Several of my acquaintances are or, I should say, have been successful in their careers here in Bend, Oregon. Unfortunately, they are now in trouble because appropriate jobs don’t seem to be available anymore, and rental prices for apartments are rising rapidly. What seems to be happening is that people with plenty of money from outside communities are moving into our small city. I had been thinking that Bend has two kinds of people, those who own outright, that is without a mortgage, and those who rent or must earn mortgage payments by working locally. Even people who have outside money, but rent their residence, will soon be in trouble if the current trend on rentals continues.
My thoughts on that issue are that Bend is a wonderful place to retire, that is, if you have ready cash enough to purchase a home. There are vast numbers of retirement-age people from nearby California with money, and this is an ideal place for them to come to live.
Our local area is home to about one hundred thousand people, but there are presently 37,253,956 Californians, so that neighboring state’s population is 372 times bigger. Thus, if one person in 372 decided to move here, our city would double. That is impossible! At least in the short run, and besides, there isn’t employment even for those who are already here. Home builders of course are doing well at present, but when the houses are finished, they are out of a job. That creates a boom and bust cycle, and we are presently in a boom, but a slowdown and bust are certain to follow.
The big industries here are catering to recreation, retirement and construction, and each of these is dependent on outside money flowing in. Recreation visitors can end in a really bad day on the stock market, or in the news, so that source of income is at risk. In a bad situation retired people can instantly decide not to spend money and hunker down on what they have saved, so that money source is volatile, too. Construction can taper off in a few months if housing sales indicate that no one is moving in for recreation or retirement.
The most reliable income for our local people is catering to the geriatric needs of retired people, and who is that? Californians! And yet there is a bias against those people because they come in and buy stuff and run the prices of everything up, and thus squeeze the modest-living locals. I guess my advice to Bendites is to figure out ways to face the new realities and cater to the new people with their abundance of outside money.
Certainly I am growing worry warts! But, I can’t find any, so I think my analysis is right.