From the pages of RESIDE®: Luxury Homes and Lifestyles Around the World, Winter 2013 Mountain Edition
If you were to make or remake a classic American western, where would you choose to film it? Certainly you’d search for a vast, open frontier that captured not only the enormous physical space of the West but also the genre’s mythic, existential intimations. For color you’d need dry summers and snowy winters, yet neither in the extreme. And for action pieces involving your Clint Eastwood or John Wayne you’d want vivid contrasts of rolling meadows, tracts of dense wood (Ponderosa pine and juniper would work nicely), gullies cut by streams and rivers, undulating terrain, wildlife, and occasional rocky outcroppings. It would need to be, in short, a stunning and dynamic landscape.
The search for perfect land and atmosphere would lead you eventually to Central Oregon, where the climate and geographic diversity create an ideal template for Western adventure, from cattle raising to hunting, large-scale farming to equestrian breeding and training and, yes, westerns (Paint Your Wagon, Rooster Cogburn and even The Apple Dumpling Gang were shot here). For these reasons Central Oregon, anchored by the resort town of Bend, has become one of the most desirable locations for buyers pursuing a luxury ranch lifestyle.
While many may associate Oregon with hipsters, coastal rain forests and drizzle, savvy buyers in the ranch market know that the section of the state east of the Cascade Mountains is the opposite: a high, arid cowboy country of prairies, conifer forests and rich volcanic soils.
The year-round weather is the primary draw. Averaging over 4,000 feet of elevation with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Central Oregon region surrounding Bend and into the southeast is classified as a high desert. “The climate is incredibly mild,” says Deb Tebbs, owner of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty in Bend. “We don’t have such long winters, where there’s always two feet of snow on the ground.”
“A lot of buyers who come to Central Oregon have explored other areas and love the ease with which they can get in and out of the airport (Redmond Municipal) and the proximity to West Coast activities,” she adds. “They can fly into the airport, shop in Bend and be out at their trophy ranch in under an hour.”
Though known historically for grazing land—many of the largest properties, in fact, border public Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Reserves, exponentially expanding available cattle acreage—most of Tebbs’ new clientele aren’t seeking active ranches.
“Our typical buyers are not your typical cattle rancher of the past, per se, but rather investors,” she says. These clients tend to be affluent people from cities like San Francisco and Seattle seeking a tangible asset, a legacy property to pass to their children and grandchildren and an opportunity to diversify their portfolio through long-term real estate holdings. The region’s virtues and value are evident.
Content provided by Derek Duncan exclusively for Sotheby’s International Realty®.