FAIRFIELD — Solano County home prices remained flat in May – although it’s a plateau that’s more than 22 percent higher than a year ago.
The median price for a home sold last month in the county was $300,750, according to San Diego-based real estate service DataQuick. That’s up just $750 from each of the two previous months, but an increase from $245,500 last year and the highest median price for any month since April 2008.
The number of homes for sale in the county remained constricted – the 537 sold in May was nearly 15 percent less than last May and the fewest homes sold in any May since 2008.
The low sales numbers are a bit of a mystery to Realtor Denise Kirchubel.
“We have a tight inventory, but we still have a lot of homes on the market,” said Kirchubel, a Realtor with Re/Max Gold in Fairfield.
Kirchubel said there is a two-month inventory of homes in the Fairfield-Suisun area – significantly higher than six months ago. That could foretell an increase in volume.
“We’re kind of between a true sellers’ market and we’re not yet in a buyers’ market,” Kirchubel said. “What we’re really seeing is a truer picture of where we are economically and with home prices.”
She said the leveling of home prices could spur more sales, since sellers now know what their home is worth and buyers have a better idea of what they’ll pay.
“It gives them a better sense of security,” she said. “You have comparables for your home – it helps when you have stabilization or incremental adjustments.”
Across the entire Bay Area, the median price was up 18.9 percent over last year and the sales volume dropped 7.5 percent from 2013. Solano County had the biggest year-over-year drop in sales and the third-largest increase in prices for the nine-county Bay Area. Solano, as always, had the lowest prices in the region, well below the $440,000 median price in Sonoma County.
One effect of the rising prices is that fewer people who live in the county can afford to purchase a home. The California Association of Realtors’ home-affordability index, which measures the percentage of residents who could afford to purchase a median-priced home, dropped from 67 percent to 54 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago.
John Karevoli, a DataQuick analyst, said the prices will continue to increase.
“Right now, we’re keeping an eye on prices,” he said in a press release. “While some of the Bay Area counties have already reached or passed their pre-recession price peaks, the region as a whole is on pace to reach that point later this summer.”
Solano County’s peak was $490,000, so it’s still a long way off, but Kirchubel said the summer months – traditionally the best selling months of the year – should at least speed up the pace of sales.
“It will definitely help,” she said. “We hope prices will remain stable to help with that.”
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.
May Solano County homes sold and median price for the past four years:
Year – Homes sold – Median price
2014 537 $300,750
2013 629 $245,500
2012 713 $190,000
2011 602 $189,000