BEND, Ore. - If you like change, Bend is the place to be -- No. 1 in the country, in fact, according to a new study by LendingTree.com. Whether it's change for the better or worse is more in the eye of the beholder.
Using data from Zillow, the Census Bureau and AtoZDatabases, LendingTree looked at cities that have changed the most in recent years. They examined the cost of home ownership, rents and changes in foreclosure rates, as well as the influx of new businesses and the diversity of the population.
If you think being high on a fast-change list is a good thing, then the Northwest fared very well -- in fact, the seven list-toppers are all on the West Coast, with Seattle, Portland and San Francisco mixed in with smaller towns like Salem and Napa, California.
Bend had almost 44 points on the LendingTree formula, saying it's "seen one of the most dramatic shifts in its quality of living."
"From new small businesses to transportation projects focused on walkers and bike riders, Bend has seen an increase in its amenities, as well as housing market growth," the report said.
And Bend also was No. 1 in something that won't surprise many - rent increases, up 54 percent over the past five years. You might be surprised to learn who's No. 2 in all the land -- not San Francisco, which is No. 4, but Prineville, with a 2011-2016 rent increase of 45.7 percent. (By the way, Nos. 3 and 5 were in Wyoming -- Riverton and Rock Springs, respectively.)
Bend didn't even make the top 10 in the report's ranking of five-year change of home values, dominated by California, led by Palo Alto, where home values more than doubled from 2011 to 2016.
The methodology is interesting: While home data was downloaded from Zillow, LendingTree said it "chose a sampling of businesses that were representative of a variety of stores appearing in neighborhoods with renewal projects that cause an influx of a new group of people.
"We wanted to get a spread of businesses that represented fast food and drink locations, upscale chain restaurants, grocery stores, and retail shopping," they said.
So they analyzed the following business openings: Panera Bread, Starbucks Coffee, Jamba Juice, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Bonefish Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Whole Foods Market, Inc., Trader Joe's, and The Fresh Market.
You can read the whole report here: https://www.lendingtree.com/info/what-are-the-fastest-changing-cities-in-america