FAIRFIELD — Home prices in the Bay Area rose again in October, yet Solano County still ranks as one of the most affordable areas in the state.
The newest housing numbers released Wednesday by DataQuick show improvement in the market for the 16th straight month when looking at a year-to-year comparison.
Solano County had a median sales price of $216,000 in October, up nearly 15 percent from this time last year. Overall the Bay Area is up 19 percent from last year, with a median price of $416,000.
The Bay Area as a whole is up 21 percent in sales volume compared to last year. Solano saw the lowest jump of the nine-county area at 8 percent.
While the sales may not be up locally, it’s not because of high prices. Solano tied with San Bernardino County for the most affordable prices in the third quarter of 2012, according to the California Association of Realtors. That affordability index compares the median price with the median income for a region.
For months, local Realtors have complained of a lack of homes to sell. Banks using shadow inventory, or homes intentionally being kept off the market to raise demand, increased the bidding, said Carlie Moreno, with Kappel and Kappel.
Moreno said there were 63 properties on the market in Vacaville when she last looked and a majority of those had multiple offers. She’s sold homes since 2006 and remembers when that number was well more than 100.
“There’s such a big shadow inventory and they are slowly trickling them out there,” Moreno said. “Sometimes they put houses out listed for less to start bidding wars. Just to get everyone’s attention.”
When that happens, Moreno said the offers come fast. She recalled a recent listing that fetched 16 offers in six days, four of which were all cash. That property sold for $17,000 more than the original listing price.
Investors and those with cash to spend are dominating the market because of the ease of the transaction. Moreno said cash offers don’t have to deal with an appraiser or the restrictions with loans like those from FHA. Many of those with FHA loans are people who are first-time buyers, she said.
“Lending guidelines are so strict, they are less likely to take the offer,” she said. “We want those first-time buyers to get in.”
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.