WHAT’S HAPPENED: The city's housing slowdown is "a little more severe" than in other places, said Patty Amador, president of Ambeck Mortgage Associates in Modesto.
WHY: The surplus of homes for sale has been exacerbated by a tightening of lending standards and uncertainty among would-be buyers about prices, Amador said.
WHAT’S NEXT: The market might not recover until 2009, she said. Buyers no longer should expect to get loans without good credit histories, but they can take advantage of the reduced prices of homes, including some nice ones for less than $300,000. "I'm pretty amazed," Amador said.
WHAT’S HAPPENED: Home prices are down about 25 percent from their 2005 peak.
WHY: An oversupply of homes for sale, just like everywhere, said Eric Ingwerson, a real estate agent and former mayor. "You can't expect 25 percent to 30 percent annual appreciation on a regular basis without having it fall."
WHAT’S NEXT: Prices could "flatten out" in 2008 and start to rise again in 2010, Ingwerson said. "It's a great time to get in."
WHAT’S HAPPENED: Median prices have dropped a little more than 20 percent from the peak in 2005.
WHY: "The wages haven't kept up with the housing prices," said Larry Rumbeck, a real estate agent and former city councilman. He noted that newer developments have many more unsold homes than do older parts of town.
WHAT’S NEXT: "I think we're going to look at this kind of market for another two years," he said.
WHAT HAPPENED: Patterson was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Hundreds of homeowners are delinquent on the special taxes they pay the city for public services. The city also has seen one of the steepest drops in median home sale prices in Stanislaus County, plunging nearly 30 percent last month from 2005.
WHY: Bay Area commuters flooded to new subdivisions in Patterson, rapidly driving up prices and demand before the market turned, said Terry Harwell, president of Alliance Title in Stanislaus County. It was the last title company to pull out of Patterson, seven months ago.
WHAT’S NEXT: The city hired a law firm this summer to collect the unpaid taxes; it has recovered about 67 percent, City Manager Cleve Morris said. Although work is being done on a condominium project on Highway 33, construction mostly has stopped on the 700-acre Villages of Patterson project approved earlier this year to bring in
3,100 homes, with hundreds of affordable housing units. "When (the market) comes back, we will move forward," Morris said.
WHAT HAPPENED: Home prices have dropped about 10 percent from their 2005 peak. "Both real estate and construction are hurting right now, which reflects home sales," said George Segarini, president and chief executive officer of the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce. Primary and vacation homes are affected, he said.
WHY: The county has a milder case of what's ailing the state: an oversupply of homes and tightened credit. The county also has lost many well-paying jobs in logging and mining.
WHAT’S NEXT: A couple of months of median-price increases could bring real estate back to life as people "sitting on the fence" jump in, Segarini said.
WHAT HAPPENED: "Essentially, the forces affecting Oakdale's real estate market are the same as the rest of our region. The market is oversupplied and the demand has not kept up, which has caused market values to decrease," said Jim Lawrence, an Oakdale real estate agent with Century 21. Median home prices declined 40 percent from the peak price, but that is largely because a condominium project opened this summer with prices in the low $200,000s.
WHY: Lawrence said the oversupply is a result of builders with excess inventory, banks trying to unload homes repossessed by lenders and homeowners selling for personal reasons.
WHAT’S NEXT: More of the same through next year. However, the lower home prices mean that "buyer interest is starting to increase," Lawrence said. Once supply and demand even out, he said, Oakdale will begin to see slow to moderate appreciation and a more stable market.
WHAT HAPPENED: The downturn in median prices is typical of the region, said Kirk Dall, a home inspector and vice president of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce. He noted that the number of real estate agents, home inspectors and related business people has declined, too.
WHY: "I think home prices appreciated too fast, and it's really priced a lot of people out of the market," said Dall, who also cited the subprime mortgage troubles.
WHAT’S NEXT: The housing market should improve in a year or two, Dall said. Meanwhile, buyers can take advantage of lower prices and interest rates, he said.
WHAT HAPPENED: Merced County leads the nation in foreclosures, with an estimated
1 in 68 homes receiving some type of foreclosure notice last month. Prices plunged nearly 26 percent to $260,000 in September compared with a year earlier. About 1,100 houses are listed for sale, many of which are owned by lenders who foreclosed or builders who couldn't sell them.
WHY: Construction of new homes saturated the market. "There was a lot of investor money flowing into Merced from all over the state and the country because the University of California was there," said Mike Zagaris, president of PMZ Real Estate in Modesto.
WHAT’S NEXT: The rental market is picking up steam, driven by people who were forced out of their houses by foreclosure, said Mike Salvadori, owner of Century 21 Salvadori Realty in Merced. There's a lot of empty inventory waiting to be sold. After that is gone, it likely will take at least another year for the market to stabilize, he said.
WHAT HAPPENED: Riverbank has fared slightly better than several other cities in Stanislaus County, with one of the smallest declines in median sales price from the peak. Last month, the median sale price was $320,000, compared with $375,000 in 2005.
WHY: Riverbank has a lot to offer its residents, such as the newly built Crossroads shopping center, redevelopment of its downtown core and the annual Cheese & Wine festival, said Michael Johnson, a real estate agent for PMZ in Riverbank and a Chamber of Commerce member. "It makes a big difference in the way the people feel about the community," he said.
WHAT’S NEXT: "In general, from what I've seen, there are more buyers in the last three months than in the last two years," Johnson said.