Local home sales are looking up

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Local home sales have shown some positive signs so far this year, though the Mother Lode still has a way to go before a full real estate recovery.

In Tuolumne County, total home sales and median sale price are both up this year through October compared to 2011, according to preliminary numbers from the Tuolumne County Association of Realtors.

So far, 760 homes were sold through October with the median price at $165,000. In 2011, the numbers through October were 643 homes and $162,000. The dollar figure slipped to $160,000 by the end of 2011.

"What the year-to-date tells me is we are a little bit stronger this year," said Ann Ritchie, executive director of the association. "It's a small percent, but it's going in the right direction."

Preliminary numbers for the month of October showed 88 homes sold overall - 23 foreclosures, 11 short sales and 54 traditional sales. The median price was $165,000, down from 2011 when it was $169,000. In September, 67 sales took place with a median price of $160,000 - up from 2011, when it was $153,000.

Ritchie said the month-to-month numbers are not as good of an indicator for the market as the overall numbers for the year.

"I think the year-to-date really tells more of the story," she said.

In Calaveras County, home sales increased through October in 2012 over 2011 as well from 791 to 887, according to sales data from the County Association of Realtors. However, the median price in the county dropped 2.4 percent from $164,000 to $160,000.

Calaveras County had a strong October, according to the sales data, with 103 sold listings up from 78 in the same month last year. The median price in October this year was $165,000.

The local sales have occurred in the midsts of what appears to be a strengthening statewide real estate market.

The California Association of Realtors reported this week that around the country, home prices were up 2.9 percent in October over last year. And through September, the latest month statewide data is available, the association reported the median sale price was up almost 20 percent to $345,000.

Overall home sales were down statewide about 1 percent due to declining inventory, the state association said.

11883849
The Union Democrat
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