Saturday, June 14, 2014

Affordable housing on the west side

The main affordable housing option in Bend
The city of Bend is trying to find a way to make housing more affordable in Bend, where the median price of a home is around $300,000 and the average rent is about $1,200 a month.

Well, good luck with that.

The city wants to set aside some small acreage, all on the east side of town, for "affordable housing."

New homes built on the outer edge of the northeast side of town, the cheapest area in Bend, are starting at $300,000. Obviously, you're not going to get affordable housing in Bend. The only way to do so is to move to Redmond, Madras, Prineville or La Pine.

Or, if your income is low enough, you could qualify for a house from the Bend Area Habitat for Humanity, which has built 103 homes since 1989.

The city says nothing about affordable housing on Bend's west side, because the land there is so expensive. Also, the last thing west-siders want on their side of town is to live near the unwashed masses in an affordable housing complex.

Well, if OSU-Cascades doesn't end up building on the 10 acres it has already purchased on Bend's west side, the city could turn that land into an affordable housing complex. It would be perfect.

No need to stampede to the exits, westsiders. It's not gonna happen.

But, we are headed for another housing crash just as we are digging out of the last one.

The national median home price is about $192,000. In the west, which includes the most expensive area in the country in Silicon Valley, the median home prices is about $282,000.

Meanwhile, the median income in Bend is about $48,000, which is about $1,500 lower than the state median and nearly $4,000 below the national median.

Also, the unemployment rate in Deschutes County (8.3 percent) is higher than the state's (6.9 percent) or the nation's rate (6.3 percent).

It doesn't take math whiz or a loan officer or even a fifth grader to see that these numbers do not point to housing becoming affordable for most Bend residents.

And yet, the local daily and real estate agents/flippers are touting the "building boom" in Bend yet again.

They never learn. The love those highs of the roller coaster and forget about the pits when that coaster eventually falls at a high rate of speed.

Bend's housing "boom" is being funded by those from out of the region who have built up home equity elsewhere or made a ton of money some other way.

Bend's economy is essentially tourism, which is one of the lowest-paying fields out there. The only thing the town produces is beer and medical marijuana.

But, we do have a ton of restaurants and the requisite tattoo parlors.

We are the face of modern life where living way, way beyond one's means is the new American dream.


  1. Yet for every home they build in NWX there seems to be a buyer. Not sure where these folks all work. There is a co-op trailer park on the West Side.

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