Real Estate Investing: The Best College Town to Invest in Now

OSU Cascades New CampusWhen most people think of Bend, Oregon real estate they likely think of vacation homes.  Bend is, after all, one of the premiere vacation destinations in the state of Oregon.  What many real estate investors may not be considering is that Bend is set to have a four year university by 2015.  That makes now a great time to buy rental properties in Bend.

Think for a minute about the college town or towns you are familiar with.  Is real estate more expensive in those college towns than neighboring cities?  You bet it is.  Did the real estate in that town hold its value better than that of surrounding towns during the Great Recession?  Yep.  Did real estate values in that town rebound faster than neighboring towns after the Great Recession?  Yes, again.

There are some great real estate investment plays that can be set up before OSU Cascades officially becomes a four year university in 2015.  Before everyone else thinks, “Why didn’t I do that?”  There are currently just over 1100 students attending OSU Cascades.  That number is expected to grow to 2000 over the next four years (2017) and 5000 students by 2025.

  • Rental properties for professors:  If the number of students will double in the next two years it follows that the number of teachers will also.  Those people don’t already live here and many of them will prefer to rent for economic and professional reasons.  Single family homes and townhomes on the west side of town would be the target rental properties for this group.
  • Rental properties for students:  The freshman class of  2015 is expected to be fairly small (100 students) and live in the “living and learning center” on campus. Students from most of Central Oregon will be exempt from having to live in campus housing.  That leaves an expected 1400  juniors, seniors, grad students and local freshmen in need of housing.  Multi-family properties near campus and single family homes at least two miles from campus will be most attractive to this group.
  • Rental properties for University employees:  There will also be numerous jobs created in the private sector as a result of the expanding campus.  Not all of these jobs will be filled from the local pool of employable talent which will create even more demand for residential rentals.  This group of potential tenants will likely be willing to consider single family properties from Deschutes River Woods all the way to Redmond and 2 to 4 unit properties in Bend.

We believe the current real estate market in Bend presents an exceptional opportunity for investors.  No one is really thinking in terms of Bend as a college town yet.  However, the time will come and when it does the market conditions that exist now will likely be long gone.  Interest rates are still incredibly low for the time being but are expected to rise over the next few years.  Prices are still low enough that cash flowing properties can still be found.  And finally, while there is buyer demand for properties around the future campus of OSU Cascades (see map below) that demand is nothing like it will be in two years.

One market condition that doesn’t show any signs of changing soon is the demand for rentals.  Bend has an incredibly low vacancy rate and the competition among tenants for a good rental is red hot.  We have had three vacancies in Bend in the last two months and none of those properties went even one day between tenants without rent being paid.  NOW is the time to buy rental properties in Bend, Oregon!




About Dan Seim

Dan Seim is the primary contributor to Preferred Residential's blog. He has been writing about real estate issues that affect home owners in Bend and Central Oregon since 2011.

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