I will have more regional coverage in the next few weeks, but for today I just wanted to highlight the strength of recovery taking place in Bend and Deschutes County. Simply put, Bend is booming. Just like it always does in expansion. 6 percent job growth has been the typical growth rate in each of the past 4 recoveries and expansions.
What is fascinating is that Bend almost beat the state out of the Great Recession hole, even with suffering nearly twice the job losses. In the office, Mark and I were spitballing a year or two ago, trying to extrapolate these trends and guess whether or not Bend would recover first. It was close and in actuality, Bend ends up just a hair behind, but closing the gap quickly.
While we weren’t expecting 6+ percent job growth, in all honesty, we were expecting places like Bend and Medford to come back strongly as the recovery continued and migration flows in particular returned. Medford hasn’t come back quite as strong, but Bend certainly has.
What’s interesting here is that population growth in Central Oregon more broadly is back to a pretty typical year, but housing starts haven’t quite yet. This result, much like in other popular metro areas (Portland, Seattle, et al.) has driven home prices higher. Home price data from both FHFA and Zillow show prices are, amazingly, about halfway back to bubble era levels. That’s not to say it’s another bubble, this is more or less simple supply and demand at work.
Once again, Bend is leading the state in growth and booming. Stay tuned for more regional work in the near future.