2017 was a year for the record books. Between the snow, the wildfires, and the eclipse - it felt like Bend was almost always in a state of urgency without any sign of impending relief. 2018 is going to be different.
And while it's been starting to feel like things are back to a more reasonable pace around Bend, everyone in town is facing a similar dilemma: are you staying here for the long run or is it almost time to split?
Central Oregon remains a popular option for people who want to live a beautiful setting with a thriving economy, friendly atmosphere, and fun things always going on. And the sunshine. And the outdoors.
Prices have far surpassed the highs recorded before the recession, providing liquidity for those who have owned property the longest and move up/move out options for those who purchased just a few years ago.
While markets are strongly favoring sellers this year, buyers are still looking at historically low mortgage rates as Bend unveiled more plans about urban development that will stand to benefit the tens of thousands of new residents the region is expected to welcome over the next few decades. Things are looking up.
* If you need advice on your own real estate situation, please don't hesitate to ask. I'd be honored to help.
* The recording below can be played as you browse through the report and I'll explain everything in real-time (15 mins)
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP
- Central Oregon home prices have recovered from the recession
- Prices have more than doubled everywhere except Sunriver
Central Oregon has seen an incredible recovery since the recession, eclipsing values from before the crash and continuing to appreciate through 2017 at a pace of consistent growth over that timeframe. Not surprisingly Prineville has seen a 173% gain in median sales price since its 10-year low in February of 2012. Meaning if you purchased a home in Prineville around the median price of $84,000 in 2011 or 2012, it could be worth over $200,000 today. This can be attributed directly to population growth, but also more jobs and investment in the region (by Facebook and others) in a town with the lowest prices around. Other cities followed a similar growth curve from 10-year lows, except for Sunriver where real estate inventory has been abundant until just recently.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
- There are not enough homes for sale across much of the U.S.
- It's a sellers market in Bend and Central Oregon
While economic recovery and population growth are directly responsible for things improving, the increase in prices is a result of a decreasing supply of homes for sale. While Central Oregon as a whole has not reached a serious crisis headed into 2018, other places have. Markets like Denver are nearing a state of emergency, desperately needing new listings to meet buyer demand at a critical time when interest rates are still low, and the economy has been doing well overall. It’s overwhelmingly a seller's market in median price points in the region, but there is a noticeably declining availability of homes on the east side of Bend which has many people wondering if prices will continue to rise even as things level out and rates go up.
- Prices are increasing in areas with employment and recreation
- Mt. Bachelor and the airport add value as they add capacity
Bend is not the only city under consideration by people who have been moving over the last few years. Price increases in Seattle are most responsible for driving people to smaller markets and is used in this analysis because of its status as the metropolitan hub of the northwest. Portland prices seem to match up nicely with Bend, but finding a home in the $400,000 range close to the downtown could prove far more difficult than it is to find something in Bend. The cities in the following list have access to jobs, universities, airports, and ski resorts, which make them all contenders for people who find these things important. Boise presents the best value, but Idaho's best skiing is much further from downtown than the easy 30-minute drive from Bend to Bachelor, while Roberts Field offers 7 non-stop routes from various carriers with virtually no security lines.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND RECREATION
- Unemployment has dropped sharply across Bend
- Recreational opportunities have increased capacity
Mt. Bachelor and Redmond Municipal Airport represent incredible value for the residents of Central Oregon with both increasing their capacity and infrastructure over the last few years. Mt. Bachelor added its first new lift in 20 years named Cloudchaser, opening up 635 skiable acres on the mountains east side. The airport unveiled its new master plan, completed a massive runway renovation, and added several new non-stop routes. The Virgin/Alaska merger should eventually benefit residents with expanded coverage for longer flights. The population has continued its steady increase over the same period, Bend alone adding 15,000 new residents in the last five years as the city gets closer and closer to hitting the 100,000 mark.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
- The markets are different enough to segment west vs. east
- More homes have sold on the east side year over year since 2014
It's no longer useful to compare real estate activity in Bend as a whole to any other region without breaking up reporting into west side and east side numbers. More homes have been sold on the east side since the summer of 2014 than on the west side year over year as median prices differ by nearly $200,000 between these two parts of town roughly divided by Highway 97. The West side is hovering around the $535,000 mark with the east side coming in at a more modest $350,000 that most west coast buyers should still be able to stomach provided prices don't accelerate too much in 2018. The east side is suffering from an enormous lack of supply, barely enough to sell it all in just over 2 months. While there are new subdivisions slated for both sides of town, the total inventory is not expected to relieve this demand in any noticeable way as the city prioritizes multi-family housing as part of the Urban Growth Boundary plan.
BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Housing stats were sourced directly from the MLS of Central Oregon except where noted. Other sources are attributed in their corresponding content. West side and east side boundaries were hand drawn along Highway 97 and confined to Bend city limits as possible. Most calculations were taken given the rolling past 12 months of activity from December 2017 except where noted. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
Months of Supply - Active inventory vs. the last 12 months of homes under contract
Median Sales Price - The point at which 1/2 of homes sold were priced higher and 1/2 lower
Days on Market - Median number of days between when a property is listed and sold
Homes Sold - A count of the actual sales that have closed and recorded in the MLS
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was approved at the end of the year after several weeks of deliberation in Congress. Numerous housing-related tax provisions were considered in negotiations and you can find the full breakdown of real estate in this article from NAR.
Record snowfall wreaks havoc on Bend. Locals rejoiced! But the snow kept falling. And falling. And falling. It seemed like it never stopped. Outdoor enthusiasts basked in the winter wonderland while more mild mannered residents struggled with ice dams on on their roofs, snow all over the streets, and sheets of ice covering most of the sidewalks.
Some folks got tired of people saying "it's not usually like this!" while others couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. It is Oregon after all. But this winter has been mild in comparison to an average one, much less a record breaking season. Whether the snow makes you laugh or cry (or both) none of us will soon forget the winter of 2017.
Attack Of La Niña | bendsource.com
In retrospect news reports leading up to "The Great American Eclipse" of 2017 have us reminiscing about the story of Chicken Little. But instead of the sky falling and everyone on the planet being vaporized; the eclipse was fairly uneventful in Central Oregon, save the over two minutes of jaw-dropping visuals that most of us won't forget anytime soon.
Madras sat square in line of totality but only saw some minor traffic congestion on the way back south. Grocery stores didn't run out of food. Gas was plentiful for the most part. The region handled the event well. Maybe we can handle more growth after all?
Smooth and Seamless | bendsource.com
Wildfires are a natural part of living in the west but the damage and destruction caused to residential areas this year was devastating, particularly in northern California where many Oregonians have family and friends who suffered losses this past season.
Humans have increased the frequency and impact of this dangerous phenomena, having intentionally started some of the fires in Central Oregon and along the Columbia River Gorge at Eagle Creek. Our region was covered in smoke for half the summer.
Dramatic views of Milli Fire | oregonlive.com
The OSU-Cascades campus is expected to contribute a significant impact to the local economy which will use its research capabilities and training of skilled workers to fill positions that have been overwhelmingly filled by outsiders over the last few years.
The future of the campus hangs in limbo as budgets for new construction have been passed over by lawmakers in Salem, but the governor is expected to step in and help..
Growth Hinges on State Funding | opb.org
The approval of Bend's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) has fueled debate about which projects should have priority and which ones will receive maximum benefits.
Oregon cities are compelled by law to grow within their urban boundaries and several initiatives are expected to take shape this year as development starts to heat up.
UGB Approved by State | bendsource.com
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