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Top 5: PDX: Lowest apartment vacancy in U.S.

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Opus Northwest is looking for renters to fill its new Ladd Tower luxury apartment building across from The Oregonian on Southwest Broadway.

Your Top 5 real estate stories for Friday.
1. PDX: Lowest apartment vacancy in U.S.
2. State cites contractors without license
3. Desperate Housewives hits Portland real estate
4. Bundled loans stall modification plan
5. U.S. job losses slow down
The details after the jump. Sorry for the delayed post. I've been churning away on a big story for tomorrow's paper. And if you've got a story tip: ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com or 503-221-8519.
1. PDX: Lowest apartment vacancy in U.S.: This is my first link to a new commercial real estate blog in town, The ft.² Report. Kristin Hammond and Mark Friel of Pacific Real Estate Partners wrote yesterday about Portland's relatively good ranking for apartment vacancies. They cite a report from CoStar, which tracks commercial real estate, that said Portland had the lowest multi-family vacancy rate among any major metro area in the country. In fact, the Rose City, at 2.9 percent vacancy, was 2 percentage points better than the next best city, Louisville. One thing to keep in mind: Vacancy rates here may be relatively low, but apartment owners are making major concessions on their rents to keep their units rented. Read more.
2. State cites contractors without license: The state Construction Contractors Board issued more than $352,000 in civil penalties to 220 construction contractors working without a required state license. The fines came between April and June. Anyone can verify a contractor's license online or by calling the state Construction Contractors Board at 503-378-4621. Here's an Excel file of the complete list of the contractors sited.
3. Desperate Housewives hits Portland real estate: Williamette Week's Ben Waterhouse has the story: The newest tenant of the Leftbank Project, the recently remodeled trio of buildings at 240 NE Broadway, is The Greenville Project, a development firm dedicated to turning America's shopping centers into environmentally sustainable enterprises, made up of green building expert Jae Larsen, financial planner Butch Klein and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria Parker. What's Longoria Parker doing building green malls in Portland? It turns out Klein knows her from working as a TV actor, and Klein knows Larsen from their time at the University of Southern California and their partnership in a green remodeling firm, and figured the two shared some interests. And there you have it.
4. Bundled loans stall modification plan: The radio show Marketplace and the investigative newsroom ProPublica had a fantastic story about the struggles of loan modification. They dig deep into one home owner's attempt to modify a mortgage only to find out that their loan had been bundled into mortgage-backed securities. The structures make it more difficult, if not impossible, to figure out who controls the loan and has the authority to modify it. Read or listen to the full story.
5. U.S. job losses slow down: A glimmer of good news for a Friday. The NY Times reports: The most hopeful jobs report since last summer suggested Friday that the recession was ending, but that the recovery would most likely be marked by a still-rising unemployment rate and tens of thousands of job losses each month until next year. Read more.

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