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As Bend home prices soar, Prineville becomes hot spot for first-time buyers

Even popular with commuters: 'You can buy a lot of gas for 100,000 bucks'

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Tom Evans has been a Realtor in Prineville for quite some time now. He says that lately, he’s been seeing more and more first-time buyers making their way to the small city, as many can’t afford to buy even homes below the average price in bigger cities, like Bend.

“If you’re looking at a $400,000 home, typically a down payment on that is close to $40,000 or over $40,000," Evans said Wednesday. "And that’s tough for a first-time homebuyer, to have $40,000 in cash.”

He said in many cases, they might have the money theoretically, but still can’t make the purchase.

“I see too many that have made several offers on several homes in the Bend market but they’re just outbid," Evans said. "They go for over asking price. Cash is king, so they, the first-time home buyers don’t have that cash.”

Broker Laina Yancey said she's also seeing the trend, explaining that in Crook County there are better loan options for those without much cash.

“Crook County has access to USDA financing, which is generally zero-down first-time homebuyer financing that Bend does not have,” she said.  

 Pointing to market numbers, Yancey said overall, Crook County homes are about 23 percent less expensive than in Deschutes County.

“That whole affordability thing comes (with) more house that they can get for their dollar -- larger lot maybe,” she said.

It's an affordable price that Evans said has many who would have to commute to Bend for work still interested.

“I see more and more commuters," Evans said. "As I say, you can buy a lot of gas for 100,000 bucks.”

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Blake Allen

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


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