No March Flowers For Sacramento Real Estate!

by : Julie Jalone

There is nothing positive to report about the Sacramento real estate market in March. Sales volumes are down, prices are not showing any strength, and inventory of available homes continues to grow. Slice it and dice it anyway you want and I'm not sure who you are to find anything to feel good about. Well, I suppose there are a few "bubblers" out there who seem to take delight in seeing the Sacramento real estate market in trouble.

In Sacramento County although sales were down from last year's level they increased from February to 1,316 sales of existing homes. DataQuick reports Sacramento County Sales at 1,537 for the month and included new as well as existing homes. The median price paid during the month for new and existing homes was $340,000 down 10.53 percent from last year. Of the sales the City of Sacramento accounted for 698 sales with a median price of $311,750, down 6.94 percent from last year. Elk Grove and Folsom were the other communities with significant sales volume with 237 and 149 homes sold respectively. In Elk Grove the median price paid in March fell 15.85 percent from last year to $393,000. Folsom's median price was down 12.09 percent to $443,500. Overall in the County, the average price paid per square foot decreased during the month to $228.

According to Trendgrapix's April news release, inventory in Sacramento County increased by 11 percent during March. HousingTracker shows inventory in the greater Sacramento area standing at 15,631 as of April 23, a 10.4 percent increase in the past month. If there was any good news for the County pending sales increased during March which is a solid indication that April sales will exceed the March volumes.

Placer County continued to be pounded by the real estate slowdown although there were some positive changes from February to March. There were 580 sales of new and existing homes in Placer County, down from last year's volume but up by 10 percent from the previous month. The median price paid in March was $438,000, down 7.79 percent in the past year. Roseville accounted for 235 sales with a median price of $420,000 down 10.49 percent from last year. Lincoln had the next highest level of sales with 123 with a median sales price decline of 11.48 percent to $411,500. Rocklin recorded 95 sales with a median price of $433,500 which was only a 3.13 percent drop from 2006 and the lowest decline of the major cities making up Placer County. Granite Bay saw 39 homes sold with a median price of $820,000 which was off 3.53 percent from last year.

Inventory of available homes in Placer County grew by 10 percent from February to March but pending sales showed some positive momentum as it increased by 18 percent meaning we should see higher sales volumes for April. According to Trendgraphix the average price per square foot in Placer County increased during the month to $238.

A look at El Dorado County reveals sales volume of 198 new and existing homes with a median price of $454,500 which is a decrease of 13.72 percent from last year but a significant increase from the February levels. Like Sacramento and Placer counties El Dorado had an increase in pending sales during the month. Tredgraphix reports an increase of 2 percent in the average price per square foot to $243.

Over all in the three counties, sales increased 22 percent during the month of March which has historically been higher sales volume month than February. Compared to last year the sales volume in March 2007 is 29 percent lower than March 2006.

For many of us who follow and work in the Sacramento real estate market the March results are disappointing, especially from where we were a few months ago, starting to think that 2007 might be a rebound year. Mike Lyon, head of Lyon Real Estate, and President of Trendgraphix said, "Information on market conditions has become the brass ring for sellers who need to sell and buyers who want a deal." He also went on to say, "There seems to be a new round of sellers who will miss their opportunity in this market because they have priced their homes at 20% more than buyers are willing to pay. Unless you are one of the lucky sellers close to the large employers in the central Sacramento area, you had better have detailed market data to price your home or you may not even get a showing in this market."

For more information on the Sacramento real estate market during March see the following sites and links:

&bull Trendgraphix Press Release: "Spring has sprung and so has the inventory," dated April 13, 2007

&bull DataQuick News: "California Home Sale Price Medians by City Home Sales Recorded in March 2007."

&bull Sacramento Bee:" March 2007 Sacramento region home sales and price trends"