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Comparing Medford housing costs

Coldwell Banker survey puts local home prices up against those in other cities

How much would you have to pay for your home in another city?

It's a question frequently raised among corporate climbers and folks who are forced to relocate for other reasons.

According to a new survey released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., Medford residents would most likely find similar housing in Denver; Wilmington, Del.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fla.; Orange County, N.Y.; and Winchester/Shenandoah Valley, Va.

Some of those places may sound rather exotic for Rogue Valley residents, but based on Coldwell Banker's Home Price Comparison Index formula, those locales matched market conditions ' at least for the specific type of house used in the study during the first six months of 2002.

The real estate company's criteria were based on single-family dwellings with approximately 2,200 square feet, four bedrooms, 2&

189; baths, a family room and two-car garage. It targeted homes and neighborhoods for corporate middle-management transferees.

Houses with those characteristics sold for an average of &

36;250,000 here. Similar houses in Eugene averaged &

36;212,362 and in Salem they averaged &

36;203,975. Portland's average was &

36;275,725 and Bend averaged &

36;289,500.

Medford, and Oregon in general, are not an inexpensive place to live any more, says Rich Humphrey, managing broker at Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Medford. Eugene has gone through a little bit of a depression in the last year or so and they may have had a little bit of a retraction and the same thing could've happened in Salem, where the local economy is a little soft.

Humphrey points out that the surveyed houses were quite a bit larger than the average house on the market.

I came from Boise and that was the average size there, with a lot of four-bed homes with triple garages.

The study is not designed to be an overall picture, because relative values may differ based on the size of home and neighborhoods examined.

This year's most expensive market, according to the Home Price Comparison Index, is Palo Alto, Calif., where that four-bedroom home has sold for &

36;1,263,250.

The most affordable market is Yankton, S.D. ' a city of 14,000, where a similar dwelling goes for around &

36;101,062.

The national cumulative average sales price of subject homes was &

36;291,097, up from &

36;269,241 in 2001 ' a 7 percent increase. Nearly two-thirds (206) of the 317 markets assessed showed increases from 2001 and more than a third (114) gained more than 10 percent.

A year ago, Medford was indexed with Jacksonville, Fla.; Portland, Maine; Allentown, Pa.; Rutland, Vt.; Lynchburg, Va.; and Milwaukee, Wis.

Around the country, there is a perception that we're a pretty affordable area, Humphrey said. But we're not as affordable as we used to be.

Seven of the country's 10 most expensive markets are in California. Two are in Connecticut and the other is in Massachusetts. Seven of the 10 most affordable areas are in the Midwest.

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