Blog Stories The First World Problems of a Second Home

The First World Problems of a Second Home

By Davia Larson, September 5, 2018


These are the exclamations of my friends, reacting to the sale of our small, sweet, ugly, love shack in Hood River. It was our first, second home. We thought we would own it forever, but it’s only been two years. I have all the architect’s renderings for the remodel, the plans to turn a plain-jane 50’s ranch into a mid-mod-mini retreat.

So what gives? Are we fickle? Careless spendthrifts who waste hard-earned savings? Possibly, though I hope not.

The Hood River house opened a new chapter for us. We escaped Portland every weekend, making us feel like free-range kids who could do what we pleased, when we pleased. Paddle, hike, bike, golf, ski, eat, sleep and repeat. We were giddy teenagers in love all over again.

But the next thing you know, we wanted more. We wanted more space for family and friends, more space for a backyard plunge pool. More storage for our growing pile of outdoor toys. We also wanted less. Less wind so I could paddle board all the time, less of the cold winter months, less of the grey skies that hold back the arrival of Spring, and less of the rain that turns golf courses into bogs.

As we considered this first-world conundrum, events took a turn. Early this summer we found ourselves in Northern California at a funeral. While saying good-bye to a long-lived family member, we said ‘Hello!’ to a new small town. Like a meet cute in a movie, here it was. More water, less wind. More sun, less winter. Further away, but closer to San Francisco. More affordable homes, less remodeling required. We fell for it, both the more and the less.

So long Hood River. You’ll always be the place we return to—when we can’t escape to our second, second home.

Davia Larson

Principal Broker

Portland is a left-coast city steadily adapting to the changes driven by population growth. The good news that with preparation and market awareness, buyers and sellers are able to find a home to love. What clients need is an understanding of growth, density, value, interest rates, neighborhood character, and individual needs. Here’s the 7 Layer Salad of Portland’s Real Estate landscape: 1. According to data tracked by moving companies, Oregon is the number one destination in the country. 2. Portland city planners are preparing for 260,000 new residents by 2035. (Data here is from Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan). 3. Estimates are that 30% of new residents are expected to move into downtown, and another 20% will disperse throughout neighborhoods. The remaining 50% will live in other centers, villages like Montavilla and Hillsdale, or along corridors, which are busy thoroughfares like SE Hawthorne and N. Mississippi. The intent is to increase density where public transit, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure is readily accessible. 3. The city expects that in this same time frame 140,000 new jobs will be added. 4. Portland will grow UP and not OUT. Our Urban Growth Boundary protects agricultural and forested areas, along with the local outdoor and wildland attractions that bring so many people here to begin with. 5. Portland is home to 95 neighborhood associations, each with a distinctive character and unique set of community priorities, including schools, land-use, equity, and gentrification. 6. The headlines for the past two years have focused attention on the lack of available housing inventory, rising prices, lack of affordable housing alternatives, and development of new market-rate rental and multifamily units. All of those conversations will continue for the foreseeable future. 7. While interest rates have remained low and lending restrictions have eased since the recession, the new administration in Washington DC will impact the economic landscape, interest rates, and inflation. It’s too soon to tell how much and how soon, but we are all watching for market signals that point to future trends. How all these layers impact Portland’s reputation as a friendly, entrepreneurial, green, creative, and quirky place is a story that unfolds day by day. However, as a Portland native, I’m optimistic that our vibrant neighborhoods, village centers will continue to drive innovations in sustainability, community interaction, and cooperation. If you would like to discuss how to negotiate Portland’s real estate market and find Room to Live, call or email anytime. I’m always happy to discuss how you can find a place in our shared future. Licensed since 2003 •  Portland Native  •  Pearl District Resident
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