Central Oregon's Housing Crisis

Innovative Solutions on the Rise

It’s no secret housing prices continue to rise. In April we saw record highs set for a single family home in Bend and Redmond, with the rest of the high desert following closely behind. This is great for current homeowners and isn’t deterring the crowds from seeking out Central Oregon as their permanent destination. Most of us have moved here from somewhere else, so we get it, right? Who can pass up the pristine surroundings, outdoor adventure within daily reach and friendly flourishing communities? We moved here over 20 years ago and have watched the progression of open fields and old buildings transform into an urban landscape. Some of the change has been well received, while some isn’t so welcome. One shift that’s been difficult to overcome is the cost of living index, which has skyrocketed. It’s relatively easy to move here and buy a home if you come with money and can use that wealth to meet your Bend lifestyle goals. Why is it though that for the bulk of the population, the necessary work-force and hard working wage earners, homeownership is out of reach? We believe everyone should be able to build equity and use their wealth as a tool to obtain their goals and others think so too.

Every month the Bend Chamber of Commerce holds an informative event, “What’s Brewing” highlighting community topics. We had the pleasure of attending May’s session titled “Real-Time Solutions for the Housing Crisis”. This meetup was more than acknowledging the issue, we heard about solutions that are underway right now. The night was hosted by Katy Brooks, Bend Chamber CEO and Carolyn Eagan, City of Bend Economic Development Director and featured 4 panel members. Speaker Stan Amy, is the Director of North Star Civic Foundation. North Star focuses on concrete projects that can that can articulate solutions at the scale of the problems communities face. One of their focus points is a New Deal in Housing and building tenant wealth where they’re exploring ways to increase asset building through homeownership. Speaker Michael Parkhurst is the program officer for the housing opportunities team at Meyer Memorial Trust. He offered details on how his organization helps Oregonians gain access to safe, stable and affordable housing. Speaker Patrick Quinton is the co-founder and CEO of Dweller. Dweller is a private developer of prefab accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Portland, Oregon. Dweller builds and installs ADU’s in a low cost, efficient manner to allow homeowners to benefit from this source of extra income and desperately needed housing for others.

Speaker Geoff Harris, regional director at Hayden Homes was discussing Hayden Homes’ Simplicity cottage style homes, a smaller more economical home option and also their Wise Size homes with floor plans starting around 400 square feet to about 1200 square feet.

All four speakers were tackling the housing crisis from varying angles but they’re all working in an effort to provide tangible solutions which was a refreshing change from just discussing the problem.

Spring Real Estate Market Update

Are you feeling the Heat?

The summer months are quickly approaching and the real estate market is really heating up in the high desert. Our phones are ringing, inboxes are filling up and it’s hard to keep up with all the home buyers and sellers who are coming out of the woodwork. Everyone is trying to get their new homes locked down or their homes sold, preparing to move as soon as school’s out. We see people are moving here at rapid rates and at the same time many locals are using their equity to either upgrade into a larger home, a better location or choosing to downsize and eliminate a mortgage. As predicted the buyer pool has increased and the inventory remains slim. Even with an average of sixty to seventy new listings hitting the market every day, it’s barely enough to keep up with demand.

The Beacon Report from April confirmed what we’ve been hearing and seeing, April was hot, hot, hot, making up for a slower February and March. The median sale price of single family homes in Bend hit a record high of a whopping $463,000, significantly higher than last months numbers where the median sale price was $445,000. In comparison from last spring to this year the median sale price in Bend has increased by 11.57 percent.

A quick rundown of the Bend market: the total number of homes sold was up from 149 homes in March to 177 homes in April, average days on market remained the same at 77 days and the price per square foot is sitting at $237 per square foot, up from March’s $220 per square foot cost.

Bend is not the only city in Central Oregon setting record highs, Redmonds numbers are booming this month. The Redmond median sale price of a single family home is up to $326,000 compared to March’s $313,000. This is a 12.8 percent increase from April of last year. There were 85 homes sold in April, up from 67 homes sold in March. Redmond’s average days on the market decreased from 141 days in March to only 98 days in April. The cost per square foot increased to $190 per square foot in April.  

Bend is clearly the dominating center of real estate happenings with the highest prices and the majority of home sales, but the outlying areas are increasing in popularity. Redmond, Terrebonne, Prineville, La Pine and Sunriver have a lot to offer and are getting plenty of attention from people moving to or within Central Oregon. These remote areas are very attractive for those looking for a slower pace of life, less crowded stores and roadways and more affordable home prices. I’ve been hearing clients refer to these areas as “more country than Bend” and “the way Bend used to be”. Whether staying close to the center or moving to the outskirts Central Oregon is thriving and growing and has a wide array of options for everyone’s unique wants and needs.