House hunt: Can the average Portland family buy a home?

As Portland housing prices rise, the average family is getting shut out. 

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Every morning in her small, rented two-bedroom apartment in Southwest Portland, Tanisha Doyle checks her Redfin app for alerts about houses that have been listed and sold. She looks for updates throughout the day. At night, she scours Redfin again.

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Doyle, a 34-year-old Nike talent acquisition coordinator, lifelong Portlander and single mother of three, is about to start her housing search.

Tanisha Doyle and her boys, from left: Mazeek, Maasi, and M.J., outside their apartment

“I’m super optimistic,” she said with a confident smile, from her slick office building in Beaverton. “No fear.”

But Doyle is entering a market that is not accommodating to buyers like her, of which there are many. She fits squarely into the income bracket of the average Portland family and the city’s skyrocketing housing prices are pricing the average family out. As each day passes, the small family home Doyle is searching for becomes more difficult to afford.

“I work in Beaverton and I want to stay close to where I work. But as these home prices go up, Beaverton’s becoming less and less affordable for people like me,” she said.

The last time Doyle bought a home, in 2004, she paid $150,900 for a two-bedroom townhouse in the quaint Bridgeton neighborhood on the banks of the Columbia River. She sold it five years later, during the last boom. Since then she’s rented, while the housing market tanked and then rebounded to a level few were prepared for.