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Home prices still edging upward

The median price of houses in the urban areas of Jackson County increased a little over 5% from July through September compared to last year, according to figures released by the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.

The median price, the point where half of homes sold for more and half for less, was $300,000, up 5.3% over the $285,000 recorded in the third quarter of 2018.

During the three-month period, 749 sales were recorded, compared to 736 in 2018.

The number of houses on the market Oct. 31 was down 13% — to 1,064 compared to 1,222 in 2018. On May 31, 1,217 homes were on the market, compared to 985 on that day in 2018.

Sellers apparently recalled the smoky summer of 2018 that slowed sales, and they put their homes on the market earlier.

“That’s kind of a sense of relief for us that this will be a trend — more inventory earlier in the summer prior to seeing a smoky atmosphere,” said Collin Mullane, spokesperson for the association and an agent with Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland.

“It didn’t hurt the market,” said Mullane. “We thought it might be a downward pressure on price, but it wasn’t. It meant our sales stayed solid through August and September. We had felt (the smoke’s effect) last year.”

For the nine-month period from January through September, sales were 150 units behind 2018, a 12% drop. As of Sept. 30, 1,987 houses had sold this year compared to 2,137 last year.

“We are so close to last year that things are looking good. We are not seeing massive price reductions,” said Mullane. “It’s not a seller’s market, but the pace at which shifts are happening is much more tolerable for the market.”

Ashland and Central Point recorded the biggest increase in number of sales — up 21% to 102 in Ashland, and up 32% Central Point to 100. The median sales price in Ashland was $471,500 for the period, and $275,750 in Central Point.

“I think everyone in Jackson County would say how can the prices be right in Ashland, but when you look at where the buyers are coming from, we are priced right. It’s relative to where they are coming from,” said Mullane.

White City saw the biggest decline in number of home sales, with 29 houses sold from July through September compared to 40 last year.

Sales of new houses in urban areas of the region were up 26% over 2018, with 107 sales this year compared to 85 during the same period in 2018. The median price for new houses was down 2% to $359,900, compared to $367,000 last year.

Sales took a little bit longer to close in urban areas during the period, with existing homes on the market an average of 45 days versus 38 in 2018.

Rural homes continued to sell well, rising from 130 to 167 year-over-year, and days on the marked dropped from 83 to 78. The median sales price of $420,000 was 9.5% above the $383,500 recorded for rural home sales during the three-month period in 2018.

Rural home figures are always a bit of a statistical anomaly, says Mullane. In part that’s because it is a broad market with diverse areas such as rural Talent, the Colestin Valley and the far reaches of the upper Rogue River. Another factor is that properties can vary from a million-dollar house on small acreage to another property with more than 1,000 acres.

Buyers are keeping an eye on interest rates, which are trending downward, said Mullane. That has some buyers holding back, which he thinks is a gamble.

Sellers need to continue to be realistic with prices, he said. If they price a home $15,000 or $20,000 above comparable units, a home may have a longer market time and go through a price reduction, Mullane said.

Detailed data can be found under “statistics” at roguevalleyrealtors.org.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune A house for sale in Central Point.