What's Happening in Affordable Housing in Bend? | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

What's Happening in Affordable Housing in Bend?

For those wanting to enter the housing market but finding it nearly impossible, there are resources and strategies to help.

Affordable housing in Bend continues to be a hot topic. And for good reason.

As we are all very aware of, starting in the spring of 2019 Bend, along with our neighboring communities, experienced exponential growth in population fostering fierce competition especially in the first-time home market. Pricing went up, on average, over 30% within this short timespan which made housing extremely competitive. Thankfully, we are beginning to see an adjustment largely in part to interest rates and buyer fatigue. Still, for many, pricing at current levels can be unattainable.

For those wanting to enter the housing market but finding it nearly impossible, there are resources and strategies to help.

Talk to a professional

First and foremost, connecting with a real estate professional is the best place to start. With our extensive networks and knowledge of the changing market conditions, we can help connect you with the right opportunities, as well as mortgage lenders who are well-versed in a variety of mortgage programs. Today, there are so many financing options. It's smart to be aware and ask about your options. From USDA loan programs to 0% down options, a knowledgeable lender can help you uncover opportunities you never knew existed.

Find help when you need it

There are times in life when difficulty may keep you from meeting financial obligations. It is important to know that there is help. I recommend reaching out to NeighborImpact, offering advice on housing and support to help retain homeownership in case of job loss or familial change where counseling will be of benefit. It has assisted thousands of people needing rental assistance, utility cost credits and mortgage assistance.

New programs on the horizon

One exciting affordable housing project very close to breaking ground is a product of HB 4079, a statewide pilot program aimed to help cities build affordable housing. The City of Bend applied and qualified for this opportunity, which allows development outside the Urban Growth Boundary, utilizing an expedited process via the Land Conservation & Development Commission. Central Oregon LandWatch was against this House Bill to provide additional affordable housing in Bend, yet it passed in 2016. At least 30% of the newly built housing must remain affordable and said land remain protected for this use for a minimum of 50 years. Thanks to efforts of then Rep. Jack Zika, Redmond, was the second of two cities within Oregon to serve as a pilot for affordable housing.

As well, many local incentives are within the Affordable Housing Fee and Community Development Block Grant funding options available through the City. Nonprofit and not-for-profit developers such as Pacific Crest, Housing Works, Kôr Community Land Trust and others have developed hundreds of rental and owner-occupied units throughout our community. With locations from Northwest Crossing to Midtown, local developers as well as others have done an amazing job providing high-quality, net-zero residences and safe, energy efficient affordable housing throughout our community.

Bottom line? Do not be afraid to ask questions – ask, ask, ASK! People are here to help and that's one of the many reasons why Bend and Central Oregon is a great place to live. We care about our neighbors and our community.

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