Bend is growing! We were the #1 fastest growing city in Oregon according to the 2013 Census. It is not just that Bend is growing but our children are also growing up, moving out, getting married and buying homes. Well at least this is what is happening in my home. My daughter, Jade, is currently in the process of planning her upcoming wedding in October and just closed on a home in Bend a week ago.
People in our area are always changing, we are seeing retirees coming into the area, families in search for a bigger home, or moving here due to a job relocation. Bend seems to be booming. Now many investors may be looking at Bend and the real estate market with hesitation, fearing that we may fall into a min-recession and a repeat of what happened only a few short years ago.
For many it is hard to forget the issues that the last recession a few years back brought to us, skyrocketing interest rates, homes foreclosures, short sales, and many people struggling to make their payments. We all learned a great deal about the market and about ourselves. However, this previous experience shouldn’t keep us fearing a growing market, instead our past experiences should help us better understand the difference between an unhealthy and a healthy market.
A healthy real estate market occurs when the job market has low unemployment rates, incomes are reasonable to afford living expenses, and the banks have money to loan to qualified borrowers with reasonable terms. According to the Labor Bureau the unemployment rate in Bend, OR has dropped from a rate of 9.9 in February 2014 to 7.5 in June 2014. Furthermore, interest rates have remained fairly steady over the past year making it easier for buyers to access funds in order to purchase a home.
In addition, the supply and demand for homes have remained fairly stable over the past few months. Though there has been a seasonal increase in listings (which is typical during the summer months), homes sales have remained strong throughout the end of the summer months. In addition, reviewing the sales statistics for the past year or so a home’s price per square foot has increased slightly and the over sales prices of homes has remained generally the same. Due to this consistency, loan rates and other economic factors buyers and sellers are able to have reasonable transaction in which in many times both parties walk away happy that they either sold or purchased a home.
I believe this describes Bend as closely as it has for many years. The wild card is the national economy and world events. Regardless of the above data, it is my opinion that real estate is the best place for the average person to save and invest in their future.