The Rent is Too Damn High and Getting Higher | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Rent is Too Damn High and Getting Higher

Bend rents are rising at some of the fastest rates in the nation, despite rent control caps

Bend's fair market rent rose by 37.4% from 2019 to 2023, making it the ninth-largest increase in rent among small metros in the United States. The Consumer Price Index shows rents across the country have risen by 24.1% since 2019, the fastest pace since the 1980s. A study from Construction Coverage lays the blame on an increased demand for housing while supply remains constrained, and that rental prices are still increasing as housing prices stabilize.

The Rent is Too Damn High and Getting Higher
Photo courtesy of Construction Coverage
Rents are rising fast as tenants have to compete over a limited supply of units.

The price of smaller rental units is increasing at a greater rate than larger ones, with the cost of studios rising by more than 30% and one bedrooms by about 25%. In Bend the average studio apartment runs around $1,000 a month and a one-bedroom $1,184, according to Construction Coverage's analysis.

The Center for American Progress estimated that the United States was short 7 million affordable homes for low-income renters in 2019, resulting in 37 affordable rentals per 100 low-income rental households. That is compounded by a post-COVID housing demand from people moving out of temporary living situations. Pew Research Center found over half of adults aged 18-29 lived with their parents in 2020, which hasn't happened since the Great Depression.

The study range from 2019 coincides with Oregon enacting the first-in-the-nation rent control law that prohibits landlords from raising rent more than 7% plus inflation per year — for 2023 rents could rise as high as 14.6%. The law isn't universal though; it only applies to multifamily housing that's been certified for occupancy less than 15 years, meaning rent at newly built complexes and single-family homes of any age can be changed at will.

Supporters of rent control argue it protects against predatory hikes that can put people on the street while opponents argue it leads to less tenant mobility, lower housing quality and discourages the creation of new units. Though Bend rents are rising at much higher rates than the national average, Oregon is just slightly ahead of the national average at 28.6%. The states with the highest increases are Arizona at 53.9%, Nevada at 48.4% and Idaho at 40.5%.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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