Special online-only report: Luxury living in Central Oregon

Taking a look at Bend's premier market, demand

C.O. luxury living

BEND, Ore. - "Bend is on the map," said Debbie Tebbs, owner of Cascade Sotheby's.

Central Oregon's beauty and lifestyle has buyers running to the mountains from every direction.

"You know, they've chosen Bend out of everywhere in the world," Tebbs said recently.

A once-quiet timber town has people relocating from places as far away as Singapore and Australia

Brian Ladd, a principal broker for Cascade Sotheby's, said, "While I have listings over $2 million, I would say our bread and butter is probably ($300,000) to $500,000."

The demand for affordable housing is high, but luxurious homes are still being built and sold. Those buyers are often older, and from out of the area.  

"When we're targeting a higher net worth individuals they're coming from the feeder markets on the West Coast and internationally," Ladd said.

That brings us to a $2.695 million home for sale in Tetherow. It's custom-built, and unlike the craftsman homes Bend has come to know. The one-level, 5,234-square-foot home integrates indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Inside ... a sunken bar with a hidden fridge … a pass through indoor outdoor fireplace … “secret” cabinets modeled to look like they’re an artistic touch, to a cinema wall.

Some of these custom homes could have features you might not expect until you open a soundproof door -- and behind it, an arcade-quality Guitar Hero gaming system.  

It’s one of a kind, down to the cedar-slatted accent walls -- both whimsical and practical.

A home like this takes time to conceptualize, design and produce; creating a market for “boutique builder” Norman Building & Design.

"We put the "cus" in custom,” said Greg Garrick, who does communications and marketing for Norman Building & Design..

In a typical year, Norman Building & Design builds between six to 10 homes.

"Our job is to not only help them select the right things, but to give them our suggestions as to what we've had a great experience with and a classic one would be. That's a beautiful toilet but it might not work very well," Garrick said.

The price tag for one of these custom homes -- $800,000 to $2.5 million.

"You get to help somebody's dream come true," Garrick said.

The largest home the company has built in Central Oregon is 17,000 square feet. It took two years to finish.

"We're often working with buyers six, nine, 12, months before they even land in Bend," Ladd said.

So how do real estate agents market to high net worth individuals they've never even met? The internet.

"The internet has kind of flattened the world, for a lot of real estate agents," Ladd said.

Which is changing the role of the agent, "I think nine out of 10 see the home they're going to ultimately buy on the internet long before they ever see it in person," Ladd said.

With Bend's location and atmosphere, some say there will be more of these types of higher-end and close-to-town homes in the future.

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