20170224_144253Last fall, with key funding from the Central Oregon Association of REALTORS®, Bend 2030 launched the Bend Collaborative Housing Workgroup to focus on creating more opportunities in Bend for middle market housing.

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 members from the community are participating 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

(ECONortwest Landscape Report February 2017)

IMG_20170224_162459To solve these issues, the workgroup recently narrowed a master list of more than 40 tools for spurring middle market housing down to 22 across the following four areas:

  1. Infrastructure funding.
  2. Increasing supply.
  3. Development code changes.
  4. Incentives for development.

The top few tools in each category will now be evaluated by workgroup subcommittees to refine recommendations and collective advocacy strategies.

The recommendations will be presented at a Summit to community leaders and citizens for further feedback in late May.

It is important to note that these solutions will represent a compromise across the groups involved in the project with the goal of getting more of Bend into stable and midmarket priced housing.

To learn more about Bend’s middle market housing needs and to provide feedback to this workgroup, don’t miss “Solving Bend’s Missing Middle Housing Puzzle” being held April 10 at the Tower Theatre. Click here to get free tickets!