Nevada County housing market sees increased demand, limited inventory
Interest in home purchases in Nevada County is on the rise following a slower sales month in April, as buyers and sellers who were initially hesitant in response to the pandemic return to the market.
There was a month-to-month decline from 131 sales in March to 77 in April, then showing some recovery with 104 sales in May.
This year’s May sales are 29.7% lower than last year, with 148 home sales in May 2019, said Teresa Dietrich, local Realtor and past president of the Nevada County Association of Realtors.
“We have a fairly limited inventory at the moment, and it seems to be keeping the prices up a little over what they might normally be. Sales are down because there just isn’t enough inventory to sell,” Dietrich said.
According to statistics reported in May by the MetroList, average price per square footage of sold homes in Nevada County is appreciating, rising 2.1% from March to April and 5.3% over April 2019.
Median price of sold homes is also appreciating, rising from $420,000 in March to $460,000 in April, an increase of 9.5%. This also shows a 19.5% increase from the median price of $385,000 in April 2019.
“If you look at the national and state surveys, it’s showing that most buyers think they should be getting a discounted price because of COVID-19. And most sellers think they should hang on tightly to their price because there isn’t enough inventory and there are more buyers than sellers,” said Dietrich.
Realtor Haidee Reyes, Nevada County Association of Realtors president-elect, said several factors contributed to a lull in real estate activity in April, including loss of income for buyers and concerns related to COVID-19 making sellers more reluctant to let people into their home for showings.
“Then, what I felt in May was that we had an influx of listings,” said Reyes. “I’ve had sellers who pulled their homes off their market and put them back on, and they immediately sold.”
Average days on the market for listed homes has been variable, showing a neutral trend over the last several months. On average, homes sold in May had been on the market for 45 days, compared to 60 days for those sold in April.
Reyes recounted that homes began selling more quickly largely because of increased interest from local first-time home buyers, as well as buyers looking to move into the area from large cities.
She said that, when COVID-19 related shutdowns began and many pulled away from buying a home amid the resulting economic uncertainty, those who had been considering buying their first home and had some financial security were motivated by the open market to act then.
“What I’ve seen recently is most buyers are from out the area, primarily from the Bay Area,” said Reyes.
Dietrich echoed the observation, adding that regardless of local increases in median home price, prices remain relatively affordable when compared to those seen in the Bay Area and other major metropolitan areas.
Some buyers from these areas have also had their interest in moving to Nevada County sparked by their experiences during the pandemic.
“If you’re going to be locked in your house during a shelter-in-place order, would you rather be in a small flat in San Francisco or here in Nevada County with very few COVID-19 cases and a yard to grow your own vegetables in?” said Dietrich. “So, that’s what’s happening.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union.
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The current level of active construction in western Nevada County is normal for this time of year, according to Barbara Bashall, government affairs manager with the Nevada County Contractors’ Association.