Christopher Rosacker
crosacker@theunion.com

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November 18, 2013
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Gov. shutdown does little to sway Nevada County's Oct. real estate upswing


The federal government’s October shutdown did little to hinder real estate in Nevada County from continuing to climb upward, according to figures from its association of realtors.

“This has been a very good month for our agents,” said Kathleen Hinman, executive director of the Nevada County Association of Realtors, of October statistics.

The median price of homes — meaning half sold for more and half for less — continued to increase in October, jumping from $294,500 in September to $300,000 in October, according the association’s figures.

“What we are seeing is because of inventory,” Hinman said. “Our sold count is down 15 percent from this point last year, because of inventory.”

With less homes available than people looking to buy, housing prices are on the rise. Compared to a year ago, the Nevada County median home price thus far in 2013 is $273,500, compared to $220,000 for all of 2012 — constituting a nearly 25-percent increase.

Statewide home sales and prices were fairly flat in October compared to September, but other figures indicate the market also continues to slowly regain its health, a research firm reported Wednesday.

Nevada County’s market lags somewhat behind the Bay Area and Sacramento areas, Hinman has said. The median sales price for a California home was $357,000 — about a half-percent increase over September, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. But the price was still more than 25 percent higher than in October of last year and marked the 11th straight month that such year-over-year gains have topped 20 percent.

“Indicators of market distress continue to decline,” DataQuick said in a statement.

“Foreclosure activity remains well below a year ago and peak levels reached in the last five years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while downpayment sizes are stable.”

There were sharp sales price differences between the two main population areas of California. The median price in the five-county Southern California region was $383,750, while it was $539,750 in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. However, the sprawling southern area had more than 20,000 homes sales compared to around 7,600 for the Bay Area.

In both regions, mid- and higher-priced homes pulled in more sales than lower-priced ones.

In the Bay Area, the market was “slowly re-establishing equilibrium,” said DataQuick President John Walsh.

The October figures are the first indication of the housing market since the government shutdown during the more than first two weeks of that month as Republicans and Democrats battled over the Affordable Care Act, the budget and the nation’s deficit.

While Hinman doesn’t believe the shutdown had an impact on housing prices in Nevada County, she did hear stories from realtors of the impasse’s effects on protracting the processing of the sales themselves.

“It did have an effect on our market. Some sales were delayed,” she said.

“So it had a slight effect on the market, but not a major one.”

Despite the delays, Hinman said Nevada County’s market continues to rebound.

“Overall in Nevada County, we’re seeing a very good month,” Hinman said.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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The Union Updated Nov 18, 2013 06:54AM Published Nov 19, 2013 11:14AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.