The Southern Oregon real estate market has seen some bumps and bruises since the west coast erupted in fires last summer. We began this year with a very slow and weak market and then it exploded. Here is a quick review of the Good, Bad and Ugly that has been our real estate market since last summer.
We began last year with our real estate market reaching a record number of home sales at record prices. It was a sellers’ market with few homes for buyers to choose from and prices were increasing at a rapid pace. All was good until the west coast erupted in flames, closing Interstate 5 over and over, burning the Northern California towns of Redding, Paradise, Dunsmuir, and Hornbook and pouring smoke into our valley. Although we were fortunate to have few homeowners lose their homes in Southern Oregon, all the fires did take a toll on our home sales.
Home sales slowed drastically after all the fires broke out causing home sales in both the last quarter of 2018, and the first quarter of 2019, to decline. Home prices, however, continued to climb; that is, until the first quarter of 2019 where Jackson County saw no increase in the median price of homes that resold. This is the first time since 2008 that we have seen a quarter go by with no increase in home prices. All of a sudden, this was getting concerning.
It happed in March – retirees, escapees and refugees from Paradise, combined with first time home buyers, caused a large upswing in our real estate market. Many sellers put their homes on the market early this year to beat any possibility of summer smoke and found they were met by an army of awaiting buyers that greeted the expanding home selection with glee. It’s impossible to know exactly how much this upswing will increase our overall market, but we’re off to a great start. Pending sales as of March 31st were up 14% in Jackson County and up 18% in Josephine County; those are big percentages for a real estate market.
Spring looks to be healthy for our market with the decline in interest rates, back down to 4%, and an increasing number of refugees relocating here that were once retired in Paradise, CA. On the rural property front, we’re seeing high demand for large irrigated parcels, 30 acres or more, to fulfill the growing demand for Hemp production and the oils produced from the Hemp flower. We’re seeing a higher amount of listings come on the market for sale which is helping satisfy all the buyers waiting in the wings for the right property.
This year Jacksonville, unlike the rest of Jackson County, has seen their median home price sky rocket, making Jacksonville the most expensive city to live in Southern Oregon. You could see this coming after years of slow gentrification of older eclectic homes and countless publications naming Jacksonville as one of the nicest small towns to live in. It is truly a magical town to live in and as the Jacksonville Review used to say, “A small town with a big atmosphere”.
So, its looks like spring will bring good news to our real estate market and the bad news is behind us and let’s hope we avoid the ugly news.
– Graham Farran