Homes sales up and more coming to local market

    Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune <br><p>Mahar Homes is building a subdivision on East McAndrews Road in Medford for people 55 and older.{/p}

    One subdivision — one targeting mature adults at that — won’t end the Rogue Valley’s housing shortage.

    In a real estate market where a dearth of housing inventory is decried at the turn of every calendar page, however, a Mahar Homes subdivision between East McAndrews Road and Hillcrest Orchard is poised to provide more options for 55-and-older buyers.

    Tentatively known as East McAndrews Village, the development is still weeks away from seeing “For Sale” signs in front of houses going up along Sonoma Court, but there is plenty of interest.

    “You don’t know until you go to market how something will be received, but so far there appears to be a great deal of interest from people just seeing the construction,” Mahar Homes General Manager Randy Jones said. “We felt like this was a product the market could use more of.”

    Prices haven’t been fixed on the 28-acre development that will eventually have 44 single-family residences overlooking orchards and vineyards, but Jones indicated price tags will range above the $400,000 mark.

    Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service pegged the median price for new construction in east Medford at $479,000 during the second quarter, ending June 30. For Jackson County urban areas, the median for new homes was $329,745 for the period, up 9.8 percent from the $300,445 price a year ago.

    “Basically, the price has been driven by labor availability and commodity availability,” Jones said. “There have been shortages of both labor and building materials.”

    Existing home sales increased 5.2 percent during the spring, with the countywide median sales price advancing 7.8 percent to $285,000 from $264,450 a year ago.

    Jones said village homes are roughly 1,600 square feet, with some ranging closer to 2,000 square feet.

    “They’re similar to our smaller houses in Summerfield (off North Phoenix Road),” Jones said. “The bulk are single-story, with a couple a story-and-a-half with bedrooms beneath the pitched roof.”

    The village is uniquely positioned next to working agricultural land, resulting in a 35-foot buffer between the backyards and the Hillcrest Orchard. The covenants, conditions and restrictions imposed by a homeowners association overseeing common area maintenance will add another 40 feet of buffer in backyards.

    Jones said once landscaping and fencing is in, the project will be ready for sales.

    “What you don’t want is people to move in too soon with construction going on,” Jones said. “The first people moving into a subdivision, especially one with phases, have to live with construction and heavy equipment around them. But it’s not a forever thing.”

    Although many new homes aren’t sold through its system, SOMLS figures show east Medford, southwest Medford and Eagle Point have been the busiest zones this year.

    While Ashland was the second-busiest area for existing home sales, behind east Medford, the median sales price was relatively flat. There were 115 sales at a median of $432,900, up 1.3 percent from last year’s $427,500.

    Although the turnover was far smaller, Jacksonville’s median price of $464,950 was tops in the county, up 20.8 percent from last year’s $385,000 figure.

    The number of houses on the market grew 16.2 percent to 1,117 from 961 and topped 1,000 for the first time since last September.

    “We’re seeing more people jumping in,” said Colin Mullane of Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland and spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors. “We’re reaching peak prices of 2005 and 2006 after a much steadier build. We’ve been hoping for this for quite some time.”

    With more homes selling and more on the market, Mullane sees the market moving to equalization, although sellers still have the upper hand.

    “We’re at three months supply,” he said. “The golden rule is for six months supply, creating an equalized market.”

    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter at or

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