Interest rates that are significantly higher than one year earlier, an abnormally low inventory of homes on the market and, of course, three months of winter weather that resulted in record-breaking snowfall in the Sierra all combined to produce the fewest first-quarter home sales locally in the past eight years.
According to Multiple Listing Services statistics, a total of 221 homes were sold in the first three months of 2023 in western Nevada County.
That’s the fewest sold since the first quarter of 2016, when 249 homes sold, and 36.1% fewer than the number sold in the first quarter one year ago.
Last month, home sales were up 20.8% over February but totaled 87 closed transactions, easily the lowest number for month of March in the past eight years. A year ago, there were 142 homes sold or 38.7% more than March 2023.
The pandemic-fueled first quarter of both 2021 and 2022 outperformed the norm in western Nevada County by significant margin, totaling 346 homes sold in 2022 and 357 in 2021. In comparison to the first quarters of 2016-2020, when sales averaged 274 homes sold, there were 28% more first-quarter closed transactions in 2021-2022.
Sales in first three months of 2023 were 37% lower than the average of the prior two years during the same stretch.
Pending sales were down 3.1% from February, but much further off the pace from a year ago, when there were 195 sales pending in comparison to the 93 recorded in March, a 52% decrease from 12 months earlier.
There were 183 homes on the market in western Nevada County in March, a 1.6% increase over the previous month.
But that number remains much lower than pre-pandemic local inventory norms.
Though the first few months of each year typically see fewer homes listed for sale than the spring and summer months, the first quarter saw on average 183 homes for sale in western county.
That’s down from 198 on the market at the same time one year ago, and up slightly from the 172 homes listed in the first quarter of 2021, a year which saw record sales dig deep into the inventory of homes on the market.
There were an average of 373 homes listed in the first quarter of 2020 and 376 on average in the first three months of 2019, or about double the number for sale in the first quarter of 2023.
Prospective sellers might be pumping the brakes a bit, still enjoying their lower interest rates on their current property, before starting a search for a new home. But with such low inventory, many homes that have been sitting on the market for a stretch are now getting a second look. The median days on market until a home received an accepted offer fell 12.7% between February and March.
The low inventory available to prospective buyers has also helped keep prices higher than the same period in recent years, as the median price of a home sold in March was $520,000. That’s up 10.7% from February, though 4.5% lower than the $545,000 median recorded in March 2022.
Brian Hamilton is a Realtor (DRE #02149112) for the Betsy Hamilton Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Gold (DRE #01949144) in Grass Valley. Email him at Brian@BetsyHamilton.com for more information.