Realtors See Seller’s Market Ahead

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MEDFORD, Ore – The long recovery may not be over yet, but on paper 2013 was a big year.

“(It’s) the first full 12-month period where we had increasing values across the board in all the areas and all the markets within Jackson County,” said Colin Mullane, a spokesperson with the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors.

Real estate experts from Jackson and Josephine counties gathered Monday to get a snapshot of the market, and they say that snapshot looks good.

In Jackson County, median housing value went up $165,000 to $195,000 – an 18 percent increase. Meanwhile, Josephine County saw a 15 percent increase from $143,900 to $165,000.

Foreclosed homes dropped from almost a third of all sales to just 7 percent in Jackson County and 11 percent in Josephine County.

But that seller’s market has side effects.

“It leaves people behind that need housing, that have been struggling, that may be between jobs,” said Denise James, Executive Director of the Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity. “There is a lot of people that have been left in that gap still.”

Organizations like Habitat for Humanity and ACCESS provide help for those struggling to buy homes. They say not only are those homes more expensive, but there’s more competition for them.

And there’s less money to go around.

“Credit seems to be a bigger issue than it used to be in years past,” said James.

In a rush to prevent another housing bubble, banks have made it harder and harder to get a loan – perhaps too hard according to some realtors.

But what’s bad for some buyers is good for the market.

“Right now we’re looking at typically much better qualified buyers over the last three or four years that want to own homes,” said Mullane.

The good news, according to experts, is that sellers will soon realize it’s time to sell. And that could mean a good market for everyone.

“Supply and demand should normalize, and I think you’ll see a fairly stable market for buyers looking to enter the home ownership realm in 2014,” said Mullane.