Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bend No. 1 again

Yep, what goes up like a spec house in sagebrush, remains unsold like a spec house in Bend's upside down housing market.

It seemed like only yesterday when the Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the fastest rate for home appreciation of the 303 MSAs that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) tracks in its Housing Price Index (HPI).

Now, we're No. 303.

Yep, Bend leads the nation with the worst home depreciation after showing the same lead in the last quarter. Granted, we narrowly edged out Ocala, Fla., -18.59 to -18.55, for worst depreciation over the last year, we'll take the "victory," such as it is.

Check this link for the data. It's on Page 29 of this PDF file.

Who knew that this last year could be worse than the year before?

Well, almost anyone not connected with building/development/real estate/financing industries here. In other words, about 10 people. (Okay, building was just over 30 percent of our local economy, but a healthy economy should be only about 11 percent dependent on building.)

Still, what is Bend to do about the collapse of its economy.

Well, the builders' union wants the city to give builders more fee breaks so that they can finally start building homes again that no one wants to buy. Amazingly, the city sees wisdom in this logic even though the fee break last year did nothing to reverse Bend's 15 percent unemployment rate or make people want to buy overpriced homes.

Foreclosure and default notices still fill the daily's classified section.

Meanwhile, Bend still cannot fill potholes on Reed Market or other heavily used roads. And, as we know, a city that can't fill potholes can't do much of anything. That's what happens when you have inadequate building impact fees to begin with.

Sadly, the FHFA's MSA HPI doesn't rank worst potholes probably because there is no acronym for them.

Acronym or not, Bend has fallen into a huge pothole of home depreciation and the tow truck is nowhere in sight because the AAA card has expired.

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