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Housing sales surge to 2,871

The county's year-end median price was &

36;179,900, up 14 percent

Jackson County's housing market capped off a busy and pricey year with a gain of nearly 17 percent in the number of single-family homes sold in December.

Last month's sales surged to 215, easily topping December 2002's .

Just looking at the listings board right up through end of the year, sales were pretty strong, says Bill Clark of Windermere Van Vleet Real Estate.

Year-end totals for 2003 showed that 2,871 houses exchanged hands, up 11 percent from the 2,585 sold in 2002. All but two months ' April and October ' showed gains, and at year's end, the county's median sales price was at &

36;179,900, up 14 percent from &


It was a very good year for real estate. I did not expect the year to be this good, says Medford appraiser Roy Wright, whose compilations show that new construction accounted for 22 percent of sales.

— That's about the norm, Wright says. Affordable housing in a desirable community is the biggest factor. Usually, 18 to 22 percent is what you're going to see.

East Medford accounted for 28 percent of the county's sales in 2003, followed by west Medford (19 percent), Ashland (16 percent), Central Point (13 percent) and Eagle Point (6 percent).

The volume of home sales in Eagle Point rose 63 percent to 272, from 167 in 2002. New homes accounted for 57 percent of sales.

Both sides of Medford continued in the seller's market mode. On the east side, sales increased 14 percent over 2002. In west Medford, sales rose 30 percent, with gains in 10 of 12 months.

December's median prices on the east side were &

36;199,000, 17 percent higher than for the same month a year ago. On the west side, December's median was &

36;151,000, 20 percent higher than in 2002.

Despite increased activity in December, Ashland finished the year with five fewer sales than the 444 recorded in 2002. But the median price on those sales soared 13 percent to &


Talent forged ahead in 2003 with a 40 percent gain in deals as the median price climbed 14 percent to &

36;161,900 at year's end.

Talent is going to do well simply because of its close proximity to Ashland, Wright says.

If there was such a thing as a soft spot in 2003, it may have been Central Point, where the number of transactions declined from 455 in 2002 to 381 in 2003. Nonetheless, the median sales price rose to &

36;168,900, a 9 percent gain from &

36;154,900 in 2002.

I think (2002) was hard act to follow, Wright says. The people who would've bought in east Medford were buying in Central Point, because there were no available places. (Now) the tide is going the other way with the opening of southeast Medford.

Inventories of existing houses for sale also are beginning to grow in some areas. West Medford and Central Point both saw gains in December.

They've gone up only slightly, says Rich Humphrey, who oversees residential sales at Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Medford. This is the time of the year when inventories start going up, but they haven't been jumping up a bunch yet.

He says that some of the single-family homes snapped up by investors who took money out of the collapsing stock market two or three years ago may be ready to sell.

There were a lot of properties sold for investment, and that saturated the rental market, Humphrey says. If people are having a hard time renting those properties, they might end up coming back on the market.


Workers put together houses in the Oregon Hills subdivision on Medford?s east side, where 28 percent of Jackson County?s home sales occurred in 2003. Home sales countywide were strong in 2003, growing 11 percent over 2002. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell