- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Average home prices in Lane County have reached their highest levels since the months before the Great Recession.

The housing market was improving slowly between 2012 and 2014 but remained lackluster, reported The Eugene Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/1TPKkO6 ). Sale prices went up an average of 6.7 percent a year during that time but remained far below what they were before the recession, according to data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

But the beginning of 2015 proved to bet the best first half for home sales in eight years, bolstered by a flood of sales and new listings since October.

There were 2,092 closed sales between January and June, and the median sale price hit $229,000 in June — the highest since July 2008.

“It’s been hard for me to keep any listings this year,” said Kim Heddinger, co-owner of Golden Realty in Eugene. “They’re selling as quick as we can take them.”

She said she’s been selling homes for 23 years and June and July are the best two months she’s ever seen.

Most real estate agents say a healthy market would be more balanced between buyers and sellers. But Matt Powell, principal broker of Windermere Real Estate/Lane County, said he expects sales to slow by the fourth quarter of the year.

The possibility of mortgage interest rate hikes later in the year could be pushing people into the market right now, he said.

The rising demand for homes is so intense that it’s eating up available land space in Eugene.

Eugene’s Planning and Development Department has granted final approval for 15 new subdivisions with 515 total single-family home lots since Jan. 1, according to land use records.

In the previous five years, 22 subdivisions with 331 lots received approval.

“We have a lot of good projects coming on the books,” said Ed McMahon, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Lane County.

“But if you add those to the inventory of existing lots, we’re going to be out of buildable lots in five or six years.”


Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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