Zoom Town

COVID-19 has added many new words to our vocabulary: social distancing, flattening the curve, quarantine bod, etc. Perhaps our favorite, though, is the long (and growing) list of American cities now being dubbed as “Zoom towns,” and our little paradise of Sunriver, Oregon, has made that list.

What Is a Zoom Town?

Greg Rosalsky with NPR described the phenomenon of Zoom towns as “places that are booming as remote work takes off,” and that description couldn’t be more accurate. Essentially, Americans who can work remotely have realized that they can vacate their city for greener pastures: towns offering more outdoor activities with a more attractive median home price tag. “Many Americans — especially 30-somethings who remain employed — are ditching their tiny rental apartments in hip districts of expensive cities and moving to buy houses in more affordable cities or the burbs,” Rosalsky observes.

Why Sunriver?

TL;DR – the lifestyle. 

The Zoom town trend is actually piggy-backing on a long-standing tradition of vacationers setting up a permanent post in Sunriver. According to Sunriver Style, it is “not just Central Oregon's premier vacation destination, [it] is also a wonderful place to live. Nearly every resident first experienced Sunriver as a vacationing visitor and instantly fell in love.” In fact, since 2010, it has seen a population growth of a whopping 19% (national average is 5-7%).
The secret of Sunriver seems to be out and for good reason:

  • The enviable high-desert weather. 
  • Small-town neighborhoods.
  • A bustling village full of shopping and dining experiences.
  • Nationally famous breweries and restaurants.
  • Proximity to Mount Bachelor.
  • 20 minutes to Bend’s burgeoning social scenes.

As you can see, the growing popularity of Sunriver promises opportunities for the continued expansion of amenities and community services. 

Investment opportunities in Sunriver

If you’re like many people who aren’t quite ready to make a big move, consider investing in a second home. Many people interested in migrating to Sunriver find the housing market ripe for investment properties, especially in the short-term rental market. Tuttle & Tuttle Real Estate Group confirms: “Central Oregon generates a large amount of revenue from tourism, which includes vacation rental income. If you’re considering buying a second home, renting it as a vacation property offers many advantages.”

A homeowner with the appropriate funds could buy a home in Sunriver, rent it out with the help of a property management company (such as Cascara Vacations), and keep it on the back burner for when they are ready for a big move. Win-win!

Full speed ahead

If this strategy sounds appealing to you, don’t wait! Historically low interest rates are compounding an already formidable housing shortage in the Sunriver area. The Willamette Weekly warns of bumpy waters ahead:

“Across Oregon, vacation towns are running out of housing stock. It's true in Hood River, in much of Deschutes County, and along the Oregon Coast. … And no place in Oregon is experiencing this trend as intensely as Sunriver, a planned resort community in the Ponderosa pines 21 miles south of Bend”

So, what can you do to gain a competitive edge in this real estate market?

  • Be present in Sunriver as much as possible, so you are first in line to view a property and make an offer.
  • Take your real estate agent’s advice if they tell you to offer over the asking price.
  • Get pre-approved for a loan, and do your best to request no contingencies.
  • It’s a seller’s market — don’t give the buyer a long list of repair/discount requests upon inspection when you do go under contract.

We at Cascara are thrilled to see Sunriver continuing to gain popularity since we first migrated here nearly 40 years ago. If you do decide that you’d like a piece of the pie and are ready to purchase an investment property, reach out to us for resources. We would love to offer you our property management services should you succeed!