Jackson County housing sales slowed substantially in 2013, according to figures released today by Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service.
Nonetheless, a general inventory shortage, coupled with the growing health of major markets outside the region, propelled existing home prices to an 18.2 percent gain last year. The median sales price in 2013 was $195,000, up from $165,000 in 2012, but still a far cry from the pre-bubble $271,500 median for 2005.
Countywide 1,971 houses sold in 2013, down 10.4 percent from 2,200 in the previous year.
Ashland and the Upper Rogue regions bucked the trend with slight increases in the number of transactions.
"We don't see huge surges in the number of sales in Ashland, typically because we don't have the ability to do large tracts of new developments," said Colin Mullane, spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors and an agent with Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland. "It's always dependent on turnover of existing inventory with a few small exceptions. I do anticipate the rest of the Rogue Valley markets starting to have more normal sales."
Ashland reflects activity in metro markets such as Portland and the San Francisco area, places where many people moving to Ashland come from, Mullane said.
"It moves a little faster in Jackson County than some of the markets," he said. "But (it provides) a sign of what is to come, potentially for those other markets that lag a little behind. Then Josephine lags behind Jackson County, and you will find the coastal counties lag even further behind. A lot of the markets that feed ours have really been strong."
He suggested more homes will go on the market this year, spurring more sales.
The role of distressed sales continued to dwindle in 2013 with four out of five sales considered normal deals, compared just over a half in 2012. Foreclosed houses made up just 7 percent of the sales in 2013, down from 29 percent in 2012.
The Upper Rogue, including Eagle Point, region was the lone area outside of Ashland to see more sales activity in 2013 than 2012.
While Phoenix saw the biggest median leap — 25.5 percent — to $199,000 from $159,900 in 2012, West Medford pushed its median sales up 22.9 percent to $104,500 from $89,000.
— Greg Stiles