Bend home sales soar

A nearly eight-year high in May has some brokers wary

By Elon Glucklich / The Bulletin

Published: June 22. 2013 4:00AM PST


Bend home sales in May rose to their highest monthly level since the height of the housing boom, according to an industry report released this week.

The city recorded 249 single-family home sales, figures from the Bratton Appraisal Group show. That’s the highest single-month total since late 2005, and it had some local real estate officials wondering if the uptick is happening too fast.

“The market has definitely picked up,” said Terry Denoux, owner and principal broker with Bend real estate company Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Northwest Living. “People are kind of taking a new look at things and wondering if the pace (of home sales) is going too quick. To see a market move up 15 to 20 percent in less than six months does bring back memories.”

That’s a reference to the dizzying sales pace in Bend between 2003 and 2006. Median prices soared to $396,000 in early 2007 before slipping below $200,000 in 2009 as sales plummeted and homeowners defaulted on their mortgages by the thousands.

But median home prices in Bend have risen steadily since the start of 2012, hitting $270,000 earlier this year before dropping a bit in May, to $260,000, Bratton data show.

A limited home supply in Bend has been driving up demand, Denoux said. So are rising prices.

“Buyers are saying, ‘If I don’t get something now, am I going to face the possibility of having to buy a smaller home, or paying more?’” Denoux said.

The 249 home sales in May is up from 184 in April. The monthly average throughout 2012 was 162.

There are plenty of investors buying up homes at the low end of the market, turning them into rentals to capitalize on a rental-market crunch in the city, said Lester Friedman, a broker with Coldwell Banker Morris Real Estate. That’s only adding to a shortage of low-end homes for buyers, driving up prices.

“The supply is down and the demand is up” in Bend, Friedman said.

Redmond has also seen its median home value rise since the start of 2012. The city’s median hit $182,000 in May, according to the Bratton data, a more than four-year high, though monthly sales are on par with the last few years.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820