you think that the city should spend money building streets in front of your home, but not mine. As for paying "nothing", I'd be happy to compare what I pay in property taxes per sq foot with what you pay. I am NOT in one of the historic buildings. I pay more than my fair share of taxes. I don't use public services NEARLY as much as you think I do. I don't even live here several days a week. So I don't see how I benefit from your taxes. Perhaps you think that city funding had absolutely nothing to do with the development of the area you live in?

Again, I did NOT complain bout my taxes going to benefit others. I was asking why someone else should complain about public funding for condo areas when I don't complain about funding for housing areas. Or are you seriously claiming that no city money was spent on building and maintaining streets and parks in your area? Would you rather have the Pearl District remain the eyesore and drug/crime central place of 10 years ago?

You seem to think that I'm some snooty individual who looks down at the "backwards locals". I think that's pretty small minded, since I have done absolutely nothing to deserve this kind of attack. But it's a free country so I guess I can't help it if you want to hate me for no good reason.

@Jerry - I agree with some of what you are saying. I have always raised an eyebrow at the historic landmark tax break and just how low it is. Many Pearl District owners feel it's unfair because we pay far more taxes than the owners in these buildings. But I don't see how one jumps to a conclusion that this is the fault of anyone and everyone who buys a condo. I do NOT fall into that tax break category and I pay a LOT of taxes, the vast majority of which does NOT benefit me in any way, shape, or form. But if the city were to give your entire neighborhood some historic taxbreak, #1 you probably wouldn't complain, would you? #2 I would consider it unfair however...#3 I would not sarcastically suggesting that you leave the city as if the tax break were your fault or that you were part of the problem because you benefited from some unfair policy.

For the record, I am all for having a paid Streetcar that would support its own costs or at least most of it.

I think we all would. Somebody tell TriMet.

I actually would like to have people pay some fee (say $20?) per month for the use of the Streetcar and/or other Tri-Met public transportation.

Wow, that would be nice. I pay $74/mo for my Tri-Met pass now...and it goes up a couple times a year. Pretty soon it will equal what parking costs downtown, and I can start driving my car to work.

If my condo actually plunges more than 50% in value (which I seriously doubt), I suspect your house will take a similar plunge.

Ha! What's the difference between a Pearl District condo and syphilis? You can get rid of syphilis.

I pay more than my fair share of taxes.

But if you're in an urban renewal "TIF" zone, all of those taxes go toward paying off the bonds that built the infrastructure in your neighborhood. You pay nothing toward police, fire, transportation, etc., and won't for 20 years or so.

I don't even live here several days a week.

Then why the heck do you think your opinion about Portland's future should matter a hair on a rat's derriere?

city funding had absolutely nothing to do with the development of the area you live in?

The area I live in was developed 100 years ago. There was no city money involved.

You seem to think that I'm some snooty individual

You seem to think that you can read my mind. Actually, I think you are an argumentative New Yorker who's had quite enough of a forum here for a while. Get your last word in if you must, but then please give it a rest. Do come back and keep reading, though. Perhaps some day you will learn how "urban renewal" actually works under Oregon law. Your opinions will be much better informed thereafter.

This really isn't an urban renewal issue. At least in the sense that urban renewal has very little to do with the increase in condos and property prices. This is a National issue and it has to do with lax lending standards.

Condo and Single Family Home prices have increased significantly in Portland. And if there is a housing correction, home prices will fall as well as condo prices.

The deal is that condos appreciate slower than SFHs and depreciate faster. Condos are the last to increase and the first to decrease. So while Portland will likely see a correction, condos are going to take the brunt of it.

Still not sure why people keep misrepresenting South Waterfront. The city portion of the tram even with the increase for the budget overrun is LESS than the repavement project of Naito Pkwy ($9million versus $11million). Most of the tram funding came from OHSU.

The tax rebates that the condo developments get, expire. Then where does the money go?? To the city. The arguements here are only half a story, I can't quite understand the blindness.

Trooooooooll heaven!

Nasty little buggers, eh?

Alan: How long until the tax credits expire? Is it 20 years?

The problem is, that even though Portland's contribution to the tram and SoWa now may be only as you say, we are paying for a project that needs nearly a billion for traffic, bike and pedestrian infrastructure if it were to be built right. However, as Sam Adams admits, far less than a tenth of that has been secured. And there is not even any expectation of funding the needed infrastructure. So the true costs of the development is much more than any initial city share. Now, adding on much more surface parking than was supposed to be allowed there, the gridlock created on the downtown traffic hub will be terrible. A huge contribution to making Portland just another, average, trashed city that falls further and further behind on livability, and further and further behind on ability to fund infrastructure needs.

Tax abatement seems to be a boogie man for the suburbanites.

Tax abatement's (over 20 years) are only for the historical renovation condos, which are by far the minority. These are not tax-free, but they are greatly reduced.

They encouraged the initial development of the Pearl district (when no one would come here at night, like up until five years ago) and they also are incentive to save historical buildings (which are very, very expensive to retrofit and earthquake proof).

Perhaps some of us should consider our motivation for not researching these facts.

Perhaps some of us should consider our motivation for not researching these facts....

...Sort of like how one should research the fact that plenty of people came to "the Pearl" at night, like way before 5 years ago. We had this discussion here on an earlier thread months ago.
Do you recall the Blue Gallery (one of just a handful of clubs here in PDX booking local and national acts in the late 80s/early 90s, or The Long Goodbye- at NW 10/Everett, later home to Jimmy Mak's- booking many legendary PDX acts like the Wipers, et al? Plenty of other folks seemed to share a number of diverse and fond memories as well.
Just because the sheltered suburbanite crowd didn't go to that part of town up until a few years ago doesn't mean much.
OK, so the Pearl has been made over and its a done deal, I was done crying in my beer about that awhile ago. But please, for the gobytrains and hahns that now occupy this town, don't make like you're doing us a favor by making it feel comfortable for you to be there.

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