Chico CA Real Estate Market Report for Spring 2008

The Chico Real Estate Market is Changing!

Although a steady decline of local home prices over the last several months has been reported there’s a change of direction in last months statistics. For the first time in months the median and average home price in the Chico area is in the black. 

The Chico area’s median price was up at $272,500 from March at $267,000. Median price refers to the exact middle point of all the homes sold in that month or given period. The average price in April was up at $340,881 from $311,232 in March. Average price is defined as combining the sales prices of all the sales for a given period and dividing by the number of unit sales for that period.

In addition to this good news, the number of residential Chico area units sold was up significantly at 80 in April in contrast to March sales at 45. Of course many would say that this increase of number of sales is due to the traditional increase caused by seasonal changes, and they would be right. The overall increase in sales of residential units has little to do with the median and average home prices.

So, are we on the road to recovery? A little early to tell, but many economists and analysts are indicating trends in that direction. Michael Feder, CEO of Radar Logic, Inc., a reputable company known for statistical reporting of national and regional sales data and trends, recently stated on that several national metropolitan areas not only showed signs of stabilization, but actual significant price increases in recent months. New York’s borough of Manhattan, Houston, Dallas, Virginia Beach, Seattle, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Austin and Buffalo all have reported gains in recent months. Even our local neighbor, San Francisco, demand exceeded supply and median and average sales prices posted increases.

When taken into perspective, all the sensationally negative news is really only taking into account recent year over year sales data, which is indeed somewhat depressing, especially to folks who purchased during the housing boom of 2004 to 2006.

In ancient times when I began my real estate career, my mentor first told me that real estate is a long term investment and that I should be certain that my customers understood this basic principle. Along the line we forgot this concept and rushed to buy real estate at inflated prices in order to make a quick buck or just get in while the getting was good.

Prices have come down the last year, but when looked at over a five year perspective, homes nationally have appreciated at 4.7 percent annually.

Even neighbor Sacramento/Roseville, one of the hardest hit areas in the country, experienced a 1.5 percent increase in home prices over the last five years. In fact, of all the national Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s), only Detroit, Cleveland and Denver reported decreases in homes sales prices when calculated over the last five years. Michael Feder expressed optimism without forecasting by saying that home prices should improve based on Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank’s commitment to reopen the mortgage credit conduit.

In Chico, we are seeing a re-emergence of  FHA mortgage loans thus enabling credit worthy buyers in our area to purchase with less that the standard twenty percent down payment.

And a reminder, with over fifty million mortgaged homes in this nation, less than two percent are in peril of foreclosure at this time. It is certainly apparent that these foreclosure sales when calculated in the the homes sales data and indexes are really what are influencing current market prices. Equally apparent is the Federal governments determination to come to the assistance of these desperate homeowners with a variety of programs to stem off the flow.

There’s no doubt that nationally, statewide and locally here in Chico CA, real estate investments have been rendered a strong blow, but the wound is healing.

Sandi Bauman (Chico Homes): Real Estate Agent in Chico, Butte County, California
Tomato University Graduate Real Estate Tomato

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