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Medford home prices climb 7%

Only Ashland shows a drop from September of last year

West Medford housing prices are apparently once again on the rise.

After taking a brief detour in August, the price of existing homes on the west side climbed 7 percent in September compared to September of 2001.

Figures compiled by Medford real estate appraiser Roy Wright showed 32 single-family units exchanged hands for an average price of &

36;126,827. That's up &

36;8,587 from September 2001 and more than &

36;13,000 higher than August of this year.

With interest rates as low as they are, there are a lot of first-time buyers and a lot them are qualifying in the &

36;100,000 to &

36;135,000 range, says Jan Esquivel of Diamond Key Properties in Medford. There is very little new construction in that range, so people are going to have to buy older homes. They're limited to where those older homes are and most in that price range are going to be on the west side.

The area's overall strong market restricts buying forays into other areas as well.

There are a lot of buyers out there, which in turn is driving prices up, Esquivel says. So there is a reasonable amount of interest in refurbishing older homes. There are a lot of nicer older homes on the west side and it's just whether people are willing to take the risk.

Wright noted that the number of sales was up 9.18 percent in September, compared to 13 percent nationally. Inventories were down 45 percent from what Wright called exceptionally-high levels in 2001.

East Medford's average sale price also rose 7 percent in September, coming in at &

36;186,366, compared to &

36;174,049 last year and &

36;184,699 in August.

While Central Point's year-over-year average rose 8 percent to &

36;162,088 in September, the average price actually declined by &

36;125 from August.

Ashland sales prices saw a modest decline for the second straight month after cresting at &

36;286,548 in July. The average closing price of &

36;283,166 in September was still ahead of the same month in 2001, when the average was &

36;279,944.

The average Phoenix-Talent area sales price in September topped &

36;150,000 for the first time since January of 2001 as the transaction price rose to &

36;150,825, up 9 percent year-over-year and up &

36;2,727 from August.

Countywide figures for urban areas showed an average sales price of &

36;191,517, compared to &

36;176,004 in 2001.

New home sales have decreased 2.3 percent in the past year with the average price (&

36;203,772) and square-footage also growing during that period to an average of 1,778 square feet from 1,638.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail