When prices surged at an unrealistic rate during the real estate boom a decade ago, Medford often was cited as a place to move for any number of reasons.

When prices surged at an unrealistic rate during the real estate boom a decade ago, Medford often was cited as a place to move for any number of reasons.

When the bubble collapsed, there weren't many organizations touting the Rogue Valley as a good place to buy property.

That began changing last year.

In the latest Fiserv Case-Shiller quarterly report released last week, the Medford metropolitan statistical area — which includes all of Jackson County — is projected to see more than an 11 percent gain in home values over the next five years. Investment website Business Insider said that could make the local real estate market one of the top-15 nationally into 2017.

Fiserv Case-Shiller reported house prices in 37 of the 384 metro areas are projected to increase at more than twice the national annualized rate of 3.3 percent over the next five years. The intriguing element for homebuyers, sellers and people in the local real estate industry is that more than half of those markets are in three states: California has nine, while Oregon and Florida have five each.

Medford topped the list. Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach in Florida was No. 2, followed by Santa Fe, N.M. Eugene-Springfield came in at No. 13 and Yakima, Wash., was No. 14. (Correction: The ranking has been corrected in this story.)

Fiserv Case-Shiller considers historical and forecast home price trend information, supplemented with data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Through 2017, the report projects an 11.2 percent increase in Jackson County home values. From the market peak during the first half of 2006 to the cutoff date for the report earlier this year, Jackson County home prices had declined 39.8 percent.

"The investors I've talked to said prices went up way too fast during the heyday, but have gone down too far," said Ron Galbreath, an agent with Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Medford. "Renters are renting anything and everything, and it's getting hard to find a place. The price of renting is going up and keeping investors excited. First-time home buyers and investors are beating up each other for those properties. If a house is clean and in a good location you will get multiple offers."

Home prices have steadily edged up, even if they haven't come close to the 2006 highs. Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service's latest report is due out Wednesday, but the median sales prices for existing homes in October was $179,900, up from $147,500 in October 2011. Interest rates have fueled a steady stream of refinancing since the economy began to right itself in 2010, but home sale and construction loans have picked up the pace.

"The refi market is still very strong, but the purchase market has gained strength and momentum and it's been going that direction most of the year," said Ralph Green, a mortgage broker with Valley Mortgage Group of Willamette Valley Bank's Medford office.

"Inventories are so low that low- to median-range homes are naturally moving forward in price. If someone was talking about 5 percent in one year, that wouldn't be very realistic. But 2 to 21/4 percent is realistic and steady. That's not an out-of-the-ordinary growth projection."