Southern Oregon is known for its world-class wines, whitewater rapids, world-famous theaters and galleries, gorgeous sweeping views that are so colorful they look like they were painted, and some of the friendliest communities in the nation.
Whether you want to be in bustling Medford or a smaller town with more land, the southern part of the state is an ideal region for putting down some roots and building a new custom home. It has so much to offer both young families and people looking for the perfect place to retire. Most of the area has a rural feel, and even the larger cities have a small-town spirit with tight-knit communities and plenty of local character.
Does Southern Oregon sound good to you so far? Read on to learn about four counties that would be perfect locations to build a home.
Size: 5,134 square miles
Major cities: Roseburg, Sutherlin, Winston, Reedsport
Median home value: $293,798
In the northernmost part of Southern Oregon, Douglas County extends from the Pacific coast to the Cascades and borders Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath Counties on the south. Unlike the area to the north that surrounds Eugene, the county is known for being politically conservative.
About a quarter of the workforce is employed in the forestry industry, which is not surprising considering that the county has about 2.8 million acres of commercial forest land. Sheep ranching and agriculture are also important to the local economy.
The county is home to the entire Umpqua River Watershed, which provides scenic places to take a drive, water sports, and fertile farmland throughout the area. The Umpqua Valley boasts some of the world’s best fishing, making it a popular area for fishermen and campers. Expansive vineyards also draw people to the area to enjoy both the wineries and the sweeping vistas.
There are four distinct seasons, but snowfall and freezing temperatures in winter are rare. Many retirees live in Douglas County because of the mild weather and the ability to be outdoors for much of the year. Outdoor enthusiasts are also drawn to the area for its boating, fishing, cycling, and hiking opportunities.
The Largest City
With a population of 23,083, Roseburg is the largest city in the county. You can find all the major retail establishments, two hospitals, and all types of professional services. The nearest commercial airports are within two hours of the city, so professionals who travel frequently might consider locations closer to Eugene or Medford if proximity to an airport is important. Young families might also want to consider Roseburg because it has the best schools in the county.
Size: 1,642 square miles
Major cities: Grants Pass, Cave Junction
Median home value: $403,610
South of Douglas County and at the western edge of the Southern Oregon region sits Josephine County. Much like its neighboring counties, the region is known for year-round great weather, making it attractive to active families and retirees. With three major rivers (the Rogue, Applegate, and Illinois), the county has much to offer people who enjoy boating, rafting, fishing, hiking, and scenic drives. Not really into spending time in the elements? There’s plenty to explore with the area’s wineries, breweries, and restaurants.
Take the time to visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve to tour the marble cave and hike the surrounding trails. This unique national treasure has both historical and geological significance and helps support the local tourism industry.
The Largest City
Grants Pass, the largest city in the county, is rich in culture with art galleries, a variety of dining experiences, and shopping in the historic downtown district. As home to the first Dutch Bros. Coffee location, Grants Pass is guaranteed to offer you a good cup of joe. First Fridays, which highlight the work of local artists and artisans, help keep culture at the forefront year-round.
The Cost of Living
Many retirees live in the area, perhaps because the cost of living is relatively high and not as accessible to younger families. In the rural areas, agriculture and forestry support the economy, while in the larger towns, many people are employed in the service industry. Available housing is limited, so this is a good area to consider new construction if you are not able to find a home that matches your needs from the options on the market.
Size: 2,802 square miles
Major cities: Medford, Ashland, Central Point, Eagle Point, Talent
Median home value: $413,731
Jackson County is located to the east of Josephine County, right in the heart of Southern Oregon. With the region’s largest city, Medford, this area has the most to offer in terms of culture, nightlife, and different types of neighborhoods. Medford also has an airport, making it convenient for business travelers in the area. The public school systems in both Medford and Ashland are above average, drawing young families who want quality education and small-town values in a rural setting.
Activities and Employment in Ashland
In Ashland, you’ll find Southern Oregon University, along with all the restaurants, coffee shops, and bookstores that support it. This town skews a bit more liberal than the other areas in Southern Oregon. Not surprisingly, the local economy is supported by educational jobs in the Ashland area, but elsewhere in Jackson County, jobs are available in healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. Like other areas in Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley, this region is also known for its orchards and vineyards. The famed fruit basket purveyor Harry & David is located in Medford.
People who enjoy exercising outdoors will appreciate the Bear Creek Greenway, which runs for 21 miles between Ashland and Central Point. It’s an attraction for cyclists, skaters, and distance runners. There are four distinct seasons in the county with moderate temperatures year-round and less rainfall than other parts of the state.
A Cultural Hub of the Region
Those who enjoy the arts will have easy access to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. This isn’t the only festival for which the region is known. Nearby, historic Jacksonville is home to the Britt Music & Arts Festival, an annual music festival that has been bringing well-known performers to Southern Oregon since 1963.
Build Your Dream Home with Adair Homes
Schedule an appointment at the Adair Homes Southern Oregon branch in Medford to learn more about how you can build a new custom home and get immediate equity with our unique process.
If you’re not in the local area, give us a call at 541-879-0610 to speak with a Home Ownership Counselor today. If you’re just starting to think about building a new home, keep an eye on our events page to get notified about open houses and seminars with financial experts who will help explain the construction loans and team members available to answer all of your questions.