The current market in Bend, Oregon

13 Replies

Hello!  We are a traveling family and have been on the road for almost a year.  Currently, we are in Bend, Oregon.  The city is amazing and we may have found a place that makes us want to settle!  Relating to real estate, can anyone give some general advice on the area or recommend local people to work with?  

From looking, I have noticed that the prices are higher than many parts of the country.  Locals pay a premium for such a beautiful area!  Does anyone have opinions on the local state of the market?  Should I hold out to buy?  Will prices continue to surge?  Any advice will be appreciated!  

Welcome to Bend and Biggerpockets. Your timing is perfect. Tomorrow there is a meetup in Bend. I sent you a private message. It's listed on the Networking tab, under Events, Bend, Sunriver, ... 

As to your question I am pretty new to the area myself. From my observations it's important to understand that this is a very seasonal market. The months for building are limited. There is a huge demand for affordable rental housing, and vacation rental properties in certain areas. 

I am in Sunriver, and I'm getting to know this area pretty good.  Many of the people moving here seem to be employed in the service industries and have a hard time affording rents. Lots are priced at a premium for the price homes sell for, unless you get out into outlying areas.  

I will be watching this thread to see what the long time Bend investors are saying. I'd love to know more about the various areas of the City, the pros and cons of each, etc. 

Joshua from Olive Branch! I'm from Memphis originally and went to school at Ole Miss. Katelyn and I have been living here since 2013, so welcome! Honestly, I'm curious to see what the other, more established and knowledgeable BP members have to saw about the market here in Bend, but I've got some general feedback: 

Prices have been steadily on the rise for quite a few years now and there was/is a "housing crisis" due to the high demand and low supply. Developers have been picking up and I believe the median price for homes dipped a few thousand dollars for the first time in years (from $424,000 to $415,000). 

Since 2012, rental vacancy seems to hover around 1% , but my understanding is that Bend isn't the best place to buy and hold due to the high price of homes and the relatively average price for rentals. It seems you can still cash flow if you run the numbers correctly, I just think the ROI isn't quite what people are looking for.

As far as the future goes: Bend is planning to keep growing. City is trying to increase the density rather than expand the UGB. And the college is going to go into full swing soon, so that should be a population burst. There's also Redmond up the road that is growing quite a lot, but hasn't reached the same prices as Bend yet. 

There's also a BP meet up tomorrow! We won't be there because we are leaving town, but it may be a great time and place to get some more info!

- Johnny

@Joshua Savage

I guess that depends, will this be your primary residence? Both my wife and I do NOT consider our home an "investment". We bought knowing the market could turn in a year, because we plan to live here for a minimum of 10 years, and could live here for 30 if we needed to. 

If you are buying for an investment though (not your primary), I do believe this changes things. 

We have been looking at investmests such as duplexes that we could live in temporarily until we find a longer term home, or until we decide to make Bend a permanent home.  

In Bend, demand is soaring, and supply is limited, and was just limited further by the recently adopted UGB, which can't be updated for another 20 years, as I understand it. I certainly don't think that the bear market will go on forever, but many signs point towards more price appreciation in the next couple years....after that, your crystal ball is as good as mine:) We've pretty much seen 10% price growth every year for the last 8 years, and average (not median) home price at the end of Dec 2017 was 470k. If we get another 2 years at 10% growth (before we see a dip or leveling in the market, the average home price will be 570k....3 years would be around 625k. 

It's a terrible time for cash flow, but a great time for appreciation. If cash flow is important, look into Redmond, Prineville and LaPine. The Bend cash flow ship sailed back in 2012/2013.

Bend is a long time cycle town - if you buy here be prepared to learn later that you bought at the top of the market.  If you are ok with hanging on for a long time - go for it.  But if you aren't sure, I'd hold off for at least a year and watch what the market does.  You also need to spend a winter here before you plunk down the money to buy at these prices.  Most people that leave after 2 years after buying here do so because they don't like winter.  We have about 2-3 months of summer.  A beautiful fall (with often snow flurries) and a long winter.  Be prepared ..... if a realtor tells you to hurry up and buy before you miss out, you should absolutely wait.  Bend is a long time cycle town - repeated that on purpose.  

Great advice, Karen.  Thanks!   Do you feel this is the overall market or are some neighborhoods that may be better than others.  Are you familiar with Woodriver Village?

Bend is a tough place to cash-flow properties. I look at 3-4 properties everyday. Mostly duplexes and above.

The market is so out of wack it is not funny. Cap rates of 2 or 3 and the agents say you better jump on it now.

What happens with me is I run my numbers and yes they must cash flow or I am not interested. So property comes on the market. I run out and see it get info from agent.Run my numbers and I want a minimum of a 12% ROI or I just move on.

But what is happening here is by the time I run my numbers and say no thank you which by the way takes me about 10 minutes.

The property has sold to someone for cash or 1031 exchange. They don't really care about ROI . They think these properties are going up and up and up.

Bend runs in cycles. It will crash and burn again. WE are at the top for sure. Don't listen to agents telling you it will never crash here again. They said the same thing in 2006. 

Great place to live if you don't need to work.

Bend can’t support an average price over $600k......

I am familiar with that neighborhood.  My advice is come spend time in Bend before you buy.  In the winter and by winter I mean March, April and May not Christmas when you want it to be white.  It will still snow occassionally in June too.

Buy here because you love it and never want to leave, not to make money.  

Bend has cycled since the 70’s.  There is a lot of data to prove that.  If your realtor doesn’t know that, find someone else.  

My parents have 4 SFHs in Bend which they built in early 2000s.  Based on what I've heard from them during the past several years, it is not the place to invest for reasons others members are posting here and the fact that Bend's economy is somewhat artificial with all the transplants coming in from California.  

Im a local Native to Central Oregon, Account Closed is spot on with her advice.    The market in Bend right now is difficult to Cashflow.  I find cashflow SFRs in the valley and southern oregon mostly.  But where Im seeing the best numbers is in the mid west.  Because of the value in properties out there and how low the market is, we've started wholesaling thousands of properties out there.  Hit me up if you'd like to start investing out there. 

When the market crashed we were living in Shasta County, CA, and moved to Orange County, CA knowing so cal is always the first to rebound. We missed out on buying fix/flips and got there when the market was going up. Investors were bemoaning so cal, saying there was no cash flow. They were right. However; the appreication far outpaced gains others investing in areas for cash flow were going. 

Bend is a lto different. So Cal has a broad based economy, perfect year round weather, amusement parks, sporting events, universities, world class medical care, etc. All of those things insure a strong market and growth. In Bend, I'm not quite sure what the economy is, other than recreation. However; when areas like so cal, and the bay area are booming, those buyers are buying 2nd homes in areas like Bend, or vacationing in the short term rental areas. Many short term rental owners here, and in so cal beach areas are the only ones that cash flow. Some of the short term rental owners are happy having their vacation homes subsidized by vacation rental tenants. 

Bend is a beautiful area, with a focus on a healthy lifestyle, recreation, etc. I think it's going to continue growing. Driving in the snow in the winter is the biggest draw back as far as I'm concerned. It's also made a lot of best places to ... retire, live, healthy places to live, etc. and that helps.

The economy and home prices tanker there is the last recession, due to it being focused so much on recreation and vacation homes. It is a wonderful place to live for sure, and if you are investing in other parts of the country, it could be a great place to settle down!