Home sales in Jackson County continued their climb in September, with an increase of just over 30 percent in the number sold compared with a year ago, according to figures released Oct. 5 by the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.
For the month, 768 homes sold, up from 589 in September 2014. Price increases slowed somewhat, with median prices climbing 4 percent over the previous year. The median price for the county was $227,750, up from $219,000 in 2014.
While the sales figures were up, one segment of the Realtors report continued to show a downward trend: The number of homes for sale dropped by more than 20 percent, from 1,364 in September 2014 to 1,089 last month. Homes are selling more quickly, averaging 46 days on the market, versus 52 days in 2014.
The declining number of homes on the market has played a big role in affordability for both buyers and renters, said Colin Mullane, spokesman for the Realtors group.
"That trend has really been there all year, with really no relief in sight," Mullane said. "... It's a tough market for buyers."
Mullane noted that also puts added pressure on renters, which in turn increases the demand in a tight market by pushing people into the buying pool.
"There's an upward pressure on rents," he said," with $800 a month going to $1,100 and $1,200. That's starting to look a lot like mortgage rates."
East Medford was by far the busiest in terms of total homes sold during the month, with 232 homes changing hands. That was followed by Ashland at 119 and Central Point at 100.
Ashland homes continue to be the most expensive on the market, with a median price of $355,000 for those that sold in September. Jacksonville followed at $277,000, Shady Cove/Trail at $263,165 and Talent at $255,900. The 23 homes that sold in Talent also went more quickly, averaging only 19 days on the market.
Mullane said the Talent figures reflect its proximity to the expensive Ashland market. The drive from his Talent home to his Ashland office takes nine minutes, Mullane said, making the market an attractive option for would-be Ashland buyers.
"In Talent, if it's priced well ... it moves very, very quickly," he said.
Mullane said the overall demand continues to be fueled by low interest rates.
"Interest rates are still slightly under 4 percent," he said. "I don't think anyone expected to see them go this low for this long."