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Discussing the downturn

Chauncey Poston, president of the Nevada County Association of Realtors and Grass Valley City Councilman, talked with The Union this week about the real estate market downturn and its impact on the local economy. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

What have been the effects of the downturn in the local real estate market?

From a municipality standpoint, we have over 600 approved of- and yet-to-be-built-homes in Grass Valley, and that is largely due to the downturn in the market. You have developers who have permission to build the homes, but they’re not pulling the permits to start because of the conditions out there. On a larger scale, the economy here in Nevada County and Grass Valley is very dependent on building. So, when the building stops, no one is buying furniture and no one is buying new plants. All the businesses really take a hit.



How long do you expect the real estate downturn to last?

I have no idea. … When I attended a California Association of Realtors meeting in Sacramento three weeks ago, they seem to say we’re going to have another downturn of 7 percent, but the values up here shouldn’t be all that bad. The values that will plummet will be in places like the Central Valley, where there’s a lot of brand-new construction. … We don’t really have that up here. … I think we’re going to be fine up here, in terms of not having massive foreclosures like in heavily urban areas.




Are there any bright spots in the real estate market?

If you are a buyer and you have money and staying power, now is the time for you to make a good investment.

What are some of the good deals to be had in western Nevada County?

They’re all over. It just depends on where you want to live. We have such a varied selection up here. … Alta Sierra and Lake Wildwood, those are some of the easier places to purchase because there are so many available.

Do you sense any issues as far as the quality of the local housing stock?

If you talk about quality, there are some absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, very expensive homes on the market right now. In the town of Grass Valley, there are a lot of older, smaller homes that are really wonderful opportunities for the first-time home buyer.

Compare the number of homes being sold locally to the homes on the market.

A couple years ago, homes didn’t stay on the market very long at all. We had the whole phenomenon of competing prices, where people would actually bid, but this is not occurring now. I think I heard a figure that there are more than 1,500 listings on the market right now. I can remember when there were only 400. Yes, the supply is way up.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@the union.com or call 477-4234.


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