Distress sales still account for almost half of total

Distressed properties — foreclosures, bank-owned houses and others — still are accounting for roughly half of the county's single-family home sales, according to Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service figures released today.

The trend shows the number of distress sales slowly receding, said Colin Mullane of Full Circle Real Estate and chairman of the service's statistics committee.

In March, distress sales accounted for 52 percent of the transactions. The figure dropped to 48 percent in June.

"But while just 12 percent of the sales in Ashland were foreclosures or short sales, in Phoenix, it was 88 percent," Mullane said. "What we've seen in Phoenix appears to be an anomaly, because the Phoenix area wasn't overbuilt like Central Point or White City from 2003 to 2005."

The average days on market for homes selling in the first half of the year fell a week to 103 days. Mullane said the decrease was tied to aggressively priced distress sales.

Pressure from distress sales continued to push prices down in most areas. Of the 13 areas included in the listing service report distributed during a news conference today, only White City had the same median sales price — $149,900 — in June as it did a year earlier.

For the first half of the year, median prices dropped between 36.9 percent in Jacksonville to 4.4 percent in the Gold Hill-Rogue River region. The median price was $190,000, 17.7 percent less than in the first half of 2008.

Also today, the listing service announced it is adding new tools as of Wednesday to its Web site, www.southernoregonmls.org.

The Web site will allow users to search the entire listing service database by area, bedrooms, bathrooms and other categories.

— Greg Stiles

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