Another Way The Rich Get Richer

Prices of residential property continue to explode. Other things being equal, this would be very bad news for the bottom 20 percent of incomes in Eugene. They’re already completely out of the market with incomes, apparently, below $1,000 per month.

Affordable housing is defined as 30 percent of income and there are no apartments for $300 per month.

These people are in the housing gap where affordable housing is nonexistent. If you have 80 percent of the area median income, like $30,000 per year, authorities are building public housing for you, and ditto, if you’re homeless.  But they have nothing for the roughly 50,000 people in the gap.

But Oregon House Bill 2001 and Senate Bill 458 are very good news for the bottom 20 percent, allowing four-plexes and cottage clusters on some of the 44,000 lots in Eugene.

That’s a bunch of tiny houses. Your share of the land might cost $50,000. The mortgage on $50,000 is around $200 per month. You can build a mighty fine starter house for another $50,000.

We might see developers buying houses, chopping them into six lots, installing utilities and selling them. Of course you’ll do a lot cheaper if you join a small team, and do it yourself.  The NIMBYs have always said that allowing greater density in Eugene will result in higher rents for the poor. The grand experiment will now be played out in real life.

Todd Boyle