Last Updated October 14, 2022
Eugene is a place people want to be.
There are a lot of good reasons for that. Fantastic access to nature and a good balance between city and smaller-town life are several of them.
But we can really sum up why people across the country are moving to Eugene, Oregon with just three words:
Quality of life.
It’s the day-to-day experience that makes Eugene (and Oregon as a whole) a special place to live. You’ll want to do your homework, though. Eugene might be the right place for you to live, or it might not be.
We’re not going to tell you one way or another. Our job is to help you discern whether relocation is the right step for you and your loved ones. Then, if “yes” is the answer, our job is to help you get here and then make your home here.
Read on, and we’ll go over all the basics.
- Why Are People Moving to Eugene?
- What is the Average Cost of Living in Eugene, Oregon?
- Where is the Best Place to Live in Eugene, Oregon?
- Real Estate Market in Eugene, Oregon
Why Are People Moving to Eugene?
The words “quality of life” mean different things to different people.
Part of it depends on your particular stage of life. It also depends upon factors like cost of living, jobs, schooling opportunities, crime rate and, yes, whether or not you can find the right home.
Of course, there are also factors that are harder to pin down. When Eugene or Oregon in general pop up on people’s radars, they often have a particular image in mind.
Maybe you think of spending time in the great outdoors or of drinking local wines and eating organic produce. Or maybe you think of the progressive cultural reputation of communities like Portland and Eugene.
But even if none of these images resonate, you might still find that Eugene is just a pleasant place to be. Let’s go into why you might want to live in Eugene – and why not.
Is Eugene a Good Place to Live?
The short answer is, it depends on what you’re looking for. Eugene, Oregon is a medium-sized city, and if you’re expecting offerings on par with larger urban areas, you might be disappointed.
Nonetheless, temper your expectations a bit, and you’ll find there are plenty of things to do here and plenty of ways to be engaged.
Home to the University of Oregon, Eugene is definitely a college town, and its student population brings a lot of vibrancy. And, whether you’re into shopping, dining, performing arts, athletics, gardening, cycling, craft beer and wine, or nature walks, Eugene offers it all.
In town, there are plenty of great parks, walking and bike paths, and a lot of trees. Get outside of town, and you’ll find verdant rainforests, rolling vineyards, spectacular waterfalls, majestic ocean vistas, and snow-capped mountain peaks all within easy driving range.
For now, let’s look at some of the overall pros and cons of relocating to Eugene.
Pros and Cons of Relocating to Eugene
We’ve already named a few of the pros, including Eugene’s relaxed pace of life, its unique culture, and its access to the great outdoors. These features are common to many locations in the Pacific Northwest, but Eugene has its own special flavor.
Eugene is a city, though, and it isn’t exempt from the issues that affect most urban areas. Also, the cost of living here is on the higher side.
Another potential con of living here is the weather. From mid-October through April, we get our fair share of rain and cloudy skies. But Eugene’s summers are one of our best-kept secrets. Temperatures average in the mid-80s with low humidity.
But Eugene’s climate is changing. It’s drier than it used to be, and our summers are getting hotter, just like in many other parts of the country.
Other than that, we need to address the “urban factor.” Let’s talk about Eugene’s crime rate.
Crime Rate in Eugene, Oregon
The long and short of it is that Eugene has relatively high rates of property crime.
Automobile break-ins are not uncommon in certain neighborhoods, and Eugene has frequently ranked high for bike theft. That’s no surprise considering Eugene also ranked recently as the number #2 most bike-friendly city in the U.S.
But online metrics can create the false impression that Eugene is unsafe. It’s not. Like many cities, crime is localized around the downtown core, but Eugene does not have high rates of violent crime.
Eugene does have significant numbers of unhoused residents. It’s a complex issue with many causes, but Eugene’s high unhoused population does have an outsize impact upon crime rates.
What is the Average Cost of Living in Eugene, Oregon?
Yes, Eugene does have a relatively high cost of living. But let’s go into what exactly that means.
Eugene, Oregon Tax Rates
Taxes are inescapable wherever you go, but there are a couple of factors particular to Eugene (and Oregon) that you need to keep in mind.
First, the good news. Oregon is one of only five states in the country without a sales tax. But, Oregon also has the fourth highest state income tax in the country, at 9.9%.
Social security benefits are exempt, but withdrawals from retirement accounts are taxed as income. So, if you’re thinking of retiring in Eugene, you’ll need to keep that in mind when calculating the cost of living.
In terms of property taxes, Oregon’s property tax rate is the 27th lowest in the country, averaging 0.97 percent.
In other words, you can expect to pay about 1% of your property’s total value per year in taxes, though that’s only a general rule of thumb. We have another article covering all the ins and outs of property tax rates in Oregon.
Economy and Job Market in Eugene, Oregon
Overall, Eugene’s job market is fairly middling. As of February 2022, Eugene’s unemployment rate was 4.2%, compared to 3.8% nationwide. Median household incomes, meanwhile, lag behind the national average, thanks to Eugene’s large student population.
The important question, of course, is whether you’ll be able to find employment in Eugene. The good news is that jobs in healthcare and education are plentiful. PeaceHealth Oregon and the University of Oregon are Eugene’s two largest employers.
Eugene also has a burgeoning tech industry. Eugene – together with neighboring Springfield – are known as the “Silicon Shire,” and the site siliconshire.org lists almost 300 companies.
It looks like a few breweries have snuck onto the list, but hey, they deserve to be honorary members. And if you’re looking for a job in the craft-brewing (or wine) industries, Eugene could be a great place for you.
Where is the Best Place to Live in Eugene, Oregon?
We’ve already put out a guide to the 5 best neighborhoods in Eugene, Oregon. That’s a good place to start, but the right place for you to land will depend on different factors.
If you want to be right in the middle of the bustle, the Downtown Eugene, Jefferson Westside, or Whiteaker neighborhoods are your best bets. For easy access to the University of Oregon, start by looking at the Fairmount and South University neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for more of a traditional residential neighborhood but still value walkability to restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, the Friendly and Amazon neighborhoods are excellent choices. For seclusion up in the trees, the Southeast Eugene, Crest Drive, and Churchill neighborhoods are the places to be.
The Cal Young neighborhood provides Eugene’s closest approximation of the suburban experience, but it’s still just a short drive from the downtown core. If less expensive housing is a priority, the Far West, River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods are good options.
Eugene, Oregon Schools and School Districts
If you have (or plan to have) school-aged kids, schools and school districts are a factor that’s impossible to ignore.
The 4J district is generally regarded as Eugene’s more desirable. South Eugene High School is one of Oregon’s top-ranking public schools (#3 as of publication), while Roosevelt Middle School and Spencer Butte Middle School, also in South Eugene, are Eugene’s two most highly-rated middle schools.
The majority of Eugene’s most well-regarded elementary schools are charter or magnet schools. Admission is handled by lottery regardless of your address.
Our advice is to do your research but not to put too much stock in school rankings. Talk to parents and educators about their own experiences. Unsurprisingly, the neighborhoods with Eugene’s best-regarded schools tend to be the hardest ones to find a home in.
Real Estate Market in Eugene, Oregon
Eugene’s real estate market is a big topic, and it’s one that will have a huge impact on your decision of whether to relocate here. We devote a lot of resources to keeping you up to date on the latest in Eugene’s market. We even have a podcast. So, what follows will just be a summary.
One word might suffice, actually: competition.
Eugene’s housing inventory is stupendously low, prices are rapidly climbing, and recent mortgage rate increases have done nothing to cool down our local market. On the contrary, buyers are rushing to get into properties before rates go up more.
If you’re looking for a home that’s move-in-ready with modern finishes in a great location, there’s going to be a lot of competition.
For the last 30+ years, buildable land has been very scarce in Eugene, and there’s a severe shortage of newer construction. Dated finishes are the norm, and bidding wars are extremely common on homes with high-quality remodels.
We offer personalized tours to help you figure out where you want to land. Of course, it’s quite another to find a home that a) you want to live in, and b) you can actually afford.
It’s important, basically, to have an experienced guide. Your agent can’t just know the local market, though. They need to know you and understand your needs.
That’s a process that takes time and a lot of insight. Not all agents are up to it. But, as relocation specialists, we’ve got you covered from start to finish, whatever stage you’re at in your (potential) journey.
Whether Eugene is right for you and your loved ones is, ultimately, a personal decision. There’s a lot of research involved, but it’s also a very intuitive process.
We’re here to help you navigate that process for yourself. Then, if and when it comes time to make the move, we’re here to help you find a place to live that can best help you thrive. It’s a tall order in the kind of market we’re in, but it’s our pleasure to be a part of your journey, wherever it takes you.