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Home sale prices rise in most of Jackson County; Ashland median hits $416,000

The median sales price for existing homes in Jackson County rose 4.2 percent during the first half of the year compared to mid-2015 figures.

Aside from Phoenix and Eagle Point, the 13 market areas tracked by Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service produced median price gains, ranging from 41 percent ($246,350) in the Upper Rogue regions of Shady Cove and Trail to 2 percent ($255,000) in east Medford, where a third of this year's transactions have occurred. The Shady Cove-Trail component, however, accounted for only 17 of 1,228 sales during the first six months of the year. Central Point saw a 9.9 percent ($214,400) rise on the second-highest number of deals, 164.

The number of existing-home sales during the first six months of 2016 rose 3.7 percent from the 1,184 transactions in the first half of 2015. Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, northwest Medford and Central Point saw declines in the number of sales, while Jacksonville, west Medford, east Medford, White City and Gold Hill/Rogue River saw more activity.

"You see a one-third drop in the number of sales for the first six months this year versus last year in Ashland, but it doesn't feel that way to those of us working in the market," said Rogue Valley Association of Realtors spokesman Colin Mullane. "The statistics bear out differently. There doesn't seem to be a bunch of inventory sitting on the market. We've got about the same level of inventory as last year — approximately 200 homes on the market, including rural, in Ashland."

With the Ashland median hitting $416,000 during June, buyers may be backing off, even though interest rates dangle in the 4 percent range.

"We'll have to dig deeper into that and see what is going on," Mullane said. "It may be their reluctance to spend a little more money, or a lot more money in some cases. But typically people looking to move to Ashland will not look at alternatives. That's what they want, unless they are looking for rural property, and then they definitely will look at other areas."

There was an inventory of 1,003 houses for sale June 30, down 12.7 percent from a year ago, when there were 1,149 residences on the market.

Roy Wright, of Roy Wright Appraisal Service, who has been tracking Rogue Valley real estate activity since the 1970s, said sales activity has steadily trended upward over the past two years. He noted foreclosure sales still have a modest impact on the market, with 21 of 44 houses that sold for less than $100,000 in west Medford owned by lenders.

In some cases, Wright said, contractors have acquired small houses and fixed them up for renting.

"When I looked at 600- to 700-square-foot houses on Chestnut Street, they were in poor shape," Wright said. "One house I appraised, I wrote the value was in the land and the building should be removed."

The median price for new-home sales using SOMLS rose 11.2 percent, to $302,000 from $271,604. Rural property on less than 5 acres declined 3.3 percent, to $270,000 from $279,350. However, property of more than 10 acres jumped 22 percent to a median of $475,000 from $389,250.

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.