The number of existing homes for sale in Jackson County has risen for the first time since March 2016.

When Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service took its monthly measure July 31, 1,064 houses were available, up from 1,048 a year ago. At the same time, the pace of sales picked up 12 percent between May 1 and July 31, with 757 sales versus 676 a year ago.

The 1.5 percent inventory gain may be neither momentous nor portentous, but it indicated that at least for the first time in 16 months more people were willing to sell than the previous year.

The median sales price for existing urban houses between May 1 and July 31 jumped 9.5 percent to $270,000 from $246,675 a year ago.

Meanwhile, the turnaround time on sales dwindled to 34 days from 42 a year ago.

Scott Lewis, an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Ashland, said sellers are confident it's the time to sell.

"The seller who has a $400,000 house can now look at $600,000 and $650,000 homes because there are people who are able to buy the $400,000 homes that weren't there two years ago."

Adam Bogle of Ten Realty Group in Ashland, believes demand is still outstripping supply and buyers are outnumbering sellers.

As a result, a few more houses for sale may fill some gaps, but one small change in the trend line won't necessarily reverse the inventory shortage.

"I think there still is a lot of buyer demand," Bogle said. "Such an insignificant increase in available houses isn't going to change anything, at least for a while."

New houses are going up in Eagle Point and several parts of east Medford. Even custom home builders are keeping busy.

In some cases, however, there has been a leveling off, said Ron Galbreath of Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Medford.

"We're not seeing as many multiple offers unless the property is priced below its market value," Galbreath said.

He thinks a combination of heat, smoke and political uncertainty are putting a drag on activity going into August.

"We'll still have a surge of houses on the market before winter," Galbreath said. "That new inventory is going to cause the old inventory to get in line or take it off the market."

The Rogue River/Gold Hill area had the largest year-over-year gain. The median sale price was $222,500, up 19.6 percent from $186,000.

The median price for a rural home during the period was $404,750, up 20.8 percent from $335,000 a year ago. A total of 162 rural homes sold during the three months, up from 153 a year ago.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31