FAIRFIELD — Solano County’s double-edged real estate streak continues – but it may soon change.
A total of just 358 homes were sold in the county in February for a median price of $264,000, according to DataQuick, a San Diego-based real estate information service. It was the 22nd straight month of a year-over-year price increase for the county, but the 10th straight month with fewer homes sold compared to a year prior.
The number of homes sold in February was the fewest for any month since March 2008 – when the housing market was in free fall.
But the low number of homes for sale is changing.
“The inventory is actually improving quite a bit,” said Denise Kirchubel, a Realtor with Re/Max Gold in Fairfield. “And prices are continuing to go up, but are stabilizing a little.”
Kirchubel said new loan rules came into play in January that decreased the value of loans available to potential homebuyers. That took some buyers out of the market. Kirchubel said that will likely change in the coming months, when more people realize they have equity in their homes and trade on their equity – something that hasn’t happened for several years.
She also said that the higher-priced homes – those selling for $500,000 and more – are moving fast.
“There’s high activity in some of the higher levels,” she said. “I had one house listed at $699,000 and only got a couple of offers. We dropped it by $15,000 and got several offers – some at full price.”
Solano’s numbers echoed the rest of the Bay Area, which saw the fewest homes sold for any February since 2008.
“A number of factors can keep a lid on sales. Affordability, for example, or hard-to-get mortgages” said John Walsh, DataQuick’s president, in a press release. “These factors certainly play a role today, but clearly the main culprit is an inadequate supply of homes for sale. It’s going to be fascinating to watch how things play out between now and June. At some point, rising home prices will trigger a more significant increase in the number of homes on the market. It’s just a question of when.”
While the median price was up 23.2 percent over a year ago, it was down $18,750 from January and is the lowest since July.
Neighboring counties had similar numbers. Napa saw a 13 percent drop over a year ago, Contra Costa sales dropped 16 percent and Sonoma sales were down 13 percent. Median prices in all three were up over a year ago. Across the Bay Area, the median price of $540,000 was up 33.3 percent over a year ago and the 4,963 sales was 8.2 percent lower than 2013.
In the state as a whole, the median sales price was $355,000, up 0.6 percent from $353,000 in January and up 22.8 percent from $289,000 in February 2013, DataQuick said. There were 25,680 new and existing houses and condominiums sold in the state during February, down 0.6 percent from the previous month and down 10.6 percent from the same period last year.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.