We’re No. 1, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
A new analysis by Oregon Employment Department regional economist Dallas Fridley shows that Hood River County’s median home price has vaulted this micro-market past Clackamas County and into the top position in Oregon.
Figures from 2014 show that Hood River county’s home prices gained the top spot despite actually declining a bit from 2013 to 2014. Why? Because the median in Deschutes County declined even more.
Figures released by Fridley show that Hood River County’s $309,500 median value for an owner-occupied home was $13,900 higher than second place Clackamas County’s $295,600.
Hood River County’s number far exceeds — by 32 percent — the median for the entire state at $234,100.
Fridley said the Hood River median dropped by $12,200, or 7 percent, from 2013’s $321,700.
During the post-recession recovery period dating back to 2010, he said, owner-occupied median home values in Hood River County climbed by a scant 0.5 percent, or just $1,500.
That, however, was enough to boost Hood River County’s in-state ranking from third to first, “with Clackamas County falling to second and Deschutes County sliding from second in 2010 to seventh in 2014.”.
Home values in Hood River County were concentrated in the $300,000 to $499,000 group (see graph above), which represented just over 35 percent of its homes.
Statewide, just 23 percent of Oregon’s owner-occupied homes fall into that price bracket, and in the mercurial Deschutes County market, just 24 percent of home price at that level.
By contrast, Hood River County homes valued $150,000 to $199,000 represented just 9.7 percent of its owner-occupied homes. Throughout Oregon, that slice of the home market comprised 16.8 percent. And in Deschutes County, it makes up 16.1 percent.
(A quick aside here. Before you fire off a letter to the editor — or Fridley — take note that these numbers are medians. Half of home values in a given county sit above the reported number, and half below. County-wide numbers also fail to show the location of the half that sits above the median. It’s our guess that the numbers for the city of Hood River are higher still, just as numbers for the city of Bend probably far exceed those for LaPine.)
Citing the American Community Survey’s 2010-2014 five-year data, Fridley noted that the median value of an owner-occupied home in Oregon fell to $234,100 in 2014, a drop of 1.6 percent. In 2013, the statewide median was $238,000.
Since 2010, the median value of an owner-occupied home in Oregon fell by $18,500, or 7.3 percent.
Owner-occupied home values in Deschutes County declined the most. The median fell to $249,500 in 2014, a drop of $71,000 (29.2%) since 2010.
Just to the east of Deschutes County, Crook County (Prineville county seat) found itself in a similar situation with home values down $68,900 since 2010, falling to $159,800. That dropped its in-state ranking from 15th in 2010 to 22nd in 2014.
Fridley noted that Southern Oregon and the south coast also fared poorly with median home values in Jackson County down $57,300, Curry County down $55,500 and Josephine County down $41,000.
Only 12 of Oregon’s 36 counties saw their home values rise between 2010 and 2014. All were rural with the exception of Benton County (Corvallis).
Just to the east of Hood River County, tiny Wheeler County — it has the lowest population of any county in the state — saw its median home value climb the most since 2010, rising by $27,700 (21.8 percent) to $126,800. Wheeler County’s in-state ranking also improved, rising from dead last in 2010 (36th) to 33rd position in 2014..
Gilliam County (Arlington, Condon) also saw its median home value rise rapidly, climbing by $25,700 (20.5 percent) since 2010 to $125,600.
Despite this rise in median home values, Gilliam County ranked 35th in 2014, matching its 2010 ranking.
Sherman County’s median home value rose to $139,900 in 2014, an increase of $20,400 (14.6 percent), since 2010, while its ranking climbed from 33rd to 31st. Lake County’s median home value climbed by $19,200 (13.6%), since 2010, the fifth largest in-state gain, while its ranking climbed from 32nd in 2010 to 28th in 2014.