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Average home price continues to climb, now tops $313,000

Published on September 19, 2017 2:11AM

Last changed on September 19, 2017 6:01AM

Another month, another new record average home sales price set in Lane County.

The average price paid in August for a Lane County home was $313,500, the highest monthly average ever reported by Regional Multiple Listing Service in Portland.

The average was based on 519 closed sales, excluding the Florence area, which is reported separately by RMLS.

Real estate prices have increased in Lane County for the past 4½ years, but a frenzied seller’s market has led to particularly sharp price rises since mid-2016.

Including August, home buying activity in the county has shattered average sales records in five of the past 14 months, according to RMLS figures.

Elliott Wood, president of the Eugene Association of Realtors, said the sale of homes above $500,000 in August pulled the monthly average up.

He said the median sale price, which “does not get pulled by outliers,” is a “better indicator of what is happening in the market as a whole.”

In August, the median price of homes sold in Lane County, excluding the Florence area, was $275,000, up 14.6 percent from the median average of $239,900 in August 2016, according to RMLS.

“The median price climbing up to $275,000 is a great sign that the market as a whole is continuing to grow and thrive,” Elliott said.

At two months, the inventory of homes for sale in August remained near the record low of 1.6 months, which was set in May.

An inventory of less than six months generally contributes to a sellers’ market, where homeowners are rewarded by premium prices, and home buyers face higher prices and a lack of choice. Rapidly rising prices in sellers’ markets are tough on first-time home buyers seeking lower-priced homes.

At 680, the number of new listings in August rose 4.6 percent compared with the same month last year, RMLS reported.

“New inventory outpacing what took place last August is good news,” Elliott said. “We have been dealing with a low inventory issue in Lane County for nearly two years now and the more new inventory we can get on the market, the better to satisfy the pent up buyer demand we have.”

One record after another

The record setting in monthly average home prices began in June 2016, when the average hit $279,800, an all-time high that exceeded the figure set during the frenzied 2006-07 market bubble that preceded the Great Recession.

Other all-time highs were reached last October and three times this year, including June, when the $300,600 average broke $300,000 for the first time.

From August 2016 through last month, the average sale price of homes in the county, excluding the Florence area, reached $288,900, up 10.4 percent, RMLS reported.

In the Florence area, the average home sale price in August based on 42 transactions was $290,300. RMLS said. Through the first eight months of the year, the average home sale price in the Florence area was $243,000, up 3.4 percent from the same year-ago period, RMLS said.

Last year’s Lane County average sale price was $263,700, just $1,600 short of the record average annual sale price of $265,300 set in 2007, the year before local residential real estate began a steep decline.

But the annual record average sale price should be eclipsed this year. Through August, the year-to-date average sale price had reached $288,900.

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