An article in today’s Redding Record Searchlight had some good news about Shasta County’s Housing Market.
Bargain hunters and first-time home buyers taking advantage of increased affordability helped drive October sales in Shasta County.
Year-over-year home sales increased for the second straight month, while the median sales price for a house in Shasta County dropped for the fifth consecutive month.
“Right now, you have some real opportunities for first-time buyers – low interest rates and good loan programs, if they qualify,” Shasta Association of Realtors President Greg Lloyd said Monday.
DataQuick Information Systems reported that 168 homes were sold in Shasta County in October, unchanged from September and an 11.3 percent increase over October 2007.
The median sales price in October for new and used homes was $212,000, slightly down from $212,750 in September and an 11.5 percent decline from $239,500 a year ago.
The Shasta Association of Realtors reported 178 homes sold in October, one more than in September and a 24 percent jump from October 2007. The Realtors’ group relies on members to report sales. DataQuick pulls numbers from the county.
More telling is that nearly seven of every 10 homes sold in October were houses that went for $250,000 and less, according to the Shasta Association of Realtors.
“I think we are seeing that we may be getting close to the bottom,” said Brad Garbutt, a Shasta Association of Realtors board member. “The fact the rate of prices dropping has slowed, and the number of buyers is up shows us the market might be hitting bottom.”
Lower interest rates, which started falling last week, also have spurred interest among buyers.
On Monday, the rate for a 30-year Federal Housing Administration loan stood at 5.5 percent, said Tom Semb of Amerigroup Loan Center in Redding.
“Some people are getting the news,” Semb said of lower rates. “We are certainly seeing some of our business pick up.”
But Garbutt cautioned that until the flood of foreclosures and bank-owned properties stops, the market isn’t going to turn.
About four out of every 10 used homes sold in October had been foreclosed on at some point in the prior 12 months, DataQuick reported.
“The whole key is stopping foreclosures,” Garbutt said. “We will not dig ourselves out of this until we stop the tide of foreclosures – it’s keeping prices down, keeping the market down and keeps everybody pessimistic.”