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August home sales higher than last year, increased interest from urban buyers

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer

“CNBC Make It” featured Truckee and Grass Valley in a report last week on small cities with potential as work-from-home destinations.

It reported that the Truckee-Grass Valley region ranks first in a list of U.S. metropolitan and micropolitan areas with the highest work-from-home rates, with a rate of 20.2%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2018.

A micropolitan area is defined as having “at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties,” according to a 2009 bulletin from the U.S. President’s Office of Management and Budget.

“For movers hoping to take advantage of an extended or permanent work-from-home arrangement, it may be helpful to know where their new neighbors have a history of succeeding and supporting their community while working remotely,” wrote CNBC Make It reporter Jennifer Liu.

“Some buyers are looking for a getaway,” said Teresa Dietrich, a Realtor working in Nevada, Yuba, and Placer counties. She said she has observed what she describes as an “urban flight,” an increase in buyers from large cities looking to relocate in Nevada County.

According to Dietrich, some of the most attractive property features for buyers relocating from urban areas include outdoor decks, large yards, and room to grow gardens. She said some buyers are also enticed by proximity to rivers and lakes, in particular as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and outdoor activities provide a relatively safer venue for socializing. “I think it’s the quality of life we have here, which is extraordinary,” said Dietrich.

She said there are buyers moving to Nevada County with the intention of keeping their current jobs and working remotely, but this has narrowed the search for some as they find that certain areas of the county do not have access to the high-speed internet which would allow them to do so.

CONCERNS

Buyers are also paying attention to whether properties have adequate proximity to a fire hydrant, according to Dietrich, because a home must be within 500 feet of one in order to qualify for a conventional fire insurance policy as opposed to requiring multiple policies.

“Fire insurance is tough, and we have seen some delays in closing sales because of the Jones Fire,” said Dietrich. She explained there was a moratorium on issuance of fire insurance while there was an active fire in the area, which has now lifted.

According to data supplied by the MetroList MLS for August, 199 homes were sold in Nevada County, a 7.9% decrease from the 216 homes sold in July. There were 265 homes listed for sale in August, a 9.4% decrease from July, in which 297 homes were for sale.

This year’s August figures show an increase in homes sold in comparison to August 2019 — last year, 140 homes were sold in August and 641 were for sale.

Dietrich said two complementary factors are contributing to the decreased volume of homes for sale, both in relation to COVID-19. Some people are postponing selling their homes because they do not currently feel safe having strangers visit their home for showings, while others are doing the same because they do not feel safe traveling to visit the destinations where they would like to move — in particular, according to Dietrich, as some of these potential destinations fare worse than Nevada County in their current COVID-19 numbers.

The average price of homes listed for sale increased 5.8% from July to August, from $705,000 to $746,000. Average sold price, however, saw a decrease of 6.4% in the same time, dropping from $560,000 to $524,000.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


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