Riverfront homes and single-family residences in communities along the Rogue River have seen a resurgence following a long decline.
The median price for existing houses in Eagle Point, Shady Cove/Trail and Gold Hill/Rogue River areas all saw median price jumps of better than 20 percent between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, according to figures compiled by the Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service.
"Houses along the river have been selling quite readily for the last six months to a year," said Mike Malepsy of Windermere/Trails End Real Estate in Shady Cove. "Prices fell over the last five years to the point where you could buy a house for what lots were costing. There has been a strong demand for river property — if it's priced right."
The median sales price for existing homes in Jackson County rose 11.6 percent to $174,101 from $156,000 a year earlier as transactions jumped 28.4 percent to 561 from 437 during the same period a year ago.
In Eagle Point, the median sales price — half above and half below — for the three-month period was $195,000. Likewise, the median sales price in the Upper Rogue region was $195,000 and in the area around Gold Hill and Rogue River, the median price was $163,000.
"You're not seeing buyers ask if we're at the bottom any more because inventory is shrinking and that shrinking inventory has created a little bit of a frenzy," Malepsy said. "Across the board, you are seeing certain parts of the valley showing strength and east Medford has enjoyed the best activity. But the river is so unique, people who have the money and want the lifestyle are recognizing the values there."
River properties generally avoided falling into the distressed ranks, Malepsy said. "A few, yes, but for the most part it's been regular moms and pops who have gotten to that stage of life where they are selling."
The catch, however, is that values have been diminished by nearby foreclosures and short sales, he said. As a result, "they are selling for a very reasonable price."
While interest rates on 30-year mortgages are in the 4 percent range, the inventory has tumbled 32.1 percent to 1,012 from 1,490 in the past year. From the end of September to the end of October, the number of units on the market dwindled by 127 units.
Colin Mullane, a spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, said there is less than a four-month supply of existing homes on the market, based on the pace of the past three months.
"It's dropped since we took that measure last Monday to 960 homes," Mullane said. "We were as high as 18 to 19 months supply in 2008 and 2009."
The houses that sold during the three month period ending Oct. 31 dropped to 59 days, down from 101 days a year ago.
Distressed sales made up less than 40 percent of the deals during the three-month run as the broader market picked up enough and even top-end houses were moving.
Terry Rasmussen, an agent with John L. Scott Realty, said two homes in the $2.2 million range sold — one near Highway 140 and the other off Coal Mine Road.
"Recovery starts at the low end of the market, but we're starting to see it through all layers of the market," Rasmussen said. "Even in good times, $2 million homes don't sell very often."
The upward pressure produced six offers on one east Medford home. After "a couple of days" on the market, Rasmussen said, the four-bedroom, three-bath house fetched $11,000 more than the listed $209,000 asking price.
"There is just such a lack of inventory right now," he said. "There are more buyers than sellers and I don't expect that to change through the winter."