2251 NW Lemhi Pass - 185528_120ppiBy Jason Boone

Some folks around town have recently expressed some worry about the fate of the Bend real estate market. For some, the rise in single-family home prices seems a little closer to the days leading up to the Great Recession than feels comfortable.

That makes some sense. Nobody wants to relive the scary days that ensued after the housing bubble popped.

But if the panel of experts at this week’s Bend Chamber Real Estate Forecast at the Tower Theatre is any indication, the Bend real estate market and its economy are better off than some might think.

More than that, even though the run-up in home prices from 2013-15 has been similar to 2005-07 (46 percent gain in prices from 2013-15 compared to 44 percent from 2005-07), there are some distinct differences between now and then.

Some of the key points from the Forecast event to support these are better times than before the Recession:

  • The employment market in Bend has certainly been growing rapidly. But the region’s economy is far more diverse than it was before the recession. Case in point, real estate- and construction-related jobs make up about 20 percent of all new jobs to the area, which is proportional to the existing job market. During the bubble years about a third of new jobs before the recession were related to real estate, according to Central Oregon economist and panelist Damon Runberg.
  • At 6 percent, wage growth from 2013-15 has been strong.
  • Average consumer debt is far below what it was before the recession.
  • The majority of new homes (at least new Hayden Homes) are being bought by locals, and there are fewer investors buying homes than before the recession.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the presentation was Runberg’s look at building permits. In the years leading up to the housing bust, new building permits plummeted by about 79 percent, foreshadowing the eventual collapse of the market.

Today, builders are taking a more conservative approach, with a manageable 14 percent uptick in new building permits from 2013-15. That has left a relatively tight market, which has led to some of the price gains.

Depending on your point of view, the tight market and higher home prices could be seen as a good or bad thing. But the important thing is that with the tighter supply of homes and increased demand from our rapid growth in Bend, the rise in prices are attributable to conventional supply-and-demand pressures than during the pre-recession bust.

The experts did say they expect a pull back in the years to come. But anyone worried about the prospect of another calamity in Bend’s real estate market had to feel a sense of relief after the Forecast event.

Knowing how the data applies to each buyer or seller takes expertise. I can help navigate the market and find the perfect Bend, Oregon home.

To learn more about Bend home prices, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes contact me call (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.