Bend has changed a lot over the past 15 years and definitely has experienced a lot of growing pains. With the expansion of the urban growth boundary and as we move from a small mountain town to a city, based on our actual and projected population growth, one hopes we can do better and learn from the negative experiences of other regions and that "city" will not be a dreaded four letter word.
Many of the housing headline issues have centered on the issues of housing affordability for first-time homebuyers, the rental crisis, homelessness, the lack of housing inventory, urban sprawl and the expansion of the urban growth boundary, all of which are important and interrelated. Though extending the urban growth boundary may become necessary to accommodate growth, it seems prudent to consider the mistakes of some of the large cities when creating land use policies.
For example, instead of building only in the new growth area, it would be beneficial to encourage urban renewal of dilapidated areas near downtown with mixed use and affordable housing options. First time homebuyers are not necessarily interested in high density cookie cutter homes in the new developments on the outskirts of town. Living closer to work and access to amenities are modern values often overlooked. Many people will choose an older home in order to get the location they want.
Development goals have been expressed in the urban growth expansion debate and a happy compromise would begin by listening to what the market shows people want instead of sticking to the urban sprawl concept. For example, many of the so-called entry level homes in new developments are in fact purchased by empty nesters and retirees who appreciate the lower maintenance requirements of new homes and smaller lots.
On the other hand, millennials like the modern features of new homes, but not their locations and layouts. Realistically, in a dog lover's town like Bend, the new high density developments are out of the price range of most millennials and they don't offer adequate yards for kids and dogs. Building larger homes on smaller and smaller lots with no privacy is not striking the right balance for families. It's important for developers to stay in touch with the character of our town and listen to the consumer needs of all age groups.
All too often we hear, "I wish we could move this house to another location." From this, it seems developers could make the most of the opportunity presented by getting in touch with the needs of homebuyers in the market today.
Home Price Round-up
802 SE 6th St, Bend, OR 97702
3 beds, 1 baths, 968 square feet, .10 acre lot
Built in 1978
Listed by John L Scott Bend
21250 Woodruff Pl, Bend, OR 97702
3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1983 square feet,
.08 acre lot | Built in 2007
Listed by Duke Warner Realty
915 NW Greenbriar Pl., Bend, OR 97703
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 3450 square feet,
.70 acre lot | Built in 1999
Listed by Coldwell Banker Morris Real Estate
Photos and listing info from Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service