FAIRFIELD — There are still very few homes for sale in Solano County.
Just 488 homes sold in the county in February, according to San Diego-based real estate service DataQuick. That’s the fewest for any month since February 2011 – all due to a lack of availability, according to veteran Fairfield Realtor Jim Stever.
“Prices are going up, but there’s still no inventory to sell,” Stever said. “There’s still only about a week’s worth of listings, although in the past week, there have been more listings than in the previous three weeks. You still get multiple offers – a minimum of seven or eight offers as soon as you put it on the market.”
The median price in February – the number at which an equal number of homes sold for more and for less – was $214,250, according to DataQuick. That’s a slight drop from January, but a 24.6 percent increase from a year ago.
According to the Bareis MLS, which does not include such sales as condominiums in its statistics, the median price in February for northern Solano County was $246,000. That was up from $225,000 in January and $173,000 a year ago.
Solano’s numbers mirror the entire Bay Area, which saw a 24.6 percent year-over-year increase, but a 6 percent drop in number of sales in February.
“Isn’t this Economics 101? Supply and demand?” said John Walsh, DataQuick’s president, in a news release. “If demand outstrips supply in a free market, the price goes up.”
The home-sale news comes on the heels of two reports by the California Association of Realtors. One shows a decrease in the number of distressed home sales and the other reveals that Solano County has one of the best “housing affordability index” numbers in the state.
The percentage of distressed homes – foreclosures or short sales – among those sold in January in Solano County was at 59 percent, down from 75 percent a year ago. The bad news is that Solano remains the highest among the 36 counties for which the California Association of Realtors issued information.
“There are still a lot of distressed homes – although some banks are seeming to fix and clean them up first,” Stever said. “Short sales don’t seem as prevalent as a year ago. And private sales are going up as the prices go up.”
Meanwhile, Solano’s “housing affordability index” – the percentage of homebuyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home – was at 73 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. That was one of the highest numbers in the state and by far the highest among the nine Bay Area counties. Napa was second-best at 48 percent. However, it was down slightly compared to the third quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2011.
Based on numbers from the California Association of Realtors, a Solano County household would need a minimum annual income of $42,740 to qualify for a loan on the median-priced home in the final quarter of last year.
That’s if you can find a home.
“I tell all my clients not to get discouraged,” Stever said. “It’s still the lowest interest rates and lowest prices in a long time. Be patient.”
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Bradstanhope.