Home Ownership Affordability

20% Down Payment

Much of the region, especially neighborhoods closer to Portland’s city center, has become increasingly less affordable for middle-income home buyers since 2012. The map below shows the percent of income spent on housing for a household earning the region’s median family income for a family of four in the given year. Areas shaded green are locations considered affordable for these households, as they require 30% or less of a household’s income. Areas shaded red are considered unaffordable. Over time, affordability changes as incomes, interest rates, and home sales prices change.

The 2000 to 2015 period shows two full housing cycles; while housing became more affordable from 2000 to 2004, by 2007 affordable home ownership had become more challenging than it is today given relatively high interest rates. By 2011 at the bottom of the recession, housing once again trended towards being more affordable. If these trends continue at their current rates it is likely housing will become only more unaffordable again by 2020.


  • Structure Type & Cost: Single Family Homes and Owned Condominiums and Townhouses. Sales Price from Metro RLIS
  • Income: 4 person household Median Family Income according to HUD for each year
  • Affordability: Affordable: Housing Costs = 30% or less of gross family income Down Payment: 20% Mortgage: 30-year amortizing principal interest Interest Rate: Annual Average from Freddie Mac Property Tax Change Ratio: from the Multnomah County Assessor’s Office Property Tax Rate: $20 per $1,000 Insurance: Sales Price/1,000 * 3.5 Utilities: $250 per month in 2014, adjusted for inflation
  • Geography: Portland Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)
  • Calculation: Percent of MFI spent on Housing = (Mortgage Payment + Annual Utilities+Property Tax+Home Insurance) / MFI