Friday, January 30, 2015
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 [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is a former Daily Republic editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 24 years as a sports editor, associate editor and news editor before leaving the Daily Republic in 2014. 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

 
Teens earn right to perform with symphony

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

From classical to Queen: Chamber Players are ready

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Photographer has a passion for color

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 21 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
 
SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Boy Scouts reaches settlement in sex abuse case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Protestors shun sister-city relationship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

City event criticized for Mexican mafia connection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to move more than 2,000 inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 30, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My cousin’s 14-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as his grandma

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Jan. 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Senate passes Keystone XL bill, battles loom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s under siege as new CEO steps in

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Obama seeks spending spike for defense, domestic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Who wants a bite of Hershey…jerky?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9