Friday, November 17, 2006

Home Prices Stabilize, but Sales Slump

Home Prices Stabilize, but Sales Slump
By Amanda Janis/Business Editor

Solano County home sales continued to slow in October, while prices remained relatively steady, according to statistics released Wednesday by a real estate information firm.

Sales dropped 35.4 percent compared to October 2005, reported DataQuick Information Systems. However, that decline is a slight improvement from the 43.2 percent year-over decline experienced in September.

October home prices, meanwhile, declined 2.9 percent compared to last October, bringing the median Solano County home price to $462,000.

"I can tell you that Vacaville (prices are) down about $5,000 from where (they were) a year ago, which is roughly around 1 percent. And (prices in) Fairfield (are) actually exactly the same," said Bob Dorsett, broker/owner of Gateway Realty. "The story to be told, quite frankly, is that inventory is large so units of sales are significantly down but prices are holding really, really well."

Local Realtor Darla Stever, of Jim Stever Realty, agreed. "Sales are down but prices are stable," she said, adding that current conditions should be considered normal.

"The past three to four years, we've seen mass appreciation because people hadn't been putting their homes on the market," Stever explained. "Now, there's more properties to choose from. I don't think there's a bubble that's going to burst. I think we've just stabilized."

Solano's real estate market has seen the steepest decline in the Bay Area, whose nine counties averaged a 24.1 percent year-over sales decline in October, as did the Northern California region.

Despite the sales downturn, Dorsett said, "The sky is not falling at all, by any stretch of the imagination."

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