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Tony Edwards, a painter for Shelby & Miguelena Construction, attaches a ladder stabilizer while working at a spec home in Roseburg last year.

Douglas County residential real estate prices increased last year in what local brokers call a seller’s market — thanks to low number of homes for sale.

“Right now, we’re suffering from a lack of inventory,” said Neil Hummel, owner and broker for Century 21 The Neil Company Real Estate.

Thanks to tight inventory, along with low interest rates and high demand, home sale prices are appreciating in Douglas County, Hummel said.

The numbers for Douglas County show rolling average real estate sales prices rising 4.6 percent to $211,400 in 2017, according to Portland-based Regional Multiple Listing Service. Rolling median sales prices jumped 7.8 percent.

The number of homes sold in 2017 also increased over the previous year for Douglas County, with 3.1 percent more home sale closings.

Just to the north, RMLS figures for Lane County show an average home sale price that rose 9.2 percent to $287,900, a record level.

Lane County and other areas in Oregon have been in a seller’s market where eager buyers compete for the relatively few homes available and drive up the prices.

The nearly 8 percent increase in Douglas County median sales prices can be attributed to more demand right now along with insufficient inventory, said Greg Johnson, principal owner and broker with G. Stiles Realty.

While real estate agents could have used a few more homes to sell, 2017 was still a good year, and even a great year for some.

Hummel called 2017 a “phenomenal” year for Douglas County real estate, and a record year for his company.

Another real estate broker said the market was improving.

“I think it was a good year compared to past years, the market’s improving. Hopefully, 2018 will be even better,” Johnson said.

Douglas County’s improving real estate market is being partly fueled by out-of-state buyers. About 20 percent of the area’s buyers come from California, Hummel said. Affordable home prices, climate, proximity to mountains and beaches, and outdoor recreation opportunities draw people to Douglas County.

However, the inventory of for-sale structures has edged below the six months’ supply that is considered to be a market balanced between buyers and sellers. Inventory figures by RLMS show less than six months’ supply during all 12 months of 2017. In 2015, only four of the 12 months had inventory levels below six months.

In addition, there is not a lot of new home construction, Hummel said. Homes that are being built, unless they are custom homes, are sold as soon as the foundations are poured.

Some buyers are making offers quickly in hopes of nailing down a deal in a tight market.

Victoria Hawks, co-owner of Hawks & Co. Realtors, said she is seeing offers being made on homes the first day they are on the market.

“It’s definitely a seller’s market,” Hawks said.

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City Government and Business reporter

John Dickey is a city government and business reporter for The News-Review.

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