GRANTS PASS, Ore. — It's no secret that finding an affordable place to live even here in Southern Oregon can be a challenge. According to a new report by Realtor.com, it might be especially hard in Southern Oregon — particularly Grants Pass.
The trend that has taken root in our area echoes a similar story around the country.
"Home list prices have jumped 41.7% over the past decade, while median incomes have climbed just 23.8% during the same period. That's resulted in plenty of places across the nation becoming unaffordable for the folks who have long lived there," article author Lance Lambert said.
The report weighed median list prices for homes, median monthly housing cost, median household income, and share of income going toward housing.
Grants Pass came in at #3 among the top 10 most unaffordable cities to live, putting it among the dubious company of some much larger cities — including Santa Cruz, Miami, Atlantic City, and New York. But also on the list were some more similarly-sized towns, like Bellingham, WA and Carson City, NV.
"The affordability gap is a hot-button issue in Grants Pass, credited with playing a leading role in the area's growing homeless population," Lambert wrote. "Grants Pass is generally known as an increasingly popular retirement town, with most shops closing at 7 p.m. Many seniors come here for the calm Oregon climate and the fishing or boating on Rogue River, which runs through the city. Unfortunately for locals, newcomers are paying top dollar for homes . . . Longstanding residents, many of whom have fixed incomes, are finding themselves boxed in."
Realtor.com found median list price in Grants Pass to be $334,600, with a median mounthly housing cost of $918, a median household income of $40,705, and 27.1 percent of the average person's income going towards housing. In this last category, Grants Pass was surpassed only by Miami at 29.7 percent and Santa Cruz at 30 percent — #2 and #1 on the list, respectively.
"Finding a job these days is the easy part," wrote Lambert. "But scoring one that pays enough to cover the monthly rent or mortgage bill with enough left over for everything else is a big challenge for many folks. And it's getting worse."
According to the most recent report from the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in Josephine County rose 10.2 percent this year over this time in 2018, while home sales have dipped 17.5 percent. The median home price for urban existing homes increased to $247,900 over the last quarter — and homes are spending more time on the market.