Don't look now, but a $200,000 median sales price for Jackson County single-family residences is on the horizon.

Don't look now, but a $200,000 median sales price for Jackson County single-family residences is on the horizon.

Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service reported today that the countywide median price on existing home sales from March 1 through May 31 rose 19.8 percent to $185,750, while May alone saw a 26.9 percent jump to $190,000 from $149,750 a year ago.

"A year ago, we were saying the lower-price-range homes were going lead us out and that's what happened," said Colin Mullane, spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors and an agent with Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland.

He said the county will likely see a $200,000 median price — perhaps later this summer — before rising interest rates dampen the market.

That's primarily driven by an inventory that is down 10 percent from a year ago, supported by mortgage interest rates that have edged up fractionally from recent lows. In Medford, the sales floor is between $100,000 and $200,000, while in Ashland its $200,000 to $300,000.

"If there is no lower-price-range inventory to sell, there is no lower-end market to keep the median down," Mullane said. "It's like if Walmart has milk for $1.99 and you go in and there is no milk, the lower price doesn't matter."

While SOMLS reported 522 sales of existing homes over a three month period, it also showed new homes were beginning to make tracks. Much of the area's new construction doesn't go through SOMLS, so its new-home figures can be skewed. But year-over-year new houses sold through the system went for a median prices of $228,675.

Adding to rising median figure is a decline in distressed sales.

Normal transactions accounted for 75.1 percent of the county's sales at a median price of $218,750. Shorts sales dropped to 16.3 percent of the activity and $127,000 median, while foreclosure deals fell to 7.7 of sales at a median price of $123,950.

"Last year at this time, distressed sales accounted for 56.6 percent of all home sales," said long-time residential real estate appraiser Roy Wright, "Distressed sales are at the lowest point in five years."

He added the 223 sales within incorporated areas during May was the highest number in more than three years.

— Greg Stiles