Is Bend Oregon affordable to live?: A Paradise on a Budget

Bend, Oregon is a beautiful city located in the heart of Central Oregon. With stunning mountain views, a vibrant downtown area, and plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, Bend has become a popular destination for both tourists and those looking to relocate. However, with its popularity comes the question: Is Bend affordable to live in?

Brief Overview of Bend, Oregon

Bend is a small city with a population of just over 100,000 people. It is located in Deschutes County and is known for its outdoor recreational opportunities. The city has been named one of the best places to live in America by numerous publications due to its quality of life.

Bend has a four-season climate that includes mild winters and warm summers, which makes it an ideal place for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and skiing. The city’s economy revolves around tourism as well as healthcare and education.

Question: Is Bend Affordable to Live In?

The answer to this question depends on various factors such as housing costs, transportation costs, food costs, and the job market. While Bend may be affordable for some people due to lower taxes compared to other states like California or New York; others may find it difficult to afford due to high home prices or rental rates.

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In this article, we will examine if Bend is truly affordable including different variables that will affect your cost of living there such as housing costs or the job market so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s worth making the move to this beautiful city.

Cost of Living in Bend, Oregon

Housing Costs: Average Rent and Home Prices

Bend, Oregon is known as a desirable place to live, which is reflected in its housing costs. According to Zillow, the median home value in Bend is $538,000. This makes it more expensive than the Oregon average and much higher than the national average.

Additionally, the cost of renting an apartment in Bend is also high. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,300 per month while a two-bedroom apartment will cost approximately $1,800 per month.

However, it should be noted that while housing costs are high compared to other areas of Oregon or the U.S., it’s still lower than other popular West Coast cities like San Francisco or Seattle. Also, there are some smaller towns nearby that offer more affordable living options for those who don’t mind commuting.

Transportation Costs: Public Transportation and Gas Prices

In terms of transportation costs in Bend, public transportation isn’t as readily available as it is in larger cities. The Cascades East Transit operates several bus routes throughout Bend but doesn’t cover every area of town or run as frequently as many residents would like.

Gas prices in Bend are generally higher than the national average but slightly lower than in other West Coast cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles. As of 2021, gas prices tend to hover around $3 per gallon.

Food Costs: Grocery Stores and Restaurants

The cost of food can vary depending on where you shop or eat out in Bend. For groceries, there are several chain stores like Safeway and Albertsons along with natural food markets like Newport Avenue Market and Whole Foods Market. Eating out can be relatively expensive with most restaurants charging between $15-$25 for entrees.

However, with over 400 restaurants to choose from, including many food trucks and carts, there are a variety of options at different price points. Bend is also known for its craft breweries and local wineries, which can be a fun way to experience the local culture while keeping costs down.

Overall, while Bend might not be the most affordable place to live in Oregon or the U.S., it’s important to weigh its higher cost of living against its excellent quality of life and abundant natural beauty. Additionally, with some strategic budgeting and planning, it’s possible to enjoy all that Bend has to offer without breaking the bank.

Job Market in Bend, Oregon

Overview of the job market in Bend

Bend, Oregon has a thriving job market that is constantly growing. The city boasts a low unemployment rate and a diverse range of industries.

In recent years, the tech industry has been growing rapidly in Bend, with several software companies and start-ups emerging. Additionally, there are many opportunities in healthcare, education, and hospitality.

The city also offers plenty of seasonal work opportunities due to its popularity as a tourist destination. These include jobs in outdoor recreation such as skiing or rafting guides or working at resorts or hotels.

Top industries and employers

The top industries in Bend are healthcare, education, and tourism. St. Charles Health System is one of the largest employers in the region and has over 4,000 employees across Central Oregon. The education industry is also prominent with several public schools and colleges such as Central Oregon Community College.

Another major employer is Les Schwab Tire Centers which operates its headquarters out of Bend along with providing retail jobs to residents. Tech companies like G5 are also becoming increasingly popular among job-seekers.

Average salaries

The cost of living is considered high in Bend compared to other cities across the country but it’s important to consider what incomes are like for those working within different industries. According to data from (2021), the average salary for someone working in healthcare is $65k per year while someone working within tech can expect an average salary of around $74k per year with higher positions earning more than six figures annually.

However, it’s important to note that wages can vary depending on experience level and specific role within each industry so it’s best to research individual careers before applying or accepting job offers in Bend.

Lifestyle in Bend, Oregon

Outdoor Activities Available

Living in Bend, Oregon is perfect for those who love outdoor activities. Bend is located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, which offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and skiing. You can hike to the top of Pilot Butte and experience breathtaking views of the city or take a scenic drive to Smith Rock State Park.

For mountain biking enthusiasts, Bend has over 300 miles of trails that offer diverse terrain for all skill levels. Winter sports are also popular in Bend with Mount Bachelor only 20 miles away from the city offering skiing and snowboarding terrain from November through May.

Cultural Attractions

Bend offers a range of cultural attractions that add to its charm as a city. The Tower Theatre is a beautiful historic venue that brings in a variety of performances throughout the year including concerts, plays, comedians, and more. The High Desert Museum showcases the history and culture of Central Oregon with exhibits on wildlife, Native American history, pioneer life, and much more.

Community Events

Bend has an active community that loves to celebrate local traditions with events throughout the year. One such event is Art in The High Desert where over 100 artists showcase their work at picturesque Pioneer Park along the Deschutes River every August since 2008.

Another event worth checking out is their annual Summer Festival where they close down several streets downtown turning it into one giant block party featuring local food vendors selling delicious eats while live music performances keep visitors entertained. While other cities might have similar attractions or activities like those found in Bend they don’t have them all contained within one city making it easy to enjoy everything without traveling long distances.

Pros and Cons of Living in Bend, Oregon

Advantages of Living in Bend: A Natural Wonderland

One of the biggest advantages of living in Bend, Oregon is the natural beauty that surrounds the area. The city is nestled in between the Cascade Mountains and the high desert, creating a picturesque landscape that attracts visitors from all over. For residents, this means access to endless hiking trails, rock climbing spots, ski resorts, and mountain biking paths.

In addition to outdoor activities, living in Bend also means breathing fresh air and enjoying gorgeous sunsets on a regular basis. Bend is also known for its quality of life – it has been named one of the top small cities to live in by various publications.

The community is tight-knit and friendly; there are plenty of events throughout the year that bring people together. With a population of just over 100k people, many residents feel like they know each other or have mutual friends.

Additionally, Bend’s school district is highly ranked – making it an attractive place for families to settle down. Living in Bend also means having access to world-renowned breweries and restaurants.

The city boasts over 25 breweries (and counting) that offer craft beer enthusiasts plenty of options for trying new brews. Additionally, local chefs are known for their farm-to-table approach with many restaurants sourcing ingredients from nearby farms.

Disadvantages of Living in Bend: High Cost Of Living

While there are many advantages to living in Bend, there are also some disadvantages that should be considered before making a move. One major disadvantage is the high cost of living – particularly when it comes to housing costs.

Rental prices have skyrocketed over the past few years with demand outpacing supply; as more people move to Bend for its beauty and quality of life factors mentioned above. Another disadvantage related to housing costs is finding affordable options that meet your needs.

For example, if you’re looking for a home with a yard in a desirable neighborhood, you may need to be prepared to pay more than you would in other cities. Additionally, transportation costs can add up quickly if you don’t live near your place of work or frequently venture out of the city.

While Bend’s school district is highly ranked, the options for higher education are limited. The local community college and university offer a small number of programs – meaning residents who want to pursue certain degrees may need to relocate.


Living in Bend, Oregon comes with its fair share of pros and cons. The natural beauty and quality of life factors make it an attractive place for many people; however, the high cost of living can be a barrier for some.

If you’re considering relocating to Bend it’s important to weigh both sides carefully before making the move. Whether or not Bend is affordable for you will depend largely on your individual circumstances – including job opportunities and lifestyle preferences.

Tips for Affording Life in Bend, Oregon

Ways to Save Money on Housing

For many people, housing is the biggest expense in their budget. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on housing in Bend. One option is to consider living with roommates.

This can help split the cost of rent and utilities, making it more affordable for everyone involved. Another option is to downsize into a smaller home or apartment.

While this may mean sacrificing space and amenities, it can lead to significant savings on rent or mortgage payments. Another way to save money on housing is by looking for deals and discounts.

Keep an eye out for move-in specials or discounts on rent for signing a longer lease term. Additionally, some property management companies offer reduced rates during off-seasons when they have several vacant units they need to fill.

Ways to Save Money on Transportation

Transportation costs can also add up quickly in Bend if you rely heavily on automobiles. A practical way of saving money transportation-wise is biking or walking as much as possible; not only does this help your wallet but it’s environmentally friendly too!

Consider purchasing a bike or using one from the town’s Bike Share program rather than driving your car around town. If biking isn’t feasible due to distance from work/life locations, consider utilizing public transit options like bus shuttles which are relatively affordable compared with owning a car in Bend and come with free designated parking spots throughout the city.

Ways to Save Money on Food

Food expenses can be managed by shopping at farmers’ markets where local farmers sell fresh produce at reasonable prices compared with big retail stores that tend towards overpriced items due to shipping fees amongst other factors that could affect prices negatively in such stores. Another way you can cut back expenses on food bills while eating out is by looking for happy hours, which are typically offered in the afternoon and early evening hours at many Bend restaurants. This way, you could enjoy a good meal at a lower price.

While Bend may be an expensive place to live, there are ways to save money on housing, transportation, and food. By taking advantage of these cost-saving tips, it’s possible to live comfortably in this beautiful Central Oregon town without breaking the bank.


Bend, Oregon is a beautiful place to live with plenty of outdoor activities and cultural attractions. However, it is not the most affordable place to live. Housing costs are high, and while the job market is growing, salaries may not keep up with the cost of living.

Despite this, there are ways to save money and make living in Bend more affordable. Renting a smaller home or finding roommates can help lower housing costs.

Biking or walking instead of driving can save on transportation expenses. Shopping at farmers’ markets or cooking at home instead of eating out can also save on food costs.

Ultimately, whether or not Bend is affordable to live in depends on individual circumstances such as income level and lifestyle choices. If you value outdoor activities and a slower pace of life over a low cost of living, then Bend may be worth the investment.

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