Real Estate News

Northern San Joaquin Valley real estate winners and losers for 2014

Home prices rose dramatically during 2014 in many Northern San Joaquin Valley communities, but the lousy real estate market lingered on in some towns.

For good news, look to Escalon, where median home prices soared 46.3 percent last year, just-released property records compiled by CoreLogic DataQuick show.

The typical Escalon house sold for $300,000 in 2014, which was just 24 percent below the city’s 2006 price peak of $395,000.

Losing $95,000 and nearly a quarter of a home’s worth may not sound like good news to outsiders, but most Valley homeowners wish their homes had bounced back so well.

Alas, that’s not the case. Since home prices peaked between 2005 and 2007, most of the region remains 40 percent or more off those highs.

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Modesto home prices, for example, gained 18.8 percent last year, climbing to a median $190,000. But that’s 44 percent below the $340,000 Modesto homes sold for in 2006.

That’s a $150,000 shortfall for those who purchased homes at the peak.

Many other Valley towns are much worse, such as Livingston. Median home prices there fell by $500 last year, dropping to $149,500. That’s 56 percent and $191,250 below what Livingston homes were selling for nine years ago.

Communities where median-priced houses remain 50 percent or more below their peak value include: Dos Palos, Winton, Newman, Waterford, Stockton, Los Banos, Atwater, Gustine, Merced, Ceres and Patterson.

Besides Escalon, communities that have gained the most ground since the real estate market crashed include Manteca, Tracy, Hughson and Turlock.

While almost all cities saw home prices rise during 2014, the number of homes sold shrank in most Valley towns.

In Modesto, 3,149 houses and condos were sold last year. That’s 7.4 percent less than during 2013 and 14.3 percent less than 2012.

The sales drop has been even more dramatic in Patterson, where 363 homes were sold last year. That’s 19 percent less than 2012 and nearly 30 percent less than 2012.

While fewer people are buying homes, apartment complexes in Modesto are filling up.

During October, November and December, more than 97 percent of Modesto apartments were rented, according to RealFacts, which tracks occupancy rates. During those same months in 2012, by comparison, fewer than 94 percent were rented.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at or (209) 578-2196.

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