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Home sales drop, median prices rise in Jackson County

A home is for sale off Orchard Home Drive near South Medford High School. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

Jackson County home sales over the past three months have dipped 14.8% compared with the same time last year, and there are twice as many houses for sale, but the latest real estate numbers show home prices continuing to rise.

The median sale price rose to $419,900 between May 1 and July 31, an increase of 10.2% over the same period last year, according to the latest data provided by Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service and the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.

Real estate broker Scott Lewis with John L. Scott Ashland describes shifts in Southern Oregon’s real estate market that are affecting buyers and sellers of high-end luxury properties differently than traditional home buyers.

“It’s a dual market,” Lewis said. “Below a million dollars, it’s a sellers’ market with an asterisk ... It’s a buyers’ market above a million.”

From May 1 through July 31, 706 existing homes were sold in Jackson County compared with 829 last year. The 123 fewer sales translates to a 14.8% decline.

Lewis said there are still people buying houses, but not as many as six months or a year ago. Further, those buyers have more to choose from.

“Although on paper, it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s not quite the frenzy it used to be,” Lewis said.

As of July 31, there were 909 residential properties on the market — up 84.4% from the 493 properties on the market the same date in 2021.

East Medford had 167 listings, more than double the 83 listings the year prior, and Ashland’s inventory rose 36.4% to 120 homes on the market.

Lewis said the “cream puffs” still sell quickly, but he said he’s advising new sellers to list for the current market instead of what they thought the market was. When the seller appears to have their heart set on a price, Lewis asks them, “How long are you willing to wait?”

Existing home sales increased to 24 days on the market compared with 19 days last year. New homes are averaging 62 days on the market compared with 45 last year, and homes with acreage have increased from 45 days to 62 days on the market.

Lewis expects those numbers to keep trending up.

This week, price adjustments for existing listings at Lewis’ office outnumbered new listings.

“That’s a definite indicator of what the market is like,” Lewis said.

Lewis acknowledges that rising interest rates have made things tougher for buyers, but compared with the long-term average of 8%, mortgage rates are still low.

At the luxury end of the market are a different set of challenges and a surplus of homes priced above $1 million.

“It’s a definite change,” Lewis said.

Although many of his high-end buyers are still paying cash, the challenge is that they often can’t move forward until they sell their current home.

“Contingent offers are becoming a little more common,” Lewis said. “A few months ago, it wasn’t going to be on the table.”

These days, Lewis said, he’s encouraging high-end sellers to be open-minded when they get a contingent offer.

“There aren’t a lot of $900,000 buyers,” Lewis said.

That liquidity issue can impact people in other parts of the market. If, for example, the owner of a $450,000 home can’t buy a $600,000 home, and a $600,000 homeowner can’t move up to an $800,000 home, Lewis said, that can impact the million-dollar listings.

“There isn’t the number of transactions to get to that,” Lewis said. “We’re all in this together.”

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.