Will Camp Fire refugees reenergize Sacramento’s home sales market?


The Sacramento home sales market is going into winter hibernation, new data suggest, amid uncertainty over whether that market will reawaken with vigor in spring, or continue the doldrums of recent months.

The median price for a home sold in Sacramento County in October dropped from $365,000 in September to $350,000 in October, according to real estate analyst CoreLogic. October is the fifth straight month that homes sales were lower than the same month the year before, according to real estate analyst CoreLogic.


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Appraiser Ryan Lundquist said November sales numbers are lower as well, suggesting a slumbering market at least through Super Bowl Sunday in early February, when buyers and sellers typically become active again.

One notable wild card looms: The Camp Fire in Butte County destroyed 13,000 homes, leaving many families there scrambling for new housing — with few homes available.

It’s created a frenzy in the Chico real estate market, turning it into what may be the hottest and most-inflated home sales market in the country. That should have spill-over effects in the Sacramento region.

Real estate agents say they already are seeing some potential buyers filtering into the area. Two adult children this week bought their mother — who was burned out in Paradise — a new home in Lake Wildwood in Nevada County, Lyon Realtor Bill Evans said.

At $245,000, that home is comparable in price to Butte County real estate, he said. He and others don’t expect a lot of Butte residents to buy in urban areas of Sacramento, but some likely will look to relocate in the region’s hill and mountain communities and in lower-priced rural areas of Yuba and Sutter counties.

The prognosis for a spring reawakening remains uncertain, tough.

Lyon Real Estate President Pat Shea said this week he still sees a solid, if unspectacular, market reforming next year, just not a feeding frenzy like Sacramento saw this past spring, when buyers were competing for homes amid escalating prices.

“(The market) can only run so fast so long, then you slow down, but still a good clip,” he said.

New home construction in Sacramento remains slow but steady, Mike Strech of the North State Building Industry Association said. “Bottom line is we seem to be going through this leveling-off period.”


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