Contingency offers resurface in real estate market

Greg Stiles / The Mail Tribune (Medford ) /


Contingency offers — in which an offer to buy a house is contingent on the buyer selling their existing house — were once a bread-and-butter aspect of Rogue Valley real estate.

But that kind of deal essentially went away when the bubble burst six years ago, because buyers couldn’t count on selling their own houses.

“When contingency offers came,” said Ron Galbreath, an agent with Coldwell Banker, “we would just deny it, we couldn’t trust someone would be able to sell their home in another area.”

The once-common scenario, however, is making a comeback, helping to bolster Southern Oregon’s modest real-estate comeback.

“There is new money coming into the market,” said Galbreath, who recently had a contingency deal go through.

“The folks who made the contingency offer sold their home in Castro Valley (in the Bay Area) in 45 days,” Galbreath said.

The latest Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service figures show the median price for existing houses rose as increasing activity continued to reduce the inventory of existing single-family residences.

The countywide median price for existing houses sold July 1 through Sept. 30 climbed 9.1 percent to $169,900 from $155,750 a year earlier, while the number of units sold jumped 24.2 percent to 564, compared to 454 for the summer months a year ago. Turnaround time on the those transactions dropped to 57 days on the market from 99 days.

The inventory of available houses continued to decline, with 1,139 units available as of Sunday versus 1,517 on the market a year ago.

Another positive indication for the local market was that 58.5 percent — nearly three out of five deals — were traditional sales at a median price of $202,600. Bank-owned foreclosures accounted for 23.6 percent of transactions at a median price of $137,500, while short sales were 17.2 percent of sales at a median price of $150,000.

Local real-estate observer Roy Wright of Roy Wright Appraisal Service in Medford said three consecutive positive quarters is a good sign.

“Four years ago, we were in the third year of decreased home sales and second year of decreasing prices,” Wright said. “Now, with three-quarters of increasing sales and prices, we’re going the right direction.”