Nevada County home inventory down, prices up |

Nevada County home inventory down, prices up

Home prices are on the rise in Nevada County as there aren’t enough homes on the market, especially those around $200,000, to keep up with demand, Realtors said.

“It’s a hot, hot market right now,” said Eric Hatch, a real estate agent with Century 21 Foothill Realty.

A total of 439 residential homes were sold in September, bringing the total of homes sold so far in 2012 to 1,031, which is a 14 percent increase from 907 homes sold by this point in 2011,

The number of pending home sales was down from 393 homes in September 2011 to 133 in September 2012, according local data.

“We are seeing more and more sales,” said Kathleen Hinman, the county association’s executive. “Our inventory is declining.”

The California Association of Realtors, a broker association, reported the index of unsold inventory stood at a 3.7 months in September, down from 5.3 months a year earlier. The figure represents how long it would take to sell all existing single-family homes in California at the current sales clip. The figure for supply in a normal market is considered to be six to seven months.

California home prices rose in September to a four-year high as the supply of properties for sale remained tight. The median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in California reached $287,000, up 15.3 percent from $249,000 in September 2011, DataQuick said. The median rose $6,000 from August to reach its highest level since $301,000 in August 2008.

The average Nevada County home sold for $228,500 in September. That number is higher than the yearly average, which lists the median cost for residences sold at $218,500, up from $120,000 year to date sold by this time in 2011.

The majority of the county homes sold thus far in 2012 have been under $349,000, with more largest portion, 436 homes, sole in the $199,999 and under category. While that group of homes continued to be popular in September, 48 more homes were sold in the $200,000 to $349,999 category.

“First-time homebuyers still have a wonderful opportunity to buy in Nevada County,” Hinman said. “The question is whether they can get a loan. The criteria for getting a loan is so stringent.”

The majority of purchasers in the early fall have been first-time homebuyers and investors, Hatch said.

“Because it is such a great time to buy. The interest rates are so good,” he said.

Homes in the south part of the county, around Alta Sierra, Lake of the Pines and Lake Wildwood communities, are going fast, Hatch said, noting that homes under $200,000 in those markets are in demand.

“You can’t keep those houses on the market,” Hatch said.

The supply of foreclosed properties continued to dwindle statewide, helping lift the overall sales price because they tend to sell at steep discounts. DataQuick said 17.7 percent of existing homes sold in September were in foreclosure during the previous year, down from 33.8 percent during the same period last year and 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Hinman noted that Nevada County’s equity sales increased compared to short sales.

Octomber’s figures are expected out at the end of the week. Check back with The Union for more real estate news as figures become available.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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