Strong gains predicted in local home prices

A national real estate monitoring firm says Jackson County appears to be on its way out of its long regional nightmare of declining home values.

Fiserv, which provides information to the international financial services industry, predicted the Medford area would have the second-fastest increase in home prices — more than 20 percent — in the nation through 2013.

The prediction was part of an overall positive report on the nation's real estate market by Fiserv, which monitors home prices in more than 380 U.S. markets. Fiserv listed results for Medford, but they actually represent the metropolitan statistical area, which includes all cities in Jackson County.

Fiserv's report noted the current median price locally is $144,000, which it said represents a 37.1 percent drop since the real estate market peak. It predicted, however, that the Medford area would show a 20.1 percent increase in home prices between now and 2013.

The report put Medford in a CNN report, "Where home prices are rising fastest." The CNN report is available at

Medford trailed only Madera, Calif., in the CNN report. Madera is in California's central valley and has suffered a 53 percent loss in home values since the market peak. The Fiserv report forecast a 21.5 percent increase over the next two years for that area.

Colin Mullane, a spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, said homeowners should take the Fiserv numbers with a grain of salt, calling it a "brave prediction."

"It's possible," he said, "but I'd be cautious in predicting that could happen in that time frame."

Mullane, a real estate broker at Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland, noted that the near historically low interest rates make home ownership more affordable for people, but also noted that lenders and appraisers remain cautious after being burned by the huge run-up in prices in the early 2000s.

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