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County’s median house price slipping

Housing prices in Nevada County dropped for the third month in a row in February, but prices in most areas remain significantly higher than a year ago, according to a recent report.

The median price of house and condominium title transfers recorded at the county Recorder’s office dropped to $459,000 in February, compared to $470,000 in January.

That’s still 12 percent higher than the median of $409,500 recorded in February 2005, according to DataQuick Information Systems, based in San Diego.



“People are starting to lower their prices, and we need that,” said Patti Moore, broker associate for ERA Cornerstone Realty Group in Nevada City. “Things just got too out of hand.”

Statewide, the median house price crept up 1.1 percent over January to $457,000 in February. The rise in house prices has been slowing statewide since June 2004. However, the February 2006 figure still is up 12.3 percent from $407,000 in February 2005, DataQuick reported.




Real estate traditionally slows down in the winter months, so it is difficult to draw longterm trends from the winter figures, DataQuick officials and local real estate agents pointed out.

To make the picture even more confusing, real estate in western Nevada County appears to be behaving differently from the county as a whole.

According to the Nevada County Board of Realtors, the median price has moved up and down since November 2005, director Skip Lusk said.

Board of Realtors figures show February with a median price of $454,000 for western Nevada County, and the median is expected to move up for March.

The board tracks properties just in the western county, but only those listed by members in the Multiple Listing Service, Lusk said.

Given those caveats, Lusk said, “From my perspective, there isn’t any trend yet.”

But he added, “My sense is, as the market tightens up a bit … people who really want to sell their house will bring the price down.”

While some sellers seem to be lowering their prices to appeal more to wary buyers, others are digging in their heels, real estate agents said.

The problem may be a disconnect between buyers and sellers, based on the standard practice of using sales of comparable homes in the previous six months to set an asking price, The Associated Press reported.

In many cases, the prices that homes fetched six months ago don’t square with many buyers’ perceptions of where the market is headed.

“(Sellers) still think that, because the house across the street sold for $50,000 to $100,000 more than theirs, that theirs should be worth that, plus some,” David Kerr, a Bay Area agent with Emeryville-based ZipRealty Inc. told the AP. “What’s happening is, it’s not happening.”

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To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion.com or call 477-4231.

Cost of homes

Western Nevada County median house prices:

Month Median price

November $435,000

December $473,000

January $425,000

February $454,000

Source: Nevada County Board of Realtors


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