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Portland Residents Don’t Want Californians Buying Their Homes


Anti-Californian sentiment has reared its ugly head in Portland, Oregon where home prices are apparently spiraling out of control.

An article in The Oregonian points out that “no Californians” stickers are being slapped on real estate signs throughout the city.

One realtor, Lori Fenwick, noticed the sticker (which looks like a no smoking sign but with the map of California in the crossed out circle) on one of her for sale signs and took to a real estate group on Facebook to see if others had experienced the same.

She soon found out that another three agents had seen the stickers in the PDX. One agent who discovered the sticker on one of his listings said the house eventually sold to a man from New York.

In another instance, Fenwick found that someone had covered her name with the phrase, “STOP THE BUBBLE.” She pointed out that while they’re entitled to their opinion, the signs aren’t free.

As you might expect, she chalks it up to rising home prices and limited inventory, which is the perfect recipe for bidding wars and intense frustration.

And while both agents acknowledged the fact that they work with plenty of California buyers, they noted that buyers are coming from other places too.

It just so happens that California sits right below Oregon, making it geographically convenient. Oh, and home prices in Oregon are a lot cheaper than in many parts of California.

My California Native Perspective

For the record, I’m a native of Los Angeles, California so I need to stand up for my state here.

Interestingly, I know a couple that recently purchased a home in Portland by way of California. They actually moved from Los Angeles to Dallas first (back when home prices were originally silly high), and then to Oregon a year or so ago.

While it might be frustrating for would-be buyers in Portland, I’m sure existing homeowners and those selling their homes have absolutely no problem with Californians making offers.

Additionally, it’s a bit ironic that they’d complain about Californians when we ourselves are a melting pot consisting of folks from all 50 states (including Oregon) and countless countries the world over.

If you walk around LA and ask random strangers where they’re from, more often than not the answer will be some place other than California.

You can’t really fault Californians for looking for affordable housing elsewhere if it’s out of reach at home, especially in a great city like Portland. And don’t forget we are the ones who have to move our families.

Imagine if everyone native to California slapped “Californians Only” stickers on the real estate signs? Or only allowed cars with California license plates on the congested freeways?

Ultimately that’s not how life works, and owning real estate is a privilege, not a right. Sadly, many places are extremely popular and thus very expensive, but that’s the nature of supply and demand.

And as noted earlier, I’m sure the folks who already own homes are thrilled to receive out-of-state bids for their homes. Or to see their property values surge, allowing them to pull equity via a cash-out refi.

Just think back to a few years ago when no one would touch real estate with a ten foot pole. I bet they would have welcomed a Californian with open arms. And there’s a good chance that Californian wasn’t originally even from California.

Instead of blaming others for the high cost of real estate, maybe take a step back and determine if buying makes sense at the moment. This could be a sign to wait it out. Or move to Idaho.

2 thoughts on “Portland Residents Don’t Want Californians Buying Their Homes”

  1. I look at it like this, with all that we are facing as a country The people that are doing this are mindless and heartless very uneducated selfish asses. I love my state of California but I will tell you this, I’m an American and this land is your land and this land is my land. It’s our God given right to rest our heads where we want. So to the ones that are making this a pity issue, get a life and while at it get a job. You just got too much time.

  2. I come from the perspective of someone who consults with and qualifies people for home purchases. There is no question it is getting harder and harder for many young people to buy homes in the areas they might prefer to live…like where they grew up! The home buying frenzy by relocating borrowers, first time borrowers, and investors looking to stockpile more homes to rent out at a profit or fix up and resell…is making it tough in the most desirable areas to live California. That same spillover of relocating Californians to the Portland area are buying houses makes sense. In the past younger families have always seem to move farther out into suburbs and other locations from where they work in the search of an affordable home to buy, and many of those suburbs are already built. More of the newer generations would like to live closer to where they work and prefer to engage in cultural activities, etc. Thus, there is a need for more housing to be built in and around Portland and particularly affordable housing. Yet, everyone treasures the way it is and do not necessarily want more housing! I really believe that you have to start accepting you need the housing built and to get creative in our communities and accept that the need is what it is around metropolitan and nearby suburban areas and towns. If someone wants a rural life or small town life maybe it is time to move to that new location. Move out of Portland and leave space for people who need to work and thrive there. Plan and build wherever possible homes for average middle class working families and affordable housing for our still productive senior residents who need them, as well as workers whose income is lower. Many of the seniors in houses big and empty, could perhaps free up more housing in exchange for affordable comfortable senior housing nearby shopping amenities and activities they can walk or take a short bus ride to. Blaming Californians like blaming everyone migrating to California is pretty nonproductive.

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