The housing industry has regained its footing. Builders of homes and the folks who sell them have plenty to say about their revived industries.
The Home Builders Association of Southern Oregon and Rogue Valley Association of Realtors are bringing chief economists from their national organizations to Medford for an economic summit at the Craterian on Thursday
The event, featuring David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Homebuilders, and Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also on the agenda is Joshua Lehner from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, who will give a regional outlook.
"We've done a couple of other events with the real estate association and thought to do an economic summit with them would be terrific," said Carlos Reichenshammer, chief executive officer of the Home Builders Association.
"Housing, and not just new construction, is the engine that drives the economy in our region, and the country," Reichenshammer said. "But the conference won't just be about housing. People are starting to get construction jobs again and once they get those jobs — and they are good paying jobs — it helps the local economy. When people buy a house, they need furniture and appliances, and money starts passing around."
Colin Mullane, spokesman for the Realtors group, said low interest rates have worked in favor of his industry, and for builders as well.
The housing recovery has corresponded with a bloated local inventory of 3,400 homes on the Jackson County market in 2007, to just over 900 at present.
"Interest rates have continued to favor buyers in market terms," Mullane said. "But it's become a seller's market because they are getting more for their homes than last year — I can categorically say that. Across the country, the recovery is very similar. But we're all cautious, because the underlying factors in the economy aren't strong enough to sustain housing recovery. Unemployment remains high and you can't sustain a recovery over a longer period with high unemployment.
"A robust housing recovery is not happening yet, but the foundation is there."
All tickets are being sold through the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford. If purchased in person at the box office there are no additional fees. For tickets purchased via telephone (541-779-3000) there is a $4 handling fee per order. Tickets purchased online at www.craterian.org involve both a $2 convenience fee and a $4 processing fee.