FAIRFIELD — Home sales dropped to their lowest September level in six years as an inventory crunch continued despite a 36.8 percent increase in sales prices compared to a year ago.
The median price for a home in Solano County last month was $273,500, according to San Diego real estate service DataQuick. That was up from $200,000 in September 2012, but down 1.4 percent from $277,500 in August. The number of homes sold was 495, a drop of 7.8 percent.
“Inventory clearly is a continuing issue in Solano County,” said Don McDonald, managing partner of Re/Max Gold Elite in Fairfield. “Also, consumers are catching up and realizing their homes are worth more than they thought. People think (their homes) have gone up $40,000 or $50,000 and maybe they’ve gone up $150,000.”
The median price in Solano increased over a year prior for the 17th consecutive month, with no signs of abating. But fewer than 500 sold in September, the fewest since 488 were sold in February and the fewest in September since 307 sold during September 2007, when the market was beginning a precipitous crash.
McDonald said that September is traditionally one of the slowest months for home sales, and that many residents are unaware that they are no longer “underwater” – owing more than their home is worth.
Across the Bay Area, the number of homes sold was up 3.6 percent and the median price increased 23.5 percent over a year ago. Both showed slight drops compared to August.
John Walsh, DataQuick’s president, said that the steady increase in prices will likely continue, but at a slower rate.
“It’s likely we’ll see year-over-year price gains lower for the foreseeable future,” he said in a press release. “Housing market impacts related to the federal government shutdown and the threat of default on the nation’s debt would begin to show up in sales data released over the next couple of months.”
“I’m cautiously optimistic on prices,” he said. “They took such a large jump, so you hope the market will balance a little more. Right now, there’s good affordability and good (interest) rates. We just need better inventory.”
The statewide median price was up 24 percent over a year ago to $355,000 – a slight drop from August – and the sales increased 6 percent over a year ago.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.