More home sales and higher prices show shift in real estate market

The latest real estate sales numbers compiled by Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service reinforced a year-long push toward stability in the Jackson County housing market.

The median sales price for existing homes between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 soared 19.1 percent to $179,900 from $151,000 as a dwindling inventory and low interest rates combined to boost activity by 21.1 percent. Some 540 single-family residence units were sold during the period versus 460 a year ago.

The inventory of all homes on market fell 37.9 percent over the year.

Nonetheless, the county's median price remains 25.3 percent lower than it was five years ago and a third or more below peak market prices in 2006.

"The big numbers I saw were in the inventories," said Rogue Valley Association of Realtors spokesman Colin Mullane. "East Medford has dropped 55 percent — less than half the inventory it had last year — and that's huge. Ashland has more homes on market and east Medford is a much bigger market. West Medford is smaller, but its inventory is down 52 percent. Don't get me wrong, the Ashland market is healthy, it just shows the pace of the recovery in east Medford has picked up a couple of notches."

As of Friday, there were 903 available homes in the SOMLS system compared to 1,455 a year ago and 1,012 a month ago. Average days on market decreased by 26.7 percent, to 63 from 86.

Normal transactions accounted for the majority of total sales at 61.7 percent, with a median of $212,500. Bank-owned properties accounted for 18.5 percent of sales with a median price of $134,250, while 19.3 percent of transactions were short sales at a median price of $152,500.

"I think it's the first time ever that short sales are more than foreclosures," Mullane said. "It means the sellers are still in charge of the sale and have a little more control over their futures in terms of their credit worthiness."

— Greg Stiles

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