Housing Still Hot
July Numbers Show Solano Still Leads Regional Market
By Robin Miller/City Editor
New homes under construction in Solano County like these are continuing to sell quickly and at record prices. (Reporter file/Brad Zweerink)
Record sales and climbing prices: the monthly assessment of the local real estate market is beginning to sound a bit like a broken record.
Not that anyone in the real estate business is complaining.
July's home sales report for Solano County and the rest of the Bay Area showed that, once again, Solano offered the most affordable housing in the region - median price for a home sold in July was $450,000, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Not surprisingly, Solano was also the only one of the nine Bay Area counties to show an increase in the number of homes sold over the same period last year, according to DataQuick. In July, there were 1,039 homes sold in Solano, an increase of 2.3 percent over July 2004 when there were 1,016 homes sold.
During the same month, the rest of the Bay Area saw home sales dip slightly from the same period last year.
So what is the secret of Solano's continued success?
Keith Thompson, manager at ERA Home Traditions Pearson-Skaife Group in Vacaville, thinks the answer to that question is simple.
"Solano is hot because it's a better place to live," he said.
It's the same old story: Solano County's location between San Francisco and Sacramento make it an attractive place to buy.
"And even though prices in the San Francisco and Sacramento markets are softening, Solano still provides more of the small town feel than those metropolitan areas," said Thompson. "Plus you can be in Roseville in 40 minutes or on the beach in San Francisco in 40 minutes."
And forget concerns some have expressed about a housing market "bubble" that is about to burst, Thompson said.
"Every analyst I've spoken to has said the situation today is different than other bubbles we saw in the Bay Area," he said. "The economy is still strong, the stock market is not, so investors are looking for real estate. I get calls every day from investors."
Thompson said home prices are starting to ease slightly.
"I think in the last year or so, prices have been inflated. Buyers were willing to pay a premium because there was more demand than houses on the market. It was supply and demand," he said. "Now there are a lot more houses on the market and while it isn't a buyer's market yet, it's becoming more of one and you're not seeing bidding wars."
Still, don't expect major changes in the market because real estate remains a strong investment, he said.
"Real estate still provides a better investment than the stock market and even if the stock market improved, you're getting 10-plus percent return on investment in real estate and that's pretty good," he said.
Robin Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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