The median price for an existing home in Ashland fell 1.2 percent in 2007 to $415,000, marking the first year-to-year drop in housing prices in about a decade.




For new homes, the year-end median price dropped to $469,000, down 2.3 percent from 2006.




The median selling price in December for an existing home in Ashland was $320,000 compared to $420,000 for the same month a year earlier, according to the Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service, which provides the figures to real estate agents.




Over the past five years, existing home prices in Ashland have risen 62.7 percent, the lowest rate among the 11 local areas compared by the service.




Existing home prices in Eagle Point, meanwhile, have risen 102.2 percent since 2002 &

the steepest climb in the Rogue Valley. For new homes, Phoenix had the largest increase of the 11 areas surveyed, with a 112.1 percent rise in prices.




Houses are also sitting on the market longer than they have in the past. In Ashland, the 284 existing homes sold in 2007 were listed for an average of 103 days. In 2006, roughly the same number of homes were sold, but they were on the market for just 84 days.




Only existing homes in Shady Cove and Trail sat on the market for a longer period, at 128 days. In Phoenix, homes on average sold after being listed for 72 days, the shortest period in the Rogue Valley in 2007.




New homes in Ashland were on the market for 142 days in 2007, about the same amount of time they were the year before, the Multiple Listing Service reported.




J. Adam Bogle of Coldwell Banker Pro West said overall 2007 was a "significant year for real estate in Southern Oregon," partly because the local housing market showed "resilience thus far to larger national negative trends," including the national credit crunch and a tide of home foreclosures, particularly among so-called subprime borrowers.




Although there was a nationwide drop in home sales in 2007 to a 10-year low, the total dollar volume of real estate sold last year was the fifth largest volume in Jackson County history, Bogle said in a year-end market analysis provided to the Tidings.




"Fundamentally, the market is sound, with prevailing interest rates still at historic lows, lending practices are continuing to correct themselves and bringing forth the buyers truly qualified to purchase homes more in line with their income levels, thus reducing future foreclosure probabilities," Bogle wrote.




"Sales volumes are lower than average sales expectancies for a given year, however with much larger sales volumes in the '04 and '05 years, it could be a couple more years of lower sales before the inventory returns to normal levels and demand returns to somewhere in the region of 2,500 homes per year being sold," he added.




covers government for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at csrizo@hotmail.com.