A few days ago, a local newspaper reported that Jackson County real estate sales are down 26% for the month of April. It caught me so off guard, I had to read it again. As you might expect, it cited Covid-19 as a contributor to the declines but based on what we are experiencing first-hand, this statistic feels totally out of whack as we are already seeing evidence of a very robust real estate market now and projected for the summer.
Upon closer review, the article mentions the median sales price for places in Medford is actually up 12% as compared to April 2019 and while Ashland’s median home price is down April 2020 vs April 2019, it was down only $16,000. That sounds more like it. The inventory of homes for sale in April, particularly in Ashland was most definitely less but let’s be honest – nobody wanted strangers coming through their home with all the uncertainty pertaining to Covid-19. All brokerages implemented safeguards to protect their sellers, buyers and themselves and quite frankly, unless a homebuyer was without shelter and really needed to find a place to settle – most everyone was delaying their visit to any listings. From our perspective, this pause only felt noticeable for about two weeks and shortly thereafter, things were right on pace for what we would expect in a typical spring market.
As families adjusted to having kids at home during their regular school day, they took a few moments to catch their breath while also finding a way to adjust to the new routine and learning how to settle into a pattern that was quite foreign to most. I don’t know about you, but when my family has sold homes in the past, we were quite strategic about when they were listed and a large part of that equation was factoring in how available our house would be for visitors and how tidy we could keep it. Having children in school, outside of the home and for eight hours a day, certainly helps to create the spaciousness to market and show a property. But, when classroom time started taking place at the dining room table and older kids return home to stake claim in their parent’s guest bedrooms while they are “distance learning;” it’s no wonder we didn’t see a lot of new listings hitting the market.
Moms and dads were never busier making room for their kids, loving on them and managing emotions all while trying to remain poised and seemingly unaffected in the process.
We are listing homes like crazy right now, showing more and more property and really seeing a vibrant and healthy market so don’t believe everything you hear or read. There seems to be a lot of movement among our local buyers/sellers but also with folks making the decision to settle into Southern Oregon from the higher density communities outside our state. Two of our current buyers are moving here to be closer to their adult children and another escrow just closed where aging parents purchased a property large enough to accommodate them along with their grown children and grandchildren. Amidst the turmoil caused by the Covid-19 virus, we are seeing such beautiful things emerge within our community. The desire for communal living is increasing as people settle into this different way. For many, it may have been out of need to pool their resources and provide support for one another but for others, perhaps they finally slowed down enough to actually have the opportunity to enjoy their families and in doing so, discovered they actually do want to “do life” together.
As you hear rumblings of a pending crash in the real estate market from those who think the “bottom” is near, I would encourage you to not consider it gospel. Reach out to a local real estate professional and get a first hand accounting of how things really are. We are in a new time and it’s critical to have up to the minute information. Relying on statistics from a year ago, three months ago or even 30 days ago is unwise. Having an informed perspective from someone who is in the throes of the present market conditions will serve invaluable as we continue this journey into unchartered waters. Inventory levels are increasing and pending activity is up. It’s a great time to live in Southern Oregon.