The recommendations will be shared with the Bend City Council on July 19, and are the subject of a City Club of Central Oregon forum on July 20 entitled, “Economic Development in a Housing Crisis: Real Solutions for Solving Our Middle Market Housing Crunch.”
The workgroup will also be featured at the first Innovation Day on July 18 at OSU-Cascades as a new and creative model for achieving policy solutions supported by diverse stakeholders.
BACKGROUND ON THE WORKGROUP
The Bend Collaborative Housing Workgroup was launched at the Bend Livability Conference with a focus on developing policy solutions for increasing middle market housing in Bend.
The steering committee for the workgroup includes COAR, Central Oregon Builders Association, Brooks Resources Corporation, Housing Works, OSU-Cascades, the American Institute of Architects Southwestern Oregon Chapter, the City of Bend, and a retired land use attorney.
Additionally, over 25 community members participated in the workgroup, including builders, developers, architects, housing advocates, city councilors and planning commissioners.
The group defined the middle market as 80-175 percent of area median income (AMI), or for individuals and families making between $45,000 and $90,000 annually.
This market segment is important for the local economy, the stability of our residents and also reliving downward housing pressure on those earning below 80 percent of AMI.
The workgroup contracted with ECONorthwest and Cogen Owens Greene to prepare a middle market landscape report to understand the market in Bend, the factors leading to the lack of middle market housing and possible tools to help housing development in this market.
The ECONorthwest research concluded:
- The Bend housing market has seen rapid price increases that affect renters and homeowners at all but the highest income brackets.
- Price increases affect mid-market housing in both direct and indirect ways. Middle-income households in Bend are being squeezed in the housing market from above and below.
- Unless trends change, multi-family and single-family unit production will not be sufficient to meet future demand, placing further pressure on mid-market housing availability.
- The costs of construction and financing are driving new construction prices above what is affordable for mid-market homebuyers, even for townhomes.
- New multi-family supply is limited, and is not serving the full rental market
To solve these issues, the workgroup created a master list of 50 tools that could potentially spur housing development in Bend. The group has spent the last six months refining that list to produce the recommendations released today.
These solutions represent a compromise across the groups involved in the project, which serves as a new innovative method in Bend for achieving strong policy recommendations across diverse stakeholder groups.