Thom Gardner Bend Oregon Buyer's Agent Bend Oregon real estate buying zones 2019

Bend Oregon Real Estate Buying Zones 2019 Update

Thom Gardner, Bend Oregon Buyer’s Agent and Principal Broker, updates his most popular video, Bend Oregon Real Estate Buying Zones, for 2019.  My, how prices have changed in three years.



Subscribe to my podcast by clicking here


Hey everybody! And welcome back.

I am Thom Gardner, Bend Oregon Real Estate Agent and Pure Buyer’s Broker at Bend Brokers Realty. You can reach me at 541-480-7554 or

So, it’s been three years since I’ve done one of these videos! I know it’s kind of ridiculous, huh? Business got really, really busy. It’s doubled each of the last two years., and I just didn’t have time for these anymore.
But I get a lot of calls on these videos, especially this one.  So I thought it was time to do an update because I keep getting the question: “Hey, can you still get me a house for $250,000?” And the answer is… no, I can’t. So, let’s talk about where prices are now and update it for 2019.

Okay, first of all, a little bit of business here. It used to be that Bend Home Buyers Agency was my moniker. AT Bend Brokers Realty. But now, I own Bend Brokers Realty. So, as you can see behind me, we have new signage, we have new logos, we have new everything.

I am still only a buyers’ broker. I do not work with sellers. However, I do now have people in my office who do!  So, if you are looking for an honest broker, you don’t know where to turn, and you like my style, feel free to give me a buzz. Hit me up on email, and I will guide you to the person that fits you the best, okay?
Alright! Here we go, let’s update this sucker.

Alright, here we’ve got the same map as we had a few years ago.  I’ve updated it a little bit. You can see I put a blue line here that divides north and south, blue line here the divides east and west—northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest. Pretty easy to figure out, right?

Okay! So, a couple of caveats. Southwest is a weird one because it used to be—and I’ve lived here for about 29 years—old-timers like me called “southwest” anything west of the river. Nowadays, it’s anything west of the parkway. It’s kind of confusing because I know.  It came about because people right here want to say, “Hey, I live on the west side,” because there’s a little bit of cache to that, right? And that’s totally fine, but there’s a big difference in price.

So, when we talk about southwest prices, we’re generally talking about this area in here between the river and the parkway. They’re lower than on the west side of the river where they’re much more expensive and much more akin to the northwest.  So, take this part with a grain of salt when we talk about it. Just add anything west of the river into northwest, okay? That’s the way to look at it.

Alright, so let’s talk about that. Northwest side of town, this is where the tourists go. This is where everybody wants to be where the vacation rentals are. This is Awbrey Butte right here. It used to be our toniest address back in the day. It still is pretty nice.  And it’s where the cute, little houses are, the river is, the trails are, the restaurants, the pubs, festivals, concerts, all that stuff that people want to move to Bend to have that Bend lifestyle—all over here. That’s why it’s most expensive. There’s not enough dirt here to go around. We don’t have enough space for everybody that wants to live there.

Southwest (west of the river), great river access; also access to Mt. Bachelor right here on Century Drive. Mountain bike trails, boom! Most of them are right here. Easy to get to.

And if we talk about the part that I was just telling you about, which I’ll call the Brookswood area—because most of these homes are served by Brookswood Boulevard, it runs right here—those all generally have stem trails that gets you to the river trail which will get you almost anywhere in town and/or across the river, so you can get mountain bike trails and stuff like that.

Okay! Southeast side of town, you’ve got big Ponderosa pines, larger lots, and again, larger lots have gotten more expensive since our last discussion. I had a couple of homes down here. I lived here for six or so years, two different houses. Loved it. And boy, did they go up in value because they were on big lots. I always tell clients my mantra, “They’re not making more big lots. If you can get a big lot, get it”, if you’re so predilected to do so because small lots, they’re making many, and they’ll continue to.

Now, northeast, that’s the least expensive side of town. Something interesting has happened in the few years since I did this video before. The state of Oregon has not allowed us much more land outside the urban growth boundary, which is this orange line, again, running around the map, okay? That’s almost the same as city limits—not quite, but we won’t worry about the details right now.

So, in Oregon, we have to get permission to expand outside the urban growth boundary. They won’t let us. They gave us a little bit over here, a little bit down here, and a little bit over here. Teeny bits of land.
What they said was, “If you want more, come back in 5 years or 10 years”, depending on when we get this all done. And show us that you have built on in-fill lots, which is bare land inside the existing city limits, “And increase your urban density by building multi-family homes and apartment complexes.” And people, I’m telling you, there are some massive apartment complexes going up all over the east side of Bend. That’s where the dirt is. That’s where they’re going. Very few are going over here because there’s just no land to spare, okay?

So, we are seeing a lot, especially in the northeast, of multifamily homes, duplexes, quads, stuff like that—and big apartment complexes that we had never seen the likes of here in Bend. A few of those over here in the southeast as well. That’s something to take into consideration when you buy up here in the northeast, and in a few places down here in the southeast, okay? Where are those going in? How are they going to affect your property values?

So, this is the least expensive part of town. It’s also a little more desert-y, a little lower. You get a little longer growing season. And a little more sunshine, a little more wind, that kind of thing. But again, it’s where people are buying starter homes. First time buyers, that’s where you go.

Let’s talk about values now in 2019 versus 2016 when I did this before. I can’t get you that $250,000 house, but let’s start with the northeaast, the least expensive part of town.  I’m seeing prices there right now starting right about $329,000. And occasionally, you can find a fixer-upper less than that, but I mean it’s beat up. It’s really beat up—and/or some of those you can’t get a loan on because the bank won’t loan on something that’s in major disrepair. Keep that in mind.  Now, houses over here can go up to about $600,000—over here off of 18th, which is the nicest area in the northeast. I’ve got some great clients who bought over there over the years. You get more for your money, right?  We’re starting over here, at about over $175/sq.ft. these days, maybe down to $150 if you’re very lucky—pretty rare.  And when we get down to the bottom end, you’re going to have lots of competition in the summer months. That’s something to keep in mind. Those prices you see may go higher, okay?

So, let’s talk about southeast. Southeast is a little bit more expensive—not a lot. You can still get a starter home over here for about $350,000. And homes over here on the big lots, again, value there. In Kings Forest, Orion Estates and especially Woodside Ranch are much more expensive.  In this area, for a half acre, three-quarter acre property, older/dated, you’re looking at about $500,000 to start. Down here in Woodside Ranch, you’re looking at about $650,000 to start. Gorgeous though, big trees, rolling streets, so peaceful. Lots of wildlife, et cetera. That’s the southeast side.

Southwest… and again, I’m mostly talking about this area right here in between the river and the parkway. These homes, tract homes mostly, built since about 2005, some newer ones. And there are a couple of neighborhoods in here which are from the ‘90s and need a little bit of updating. Let’s face it, we made some ugly choices in the ‘90s. And you’re generally going to start about $425,000 over here if you’re lucky; $450,00 is a little more apropos of where we are at the moment. Those $425-ers, they’re selling the first day—even in the springtime time, which is not the busiest time of year. So be prepared to fight over those cheaper homes on this side of town right here in the southwest.  Everybody wants to live near the river, near the old mill or downtown because, again, in Bend, you want to ride your bike, walk, whatever, get out of your car to go to restaurants, pubs, festivals, concerts, and yada-yada-and-yada… and trails!
Okay! So, that’s the southwest.

Now, the west side of the river southwest of course is much more akin to the northwest, the granddaddy of town. I like it over here. It’s not for everybody, I get that. But again, I’ve lived here 29 years. Bend used to be a very different place—it still is over here. Yeah, it’s a little more congested there, more people, a lot more tourists. But a lot more restaurants as well. That’s not a bad thing. But it still feels like a small town just over here. It doesn’t feel like a small town on the east side. It feels like a Californiaesque, suburb- strip mall kind of town.  In the west, it still feels like old Bend—quaint, little houses, quaint, little streets, cute as a button, lots of trees, lots of deciduous trees—the river plays a big part in that—lots of trails, tons of little neighborhood restaurants and pubs. You can walk to everything, ride your bike to everything.
I’m about a 10-minute walk to downtown. And let me tell you, parking is a lot harder these days. A lot more people in town, a lot more tourists. And because of that, parking is crunched on tourist holidays and weekends. I ride up on my e-bike, park wherever I want… easy as pie. Major benefit over here.
But you pay for that because there’s not a lot to go around. Too many people want to live here. We don’t have enough space for them.

So, on the west side, you’re generally talking about starting at $550,000. These are all homes in 3-bedrooms, 2 baths and uprange that I’m talking about throughout the video. About $550,000, occasionally $539,000. I’ve seen some over here in Shevlin Meadows at $539,000; some down here in West Side Meadows right down here on the end of town, also about $539,000, but that is really the bottom.  You can find some 2-bed stuff here, 800 or 900 sq. ft. for about $450,000. I wouldn’t buy it. I don’t think that’s a great bargain these days. And you go up to 6 or 7 million inside the city limits. Higher than that if you go just outside here in the rural. You can be 10 million or 12 million.  So, you get what you pay for is kind of how it works. If you’re comfortable being in your car to go to everywhere, and you’re on a budget, and maybe you’re a first time home buyer, the east is where you’re looking almost surely. If you’ve got a little more money to spend, maybe some cash, and you want “the lifestyle,” the Bend lifestyle, it’s over here on the west side of town.

Okay, there you go! We’re updated for 2019, three years later. Again, Thom Gardner, Bend Brokers Realty. You can reach me at 541-480-7554, or as you can see, 1-800-GO4BEND or

One last quick thing, average prices in the three zip codes of town, I have a chart for that on my website, West side versus East side Bend Oregon Home Prices. I’m going to update it every month. Last month, we were looking at $746,000 over here, although I think that was a little high. We had a big jump from the month before. Let’s call it $675 or $680 is the average price over here in 97703, which is what we’re talking about. 97702 is the southern half of town. The average price in there was about $475. And again, that’s an amalgam of both this area and this area, okay? Generally, I would say it’s probably closer to $485 or $490 right now, maybe even $500. Northeast, 97701, average was for $445. And I think that’s about right.

Okay, there you go! Take care.  And I’ll see you on the next one.


Bend Oregon Real Estate Buying Zones


Subscribe to my Podcast by clicking here.


Bend Oregon Real Estate Buying Zones

CONTACT ME HERE if I can be of help to you!

Hey, everybody! Thom Gardner again, I am here with the Bend Real Estate Minute and I’m with

Okay, I’m going to go over a little bit with the Bend Oregon map here with my little stick and I’ll be your schoolmarm today. I’ll show you a few of the differences in areas for those who may not know a lot about the areas of Bend Oregon, what you can expect to pay for real estate in each, and why.

There is this orange line around the map. That is the city limits- the urban growth boundary. I’m going to orient you real quick. Downtown, this is the Old Mill, that’s Awbrey Butte and that’s Pilot Butte. So, we break Bend Oregon real estate down into zones in my business. The northwest corner, the southwest, the southeast and the northeast. It’s pretty easy to figure out why.

So, the northwest corner is the most expensive part of Bend, Oregon. When tourists come to Bend, that’s generally what they see – the cute houses, the restaurants, the pubs. We have 26 breweries as of today. A few more tomorrow, no doubt. People like the northwest corner because they can walk or ride their bike to the river or the river trail, which will get you to downtown, and which will get you to the Old Mill without getting into your car. That’s a big deal here. People pay more for that.

Also, your Cascade mountain views are generally going to be on the northwest side of Bend, some in the southwest too.

In terms of Bend Oregon real estate values, you’re going to pay about $200 a foot at a minimum, and that’s a big fixer upper, to $350 and sometimes even $400 bucks a square foot. I wouldn’t recommend $400 at this time. Talk to me about that before you do it.

Same thing in the “real” Southwest of Bend- west of the river, a beautiful area. This is the road to Mt. Bachelor right here, all the mountain bike trails. We get a lot of professional mountain bikers, and they want to live right by the trails and that’s what they buy. Again, $250 to $350 a square foot.

This, some people call this the Southwest part too. It’s actually on the east side of the river. This is mostly newer homes in cookie-cutter subdivisions, very California-esque. Very popular because they all have stem trails to the river trails, which will then get you where you want to go without getting into your car.

There are a few older neighborhoods here on the edge of the southwest zone of Bend. Also, almost of the southeast features larger lots and older homes.

That’s where I live, right over here in the southeast part of Bend. Big pine trees, big lots, half-acre plus. The nice thing about that and the value for the future and why I buy there is that they’re not making any more big lots. They’re only making tiny, cookie-cutter lots all over town.

Land is very expensive in Bend. That’s why I like the older homes on large lots for my own Bend Oregon real estate investments- but you have to be comfortable with renovating.

So, that’s southeast Bend property. In the southeast you’re going to pay oh, anywhere from $175 to $225 a square foot depending on the age of the home and the amenities and the neighborhood.

Same thing in southwest Bend. I mean, it’s not really the “southwest”, but the east side of the southwest, everything east of the river. You’re going to pay anywhere from $175 to $225, maybe $250 a square foot.

Northeast Bend Oregon real estate is the cheapest. Why? It’s because it’s desert, there are few mature trees, very few pines, a few junipers, but they’re not very big. It’s more exposed, more wind, less snow (great if you’re not a snow lover). You’re going to pay anywhere from a $150 a square foot to just below $200 a square foot. Lots of cookie-cutter neighborhoods. A mix of newer cookie-cutter homes and also older 70s and 80s ranch stuff, the 90s a bit.

So, those are your basic differences in zonal Bend Oregon real estate values! On the east side, you’re paying less because you have to get in your car to go anywhere. The west side, you’re paying more because you can walk or ride your bike everywhere. You may get mountain views. You may even get river views if you’re paying at the very top end of the range.

Okay, Thom Gardner, this has been Bend Real Estate Minute. Thanks a lot!

Bend’s move from regional to national real estate player

Bend’s Move from Regional to National Real Estate Player

An explanation of the effects of Bend’s move from regional to national real estate player on increasing home prices and low inventory and why they both should continue for many years to come

Thom’s explanation of Bend Oregon’s unique real estate market, its move from regional to national renown, and why our home prices are and should continue to increase faster than most of the rest of the country’s.

I often hear from home buying clients moving to our little Bend, Oregon from other areas of the United States, the majority of my business, that our prices scare the heck out of them. Not necessarily the prices themselves, but the rapid and constant increase in those prices. I am often hit with the question, “Do you think the run is about over?”, to which I offer an emphatic, “NO, I believe it is just beginning.” I understand that the Bend real estate market seems strange to folks from “normal” real estate markets, where people often move across town, people move in for jobs, and so on. But, there are some very real and time tested reasons why this occurs, and why it will continue into the foreseeable future. This reasoning also explains the vast difference between the rise in our market in 2004-2007, and the similar rise we are seeing now. And remember, we are not yet back to those highs, even now.

There is a phenomenon in stock market analysis known as “the transition from regional to national markets”. The largest gains in stocks often occur when a business, such as Chipotle, Krispy Kreme, Wells Fargo, and Uber, to name a few of recent years, transitions from being a regionally known and focused player, to becoming a nationally known and focused player. These gains can be hyperbolic and exponential. I have been a watcher of Jim Cramer for years, and he often says these are his favorite stories, and is constantly trying to uncover them for his viewers.

Bend’s move from regional to national real estate player makes it the Chipotle of real estate markets. Except that, unlike Chipotle, we are in the early stages of the discovery process.

Ladies and gentlemen, there could hardly be a more pertinent explanation for this Bend’s meteoric and continuing rise than this. If we were to talk baseball innings as a metaphor for where we are in this timeline, I would have to guess we are at the end of inning two. And it also provides insight into the Bend real estate market now, versus the Bend market of the early 2000’s. At that time, Bend was not well known away from the West Coast. Our real estate brokerage rarely had clients from further West than Colorado, and the vast majority came from California, Oregon, and Washington. Bend is a very small real estate market, and so the easy credit at the time combined with a relatively large amount of people- those that discovered our amazing area early- to spike Bend home prices severely. When I had the occasional client from the East, they would tell me that none of their friends or neighbors had ever heard of Bend.

Flash forward to NOW. The majority of my business now comes from EAST of the Rockies. I am told by my clients from there that their friends and neighbors most often HAVE heard of Bend, and they often tell them as they move away “Gosh, you are so lucky to be moving there!”. Bend is in newspapers on the East Coast quite commonly, and in national magazines every single month as “one of the best places to move”, “best places to visit”, “best places for business”, “best places to retire”, “best ski towns”, “best places to live”, and on and on, as the various links I have posted on my site over the past few years attest. I have begun to grimace each time I see our little town mentioned in a magazine, as I know that will bring yet more folks to our area, and as we are such a small area, there are not enough homes to go around. That was evident last year, and it is MUCH more evident this year, when it is already difficult to find a home and SECURE it here. And again, our town is SMALL, and hemmed in by Federal land. There is, and will remain, only so much to go around. Last year, Deschutes County was the SEVENTH FASTEST growing County in the United States, with a population of just over 170,000. There is a link on the front page my BENDHOMEPAGE.COM website to this story.

You might think I would be jumping for joy at this phenomenon, based upon the nature of my Bend real estate business. Actually, it is quite the opposite. It has become more difficult to find and SECURE homes for my clients, as they have to move QUICKLY ( their own markets don’t necessarily teach them to do this), and they have to come in as close to full price as possible (which is a tough pill to swallow for anyone). Large agencies I must compete with have much more ad money to spend than do I, and there is a glut of agents moving in, mostly from Southern California, who want to get rich quick, though their service quality is much lower, they don’t know the area, they haven’t been through the boom and bust cycles here, and they are often still in their early 20’s and have never even owned a home. I have many clients who have waited, and waited, and waited to purchase a Bend primary home or an investment home, and I have watched them fall further and further behind the pack, missing vast gains in appreciation, because they are not convinced that the phenomenon I speak of is real. And yet, they are seeing it with their own eyes, year after year. Some of those folks have been priced out of our real estate market and now will never be able to make the Bend home purchase they had so hoped to make.

Furthermore, the two real estate markets most often mentioned by my clients compare that Bend to others, are the Lake Tahoe area, and Aspen. These two dramatically illustrate the vast vacuum of pricing space we have above our heads, which we are quickly filling. According to the January edition of Nevada Business, Lake Tahoe’s average sales price in that month was $807,088. Contrast that with our January average of $395,000 (which as of February is up to $403,000)!!! And Lake Tahoe is still in the middle innings of the regional to national discovery process, in my opinion. Aspen, which has been the go-to mountain-play town for the East for decades, is at the top of this food chain, certainly in the ninth inning (or maybe extra innings!) of this process. And, according to the Aspen Times in February 2015, the average sales price there at this time is . . . $4 million. We are talking about a price per foot around $1000, versus Bend’s average per foot price, around $200.

Yes, it will be many years until Bend gets there, and I would like nothing more than if we did not EVER get there, though I think that the Tahoe numbers are not that many years away, maybe 10. But I think fighting reality is a fool’s game. The trend is as obvious as the nose on my face, and I have a rather large nose. Adapting to reality is where wisdom lies. Frankly, at this time in Bend’s life as a town we get more press than either of the other two (which occurs in the early stages of discovery, of course), we have more overall recreation than either of them (more lakes, the desert, more federal lands, rock climbing, water sports, skiing, the Pacific Crest Trail, power sports, mountain biking, mountaineering, backpacking and hiking, a well developed and growing restaurant and pub scene in the land of Beervana, a top tier regional hospital, a quality airport, some of the nation’s best fishing rivers, interesting volcanic environments, hot springs, and we are closer to the Ocean as well as the rainforests of the valley . . . need I go on?), and we have the sunshine we are famous for. We also have more water availability for the future than the drying up area of Tahoe. This year Bend is seeing more California home buyers again, people concerned with living somewhere that has readily available water stores, but will not even think of living in the dark and gloomy areas of the Willamette Valley, Portland, or Washington State. And their wholesale return promises to further compact our tiny real estate market.

It is simply a case of supply and demand. Our supply is and will always be small. Yet our demand increases dramatically every year.

Yes, BEND IS NOT THERE YET AND WON’T BE FOR A LONG WHILE. But if you think this ride is nearly over, if you think that Bend’s real estate market won’t fill at least a major portion of that massive vacuum above us, I believe you have not yet adjusted your thinking to the reality on the ground and the concept of moving from being a regional real estate player to a national real estate player. Everyone knows that real estate is all about location, and Bend has that in spades. But I am here to tell you that there is a second piece of that puzzle that is nearly as important in my experience. It is known as RELATIVE VALUE. And it is that one, more than anything else, that will continue to fuel Bend Oregon’s ridiculously hot real estate market for the foreseeable future.