Wednesday, September 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tight home market especially tough at lower end

home search, 8/15/13

Shelia Vogel, of Fairfield, stands in a residential neighborhood on Santa Cruz Drive near East Pacific Avenue, where she recently looked at two homes that were for sale. Vogel is looking to buy a house in the $200,000 range but it finding it difficult. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page B7 | August 18, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Sheila Vogel wants to buy a house, but it’s not easy. Especially in her price range.

“There’s just not a lot out there in my budget,” said the Fairfield mother of two. “It’s going to take a while. I’m extremely excited, but some of the wind went out of my sails when I found there wasn’t much there.”

Vogel, who estimates that she’s paid more than $150,000 in rent over the past 12 years, is looking for a home in the $200,000 range. In a fast-rising housing market, that’s tough.

According to San Diego-based real estate service DataQuick, the median price for a home sold in Solano County last month was $255,750 – a 36 percent increase over July 2012, continuing a months-long trend. But another trend also continued – the number of homes sold was down 0.8 percent over a year ago. Solano is the only one of the nine Bay Area counties where the number of sales decreased over a year ago.

Those numbers are backed up by the Multiple Listing Service for the Bay Area Real Estate Information System. It reported that the July median price in Northern Solano County – which includes Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista and Dixon – was $273,200, up from $204,000 a year ago. The median length of time for a home to be on the market was 36 days, two weeks less than a year ago.

There just aren’t many homes available in Solano County – and that’s particularly true at the lower end. Fairfield Realtor Jim Stever recently did an MLS search for Fairfield homes for less than $180,000 and found just two.

“It’s tough,” he said. “There aren’t many out there.”

It’s even tougher for Vogel, who is receiving help from a first-time homebuyer program through the city of Fairfield. She is often competing against cash-only investors, who are much more attractive to sellers because of the simplicity of the deal. In recent years, investors scooped up many of the lower-end homes in the area and turned them into rentals.

“I want to own my own home and investors buying as much as they have in Solano County makes it less and less possible for someone like me to afford a home,” Vogel said.

Stever said that could end soon – although it might be too late to help Vogel.

“I’m afraid that in two or three years, we’re going to have a glut (of lower-end homes for sale),” he said. “There will be investors who can pull a quick $50,000 out of 10 houses and be done. I think most of those investors aren’t in it for the long term. That’s going to open up the lower end and that’s what we need.”

In the meantime, Realtor James D. Marshall of ReMax Gold in Vacaville said that buyers need to be wise in their approach.

“If you want a $200,000 house, your (loan) approval needs to be for around $230,000, because you’re going to have other buyers interested,” he said. “Buyers need to be able to negotiate. A lot of people go to the lender and get approval for $200,000, so they look at $200,000 houses. If you’re approved for $200,000, you should look at $170,000 homes, so you can negotiate.”

The dearth of homes for sale isn’t limited to the lower end.

“Inventory is the biggest factor,” Stever said. “We need more time or a continuing rise in prices. There are a lot of people with borderline equity who want to sell it. Now they’re breaking even or maybe making $10,000.”

Marshall said many homeowners are playing the waiting game.

“In Fairfield, for instance, a lot of homeowners are waiting for the sweet spot,” he said. “A lot of people aren’t aware that their equity has jumped up.”

Meanwhile, Vogel – who works for the Solano County Office of Education – searches for her first home.

“I’ve got two kids, who are 22 and 13,” she said. “In a few years, they’re not going to be around, but I’d like to have a home for them.”

Vogel is looking for a three-bedroom house with 1½ or two bathrooms. She said she’d prefer to have central air and heat and a kitchen with a dishwasher. But none of those are deal-breakers if the right house lacks them.

When she finds it may depend on the volume of homes increasing.

“I’m kind of on the fence about whether you’re going to see more inventory,” Marshall said. “We’re seeing more regular sales, but it depends on when sellers start selling. That’s what will determine what’s out there.”

Vogel practices patience.

“I’m very optimistic,” she said. “I thought I’d have a house this summer, then I thought October, now maybe Thanksgiving. I hope we don’t have another Christmas without a house.”

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or bstanhope@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is the Daily Republic's news editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 17 years as a sports editor and three years as the associate editor before spending three years away from the newspaper (though continuing as a columnist). He returned in December 2010 as news editor. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • LilAugust 18, 2013 - 10:16 am

    I have one of those lower-end houses but I am underwater. As soon as I am 1,000 over, I am out. Only about 20,000 to go.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Elizabeth SpruillAugust 18, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    Our story is almost identical. Mortgage payments are not an issue, we just do not have $180,000 to compete with the investors. Does anyone have any ideas for people like us who want to own our own home?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensAugust 18, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    I should have sold in December 2005 and pocketed the profit and then bought again in a better neighborhood. Even if Ms. Vogel gets into a home, it will be next to a rental slum chock full of undesirables and the blight/nuisances that they bring in with them. Yuck.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensAugust 18, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    I don't like neighborhoods full of rentals that fill up with people who denigrate neighborhoods with nuisances, blight and illegal activities.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

David Grant doctor’s mission continues

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Chamber PAC draws candidates to Jelly Belly

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Damaged dog gets going-away party after getting healthy

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Suisun City slaying suspect case moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Touro University to host Zombie Run/Walk

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Land trust organizes Rockville Trails Preserve hike

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Police enlist help to find armed bandit

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 12 Comments | Gallery

 
Chamber to host Suisun City candidates night

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

 
 
 
Coastal Cleanup Day targets local waterways

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Judge questions juror in Calkins case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

Drama reigns supreme with week’s film debuts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Anti-drug programs face funding shortfall

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Sept. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Sept. 13, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 13, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for Sept. 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B14

.

US / World

Woman in wildfire’s path lost almost everything

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

PG&E officials leave posts over improper emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Things to know about California groundwater law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

California drivers must give bikes 3-foot buffer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 21 Comments | Gallery

 
San Francisco trying shaming for quake safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Governor signs first California groundwater rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Robbery suspects tried to make off with $15,600

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Obama: Ebola outbreak a threat to global security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UN: Nearly $1 billion needed now to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
CDC study: Americans’ bellies are expanding fast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 4 Comments | Gallery

Blacks, Hispanics have doubts about media accuracy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
School bus driver killed during safety drill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Hunt on for survivalist charged in trooper killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Afghan suicide bomber kills 3 foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Mexico airlifts tourists after Hurricane Odile

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Ukraine lawmakers ratify landmark deal with Europe

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment | Gallery

Iraq parliament rejects interior, defense nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

 
Time for utility execs to start worrying

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 17, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
 
Column focus on campaign signs misplaced

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 13 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My selfish husband neglects and cheats on me. What’s next?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

All the flavors of fall in one twice-baked package

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Leave them feeling full with nutritious chia seeds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

A late summer Southern classic – tomato pie

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

CBS: Rihanna out of NFL telecast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Prep volleyball preview: Big goals for city teams

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders games are like live reruns

By Tony Wade | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

Kazmir, sloppy Athletics lose 6-3 to Rangers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Armijo volleyball team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Peavy, Posey help Giants gain ground in NL West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Criticism mounting for Vikings, Adrian Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

McIlroy wins PGA player of the year award

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Grand jury to weigh case of NASCAR’s Tony Stewart

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sacramento Kings to retire Stojakovic’s jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broncos, Seahawks top AP Pro32 before rematch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Union appeals Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension by NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jaguars sign Rodriguez grad Jensen off practice squad

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B2

Short stay at NASCAR’s party for AJ and Almirola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hindsight: a Ryder Cup tradition, like no other

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Senator ties NFL tax status to Redskins name

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
DA: Josh Gordon gets probation in DWI case in NC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s voice NFL disapproval

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers defense looks to bounce back from tough day

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Business

NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Web filter lifts block on gay sites

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Alibaba risk: China’s rise leaves out investors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Corinthian Colleges sued for predatory lending

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

UPS expects to hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
US CEOs less optimistic about hiring, spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Obituaries

Minnie Watkins Dixon

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5