The Tipping Point Article By Graham Farran

The Tipping Point

We just posted four articles to our blog, ( from major publications – all focused on Southern Oregon. One article has Ashland listed, and another has Jacksonville listed, as the top towns in the US to visit. The other two both talk about our wine industry – one noting the awards we received from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the second stating that we are among the top 12 underrated wine regions in the world – yes, world!

Living in Southern Oregon for the last sixteen years, I have seen great articles from Sunset, Smithsonian and the New York Times, but what’s up with the speed and frequency at which these articles are being published and all the great press Southern Oregon is getting? It makes me think about Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point.” In his book, he talks about the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. It explains how ideas, products, behaviors or places suddenly spread like viruses do. Could it be Southern Oregon has hit “The Tipping Point?”

When driving through the Rogue Valley, you can’t help but be impressed by the pace at which we are growing, from retailers to restaurants, from vineyards to tourists, from hotels to houses.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has reached an all-time high with a generous gift from Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. OSF continues to have sold-out crowds to all their eleven yearly plays and hosted their 20-millionth visitor in 2015. The Randall Theatre of Medford is expanding to include a second theater in Jacksonville in the Calvary Church on Fifth Street. Medford will also see the opening of the Holly Theater as it reaches its renovation goals.  So, combine our growth in live theater, our ever-exploding wine scene, and all the outdoor activities we offer and you become a great destination for both tourists and retirees.

On the retail and restaurant fronts, we have seen the new Northgate Marketplace double in size with Home Goods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, RAM and Mod Pizza restaurant chains. We are also about to get a Cracker Barrel and a 5 Guys soon. In Grants Pass, they just got a Red Robin and their own In & Out Burger. All of this just after the Common Block restaurant opened in the Commons. What’s amazing is all the property across Hwy 238 from Northgate has sold and is being developed into another shopping center. The Medford Center is about to get a facelift and Costco has been given the go-ahead to build a larger store in Central Point.

Of course there is no stopping our wine scene as we have seen both DANCIN and 2Hawk expand and now four new wine tasting facilities have opened. Irvine Family Vineyards added a partner and opened a wine tasting facility on their 28-acre vineyard at 1614 Emigrant Creek Road in Ashland. Pebblestone Cellars, after winning many prestigious awards, has just opened a large barn-like wine tasting room facility at 1670 Pioneer Road. Schultz Wines has opened their first wine tasting facility in a completely renovated 1940’s farmhouse on their 60 acre vineyard and farm in the Applegate Valley at 755 Slagle Creek Road. Lastly, Augustino Estate winery created a treehouse tasting room along the Illinois River at 320 Brown Road in O’Brien and also acquired the Bridgeview Tasting and vineyards on North Applegate Road in the Applegate Valley.

To accommodate this growth, we are seeing new hotels popping up everywhere and new flights and services added to our airport. The Neuman Hotel group opened the Ashland Hills Suites & Hotel as well as buying the Nunan Estate to make a boutique hotel. Hilton is building another hotel in East Medford off of Barnett Road and a new riverfront hotel has been approved next to the Tap Rock in Grants Pass. It also looks like the Coquille Indian Casino and Hotel has been approved by the Federal Gaming Commission.

Our airport is experiencing a record number of travelers and starting in April, United is flying 737’s directly to San Francisco every day instead of the Sky West puddle jumpers. In addition, American Airlines is coming to the Medford airport but the details are sketchy.

All of this growth and lack of building during the recession have led to a record low inventory of homes for sale and a shortage of rental homes with a vacancy rate hugging one percent. The single family residential market is hot and real estate prices are closing in on all-time highs. Homes priced right are going pending as soon as they are listed and we are in for a near record year in both the number of homes sold and the price at which they get sold for.

So have we hit the Tipping Point? Is this the boiling point, the moment of critical mass where we see our small valley transform into a mecca for culture, shopping, wine and outdoor activities? The change in the air is palpable as our valley just keeps getting better.

Southern Oregon Wineries take Top Honors at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Article By Mail Tribune

For the second time in four years, Pebblestone Cellars has walked away from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition with Best of Class accolades.

The 2014 Ellis Vineyards Viognier topped its peers last week in the nation’s largest wine competition, judged in the Sonoma County berg of Cloverdale and celebrated at Fort Mason.

The Camp Baker Road winery’s performance comes on the heels of a similar distinction with a 2010 pinot gris, which captured a Best of Show in 2012.

“California is a big market, and the Chronicle does a lot of work with wine,” said winemaker Bryan Wilson. “To do well there brings attention to the fact we’re growing some really great grapes in Southern Oregon and producing some world-class wine along with them.”

Jackson and Josephine county wineries and vineyards brought home scores of double-gold, gold, silver and bronze medals from the 31st annual competition, which attracted a record 7,162 entries. Wilson also had a hand in Foris Vineyards’ 2014 Pinot Gris Best of Class entry.

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5 Tips For Winter Weather Maintenance

The winter season causes some serious challenges and dangers for homeowners. This is true whether you live in your home, rent it out or have it up for sale.

The severe weather and storms that are indicative of the winter season include things like rain, snow, high winds, thunder and lightening.

Each of these weather systems can cause some serious damage to your home and property. Thankfully, there are some maintenance tips that you can follow or, provide to your tenants to protect your home from serious winter weather damage.

Here are a few of the top ways you can make sure your home fairs the winter weather:

  • Be sure to never set your thermostat to anything lower than 69 degrees. It may be tempting to turn off the heat, but in the unfortunate event of a quick temperature drop – your pipes are in danger of freezing completely!
  • Do your best to keep all doors to various rooms in your property open. This allows for proper air flow, ensuring that your home is evenly heated and appropriately balanced when it comes to circulation and ventilation!
  • Stay up to date with furnace filters. Keep track of when your furnace will need a new filter and contact our maintenance department for a new one! A new filter traps dust and keeps the heat in your home regulated and functioning efficiently.
  • Make sure your property’s doors and windows are properly insulated. Poor insulation leads to more opportunities for Jack Frost to sneak in, causing you to turn up your heat, and spend more money! Cut heating costs and extra stress by sealing doors and windows efficiently.
  • Keep the exterior of your property well maintained. Excess leaves and trees branches left in the yard of your property make snow and ice removal difficult and leave you at a disadvantage!

Make sure that your home makes it through the winter weather without a scratch by following these simple tips for winter weather maintenance. While each season has it’s own weather than can be damaging to your home – nothing is quite like a southern Oregon winter.


Applegate and Rogue Valleys are among the top twelve underrated wine regions in the WORLD.

Oregon is often confused as being a misty gray place full of lush forest, Pinot vineyards, and affected hipsters. Yes, those conditions exist, but mostly in the northern rain shadow between the coast and the Cascade Range. Much of the state has a dry and sunny clime, including down south where the diverse vineyards of the Rogue and Applegate Valleys lie. And wine diversity defines the Valleys—the range of micro-climates allows for everything from Riesling to Cabernet to ripen. Add outdoor sports like hiking, rafting, fishing, and biking to museums, theater, live music venues, and restaurants, plus a stroll through a preserved, gold-rush era town and the activities prove as varied as the wine.

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Real Estate Prices Rise to Near Record High

When you look at home values you get a better picture if you look at long term trends and not short term trends.  Quarterly home prices go up and down but yearly growth and long term growth give you a much better picture of where the market is going. 

Home values in Jackson County hit their all-time high in 2006, but then begin to fall as the housing caused recession hit. Prices continued to decline until they leveled in 2012, and begin to rise in 2013. Prices have continued to rise into 2016 and we ended the year with prices increasing 62.4% since their low in 2012.  Home prices are still 7.5% lower than the all-time high in 2006 so we have a year or so before home prices are back at their all-time highs. We predict that home prices will continue to increase in 2017 due to three factors.  There is a very low supply of homes on the market with is pushing prices up, rental rates are extremely high, so in many cased it’s cheaper to buy then rent , and we have an increasing amount of retirees moving to the area. All three of these trends will lead to higher home prices. 

As for any average growth in home prices you have some areas that have faster price growth than others.  Lower priced homes in Medford and Central Point have seen price growth that is twice that of price growth in Ashland and Jacksonville. Here are some numbers:

5 Year % Change in Existing Home Prices Median Price in 2016 

Ashland + 39.1% $394,000

Talent + 64.8% $278,500

Phoenix + 47.6% $222,900

Jacksonville + 43.8% $365,000

East Medford + 61.1% $265,750

West Medford + 85.3% $161,250

Eagle Point + 63.3% $249,000

5 Year % change in Jackson County 62.4% 

The number of homes selling is also on the increase, even though there is very little inventory available. In 2016 there were 2633 Homes that sold in Jackson County compared to an all-time high of 2647 in 2006. 

The Rental Market continues to see 2% Vacancy which are at their lowest level since 2000. Rental prices have increase and supply is limited to we see the same trend for 2017.  

Mortgage Rates have increased and now the average 30-year fixed mortgage rates are expected to average over 4 percent in 2017.  The Federal Reserve announced they may increase the prime rate in 2017 which may drive up mortgage rates. At the same time mortgage rates have increase some government loans such as FHA have decreased the fees they charge for mortgage insurance so the net to the borrower can be the same as prior to the increase. 

As we begin a new year and a new administration leading our nation there is a lot of uncertainly, but home sales are local and Jackson County seems more effected by the number of ageing baby boomers retiring then by any other factor. At last, home prices are nearing the record high and home sales are in reach of the all-time record, and best of all, the trend seems to be sustainable.  


How To Manage Maintenance Requests At Your Rental Property

Having a rental property is a great investment and as we go into the new year and you get ready to file your taxes – those investment benefits will be realized!

However, a big part of maintaining your investment is to make sure that the maintenance to the property is upheld.

Here are a few ways that you can deal with a maintenance need at your rental property:

  • Make sure that the property is rent ready from the beginning. If you have just purchased a rental property or you have been living in your home and are now renting it out, it is essential that you make sure that the property is ready to be rented. Any repairs or areas that need maintenance should be addressed right away before they escalate. If you notice any leaks or light switches that don’t work properly – make sure to call professionals out to investigate and make the repairs before to put it up for rent. Having a ‘clean slate’ before renters move in will help to make sure that the property stays in good condition, long-term.
  • When you rent your property – make sure that you have a clear maintenance policy in place that your renters acknowledge and sign. It is essential that people know who to call and how to get help if there is a need for maintenance. The sooner that the repair or maintenance is done, the less chance there is for serious damage to your property. Having a long-term problem that isn’t addressed quickly and properly – will definitely call you more money and stress in the long run.
  • Build relationships with vendors – If your rental property needs an appliance or a plumbing or electrical repair – it is important that you have a specific person to call who is an expert in their field. The longer that you research looking for a plumber – the more chance there is for serious damage to your property. Have someone on-call for each type of maintenance or repair need so that you and your renters know exactly the name and number to get ahold of.

Going into the new year, it is important to be thinking about protecting your rental property investment. You want to make sure that your tax benefits are as big as possible for next year!