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House prices climb a bit more slowly

The Jackson County real estate market appears to be moving closer to balance between buyers and sellers.

There is still a ways to go, however, based on the latest sales figures compiled by the Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service.

During the past five years, the median sales price for single-family residences has escalated nearly 10 percent a year. For the three-month period ending Nov. 30, however, the median sales price of $268,000 was 7.2 percent higher than the $250,000 figure of a year ago — a slower rate of increase, but still a bit too much for a healthy long-term market.

"For a while, month over month, we were seeing 10 percent annual gains," said Terry Rasmussen, an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Medford. "Now, we're back in the sevens, but I expected to see it in the 3 to 5 percent range. A stable market can't outrun wages, and we aren't seeing wages going up 7 percent or the GDP going up 7 percent. It can only do that for a period of time as lost values are regained, and then it will slow down."

The pace of sales did not increase much, with just seven more transactions taking place during the three-month period than a year ago. There were 743 deals through the SOMLS system compared to 736 a year ago. But buyers still kept after an expanding inventory, with the average turnaround time dropping to 34 days from 41. The inventory of houses available through the system grew 14.4 percent to 906 at the end of November compared to 792 a year earlier.

"We're still seeing high demand in the market, even for the time of the year," Rasmussen said. "But we're also seeing stabilization because there is more overall confidence. When people are confident, they are more willing to sell. There is still an overabundance of buyers, but there are more people engaging in the market."

What is less likely to happen is someone throwing out a blue-sky price and finding takers.

"They can ask the moon for the house," he said. "But everything has a ceiling even if the demand is high. For the most part, people are being reasonable for their pricing."

East Medford saw 216 sales during the three-month period both years. The 2017 median price edged up 5.6 percent to $288,625 from $273,400. In west Medford, where the median has more than doubled in the past five years, the median bumped up to $199,000 for the month of November.

The median price for a rural home in Jackson County was $376,750, up 7.8 percent from last year’s $349,500. A total of 120 rural homes sold during the rolling quarter, with an average of 77 days on market.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.