Many homeowners in Portland are forced to consider selling their homes due to annually rising property taxes. While so many have felt the hurt on their pocketbooks, potentially even forcing them out of their homes, Portland still has a lower rate of property taxes than many metros across the nation. Question is, how many bonds will it take before Portland has a higher rate of property taxes than many other metros?
Portland Property Taxes in a Nutshell
Portland lies primarily within two counties: Washington and Multnomah. Property tax rates vary for any given home based on its value and the rate for the county and neighborhood it's in. In Multnomah County, property values are determined by county assessment, plus around 3% every year to account for the natural increase in home prices.
Homeowners or buyers interested in a home in Portland can visit taxgraph.multco.us to see a graph of the last five years of assessed property values and property taxes for any given piece of real estate in Multnomah County.
Bonds Make Portland Property Taxes Rise
The only time property tax rates can go up by more than 3% in this county is when voters approve bond measures. In 2016, voters approved bonds for affordable housing and schools, for a total of nearly a billion dollars of "purchases." Then again in November 2018, voters approved another $652 million bond to add to local Portland property taxes.
Recently, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that so far, on the last affordable housing bond, nearly $37 million has been collected through taxes on homes and real estate. The money has gone towards 600 new affordable units in 2017, with 700 more to open in 2018. This was "the largest number ever produced with city help in a single year in modern history," according to the Portland Tribune.
It's a bargain considering that Portland, Oregon still has a low property tax rate compared to many other cities and states across the country. However, Portland eventually will not have a lower than average property tax rate if new bonds are approved every year. Most of the time when property taxes increase, that increase is carried over into higher local rents. Perhaps there is another way to create affordable housing that does not increase the cost of housing itself. There are vulnerable communities in Portland that own homes and are trying to hold on to them.