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Tuesday, 18 March 2008 08:52

Sacramento County’s Housing Decline

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slide19.jpgThe capital-area housing market continued its steady decline in February, but Sacramento County showed the first dramatic slowdown in its long slide since the late summer of 2005. DataQuick, a La Jolla-based Information Systems company, reported that median sales prices rose slightly from January to February in five counties: Amador, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. It's only one month's data, and it came from a winter month that's considered unreliable for trend spotting. But February sales of new and existing homes in Sacramento County -- the largest sector of the region's real estate market -- were just 7.7 percent fewer than in February 2007.That's the first single-digit decline in year-over-year home sales in the local area since August 2005.

slide21.jpgMeanwhile, the 1,015 existing homes that closed escrow in February in Sacramento and surrounding counties was almost the same as February 2007. That, too, was the first time in at least two years that year-over-year sales of existing homes didn't fall by double-digit percentages. Only home builders saw a continued steep decline in escrow closings in February. Builders, who are fighting for market share against the increasing dominance of banks selling their foreclosed homes, reported 32.2 percent fewer closings in Sacramento County than the same time last year. The La Jolla firm said 2,061 new and existing homes changed hands during the month in Amador, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento counties.

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