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‘Huge problem’: Bend’s growth prompts concern of worsening land shortage

Demand is strong, inventory of homes low -- but where to build?

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend continues to rise in national visibility as a popular destination for those who are leaving big cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing ability to work remotely from anywhere.

Real estate experts say it's not just an inventory shortage of homes causing massive price hikes, but also the limited amount of developable land.

Brent Landels is a broker with Re/Max key properties in Bend, as well as the vice president of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors.

He said, to put it simply: "We have a huge problem."

Landels explained that as demand booms, there are only 13 homesites available in the city of bend right now, with the cheapest being around quarter of an acre and listed at about $225,000.

"The least expensive homesite is $225,000, yet in permits and fees, you're at $260,000 before anybody has bought the first nail." he said.

Landels explained that nearly a quarter-acre is actually a relatively large parcel, for what's typically been available.

"Most of the lots you're seeing that, especially anything that has been developed lately, is more around the 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 square-foot range, so that one is actually a lot bigger than most."

Landels said he believes the city needs to expand its urban growth boundary to keep up, which he said all in all takes years to add more land for more houses.

"The last approved expansion was in 2016," he said, and "we are just now seeing lots from that expansion."

He said if it takes too long to expand the city and add inventory, it will drive prices up further, as demand will remain far greater than the supply.

"Consequently, when someone who gets here from out of state, the amount of money they have to spend is greater than the amount of money people have to spend, and supply and demand works," Landels said.

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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

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