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Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service reported Tuesday the countywide median price for existing houses sold between March 1 and May 31 was $277,000, up 7.5 percent from $257,750 a year ago

County home prices, pace of sales picking up

Home-buying season is in full force in Jackson County, and the sellers are ready.

Nearly 14 percent more houses are on the market than at this time last year, and the “sale pending” sign is going up, on average, after five weeks.

Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service reported Tuesday the countywide median price for existing houses sold between March 1 and May 31 was $277,000, up 7.5 percent from $257,750 a year ago. The pace of transactions picked up 3.7 percent, with 670 single-family residences turning over, and a deal was struck for those houses in 35 days.

The housing inventory tracked by SOMLS expanded in 12 of 14 areas, with 985 in the system.

Interest rates for 30-year mortgages have hovered around 4.625 percent, which can make buyers out of shoppers who have waited perhaps too long for the perfect moment.

“What we’re seeing in our market is an equalizing supply to match demand we’ve been waiting for the last four years,” said Colin Mullane of Full Circle Real Estate and the spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors. “Interest rates going to 4.625 percent haven’t driven people from the market, and sometimes has done quite the opposite.”

Turnaround time in northwest and southwest Medford fell to 14 days during the spring. The median price in northwest Medford rose 11.7 percent to $250,250, while southwest Medford’s median grew 7.5 percent to $259,700.

“If you are under $300,000, especially under $250,000, a house will sell real fast — especially if it finances,” said Claudette Moore, an agent with Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Medford. “That’s where southwest and northwest Medford come in. You can still find 1,400- to 1,700-square-foot houses under $300,000.”

Often, she said, the buyers are local residents downsizing.

“They’re selling 2,500-square-foot homes at $400,000-plus and moving to subdivisions like Hampton Place and Candlewood in northwest Medford. That’s why you’ll see both young families and seniors in those neighborhoods,” Moore said.

While the housing supply is increasing incrementally locally, boosting sales, nationally the shortage is growing.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told a gathering at the Trade Expo last month that existing home sales rose a mere 1.1 percent to 5.5 million in 2017 and are forecast to marginally improve 1.8 percent to 5.6 million in 2018.

“The worsening housing shortage means home prices are primed to rise further this year too, hindering affordability conditions for home-buyers in markets across the country,” Yun said.

During the past five years, inventory has trended down. In March, the total inventory was 1.67 million residences, down 7.2 percent from 1.80 million a year earlier.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or gstiles@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

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