What's hotter than Eugene-Springfield's ongoing heat wave? The home market.
The average sales price for homes in Lane County hit $331,000 in June, up from the previous record, $313,500 set last August.
The Lane County numbers issued by price tracker RMLS have been leapfrogging upward since 2012, when the average hovered around $200,000. Year-to-date, average prices are up 7.3 percent this year from the same period a year ago.
Prices rise because in-migration is strong and new construction has not kept up. Eugene-Springfield is hardly unique in this. Plenty of property markets worldwide are in price bloats.
On the West Coast, boom territory stretches from San Diego all the way to Vancouver, B.C. In Vancouver, Canada's priciest home market, authorities are using regulation and taxation to try to curb speculators and deter foreign buyers. Non-Canadians must now pay a special 20 percent tax if they want to buy a home in Vancouver, up from a previous 15 percent. It's unclear whether the tax has kept down home prices.
When a community's collective key resource — housing — is gripped and shaken by national and international forces, it can be hard to know what, if anything, to do. The demographic magnets at work are extremely powerful. They're what brought most of us here in the first place.
Lane County's housing market has been in extended red flag warnings many times over the decades. The current hot season has lasted about six years, with no rain break in sight.
The fixes at the local level are modest: grants to fund subsidized housing, rules on secondary dwelling units, tinkering with the urban growth boundary. The latest price numbers will intensify the debate.