Eugene’s Housing Crisis

Jared Hicks News

In February of 2017, Eugene was given the dubious distinction of having the 2nd tightest housing market in the nation (2nd to only Seattle).  In the past year since that study was released, not a lot has changed.  While no recent survey’s have been released ranking the tightest markets in the country for 2018, it is safe to assume Eugene is still right at, or near the top.

Last February when the realtor.com article was was released, Eugene had 2.2 months of inventory.  This February that figure was down to 1.8 months of inventory, and the most recent release states that March’s inventory fell to an modern day low of 1.4 months.  That is mind-numbingly low.

While the winners of this market are folks who currently own a home and have benefited from the surge in home prices, the losers are first time home buyers or folks looking to own a home again after renting for a time.

Unfortunately the City of Eugene has been extremely slow to react to the housing affordability crisis, however there are currently some interesting ideas on the table.  One is to allow for home owners to build accessory dwelling units, which has passed at the state level and is currently being debated at the city level.  Another idea has been to rezone areas of the city to denser residential and create urban infill.

Another proposal currently being discussed by the city is to asses a 1% tax on all home building.  The estimated $3 million raised by the tax would be a bandaid on a much larger issue.  Eugene is already known for its high permit fees, and to disincentivize homebuilders with another tax would only make this bad situation even worse.

Let’s hope city hall moves in a direction that comes up with and supports solutions that will incentivize investment and homebuilding to keep up with the surge in demand of people wanting to own a home in Eugene.