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The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the Crook County housing market from thriving

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Home prices are rising in Crook County and inventory is on the decline, but new houses are still getting built on a regular basis.

Home prices are still climbing in Crook County, but the number of houses available for purchase is declining as the COVID pandemic persists.

According to Kim Gammond, public affairs director for Central Oregon Association of Realtors, the median home price rose 18.3% during 2020 to an average of $331,000. That uptick in price continued through the year until December when the local market experienced a typical season slowdown.

"The median home sales price was down 3.1% in January compared to December," Gammond said.

The emergence of the pandemic in Central Oregon in early March initially had an impact on the market, Gammond said, but it didn't last a long time.

"What we have seen since March was an initial slowdown in the market in April and May and then an acceleration that has continued into winter when the market normally slows down a bit," she said. "Both the median home price and the number of sales remain higher than normal."

The price increase during 2020 coincided with a decline in housing inventory. The number of local homes available for purchase dropped 22% during the year, and it didn't matter what type of dwelling a person might seek.

"Inventory is falling pretty evenly among all price points," Gammond said, "with 33% fewer homes for sale under $249,000, down 19% between $250,000 and $499,000, down 33% between $500,000 and $749,000 and flat above $750,000."

The homes that go on the market tend to stay listed for an average of two-and-a-half months, although that duration on the market tends to vary depending on the dwelling or property. Gammond said that duplexes stay on the market for an average of just 31 days while residential land lots are listed for 151 days on average before there is a pending sale.

The top selling homes in Crook County were in the lower price range.

"More than 50% of the homes sold were between $250,000 and $499,000," Gammond said. She went on to highlight other characteristics that tended to improve the likelihood of a sale. About 64% of the homes sold were on a lot smaller than 1 acre and 65% of the dwellings had three bedrooms.

Only 11% of homes sold in 2020 were new construction, Gammond added, and 44% of the dwellings purchased were located in the Prineville city limits.


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