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The LendingTree report examines the amount of change in five factors common to all 1,176 American cities that were studied - rents, home values, the percentage of purchased homes that were previously foreclosed, the influx of new businesses, and the diversity of populations.

COURTESY LENDINGTREE - A new report says Portland is the 5th fastest changing city in America, but Bend and Salem are changing faster.Many Portlanders believe their city is rapidly changing. Some changes are welcome, like the increasing food and craft beer scenes. Others are controversial, including the growing number of existing homes being demolished and replaced with more expensive housing.

Now a new report by LendingTree confirms the impression of unprecedented transformation, saying Portland ranks Number 5 among the fastest changing cities in the country.

"Portland's reputation as the Silicon Forest and its growing presence in the tech world may be contributing to the city's rapid change," says Stacia Mullaney, who headed up the research team.

The report is titled "Altered America: The Changing Landscapes if U.S. Cities" It examines the amount of change in five factors common to all 1,176 American cities that were studied — rents, home values, the percentage of purchased homes that were previously foreclosed, the influx of new businesses, and the diversity of populations.

Portland was only in the Top 10 in one of them. It was ranked Number 8 in the highest percent of homes that increased in value last year.

But, according to the report, Portland experienced more change in most of the other factors than the majority of other cities. The report says the city was:

• 50 points above average in the rent change score

• 57 points above average in the home value change score

• 21 points above average in the foreclosures score

• 6 points above average in the business change score

• 2 points below average for the diversity score

"Some cities may rank high in one category but then low in others, so they don't hold up when everything is combined to determine the overall 'fastest changing cities,'" says Mullaney.

Surprisingly, the Number 1 and 2 fastest changing cities in the report are also in Oregon, Bend and Salem. And Milwaukie and Beaverton ranked Number 3 and Number 4 among cities with the highest percent of homes that increased in value last year.

LendingTree drew the data for the report from a variety of sources. Home data was downloaded from Zillow, an online real estate research and service company. Openings of select businesses that reflect an influx of new people were tracked, including Panera Bread, Starbucks Coffee, Jamba Juice, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Bonefish Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Whole Foods Market, Inc., Trader Joe's, and The Fresh Market. And race distribution data was pulled from the U.S. Census at the city level.

LendingTree is a leading online loan marketplace with one of the largest networks of lenders in the nation, providing consumers a way to connect with multiple lenders for a number of financial borrowing needs.

You can read the report at tinyurl.com/zxsyz2k.

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