When we moved to Bend, Oregon in 2004 not too many people outside of Oregon had heard of Bend before. However with the numerous articles that have been written about Bend in recent years and the growing tourism rate that we are seeing, it is obvious that the secret is out. If you found your way to this page I am assuming you have at least heard about Bend and are looking for more information.
Bend, Oregon is a mountain town of about 80,000 people located in Central Oregon on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains. The elevation of downtown Bend is 3,623 feet above sea level. It is roughly about a 3 hour drive to Bend from Oregon’s bigger cities of Portland, Eugene and Salem. Bend is a little bit secluded since it is separated from any major highway by several mountain passes and is a bit of a drive to get to any of the larger cities. There is a small regional airport, Robert’s Field, located 30 minutes from Bend in Redmond that will get you to nearby larger cities. Over the years Bend has gained a worldwide reputation as an outdoor sports playground along with nationwide recognition for its craft beer scene. People have been visiting Bend from all over the world in recent years to do brewery tours, mountain bike, kayak, ski, snowboard, golf, fly-fish, hike and climb. Bend has also been featured in many different magazines, and because of that tourism here has been booming.
Most people may think of Oregon as rainy and gloomy. Where this is true during much of the year in the western part of the state, the climate in Central Oregon is much drier. The reason for this is because the Cascade Mountains block a lot of the weather patterns that hover around the valley to the west. On the east side of the Cascades the climate is a semi-arid high desert climate which brings sunny warm days during the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. The average rainfall for the Central Oregon area is about 11” per year compared to the 40” per year for Portland. Summer temperatures are warm to hot with typical temps around 75 to 95 during the day. Winter gets much cooler with typical daytime temps in the 20s to 40s. We do get snow in town, about 23” annually, but it usually doesn’t last too long before melting and starting over. The mountains around Bend get a lot more snow accumulation which leads to a good snow pack for our ski resort of Mount Bachelor. Annual average snowfall at Mount Bachelor is over 450 inches.
Originally a logging town, Bend morphed into a ski town when the lumber industry closed down. Over time it has since transitioned into an outdoor sports mecca with mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, trail running, golf and fly fishing all becoming popular reasons for tourists to visit. The population of Bend Oregon is around 80,000 people, but it tends to feel much smaller. As far as many people are concerned, the city of Bend is divided into two sides, the east side and the west side each with its own characteristics. The dividing point is Highway 97 that runs through town. The west side has most of the tourist attractions: bike trails, golf courses, Deschutes River, Mt. Bachelor ski area, downtown Bend, Old Mill district and most of the breweries and restaurants. The west side also tends to have more bike lanes and round-a-bouts which makes it a little easier to get around by bike. The west side borders the national forest and has very limited room left for expansion within the city limits. This along with added desirability of the west side makes the home prices on the west side significantly more expensive than the east side. The east side has a little more sprawl, more commercial areas and traffic lights and much of the cities industrial area. However there are some great neighborhoods and good mountain views to be had on the east side at a significantly lower price than a comparable west side home.
The real estate market in Bend Oregon has had it’s ups and downs. Things got crazy from 2004 to 2007 when prices got really high and bidding wars for houses was common. In 2007 the real estate market here went bust when the US economy went down the tubes. Bend went from being in the papers for having one of the highest price appreciations in the US from 2004 – 2007 to having one of the largest price plummets from 2007- 2010. The market started rebounding in 2012. From 2012 to 2013 our average home appreciation was 23%; from 2013 to 2014 average appreciation was 9%. Some of the more desirable neighborhoods have seen much greater appreciation then the average. The market is still going strong today with prices leveling off a little bit and rising at a more reasonable rate, though inventory of homes for sale have been shrinking. The rental market here took a hit because of the rising prices starting in 2013. Many of the people who owned rental homes here were only renting them out because they couldn’t sell them for what they owed during the recession when homes prices fell. With the rising prices many of these people could finally sell their homes which made for a deficiency in the rental market. Rental prices went way up and homes in desirable areas were hard to find. Currently the rental vacancy rate here in Bend as of 2015 is less then 1%. The real estate market here for both rentals and home purchases tends to be the hottest during the summer when the weather is nice and children are out of school and then cools down slightly during winter when moving is less desirable.
During the summer months which is the main tourist season, the amount of people in town is significantly higher then the 80,000 people that live here. The economy in Bend currently is largely dependent on the tourism industry, with the healthcare industry a close second. The three largest employers in Bend are Saint Charles Medical Center, Les Schwab Tire Centers, and Mount Bachelor.
If you are thinking of moving to the Bend area, and what to find out more about Bend or the homes that are available here, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help you.