Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're Number One!

Reader Eco, in yesterday's comments, pointed out the following article in

Since I'm not sure this will make the local news, and since the other bubble bloggers seem to think there's nothing more to talk about, I'll post it here.

I've thought, from the start, that we would lag the rest of the nation in price declines, but that eventually we'd be Number 1!!!. Worse than Vegas, baby.

Seriously, this was inevitable. We mirrored what was happening in California, and Florida, and Nevada, only six months to two years behind.

It's a weird thing about Bend. We have plenty of warning about what's to come, both good and bad. This has given me a competitive advantage in the past; I'll see something catching on elsewhere and will be well prepared by the time it arrives here. I'll see something falling away elsewhere and be well prepared for the decline....

Bend is a bubble in more than one way. If you define 'bubble' as standing apart from the rest of the world. For instance, a geographic and transportation bubble. We are a timewarp bubble, as well. Always have been. When I was a kid, fashions and pop culture were always a couple years behind here. One of the things I often see, is some hipster moves to town and slowly, gradually they become Bendites and thus as relatively clueless as the rest of us. Usually they don't even know it.

There was a news story yesterday that the boardgames Settlers of Catan has gone "viral" in the Silicon Valley, with CEO's addicted to the game. Here in Bend, it's still mostly get questions like, "Is it like Monopoly?"

The ramifications of the price declines can be seen in places where it's already happened.

We get see our own future.


Top 5: Bend reports nation’s biggest home decline in Q3

By Ryan Frank, The Oregonian

December 18, 2009

1. Bend reports nation’s biggest home decline in Q3: Yes, prices are still falling the Bend. They tumbled 5.6 percent between the second and third quarter, the biggest decline in the country. Las Vegas was right behind Bend, down 5 percent. That’s according to the IHS Global Insight “House Prices in America” report out today. Much of the nation is starting to emerge from the depths of the housing recession. But the Northwest, late to the housing bubble, continues to be the last to see the price declines wash through. IHS still considers much of the Northwest to be overvalued. Of the top 20 overvalued markets, nine are in Oregon or Washington. The Portland-Vancouver market ranks worst in Oregon at No. 7. Corvallis is No. 9, Salem is No. 10 and Bend is No. 19. IHS says home prices nationally halted a two-year slide in the third quarter, rising .2 percent from the second quarter. California led the way with a 2.1 percent increase. Nationwide, the U.S. housing market is down 10.7 percent from the 2007 peak. Despite the upbeat news, IHS also warned of potential troubles ahead given the still high unemployment rate and the temporary boost the market got from the federal tax credit.


H. Bruce Miller said...

Absolutely right about Bendites living in a bubble. More seriously than being behind fashion trends, living in a bubble encourages us to become delusional about many things, including the wonderfulness of our climate and the "uniqueness" of our natural beauty and our "outdoor lifestyle." Rarely leaving their comfortable bubble, Bendites don't realize there are hundreds if not thousands of other places that are as good or better.

RDC said...


Lets see you list of hundreds if not thousands and kindly score them by rank in a number of categories:

1. Climate
2. Retail
3. Dining
4. skiing (downhill and cross country)
5. hiking and backpacking
6. cycling (road and trail)
7. cost of living (including housing)

8. Medical access
9. airport access
10. crime rate (petty and violent)

Hate to tell you but if you are looking across that list Bend comes out pretty well. I know, because I have spent the last five years visiting much of the competition. There are very few areas with a similar cost of living with the same selection of facilities.

Lets see your list of hundreds if not thousands.

H. Bruce Miller said...

RDC, your list of categories is skewed to favor Bend by including recreation activities in which it would score high (e.g. skiing) and omitting factors in which it would score low or not at all (e.g. swimming, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving).

My point was just that there are many, many places in the world where one can enjoy a lifestyle just as good as Bend's (though not necessarily identical to Bend's) or better.

What "as good as or better" means depends on one's personal preferences, of course. If one absolutely positively HAS to live next to a ski area that narrows down the list of candidates considerably.

As for cost of living, we're still one of the most overpriced areas in the country for housing according to the HSI Global Insight Index.

RDC said...

Thats a bit like saying that there are a lot of places better then San Deigo if you remove the weather and the beach from the evaluation.

The point is that Bend has a pretty good mix of charateristics that are attractive to a number of people.

Take the list and remove 5 and 6 and then come up with some places that are better.

Unknown said...

You need to get out of YOUR bubble, open your eyes and quit playing the straw man argument. List of categories or not there are easily hundreds of places as good or better than Bend in the West (NorCal, OR, WA, ID, MT, CO, UT, NM, WY, BC, and AB) easily thousands in Western Europe. And this from someone who was born in Bend, moved from Puddletown to live in Bend and love (parts of) Bend but strongly dislike the COBA / Bulletin cabal - may they each die a quick but miserable death). The sad story is that Bend could be so, so much better if it weren't for the mostly incompetent and almost always self-serving leadership of the last 20 or so years.

RDC said...

As I say list them.

I have visited many of Bends competition over the past couple of years.

Try any city with a near by ski area? What you will find is either the cities near by are considerable more expense, are so tourism focused that they are over crowded in season and dead out of season, lack dining choices, lack a minimum level of retail, or some combination of the above categories. Bend has a pretty good mix of assets that does make it attractive.

It is interesting that people that claim there are many many places better seem to never want to name any.

Sure if you like very large cities you can say that are better places, because Bend is not a large city. If you don't like skiing or if your focus is a beach you can say their are better places. But if you are someone that likes to ski, that likes the outdoors, that wants a reasonable mix of cost of living, housing cost, access to retail, dining choices and airport access it is a very hard combination to beat.

Its biggest weakness is the lack of non-tourism jobs, but that is the same problem in many of the other areas.

As far as Europe goes in the last 3 years I have been in Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Denmark, U.K. In the last five as Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland.

There are some nice places in Europe, but they are also considerably more expensive and taxes are rather destructive to a portfolio.

If you find those places so much more attractive then why are you in Bend??

St Paddy said...

I agree with RDC, I've looked considerably over the last few years for a place with a matched size and quality of life as Bend (with and without ski area's), I did mix in beach towns( East and West Coasts) What I found were that the affordable area's especially back East were ridden with crime (very violent) and were also places you couldn't feel safe having your teenage kids cruising like I do in Bend and super lacking in culture. Or the affluent area's that lacked the crime(at least in the immediate affluent are) were ultra expensive with astronomical tax rates and frankly not much better job markets than you would find here (still tourism based)My wife and I explored the Carolina's and went away feeling like we would sacrifice more than we would gain by leaving Bend. (Southern culture is not for this guy) I will be honest with you, I am not the biggest fan of Bend on certain levels, but when you go out searching for the entire package, it's a hard place to beat, really hard. I disagree about Bend's being unaffordable, I think Bend is one of the most affordable resort towns in the Nation, in fact I can't think of one that is more affordable for what is has to offer. As a result of this recession Bend has actually become a better place to live. Europe? have you ever been there? Or considered living there? My in- laws live there and yes it's quaint and cute but talk about thru the roof expensive, my in-laws can't get over how affordable Bend is on every level. Try becoming a citizen in Europe plan on ten + years if you can pull it off and while you're working on citizenship let me know how much your health care costs(because you do pay for it when you're not a citizen) and tell me about the quality of it to boot. I know, we've been through it with my Mother in-law who had cancer over there. It was a fucking nightmare! I mean horrendous! Prisoners in America get far better healthcare here than the middle class in Europe. Forget about the Southwest and So Cal too crowded,expensive and/or crime ridden. Colorado? Think 45 minute drives, super high altitude living and not the friendliest culture either. Upper midwest? It's great until you get those several week stretches of -30degree deep freeze's I am all ears as to what these thousands of better places are because I really wouldn't mind a change of scenery. I really like Portland/Seattle but the rain oh the rain, we had some friends move there this summer, they loved it, absolutely loved it so much that they have been visiting Bend almost every other weekend since the rain started and have already began quietly planning their return to Bend.

BTW is this where all the old BB2 addicts are to report?

RDC said...

St. Paddy,

That is exactly my point. I purchased and sold a house in Bend a few years ago (puchased because I planned to retire there, sold after the death of a relative there). After years of serious looking, I have yet to find a place with as attractive a combination as Bend. Have even be considering New Zealand. In the US Bozeman also has a number of good features, but if you think Bend is cold...

Unknown said...

Now why in the hell would I or anyone else waste their time "listing them" for you? I find it sadly interesting that you continue to be such an over-reaching know-it-all regardless of what blog you post to regardless of what the topic might be. You are obviously the most knowlegable person every to live in Bend. Never wrong, always right. Enjoy your perfection.
P.S. I live here because it's where I want to live at this time. Nuf said.

RDC said...

Again you say that there are hundreds. You criticize the criteria I put forth. Yet you put forth nothing that backs up your comment.

Atleast I am willing to put forth what criteria I am using and the logic behind it, all you seem to be willing to put forth are unsupported claims.

so again what criteria are you using and where are these hundreds of places. I certainly would like to know because I have been searching as St. Paddy has and I certainly have not found them.