By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Transportation issues, affordable housing and upcoming elections were all topics discussed at Thursday’s State of the City event.
One of the biggest issues discussed was city growth and the housing challenges that come with it.
“We are seeing that the number of home sales in Bend is literally off the charts,” Carolyn Eagan, director of economic development for the city, said.
City Manager Eric King said the average sale’s price for a house in Bend was $440,000 in 2019. In 2020, the average is $547,000 — more than an $100,000 increase.
“Median days on market — the number of days from when a listing hits to when a home goes pending — 25 days in July, 10 days in August and I believe five days in September,” King said.
King said Bend has seen a surge in growth and housing demand during the pandemic. Eagan said that’s ultimately a good thing for the city’s economy recovery.
“This is not slowing down,” Eagan said. “The positive side of that is we have sustained job growth.”
Regional Economist Damon Runberg agrees that the city’s growth will help the local economy recover from the pandemic.
“You would much rather be in a city with growing pains than one in decline,” Runberg said. “That tends to lead to unemployment and loss of economic output. We’ll sign up for these growing pains any day because it means we’re going to have a quicker recovery.”
Even with growth, Mayor Sally Russell said the city is focused on helping small businesses weather a challenging time.
“I’m really worried about some of our businesses downtown right now and throughout the community, how we’re going to make it through the winter,” Russell said. “I think we just have to be aware, communicate, look to solve these problems that are immediate.”