Jackson County's residential real estate rebound lost some steam during the last three months, according to the most recent sales figures.
The median sales price leveled off after four years of sustained gains, and the distressed property sales and microscopic mortgage rates that drew buyers into the market after the recession have receded.
"There's just not the same urgency on the part of buyers," said Colin Mullane, an agent with Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland and spokesman for Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.
The median price for single-family houses in Jackson County barely crept up during the three-month period ending Feb. 28, as fewer sales were registered.
The median price for local residences between Dec. 1 and the end of February was $185,000, up 0.8 percent from $183,500 a year earlier, according to figures compiled by Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service.
The median for February alone, however, slipped to $189,500 from $196,750 in 2013.
"The inventory levels are coming back and the interest rates are ticking up, but they are really stable," Mullane said. "Toward the end of last year, we saw the activity levels were reduced. If there were higher demand, it would lower the inventory, and you would see prices accelerate. But I don't see anything creating urgency."
Activity diminished 16 percent during the winter months, with 347 residential deals closing, compared with 413 a year ago. That suggests careful attention will be paid to spring trends, when more houses typically go on the market.
"From the point of view of distressed sales, we're not seeing 100, 200, 300 or 400 foreclosures coming on the market like we were for a while," Mullane said. "What we're seeing is a normalized market."
Claudette Moore, an agent with Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Medford, said weather has played a part in the diminished activity. Plus, the rising inventory doesn't necessarily include lower-tier properties often targeted by first-time buyers.
Of the 28 properties listed in White City, Moore said, only five were in the $125,000 to $175,000 range.
"A lot of the places that have come on board are spendy," Moore said.
Real Estate analytics firm CoreLogic, whose reports trail by two months, noted that house prices in our region, including distressed sales, increased by 7.9 percent year-over-year in January. However, on a month-over-month basis, corresponding sales increased by just half a percent in January from December.
The median price for a rural house in Jackson County rose 35.6 percent to $295,000 from $217,500. Eighty-one rural houses sold during the rolling quarter.
The median price for sales in Ashland was $337,500 during the period, while Jacksonville's median was $311,325. The lone year-over-year decline was in Central Point, where the median price fell 2.9 percent to $161,450.
In Josephine County, the median price for urban houses rose 4.3 percent during the three-month period to $157,500 from $151,000.