The median sales price of a single-family home in Bend has risen to $683,000 as of December 2021. This is an increase of almost $160,000 since last year and over $240,000 from December of 2019, when the median sale price was $440,000. This increase has made it more difficult for many to afford homeownership, especially when rents followed this trend. Most households are spending their monthly income on rent, utilities and other necessary living expenses with no extra for saving, making homeownership more of a dream than reality.
To understand the impact on a community when there are roadblocks to ownership, it's significant to look at the personal and social benefits of homeownership. A home will provide an individual a stronger sense of security, belonging and attachment to the home and the community. When people have a place that is their own, it can be conducive to opportunities for growth physically, mentally and emotionally. Being a homeowner is a source of pride and worth, a tool for advancement.
When a community invests in itself by providing affordable home ownership options, it will see more productive community members. Studies have shown affordable housing uplifts residents, encourages social connection, reduces overcrowding, increases adjacent property values, attracts businesses and jobs, and lowers crime rates. Homeowners are more likely to run for political office, volunteer with local organizations and generally be involved in their communities. Helping others realize the goal of homeownership can help create residents who are more independent and less dependent on social services, in turn less money spent on those social services.
"Addressing housing affordability is the most cost-effective way of lifting people out of poverty, for reducing childhood poverty and increasing economic mobility," says Sarah Mickelson, senior director of public policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Owning a home is a smart investment. The value will appreciate over time and even when there are downturns in the housing market, home sale prices have always recovered. Using equity built over time in a home, owners can afford education for their children or capital to start a business or make other investments. This is a source of empowerment for individuals. Children raised in homes that are family owned are less likely to have health and mental issues and perform better in school. In turn, they have a stronger foundation for beginning their lives and are more likely to succeed. The stability of homeownership helps increase responsibility in one's life and to the community.
Even when buying a home doesn't seem possible, it can be. More and more family members, friends and smart investors are using combined incomes to be able to afford buying a home, realizing that sharing spaces while building equity will eventually allow them to make purchases by themselves.
Homeownership is a long-term play; a way to build generational wealth over time, a way to create an easier life for your children and grandchildren, a way to break free of being reliant on others and discovering the freedoms it can bring.