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Sacramento Area Housing Market Comes Roaring Back

Posted on: July 10, 2020

The Unexpected Coronavirus Effect is Frustrating Buyers

Sacramento County Homes for Sale vs Pending Since May 2019

Things looked pretty bleak in April. In-person home showings were banned, unemployment was soaring, and there were predictions of a housing market collapse.

Sales in April were down by 50% or more in many areas.

As of May 1, we were once again allowed to show homes in person, but with new regulations in place to protect buyers and sellers.

I started getting calls from buyers who had been waiting for something to drive prices down, and from worried sellers wondering if this was it.

I must admit, I was a bit worried, too.

Then, something happened. Interest rates dropped. They had been n a downward trajectory since about November 2019, when they peaked at 4.92%, but not like this.

On March 19, the day the state shut everything down, the national average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was at 3.65%. That’s what we’d call ‘historically amazing’, but they kept falling, and as of today, the average is 3.07%. What would we call that? ‘Historically unbelievable? Irresistible?’

It’s been proven time and again that when it comes to housing, there’s nothing wrong with any house that a lower price won’t fix. I guess now I have to say that’s there’s nothing wrong with any housing market that a lower interest rate won’t fix.

All of a sudden, homes have become more affordable, while their prices are increasing. People who were renting could now buy for about what they were paying in rent.

Mortgage rates have fallen by nearly 3/4 percent since January

Take Mark, for example. Last year, Mark was renting a home for $1800 per month, with his lease expiring June 30. Last June, his landlord offered to sell him the house. With rates near 4%, Mark said he was probably 2 years away from being financially ready, but was willing to pay a little more for a new 1-year lease. They agreed on $1900 per month.

This June, although Mark was willing to renew at $2000 per month, the landlord really wanted to sell. Mark met with a lender and got a rate of 2.99%. His mortgage will be $379,000, for a payment of $1596. Add in property taxes of about $410, and insurance of $75, and for $2081, Mark can buy the house he was willing to pay $2000 per month to rent.

Mark was lucky in that he had no competition. His landlord was willing to sell directly to him for a fair price.

Most other buyers aren’t so lucky. They have to compete. Since May 1, the Sacramento region has seen an explosion of buyer activity.

1444 homes went ‘pending sale’ in May and 1898 in June in Sacramento County alone.

June’s figure of 1898 pending sales was an increase of 18% from June of last year, and at the same time inventory was down 34%.

It seems that sellers are staying put. It could be that they are afraid to show their homes during the pandemic, could be that they are afraid prices might fall, or maybe they just love where they live, or have no need to move.

Whatever the case, for many of those who do decide to sell, they find that if they price their homes right, they are getting multiple offers, and quickly.

58% of currently pending sales have reported multiple offers.

Although the hottest sellers seem to be the sub-$400,000 category, every community is having its own challenges with homes selling fast, and a lack of inventory.

Take for example, the fact that there are 94 homes for sale in Folsom today, and at this time last year, people were complaining about the lack of inventory because there were only 150 to choose from.

116 went pending in June, 56 of which were on the market 10 days or less.

Prices are reflective of this renewed demand. The average price of a Folsom home last month was $664,000, compared to $584,000 just a year ago. That doesn’t mean that $584,000 houses are now going for $664,000, but rather, with little inventory and low rates, buyers are purchasing more expensive homes than they would have a year ago.

Average Price Per Square Foot for Sacrament Co

So, what’s the upshot of all of this? If you are a buyer, be prepared to strike when you see the home you and, and be prepared to set yourself apart with a strong offer.

Unless a house has been sitting on the market for months with no offers, which indicates it may be over priced, if you love the house, and it’s priced right, make a strong offer.

Low-ballers won’t even get a response.

I just consulted with a new buyer. He had previously worked with another agent. When making an offer, he went 20% below, intending to negotiate.

The listing agent didn’t bother responding. They have offers over asking.

That’s what we’re dealing with. Get real or you won’t stand a chance.

If you are a seller were waiting for the right time to sell, this might be it. The demand is there, and homes are more affordable, so this may be your best opportunity.

We have new procedures in place to eliminate unqualified buyers and ‘Looky Lou’s’ from coming into your home, and if you price it right, you can sell it quickly.

That’s it from the cheap seats.

Any questions? Want to know what your home is worth? Interested in getting out there and buying? Drop me a line.

Steve Heard is a Realtor with EXP Realty of California, DRE#01368503, and is the owner of – Contact Steve at 916 718 9577, or –

Filed under: Folsom, Real Estate

7 Tips for Buying a Home During the Pandemic

Posted on: May 20, 2020

The ever-changing new normal

The coronavirus, and our reaction to it, has certainly changed our lives, from the way we do mundane tasks such a going to the store, to new procedures for seeing a doctor. Some of these practices and restrictions are already loosening up, but some changes may be permanent.

Regardless, there’s a new normal today.

The real estate market has been impacted, but it’s bouncing back. Perhaps buoyed by optimism, pent-up demand, and/or incredibly low interest rates, buyers are back in the market. At the current rate of sales in the Tri-County (Sacramento, El Dorado, and Placer) over 2400 buyers will have offers accepted by the end of May.

At the same time, we are still experiencing the low inventory numbers that have plagued the market for several years now.

There are just over 3400 homes for sale in the Tri-County area, compared to 4100 at the same time last year.

So, we’ve got eager buyers back in the market, but fewer homes to choose from.

If you are one, or are planning to be one of those successful buyers during this pandemic, I’m going to suggest that you try these 7 tips, so that you don’t waste time and you put yourself in the best position to win.

1) Keep your credit clean – Lender guidelines have been a little more lenient over the past couple of years, compared to how they were just after the mortgage crisis, but one thing they are very cautious of is bad credit.

Right now, creditors are offering deferments, ‘skip a payment’ programs, and forbearance agreements to help those who are struggling.

The problem is, it’s too easy a deal to get, and some may be taking advantage of it without really needing it.

As Jeff Sipes of Blue Water Credit said in our update from a couple of weeks ago, just because creditors are offering this doesn’t mean that there won’t be repercussions.

If you’ve lost your job, of course, you may have to take advantage of those deferment offers, but if you’ve lost your job, you probably won’t be buying a house anyway.

If you haven’t lost your job, and you plan on buying a home in the next year, do everything you possibly can to keep your credit clean. You don’t want to find out that lenders won’t trust you because of a missed payment, even if ‘they offered.’

2) Understand and heed precautions – Whether you believe the government and healthcare industry guidelines are necessary or not isn’t relevant. Sellers and agents must be cautious. We are not only concerned about you and I getting the virus, but are also concerned about liability should a buyer or seller contract it, and then blame their agent for not making them take those recommended and required precautions. Agents are now required to have buyers and sellers sign the new Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration, as well as taking such precautions as social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing. Please cooperate with these guidelines and precautions.

3) Get pre-approved – Seems like a no-brainer, but many people are asking to see homes and today, and every showing poses a potential risk. So, in addition to the noted precautions, agents must be selective and only show homes to pre-approved buyers. The days of wandering around random open houses and of seeing homes for fun are over for now.  

4) Get your own precaution kit – Get a cloth mask, some hand sanitizer, and gloves. Use them. Again, agents are instructed not to allow anyone into a home without a mask.

5) Do your research –  This involves everything from viewing the property online to doing community research. What’s important to you? Schools? Transportation? Quiet, interior street? Proximity to freeways? Shopping? Parks? All of this information can be found online. Learn what you can upfront so you don’t waste your time, and increase the risk to your health, by going to see properties that won’t work for you.   

6) Get real about your expectations – Folks this ain’t a buyer’s market.
I’ve spoken to several buyers and many agents who’ve worked with buyers who think this is the opportunity to get a bargain. While there are always deals to be had in any market, prices aren’t falling overall. Metrolist reports that 43% of currently pending sales, and 47% of sales closed this months had multiple offers. All of that can change, but it hasn’t yet.

In fact, instead of falling, prices have risen for the past 3 months, up 2% in April.

I’m not saying you have to pay more than the listed price. I’m saying that if you want the house, offer what it’s worth, based on comparable sales, and the and home’s condition.

Sellers aren’t panicking, and with rising prices, low-ballers are likely to be ignored. I have a client who absolutely loved a particular home. She wanted to offer $21,000 below asking price, not because she didn’t feel it was priced right, but because of her belief that with the pandemic, she could get a bargain. Her offer was rejected, and it sold for $6,000 over the listed price, after receiving 6 offers.

You may indeed find a bargain, but a new listing, priced right, usually won’t be one.

7) Don’t rush, but be ready. – I always give this advice, and it’s as relevant today as it was before the pandemic. Sellers aren’t panicking, and neither should you, but if you find the right house, and you’re ready to buy, don’t wait.

I had a client ask about a property he’d seen online. It was priced at $475k, and he said he wanted to ‘keep an eye on it’ and wait for it to drop. He was disappointed when it went pending a few days later. If it’s the right house, go for it. 

So, what do you think? Does this all make sense? Have anything to add, argue or question, drop me a line at 916 718 9577, or tune in to our weekly market update May 21 at 3pm via zoom at

Each week, Paula Harvey of Finance of America, along with occasional special guests provide updates and insights on the real estate and mortgage markets. We keep it short, informative and try to have a little fun, too.

I’ll post a link to the recording of it when finished.

In the meantime, happy house hunting, and hit me up if you need help or more information.

Steve Heard is a Realtor with EXP Realty, and owner of Contact Steve at 916 718 9577 – email

Filed under: Folsom, Real Estate