Home sales

Here’s a look at the market for houses in upper price ranges

$500,000 and under

Average days on the market: 103*

Number sold: 4,288*

Number for sale: 842

$500,000 to $1 million:

Average days on the market: 138*

Number sold: 1,199*

Number for sale: 435

$1 million to $1.9 million

Average days on the market: 183*

Number sold: 145*

Number for sale: 126

$2 million and up

Average days on the market: 237*

Number sold: 12*

Number for sale: 31

*April 2017 to April 2018

Source: Central Oregon Association of Realtors

Central Oregon real estate broker Nic Jones last year helped a buyer close a deal for less than half the asking price.

The property, a house and 43 acres known as the Parker Ranch, which is on the Deschutes River outside Redmond, sold in late December for just over $2 million — also less than the $2.9 million that the seller paid in 2008.

“It had been on the market for 10 years,” Jones said. “We knew that the seller was re-evaluating their portfolio. Why not get a deal closed by the end of the year?”

While people searching for the average home in Central Oregon contend with bidding wars and cash offers, those who can afford to spend more than $1 million can take more time and sometimes even drive a bargain. High-end property brokers say their market is gaining steam, but it can still take a long time to sell sprawling estates, ranches and historic homes.

Residential property that sold for $500,000 or less spent an average 103 days on the market in the past 12 months, according to the Central Oregon Association of Realtors. For properties selling between $1 million and $1.9 million, the average time on the market jumps to 183 days.

And for the 12 properties that sold for $2 million or more, closing came after an average of 237 days on the market.

“Buyers in that price range are steadily increasing,” said Kerry O’Neal, a broker who has a $15 million listing in Broken Top, a gated golf course community in Bend. “As far as more buyers than sellers, I wouldn’t make that statement.”

Although it takes longer to move high-end homes, brokers are optimistic as the spring arrives. In Bend, eight homes have sold for more than $2 million in the last 12 months, and on average the selling price was 95 percent of the listing price, said Justin Lavik, a broker at Cascade Sotheby’s.

Homes under $500,000 over the last 12 months in Bend sold for an average 97 percent of list price, according to the Realtors association.

Lavik and broker Betsy Little are co-listing retired NFL quarterback Drew ­Bledsoe’s house in The Highlands at Broken Top for $6.95 million. The house on Ballantrae Court has been on the market for three years, and the list price has dropped from $9.95 million.

“It’s gonna sell this year,” Lavik said. “We’ve had significant interest on the property.”

Many of the buyers who are looking for a house costing around $2 million could afford the Ballantrae Court home, which features a temperature-­controlled wine room, half-court basketball court and turf sports field, Little said.

“The consumer, the buyer, is more cautious than in the past,” Little said. “Even though the buyers are capable, they are not maxing out their funds.”

The Bledsoe house isn’t designed for a retired couple, which was the more common multimillion-dollar buyer five years ago, Lavik said. “Now we’re seeing people that have that kind of cheddar are raising kids here.”

High-end buyers tend to divide into two groups: those who want the convenience of living in Bend, and those who crave a remote location, Little said.

Unique listings

The most expensive listing in Central Oregon is on Jordan Road in Sisters: a 14,666 square-foot mansion with more than 500 acres. The asking price is $24 million.

O’Neal’s listing in Broken Top, 61794 Tam McArthur Loop, is the second-most expensive at $15 million. It’s also a unique case because the seller, Brian Marlowe, is including all of his numerous pieces of art and furnishings, down to linens and stemware.

Marlowe bought the five-bedroom, 7,500-square-foot house in 2005 for about $3.2 million and over the years has redesigned it to his exacting standards. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room have been replaced with thick glass to filter sunlight. A hot water system melts snow and ice from the driveway. The house is always ready to show because an estate manager and housekeeper live there, along with Marlowe, full time.

Marlowe, who sold a business in 1999, is selling because he wants to take on a new project, O’Neal said. “He packs his clothes, and he leaves.”

Dropping into seven figures, there are 12 more ranches and estates on the market in Central Oregon with an asking price of more than $3 million. That’s still a very high price for Central Oregon, which has seen only 15 transactions at $3 million or more since 2004, according to the Central Oregon Association of Realtors.

Several of those sales were closed in 2017, and Jones said the market for high-end ranches is the best he’s experienced since starting his career four years ago. In addition to the Parker Ranch transaction, last year he represented the buyer of a $10 million ranch in Wheeler County, and he sold Remington Ranch, a failed resort development outside Redmond, for $5.9 million.

“The economy is probably overall as healthy as it’s ever been,” said Jones, of Legacy Property Group with Keller-Williams Realty. “There’s more money out there being spent on real estate. You see it just through the (multiple listing service): what properties are moving, how quickly they’re moving.”

The highest transaction of 2017 might be one that never hit the multiple listing service, which brokers use to market properties and split commissions. A San Diego tech CEO with roots in Central Oregon bought a 400-acre farm overlooking the Deschutes River for $8.75 million, according to Deschutes County property records.

The highest listed transaction was a Sisters farm property that sold for $6.5 million, according to the Realtors association.

And the highest-priced single-family home, not on a farm or ranch, was on Belmore Loop in The Highlands at Broken Top in Bend, which sold for almost $2.8 million.

Once the price reaches $1.5 million, O’Neal said, “Everybody’s looking for something special. Everything becomes very personalized.”

Cascade Sotheby’s agent Natalie Vandenborn has been working for close to a year to sell 708 NW Riverside Blvd., a historic house near Drake Park in Bend, now listed at $1.75 million. The house is a Dutch Colonial that’s for sale for only the second time since it was built in 1921.

The Riverside house generated a lot of interest, Vandenborn said, but the floor plan with separate staircases to the upstairs bedrooms has been a hang-up for families with young children.

It does take longer to sell high-end real estate, but not always, Vandenborn said. “It really is house-specific,” she said.

Vandenborn recently sold a house on Rock Springs Court in the Tumalo area for just under $2 million without placing it on the multiple listing service. The buyer was only the second person to look at the house, she said.

Brokers who market Central Oregon’s most expensive real estate say their buyers are coming from California and Seattle. But the person who paid the highest price for a single-family house in Bend last year is well-known locally as a co-founder of 10 Barrel Brewing.

“I would rather not discuss our personal life in the paper,” Chris Cox said in an email. “My only add to the article is that construction costs are very high and if you can find a house that is already built then you can come out ahead!”

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com