'Distressed' properties spur home sales

Jackson County's home sales were up for the eighth-straight month in September.

The most recent quarterly report compiled by the Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service, covering July through September, showed sales of existing homes jumping 26.6 percent from the same period in 2008.

"Distressed" properties — foreclosures and others on which the bank accepts less than is owed — are still selling faster than other homes on the market. While the distressed properties make up a little more than 20 percent of the inventory in the service's system, they accounted for 45 percent of the sales.

The county's median price for September was $185,000, down from $213,000 in September 2008. The median price for the three months ending Sept. 30 rose to $189,700.

"As long as the prices are down, the houses are definitely selling," said Kathy Tinsley, an agent with Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate. "There are still more REOs (banked-owned foreclosures) hitting the market and that's bringing prices down."

Investors tend to go for the foreclosures, she said, "while others are just looking for a house, and if it's bank-owned, that's great."

Banked-owned property pulls the market down for a number of reasons. Whereas sellers may have enough emotional attachment to a home not to give in on price, banks often are happy just to remove the property from their books.

That sets the bar lower for homeowners who think they could get more for their property.

"If I have buyers looking for a certain kind of house, I pull up some bank-owned and some not from the system," Tinsley said. "They'll all be pretty comparable, but once it sells, you have to use the bank-owned house as a comp (for appraisal)."

Ashland's median pricing remains 12.9 percent below a year ago. But during the past six months its median price has grown by 7.8 percent to $345,000,

New-home sales continued to drop with just 30 deals announced from July through September. The median price for new construction during the period was $224,950, down from $243,900 a year earlier.

Tinsley said she began selling 14 new units at the Farms in Jacksonville last November with the prices ranging from $218,000 to $227,000. By dropping the price, she has sold all but four. The current asking price is 199,900.

"It's been a great deal for some first-time home buyers with USDA providing 100-percent financing," she said. "But there are retired and single people too."

Reach Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com.

Share This Story