FAIRFIELD — The median price for homes sold in September in Solano County tied the highest level in nearly two years, but the number of sales dropped.
The result: Solano trailed the rest of the Bay Area in the monthly numbers from San Diego-based real estate service DataQuick.
A total of 537 homes sold in the county last month, a drop of 11.4 percent over September 2011 and a 22.5 percent plunge from August, according to DataQuick. But the median price went up to $200,000, tied for the highest median price since November 2010. September’s median price was a 2.6 percent increase over a year ago and up from $190,000 in August.
“Lower sales figures are because we’re dealing with an inventory drought,” said James D. Marshall, a Realtor with Re/Max Gold in Fairfield.
Marshall said banks have limited the number of foreclosed homes they’re “releasing” to the market, tightening the supply for potential buyers.
“I think it will probably be like this through the first of the year,” he said. “Then we’ll see more inventory relief – the banks will probably release more homes.”
The news was better regionally.
Across the nine-county Bay Area, the median sales price in September was $429,000, the highest since August 2008. All nine counties saw an increase in the year-to-year median sales price and six of the nine counties saw more sales than last September. Solano had the biggest drop in homes sold and the smallest increase in price.
According to DataQuick, the 17.5 percent increase in the Bay Area-wide median price is largely because the number of foreclosure sales is half the amount of a year ago. Fewer homes are for sale, too.
“It’s obvious that a lot of fence-sitters are getting active,” said John Walsh, DataQuick’s president, explaining the price increases in a press release. “We’re probably past that most attractive of mathematical sweet spots, the one that combines low interest rates and low prices. In other words, price increases the past few months outweigh mortgage rate declines.”
Solano County’s high point for median price was $481,000 in September 2005. The last time the median price was higher than now was November 2010, when it was $207,000.
Solano’s median price is the lowest in the Bay Area by far. The next-lowest is $320,000 in neighboring Contra Costa County. The highest among the nine counties is $745,000 in San Francisco County.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.