The pace of existing home sales continues to decline in Jackson County. Nonetheless, it remains a seller's market.
For the three-month period ending May 31, the median single-family residential sales price rose 10.7 percent year-over-year to $258,500 from $233,500. During that span, the number of existing houses sold through the Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service declined 6.6 percent to 637 from 682 a year ago.
On May 31, 865 houses were on the market, down 7 percent from the 930 that were for sale a year earlier.
The median price for homes sold in Ashland climbed to $410,000 this May, up from $390,000 in May 2016, a 5 percent uptick. Houses spent an average of 52 days on the market during the three-month March-April period, up from 44 days during the same period last year, but the total number sold was up to 77 this year from 67 in 2016. The three month median price hit $430,000 in the Ashland market, up 13 percent from $380,448 in the same period in 2016 and 54 percent from $280,000 in 2012.
New construction, which often falls out of the SOMLS domain, is providing relief for buyers willing to pay more.
The median price for 88 new houses sold during the past three months was $311,995, a 15.4 percent gain over the 92 sales on SOMLS chart a year ago when the median was $270,445.
Developer Jim Zundel is accelerating work on Cedar Landing, which has come to fruition years after it was broached.
The residential project on the erstwhile Cedar Links Golf Course in northeast Medford recorded its first sale at the end of 2016. With sewer, road and other infrastructure work completed, the project is moving much faster headed into the summer.
"We've sold three houses, and others are going up," Zundel said of the 33-unit first phase on the development's northeast corner.
Closer to a new city park on the other end of Cedar Landing, Galpin Homes is working on 200 lots.
"Now that we've plugged in all the services, we can develop the rest of it quick and easy," Zundel said.
There are 12 available floor plans with prices ranging from $380,000 to $549,000, and houses range from 1,900 to 2,650 square feet.
The build-out could take as little as five years or twice that, he said.
"It's all based on the economy," Zundel said. "The way things are going, we could whip right along and have it done in five or six years."
In southeast Medford, buyers are snapping up 1,440-square-foot cottages Mahar Homes is building.
"They're selling as fast as they can put them together," said local appraiser Roy Wright. "For east Medford, they're what you would call starter homes."
It points to a market that is hot, if not overheated, Wright said.
"There aren't a lot of spec houses going up, but before the foundation is poured, someone comes and says, 'I'll buy it.' "
Although the decline of local sales is attributed to low inventory, sales are down nationally.
"It's slowing down and stabilizing," Wright said. "We've got a healthy market, but prices for the first five months of the year are up 12.5 percent for existing homes. That's too high of an increase, you can't sustain that."
An edge the local market retains is its population growth.
"Medford's population has increased 2 percent annually in past years — twice the national average, which is a little over 1 percent. It's a good time to be a Realtor or builder."
The median price for a rural home in the county was $390,000, up 21.9 percent from last year. A total of 161 rural homes sold during the period, with an average of 79 days on the market.
— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.