Home prices still falling | TheUnion.com

Home prices still falling

Housing prices continue to slide in Nevada County, but local real estate leaders forecast a “leveling” of the downward trend in 2010 as bank-owned foreclosures move off the market.

Meanwhile, California as a whole is seeing an upward trend.

Nevada County’s median price for houses and condominiums, both new and resale, that sold in January sank to $300,000, according to figures from the real estate tracking firm DataQuick Information Systems.

That’s a drop of more than 12 percent from the median of $342,500 in January 2009, DataQuick reported. Prices also declined from the December 2009 median of $349,000.

For all of 2009, Nevada County prices slid to $335,000, a drop of nearly 12 percent from the 2008 median of $380,000, DataQuick reported.

A lot of bank-owned, foreclosed properties that sold in 2009 drove down the median price, according to Nevada County Association of Realtors board member Linda Kaneko.

“A lot of them were sold in the under-$300,000 category,” Kaneko said – a steep plunge after the recent boom years. “Banks also are selling some homes at below-market prices to get rid of them.”

That mirrors statewide trends. Across California, 44 percent of houses and condos sold in January were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year – up from nearly 41 percent in December 2009 and down from more than 58 percent in January 2009.

“We’ve just about cleaned out the bank-owned properties,” Kaneko said of the local market. “Our inventory of them is much lower, and the perceived flood of foreclosures in January and February has not happened.

“I think we’ll see a leveling over 2010” in prices, she added.

Across California, the median price for January was $247,000, up 10.3 percent from the January 2009 median of $224,000. But seasonal market shifts pushed prices down from the December median of $264,000, DataQuick reported.

“The January median’s year-over-year increase was the third in a row, following 27 months of year-over-year declines,” DataQuick reported. “The (statewide) median peaked at $484,000 in early 2007 and hit a low of $221,000 last April.”

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