Friday, September 21, 2007

August Home Sales

Since March, the number of monthly home sales in the county has been averaging between 160 and 175. Last month the total was 160, a drop of 10 percent from a year earlier. The number is half the monthly sales we enjoyed between 2003 and 2005. It’s about the same level of sales activity that we experienced in 1997 but the average price has significantly increased. In August of 1997 with 161 monthly sales, the selling price of a typical El Dorado County home would have been under $160,000. Last month the average selling price was $522,500, which was a $50,000 drop from a year ago and a $15,000 decline from July.

One reason the county’s average selling price has remained above $500,000 for the last two years, despite a drop in monthly sales, is the large number of million dollar home sales. Last month, 12 homes closed escrow in excess of one-million dollars and one in excess of two-million. The number of higher priced home sales continues to increase while the number of entry-level buyers continues to decline. Fifteen percent of all August sales were in excess of $750,000 while 11 percent was under $250,000.

Most of the county’s million dollar home sales occurred in El Dorado Hills where 48 monthly sales were reported, 9 of which exceeded a million bucks, contributing to an average selling price of $761,500. There are currently 500 properties for sale in our county’s most popular and expensive neighborhood, 120 of them are priced in excess of a million dollars.

Cameron Park has 200 homes currently for sale. Twenty-one closed escrow last month with an average selling price of $430,000 and $88,000 less than August of 2006. Up the hill in the Shingle Springs area, there are 71 homes on the market, 8-closed escrow last month with an average selling price of $683,000. Of the 71 residential listings in Shingle Springs, 63 are on parcels of at least an acre in size and 40 homes are on parcels of 5 acres or more.

Local communities that have been traditionally destinations for first time buyers are reporting proportionally slower sales and declining home prices. The greater Placerville area has 176 homes currently for sale. Ten sold last month, which were 12 less than the same month last year. The average price of the ones that did sell was $432,000. There were only 4 sales in the Diamond Springs/El Dorado area out of 106 listings. The average selling price declined from $418,000 in August of 2006 to $326,000 last month.

Camino/Cedar Grove with 65 homes for sale reported a few more sales this August than last year with 8 and the average selling price was a bit higher at $450,500. The less expensive Pollock Pines/Sly Park with 162 listings experienced the opposite with fewer sales and a drop in the average selling price from $368,000 a year earlier, to $292,000 last month.

The Georgetown Divide, including the communities of Georgetown, Garden Valley, Cool and Pilot Hill have 186 homes currently on the market. Twelve closed escrow last month with an average price of $355,000. Last year the typical price of a home on the Divide would have sold at $475,000.

The odds are better at blackjack than currently selling a county home. With 1,767 homes for sale, sellers currently have a one in ten chance of success. Sellers are still too optimistic about beating the odds. Last month, 400 new “for sale” signs went up in front yards. At our current 160 sales per month, we currently have an 11-month supply of homes, providing that no additional listings come on the market. Not a likely scenario. A balanced market is considered when there is a 6-month supply of homes. Year-to-date sales are down 12 percent from a year earlier and our lackluster market will likely continue for another year.

It’s not much of a consolation but our county’s foreclosure rate has remained one of the lowest in the region. Sacramento County currently has 10,500 homes for sale and reported 1,622 homes were foreclosed upon during the second quarter for a 15 percent rate. Placer County has 3,000 homes for sale with 220 foreclosures during the same time, a 07 percent rate while El Dorado reported 89 foreclosures between April through June for a 05 percent foreclosure rate.

The counties that are experiencing the most sever drop in property values and highest number of financially distressed homes are in areas that have experienced a greater number of new homes and developments. Excess inventory will drive property values down as quickly as the shortage increased them. If more sellers would hold off on trying to sell their homes, we would be well on our way to a more balanced market.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If sellers could hold off selling they probably would, unless they haven't been checking the local markets!

11:11 AM  

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