Fire heats up housing market

Damian Mann, Ashland Daily Tidings, Ore.
·2 min read

Apr. 9—Home prices in Jackson County shot up 14.8% in the first three months of 2021, propelled by high demand, low inventory and fire survivors looking for a place to live.

The median price is $350,000, compared to $305,000 during the same period last year, according to the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.

"Every price range, even the luxury market, is seeing unprecedented activity," said Colin Mullane, spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.

Homes sold more quickly this quarter as well, averaging 24 days on the market compared to 59 days last year.

In this market, it's not just Californians fueling the rapid rise in prices.

"I and others see the same mix of locals," said Mullane. "A lot of them are fire victims who have been displaced."

The current inventory of new homes is 271, or 62.4% fewer than last year at this time.

The number of existing homes sold in Jackson County during the quarter was 538, compared to 539 last year.

Rural home prices surged from $474,000 to $580,000 this year, a 22.4% increase.

Josephine County had an 18.5% hike in the median home price for the first quarter, rising to $320,000.

During the first quarter, Josephine County had 147 homes sold, 15.7% more than the same period last year.

The number of homes on market fell 62% to 108.

The median price for rural homes increased 19.8% to $465,000, with the average selling in 53 days.

Mullane said there are lots of buyers who want to buy but can't find a house.

As a result, multiple offers are being made on houses, and some buyers are offering more than the appraised value.

"That is not a good market," Mullane said.

Fire survivors have, in some cases, decided not to rebuild on their existing properties because of bad memories from the devastation from the Almeda fire.

"Some of it is emotional," he said.

Others don't want to wait to rebuild, and just prefer to put their money into buying another house, Mullane said.

Even if we didn't have the fires, the housing market would still be tight.

Last year, many homeowners who were contemplating selling decided against it because of COVID-19. That led to reduced inventory in many locations through the U.S.

Mullane said a new trend is prospective buyers who look at a home as a more long-term investment, particularly because more people are able to work from home.

"People are looking for houses with offices or other spaces where they can do their work," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.