Sacramento Real estate News & Trends

Sacramento real estate market trends and updates on the changing housing market from Realtors and brokers in Sacramento plus surrounding counties.

Aug. 7, 2010

Aug Sacramento Housing Update

Sacramento, the county seat of the county sharing its name, lies at the meeting of the Sacramento and American rivers in northern California. The city has a population estimated in 2010 at more than 486,000, enough to make it the seventh-largest city in the state. A city of that size will undoubtedly have a robust, competitive real estate market, and this is what the figures for the Sacramento real estate market suggest.

According to the latest available housing statistics from the Sacramento Association of Realtors, June was a very positive month for this market as both sales volume and median home prices rose on both a monthly and an annualized basis. Home sales in June rose 3.3% from May to 1,777, which was up 1.9% from June 2009's sales figures. The median sales price rose 2.1% to $194,000 from $190,000 in May. The figure is 7.8% higher than June 2009's median price of $180,000.

Conventional homes sales made up the majority of June sales, or 38%. Sacramento foreclosures accounted for 36% of June sales while short sales accounted for 24%. After June sales, there were 4,485 Sacramento homes for sale and 2,369 short sales, indicating that there are many homes in a variety of price ranges for those seeking to buy in the Sacramento market. The current inventory stands at a 2.5-month supply, up slightly from May's 2.4-month supply. June sales spent an average of 60 days on the market before selling.

Condo sales showed signs of optimism in the Sacramento market as well. The sales volume increase 40% from May to June and was up 32.8% from June 2009's volume. There were 154 condos sold in Sacramento during June. Although volume rose, sales prices were down slightly. The median sales price was down 2.3% month-over-month and 4.7% year-over-year. June's median condo sales price was $105,500.

July 24, 2010

Placerville real estate housing market

The Placerville real estate market, found in the economically stricken Central Valley housing market, showed conflicting signs in the most recent tracking period, possibly because of the expiration of state and federal tax credits. The most visible result of this was in the area of Placerville and other Sacramento area homes for sale, which dropped dramatically in the month of May. According to a July 20, 2010 report from the Sacramento Business Journal, “Sacramento-area new-home sales dropped 48 percent in May from the previous year, likely because of the end of the federal tax credit, according to the California Building Industry Association and Hanley Wood Market Intelligence. Homebuilders sold 165 single-family homes in May, compared to 317 for the same month last year, the most recent evidence that the housing market continues to struggle. April sales were far from robust at 185 homes, despite the end of the federal tax credit on April 30. The four-county region’s median-home price — meaning half the homes sold for more, the other half for less — dropped 9.3 percent to $306,150 in May, from $337,390 in May 2009. All three categories of new-home sales — which includes condominiums and townhomes — plummeted 51 percent in May, compared to a year ago. Single-family homes account for about 85 percent of new-home sales in the region. Statewide, home sales were down 46 percent in May compared to a year ago, with single-family homes off 45 percent, according to Hanley Wood. But the median single-family home price increased 6 percent to $345,917.”

On the other hand, the number of properties which were foreclosed in the Placerville housing market decreased substantially in June of 2010. According to a July 13, 2010 article from the Sacramento Business Journal, “Sacramento foreclosures fell significantly in the region in June, on both a monthly basis and a year-over-year basis, according to figures released Tuesday from, which tracks distressed property in the Western U.S. The firm reported that 1,235 homes either went back to lenders or were sold to third parties at trustee sales during the month in the four-county region. That’s down from 1,883 in June of last year and 1,491 in May. The company said California foreclosure sales were canceled in record amounts, which it attributed to a single lender, JP Morgan Chase, cancelling foreclosure sales.”

Posted in Market Updates
July 24, 2010

Granite Bay real estate housing market

The Granite Bay real estate market, part of the hard-hit Sacramento area housing market, is seeing a housing situation that is substantially different than the rest of the United States. Unlike many other parts of the country, which saw a series of temporary improvements followed by the threat of a double-dip recession, the Granite Bay area is showing a more sustained recovery. According to a July 16, 2010 report from the Sacramento Bee, “The sales surge continues. Strong investor activity and price cutting in higher-end neighborhoods drove Sacramento-region home sales in June to new 20-month highs, a report said Thursday. Buyers received keys to 3,922 new and existing houses across the region, said researcher MDA DataQuick. Statistics showed especially strong gains from June 2009 in pricier Amador, El Dorado, Nevada and Placer counties…June's sales numbers were the highest since October 2008. They beat May's 3,716 sales in Amador, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. Median prices, too, continued a slow ascent. Sacramento County posted a $185,000 median price in June – 5.7 percent above June 2009. The rising prices reflect fewer bank repo sales and more move-up houses in the market mix. Investors played a leading role in June, especially in Sacramento County. They bought about one in four houses sold…Sacramento-area home sales, aided by $8,000 federal tax credits for first-time buyers, began to surge in March and have stayed strong. While sales remain below historical spring averages, the area's performance matches the state in outpacing the nation, said Scott Anderson, senior economist with Wells Fargo Bank.”

Despite remaining one of the highest in the nation, the foreclosure rate amongst Granite Bay homes for sale declined substantially in the most recent tracking period. According to a July 15, 2010 report from the Sacramento Business Journal, “Foreclosures in the Sacramento region dropped in the first half by 12.4 percent compared with the previous six months, online foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac reported Thursday after including newly released information for June. There were 27,275 households in the region during the first six months that received a foreclosure notice of some type, from a notice of default to a trustee sale notice to a bank repossession. That’s down from 31,129 households in the previous six months, and 29,324 in the same period of last year.”

Posted in Market Updates
July 3, 2010

El Dorado Hills real estate housing market

The El Dorado Hills housing market, a predominately residential portion of the larger Central Valley and Sacramento real estate markets, appeared to be in the midst of a rebound following the economic recession. Sacramento foreclosures were declining, and other key indicators seem to point towards a more positive direction for local real estate. According to a June 25, 2010 report from the Sacramento Bee, “What's true on national news may not be true where you live. Nine days ago the nation hyperventilated because a federal agency reported May single-family housing starts fell 17 percent from April. It was "the largest monthly drop since January 1991." Oh no! But Thursday came new California counts from the Construction Industry Research Board. May housing starts in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties were up almost 10 percent. End of the world? Not here.  Nobody said recovering from a crash would be easy or fun. But one day, one house at a time, this market is resetting itself. Foreclosed homes get buyers at today's prices. These owners stay and heal neighborhoods. Negative equity – owing more than your house is worth – is still terrible. But it's slowly, slowly easing. A year ago more than half of area mortgaged houses had negative equity. Now it's less than half. The trend is moving the right direction. It is not getting worse.”

Foreclosed properties, which used to be a disproportionately large component of El Dorado Hills homes for sale, are becoming less dominant relative to a year ago. According to a June 10, 2010 article from the Sacramento Business Journal, “Foreclosure filings in the Sacramento region, including notice of default, trustee sales notices and repossessions by banks, were down 12.53 percent in May compared with the same period one year ago, real estate information firm RealtyTrac reported Thursday. But May’s number of filings was slightly higher, by 2.25 percent, than in April of this year. According to the report, 1,488 homes in the four-county region became bank owned through foreclosure sales during the month, the company said.” It is unclear how the expiration of the federal tax credit, which spurred many non-foreclosure sales, will impact either sales numbers or the rate of foreclosure.

Posted in Market Updates
July 3, 2010

Folsom real estate housing market

The Folsom housing market, situated north of Sacramento in California’s Central Valley, began to show signs of improvement, including lower rates of foreclosure. Despite a few remaining high profile cases, fewer Folsom homes for sale were in the foreclosure process, a possible indication that the market is beginning to stabilize. According to a July 1, 2010 report from the Sacramento Business Journal, “Foreclosure sales in Sacramento County fell 50 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the same quarter in 2009, online foreclosure tracker ReatlyTrac reported Thursday. Foreclosure sales, which occur when a bank takes possession of a home following non-payment of a mortgage, also decreased substantially on a year-over-year basis for Placer, Yolo and El Dorado counties. It’s the first quarterly report for RealtyTrac, which reports monthly figures on foreclosures for most of the country. The average foreclosure sale price in Sacramento County was $171,900 in the first quarter. Foreclosure sale prices elsewhere in the region ranged from $214,800 in Yolo County to $305,000 in El Dorado County.” It is unclear whether this shift in the market is the result of an improving economy or simply a by-product of the expiring federal tax credit. It is also possible that banks and lenders are becoming more flexible in dealing with delinquent properties in order to avoid the headache of a foreclosure.

Despite the overall decrease in foreclosures in the Folsom real estate market, one of the largest parcels of commercial property in the region seems to be headed for a bank sale. According to a June 16, 2010 article from the Sacramento Bee, “The future of the long-dormant downtown Sacramento railyard took a dramatic turn Tuesday. The question: Is it a turn for the worse, or perhaps the better? A Chicago-area real estate investor started foreclosure proceedings on the railyard after property owner Thomas Enterprises failed to pay off $187 million worth of loans. The move could signal the end here for financially troubled Thomas Enterprises and usher in the massive Inland American Real Estate Trust as new steward of the 240-acre railyard, the city's top redevelopment project. An analyst who follows Inland called the company substantial and experienced. Thomas Enterprises of Atlanta, which bought the railyard from Union Pacific in 2006 after lengthy negotiations, has been vexed by financial setbacks nationally, including several foreclosures and project stoppages.”

Posted in Market Updates
June 28, 2010

Auburn Real Estate Update

Although quite far from its peak, the Auburn real estate market is stronger than it has been for several years. According to a June 18, 2010 article from the Sacramento Bee, “More than 3,700 Sacramento-area buyers claimed keys to new and existing houses in May, the strongest sales month in four years, a La Jolla researcher reported Thursday. Sales prices also continued to drift upward. Sacramento scored a fifth straight month in which prices beat the same time last year, La Jolla-based MDA DataQuick reported. Sacramento County's median price for existing homes and new houses combined is $182,000 – 4 percent higher than in May 2009. Median is that point where half sell for more and half for less. The latest numbers show that a spring homebuying surge that started in March has strengthened in Amador, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. Altogether, 3,716 homes changed hands in the region. About 9 percent were new houses, DataQuick reported.” 


The article by Jim Wasserman continued to note that the spike in the number of purchased Auburn homes for sale might be the result of the federal tax credit. He noted that “The numbers reveal a sizable number of first-time buyers who started sales contracts before April 30 to collect a federal tax credit of $8,000. Many are also staking claim to California's first-time buyer tax credit of up to $10,000. Those became available May 1. More than 15,000 first-time California buyers have applied for the state tax credit, which is now 80 percent claimed, according to the state Franchise Tax Board. In addition to the tax credit, buyers are attracted by interest rates that have remained below 5 percent for six weeks. Senior loan consultant Brent Wilson, of Comstock Mortgage in Sacramento, said most home loans are going to ‘first-time homebuyers and investors in that more moderate price range.’ According to DataQuick, investors accounted for 25.4 percent of Sacramento County sales. Buyers paying cash constituted 31 percent of sales.”


The number of foreclosures in the Auburn housing market also dropped, according to a  June 15, 2010 article from the Sacramento Business Journal which said that “Foreclosure activity dropped last month in California, despite an increasing number of homeowners who are not paying their mortgages, ForeclosureRadar announced Tuesday.”

June 28, 2010

Sacramento Real Estate Update

The Sacramento real estate market, which was one of the hardest hit during the economic recession, showed gradual signs of improvement despite an increase in mortgage delinquency. According to a June 15, 2010 article from the Sacramento Business Journal, "Foreclosure activity dropped last month in California, despite an increasing number of homeowners who are not paying their mortgages," ForeclosureRadar announced Tuesday. The company reported that a drop in foreclosures "makes no sense" when coupled with data on mortgage delinquency. The report mirrors a Business Journal analysis of delinquency in the Sacramento region, published May 21, which showed foreclosures are falling despite an increasing delinquency rate here. ForeclosureRadar said the number of homes that went back to the lender or were sold to a third party fell 4.1 percent in May compared with a year ago. 


The article by Michael Shaw went on to note that "The report mirrors a Business Journal analysis of delinquency in the Sacramento region, published May 21, which showed foreclosures are falling despite an increasing delinquency rate here. ForeclosureRadar said the number of homes that went back to the lender or were sold to a third party fell 4.1 percent in May compared with a year ago.


Earlier this month, foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac reported a 12 percent drop in total foreclosure activity in Sacramento, including notices of default and trustee sales." While counterintuitive, the drop in foreclosures may reflect increased flexibility on the part of banks when dealing with distressed properties.


The average sales price of a Sacramento home for sale increased somewhat in the latest tracking period, possibly as a result of the drop in foreclosures. According to a June 22, 2010 article from the Sacramento Business Journal, "Sacramento’s median home price in May was $191,430, according to the California Association of Realtors. That’s 14.4 percent above the low of $167,340 in April 2009, but still 51.5 percent below the peak price of $394,450 in August 2005. Home prices in the region haven’t recovered from the trough, or low point, as well as other areas in the state. The statewide median price is $324,430, or 32.3 percent above the low in February 2009. The statewide median didn’t peak until May 2007, and the median price is 45.4 percent below the high of $594,530."

March 27, 2010

Sacramento Housing Market Update

The Sacramento housing market is still pretty soft, but the number of sales in 2010 compared to the same months in 2009 have been higher. That is usually an indication that the market is starting to pick up. As the inventory starts to shrink that will stablize trhe prices.