Investment Market Decision Portland, Oregon or Texas?

13 Replies

Hey there Biggerpockets community,

My girlfriend and I are currently trying to decide the best market to make our first real estate investment in. We currently live in the San Francisco area in California and are thinking the best way to get started would be to invest in an out of state property. The plan would be to house hack a small multifamily unit for a year or two, and to continue to purchase investment properties in our chosen area with the end goal being moving back to California and having a property manager take care of those properties. We are looking into the Portland Oregon area and different parts of Texas. We are wondering which of these two markets would be best or if anyone has another territory they might recommend? If there is any advice on how to get started in California we would also be open to hearing about that as well. Looking forward to hearing some awesome advice! 


why Portland 

I bought most of my properties in TX.

Biggest  reason is that the rent to price ratio makes sense in TX.

Typically you want it to be 1% of the purchase price - meaning if you are buying property worth 100K you want your rent to be at least $1000 per month.

In TX you can find such properties (or even with better ratio) , and I think it will be difficult to find the same in Oregon..

If you are  interested in multi family (large properties above 100 units) I've an educational meetup in Los Gatos. In case you want to check it out :

Portland hands down :).  Closer and more upside if your house hacking. 

No hail. No foundation issues. Taxes that are 1/3rd. 

Well I know that Texas has always been a mecca for real estate investments. 

Do you care about being close to the property? Did you talk to an agent?

I don't know much about Portland but I do know that many young people are moving to Texas because of the booming tech companies in Austin. The number of people working in the oil industry are also increasing, and then you all have all of the universities. 

Three cities in Texas were listed on BiggerPockets' best markets list:

As an agent in Portland, I could sell you this city in a heartbeat. But my answer comes in the form of  perspective-

What's the bigger picture? Where would you eventually like to end up and how would Portland, Austin, or somewhere else make sense in this equation? 

And most of all, what's your lifestyle? Visit to see if how you live would fit in and if the city swallows you in, undoubtably. 

Then look at numbers and what makes sense with finances, save a little longer if it puts you where you feel most confident about.

Austin is still the #1 rated spot for investors and the #1 city in the nation for projected growth (already 11th largest city in nation and projected to double in size in the next 25 years).  That being said, I will tell you if you plan to house hack for 2 years, go see if Portland or Austin is the city for you.  They both have great investment opportunities.  But happiness is critical and even though these two cities have similar vibes you may really like one over the other.  So go spend a few days in each (they are both great places to spend a long weekend or longer) and see which one you like more.  I would choose that way because at the end of the day, you can find a great investment deal in both cities.  Having a job might play into this as well.  Lots of job growth here in Austin.  Not sure about Portland but someone on the site can comment.  Happy to answer any questions you have about Austin and the investment market down here anytime.  Good luck!   

Wow, thank you all for the great responses! 

@Account Closed Thank you for your honest advice! At this time I have been to Portland (loved it) and my girlfriend has not.However, we are planning a trip so she can see the city. As for Austin neither of us has ever visited but have heard great things and will be planning a trip to go visit soon. The end goal for both of us is that we would both like to eventually have enough cash flow from our investments to move back to San Diego, CA, work part time, travel and have most (if not all of the properties managed by property managers in the areas our properties are located). Are there any areas outside of the main city of Portland you would recommend based on your knowledge of the housing market up there? Particularly small multi-family units. Thanks!

Move where you want to live. Invest where the numbers make sense, and where you know. I've lived in Oregon since 2004 but am from San Diego and will tell you... it took many many years to get used to the gray skies.  People visit in July and think it's beautiful, and it is, but they're not here during the 9 months of rain that's needed to make it this beautiful in the summer.

The idea of investment real estate is freedom. The last thing you want is to be a slave to a property in a location you can't tolerate. 

Live where you want to live.

@Matt Mitchell

I would like to commend your decisiveness. Moving from a life-style place elsewhere to invest is not easy. I am saying that because I am about to leave one of the best life-style places in the world which I love but which does not tick this crucial box. 

For this reason I'd like to ask Account Closed: How did you get accustomed to your new home? What helped you? 

@Katrina I moved to Eugene Oregon from Manhattan NY to attend architecture school at UO. I got used to it because I had to; I was there for a reason. Plus as you know, there's not much leisure time to reflect upon one's existential situation during architecture school. You draw and draft and sweat and cry and bleed and, if you're lucky, occasionally sleep. 

That said, making friends helps.

@Dani So true! 

@Matt Mitchell I've seen a few pop up recently in Fairview under 350k. Most of St. Johns will come in at 300k or above. Then there's Gresham which is mostly full of single family, but it;s a large area so there's a chance. 

This market has been balancing itself out recently so it's tough to say what is to come. 

Let me know when (if) you're heading out or when some more specific info (timeline, price, etc) becomes available and I'll help out. 

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