Market Trends

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Here is a brief podcast recap of the 2009 real estate market (in general) in the Greater Sacramento region. What will 2010 have in store for us? Do you think the market will surge, stabilize or decline? Do you feel like now is a good time to buy? Your comments are welcome below. Recap of 2009 Sacramento Area Real Estate Market


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I’m wrapping up an appraisal report tonight for an investor in Carmichael. While crunching numbers and running data, I decided to do a little comparison of sales in Carmichael and Fair Oaks. So I graphed all detached single family residential sales (from MLS) over the past three years and came up with the following trend graph. I only included sales less than 1.5 million since there are a very limited number of properties above that level.

All sales over the past 36 months in Carmichael are listed below in blue and all sales in Fair Oaks are displayed in green.

Sales in Fair Oaks and Carmichael in Sacramento County Trend Graph by Lundquist Appraisal Company

It’s interesting to see an overall common trend for both Carmichael & Fair Oaks, though not ultimately surprising since the communities tend to overall have a somewhat similar appeal in the marketplace (though Fair Oaks has a slight edge as local Realtor Nate Sisam mentions below). Despite there being niches in both communities that may be superior to other areas, and a slightly higher median price level in Fair Oaks, it seems that the ups and downs of the real estate market over the past few years have been taken in stride for both of these communities. In fact, the median price level for Fair Oaks over the past year was only 2% higher than Carmichael during the first 6 months of the year, and 4% higher during the past two consecutive quarters. For reference, the latest unemployment rate in Carmichael as of November 2009 is 9.2%, whereas the unemployment rate in Fair Oak si 7.0%. The rate of unemployment in Sacramento County as a whole for November 2009 is 12.5%.

Sacramento Realtor Nate Sisam gives us further insight:

realtor-nate-sisamFair Oaks and Carmichael are both established neighborhoods that offer people larger than overage lot sizes and diverse architecture. It has always been that Fair Oaks commanded a slightly higher price due to several key elements. Fair Oaks was one of the first established “Country communities” in the 20′s-40′s with a rich history in Olive and Citrus farming. Today that heritage is still evident when looking at property in Fair Oaks. Additionally the Fair Oaks Village brings the community together and adds to the charm of the area. From an accessibility standpoint Fair Oaks is slightly more freeway accessible. I would note that these communities are diverse and that pockets within each of them could be considered equal.

What do you think of the graph above? Does anything stand out to you? If you live or work in Carmichael or Fair Oaks, what do you enjoy about the community? If you had your choice to live in either of these areas, which would you choose? Comments are welcome below. Riding the Same Wave in Carmichael & Fair Oaks


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Here is a quick trend graph for you of all sales in the city of Fairfield over the past 12 months (red dots) as well as all current pendings (blue dots). What do you notice? Does anything stand out to you? Can you decipher any citywide trends based on this scatter graph? By the way, the unemployment rate in Fairfield as of November 2009 is 13.1%.

City of Fairfield Sales Past Year and Current Pendings Graph by Lundquist Appraisal Company

I know citywide graphs are not as descriptive as neighborhood-specific graphs or even if we looked at a specific square footage or age range in Fairfield. Just take the graph above for what it’s worth. It’s interesting to see six of the highest sales of the year over the past six months. Does it seem too that the lowest end of the market is a tad higher than the lowest point during the beginning of the year? City of Fairfield Recent Sales and Pendings



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The Sacramento real estate market has been hit hard over the past several years, and Plumas Lake has not escaped the damage either. Plumas Lake is a community located in Yuba County about 30 miles north of Sacramento and 10 miles south of Marysville. This neighborhood was built out over the past six years, with the bulk of houses being constructed between 2003-2005.

plPlumas Lake is a suburban community, but it does have somewhat of a secluded feel because of the lack of commercial property and conveniences within the immediate neighborhood. The plan was to have developed many commercial parcels by now, but unfortunately little progress has been made beyond a Walgreens. By the way, kudos to Walgreens because they also built a store in the Anatolia area of Rancho Cordova, which faced a similar situation (a new neighborhood was built, but commercial construction lagged far behind residential construction due to the market bubble burst).

Anyway, let’s take a look at recent real estate market trends in the Plumas Lake neighborhood. The graphs below depict the past three years of sales, past one year of sales and current listings and pendings. 

Plumas Lake Real Estate Market Trends Past 3 Years of Sales Lundquist Appraisal Company

Plumas Lake Real Estate Market Trends

Listings and Pendings in Plumas Lake CA by Lundquist Appraisal Company

What do you see in the graphs above? Does anything stand out to you? If you are a home owner in Plumas Lake, what is it you enjoy about your community? If you are considering buying a property in Plumas Lake, what is it that draws you to the neighborhood?

Your comments are welcome below. Please also contact me if you have any questions or a need for more developed research or my appraisal services. 916-595-3735 or

NOTE: Plumas Lake is located in Yuba County and so data is interesting. Since both Sacramento MLS and Yuba/Sutter MLS carry data for the Plumas Lake area, it’s important to look at and compare both sets of data to make sure to analyze all market activity. With that being said, the graphs above are based on Sacramento MLS for ease of use. Maybe a future post will analyze and compare both systems. Taking a Dip in the Plumas Lake Real Estate Market


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I inspected a property in the city of Vallejo today and I’m crunching some numbers right now (as I always do) to get a better look at the overall real estate market. During the course of my neighborhood research, for kicks I thought I would plot all sales in the entire city over the past two years to see if there might be any discernable trend or pattern due to the City of Vallejo filing for bankruptcy on May 23, 2008. The blue dots represent sales and the vertical red line represents the date when bankruptcy was filed.

City of Vallejo Sales Since 01-01-08

Let’s be honest, this one scatter graph is not meant to display anything revolutionary about the impact of Vallejo’s bankruptcy. Let’s save that for someone hired to delve into intense research to uncover that kind of information. This is purely recreational graphing out of curiosity. But isn’t it still interesting to take a glimpse at sales?

There is certainly a downward trend in the graph above, but that’s not an uncommon phenomenon for Solano County over the past couple of years, is it? The question becomes though, did the City of Vallejo’s bankruptcy impact the market at all, or is the declining trend simply a byproduct of the real estate market bubble burst and economy? 

Have you seen any tangible evidence that the city’s bankruptcy has negatively impacted home values or perception of Vallejo among buyers? If you are considering purchasing a home, is it a turn-off to you that the City of Vallejo filed for bankruptcy? Or is it no big deal for you? Feel free to comment below.

NOTE: All sales above are based upon information found in BAREIS for single family residential properties under $800,000. There were very few sales above $800,000, so it seemed most relevant to disregard a few higher sales because they were outliers. A Trend Graph of Vallejo Since City Bankruptcy


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I wrote previously about the “Bursting of the Duplex Market in Sacramento“, so I figured I’d also provide a graph of the fourplex market so we can see visually what has taken place over the past three years in Sacramento County. Yes, I know Sacramento County is a large territory representing many neighborhoods and sub-markets, but I think this trend graph tells a story nonetheless. All blue dots below are sales based on data in Sacramento MLS.

Quadruplex Fourplex Sales in Sacramento County November 2006 to November 2009 Trend Graph by Lundquist Appraisal

Isn’t it amazing to see the impact of the housing bubble burst? Three years ago many quadruplex units in Sacramento County were selling between $400,000 to $600,000, but the bulk of sales lately have been easily hovering around $200,000 +/- or lower. With prices so low right now, many investors have understandably been purchasing 4-plex units. The ideal scenario would be to pick up a quadruplex, have postive cash flow, and then re-sell the property in a number of years when the market turns around.

I actually just finished a property tax appeal for an investor who purchased a fourplex in late 2009 for under $200,000, but the Assessor still had his property valued in the high $300,000s. He is scheduled to pay over $1,000 too much in property taxes this year because the Assessor’s records are not consistent with realistic trends in the marketplace. This is a common problem for so many properties that sold near the top of the market and are now re-selling in today’s market.

Let me know if you have any questions. Comments are welcome. Ryan 916-595-3735.

www. The Crashing of the Fourplex Market in


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What sort of a price difference is there between bank-owned properties (REO), short sales, and arms-length transactions in the market? For an example, let’s take a look at a trend graph of all sales in Rancho Cordova below, where blue dots are REO sales, green dots are Short Sales and red dots are typical arms-length sales (per Sacramento MLS).

Rancho Cordova Sales REO Short Sale Typical Trend Graph by Lundquist Appraisal November 2009

Each neighborhood, niche, and location will differ in results, but generally speaking, like the data above seems to show for Rancho Cordova sales over the past 2 years, buyers tend to pay more for houses that are non-distressed transactions (notice how the red dots on the graph above tend to be located toward the top and NOT the bottom). When it comes to REO properties, it looks like the price level is a bit higher overall than short sales, though there are quite a few short sales on the upper-end of the market too. In fact, both Rancho Cordova and Sacramento County saw a 7% increase in short sales last year in comparison to the year before, so clearly there is a greater acceptance for short sales in the marketplace.

fixer-property-lundquist-appraisalOne important observation is that most of the sales at the bottom of the market are bank-owned. Why is that? Investors typically gobble up the lowest end of the market with all-cash offers because fixer-type properties at the lowest level will not qualify for conventional or government financing. This means first-time buyers utilizing conventional or FHA financing will usually need to look to a price level above the “all cash” market. In light of this segmentation, imagine scraping off the bottom layer of all-cash foreclosures. What would you find? You’d still see many REO properties, but you’d certainly see a good amount of Short Sales too. 

Overall, in my experience as a Sacramento-area real estate appraiser it seems the market price tier goes: 1) Arms-length sale; 2) REO; 3) Short Sale. This is common sense really, but it’s another thing to prove that by crunching numbers, making trend graphs, and observing data in the marketplace. But there are certainly cases and stories and sub-markets that might show a different order for whatever reason - especially depending on the supply of housing inventory and particulars of a given property. Interestingly enough, sometimes there is little to no difference between non-distressed sales and REO sales. For example, what does it do to pricing differences when 90% of all sales in a market are either bank-owned or short sales? In a case like this, since the market is clearly saturated with distressed sales, it’s probably a safe bet to assume foreclosure-pricing is indeed the market and will set the pace for what buyers expect to pay for properties (see a previous post on Patterson having 96.5% of all sales as distressed). In a case like this, there may be no verifiable difference between REO and non-distressed sales.

Let me know if you have questions or insight. Comments are welcome. Is there a price difference between REO properties, short sales, and arms-length transactions?


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We hear so many voices in today’s real estate market talk about the foreclosure rate decreasing in the Sacramento Region. Is that true? Are there less REO (bank-owned) sales today than there were two or three years ago? Let’s look at some hard numbers below for Sacramento County.

Sacramento County REO and Short Sales Percentages 2008 2009 by Lundquist Appraisal Company

The information above is based on all residential sales listed in Sacramento Metrolist over the past two years. Overall, it’s true that there were less bank-owned sales in Sacramento County during the last 12 months in comparison to the year before that. The foreclosure rate decreased by 5% overall, but the interesting thing is that short sales increased by 7% during this same time period. What do you make of that? Have short sales simply replaced what would have been a similar rate of foreclosure for this year? As a home owner or real estate agent, have you found banks to be more receptive to working with you to do a short sale? Comments welcome. The Up and Down Dynamic of Foreclosures and Short Sales in Sacramento County


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What’s been happening in the Gold River real estate market over the past several years? Gold River is a census designated place located just east of Rancho Cordova, south of the American River, and north of Highway 50. This HOA community has 25 separate villages and a combination of detached and attached housing – all single family residential. Gold River has the lowest unemployment rate in Sacramento County right now at 2.1% as of September 2009, but that does not mean that home values have been unaffacted.

Gold River Sales 2006 to 2009 Trend Graph by Lundquist Apprasial Company

What do you notice about the graph above? It looks like the upper end of the market above $550,000 has pretty much disappeared during 2009. It’s also evident that in the midst of a downward trend over the past several years that there have been few sales under $300,000. What else do you see? If you are a local Realtor or home owner in Gold River, what insight do you have into your market, and why is Gold River desirable to buyers in the marketplace (as a real estate appraiser, I love to hear people respond to questions like this)?

Gold River Real Estate Market Data:

  • 251 sales over the past 3 years
  • 62 sales over the past 12 months
  • 13 sales over the past 90 days
  • 11% of all sales over the past 12 months were REO (bank-owned)
  • 3% of all sales over the past 12 months were Short Sales
  • 29 current active listings
  • 13 current active short sale listings
  • 6 current pendings

The lower Western portion of the Gold River area is comprised of a subdivision called “Gold River Station”. Since Gold River Station is not a part of the Gold River HOA, it was prudent to look at data separately from Gold River. Sometimes outsiders to the area get confused about Gold River Station and therefore lump it in with Gold River, but it’s not a part of the Gold River neighborhood.

Gold River Station Sales 2006 to 2009 Trend Graph by Lundquist Appraisal Company

It’s not hard to see that there is a big value difference between Gold River and Gold River Station. Whereas there are few sales under $300,000 in Gold River, it appears that most recent sales in Gold River Station sold under $300,000. What else do you notice when comparing the graphs?

Feel free to contact me at 916-595-3735 or if you have any questions about the local real estate market or any appraisal needs. Gold River Market Trends: Past 3 Years of Sales


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Do you remember several years ago in the Sacramento area when duplexes were selling for $400,000-$500,000+ like it was nothing? Well, the housing bubble burst and the residential-income market came crashing down along with everything else.

The graph below displays all sales in Sacramento County for duplex properties. I know, Sacramento County is an enormous territory, but sometimes viewing large ares helps to see an overall trend.

Duplex Sales Past Three Years in Sacramento County Trend Graph by Lundquist Appraisal

What do you notice when looking at all duplex sales in Sacramento county? It seems the bulk of sales are well under $300,000, and that the median sales price level easily lost $200,000 or more over the past three years. Ouch. There certainly are an enormous portion of sales between $100,000 to $200,000 too, aren’t there? 

Let’s take a closer look at a specific area in Sacramento by viewing sales in North Sacramento in the 95815 and 95838 zip codes. No, that’s not a ski slope, but a trend graph of all duplex sales.

Duplex Sales in 95815 and 95838 Zip Code of Sacramento November 2006 to 2009 by Lundquist Appraisal

It’s interesting to see what looks like two markets at hand above: One market below $100,000 and another market hovering between $150,000-$175,000. Market segmentation (bifurcation) is common depending on condition, location, size, or even the nature of the sale – short sale vs foreclosure vs typical arms-length transaction.

One more. What’s happened in the city of Rancho Cordova’s duplex market over the past thirty six months? No surprises. It looks similar to the graphs above.

Duplex Sales in Rancho Cordova Trend Graph 2006 to 2009 by Lundquist Apprasial Company

When it comes to duplexes in Rancho Cordova and surrounding areas of Sacramento, the majority of recent sales are reo properties (bank-owned). For example, in a recent duplex appraisal I just completed in a Sacramento neighborhood, 84% of all duplex sales over the past 12 months within this neighborhood were REO sales and 10% of all sales were Short Sales. It’s not an easy market when 94% of all sales carry some level of distress.

Contact me at 916-595-3735 or if you have any questions. The Bursting of the Duplex Market in Sacramento


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Somebody asked me the following question the other day and I figured I’d post a response here.

Q: Could a location near a water tower impact market value for a home?

A: Maybe. Sometimes water towers are quite large and the typical buyer may not want to live right next to the tower. Let’s face it, some buyers simply wouldn’t want to look at an enormous tower every day, so they’d steer clear of such a location. If this was the case and most buyers felt that way, then there could be an impact on market value. On the other hand, there may be other buyers who would be unaffected by a water tower, or evidence to suggest that such a location makes no difference at all.


There is not a hard-and-fast water tower rule for appraisers to follow. There is no specific “water tower adjustment” that appraisers make in reports. An adjustment in an appraisal report would really depend on what data in the specific market was saying. Any adjustment should be based on the reaction in the marketplace. Is there any evidence in the market that buyers are willing to pay less  or more based on the location of a water tower? How do the most recent sales surrounding the water tower compare with sales further away? Does data show that there is really little to no impact on value?

Market conditions certainly play into the equation here too. If there is a vast oversupply of properties listed in the market, chances are someone might look to other listings first that maybe had a more typical view. However, in a market with very limited available properties, buyers may feel less concerned about such an issue and not consider a view of a water tower as a negative. After all, in a hot market with few properties to choose from, buyers tend to more easily overlook locational challenges (busy street, backs to commercial, located next to major fixer…) and even condition issues.

I don’t mean to be frustrating, but there is not really a straightforward end-all answer to the question that was posed to me. The answer really depends on your specific real estate market and what data in your local market says. My knee-jerk reaction is that most buyers would probably prefer to not live next to a water tower, but then again, it really comes down to what the data says because sometimes a real estate market is surprising and things that we think would make a difference in value don’t carry as much weight as we think (or none).

If you have any firsthand experience with a property near or next to a water tower, I’d be curious to hear what you have to say. Have you ever intentionally purchased a property near a water tower or away from one? Did you purchase a property near a water tower only to regret it later on? Is it just not a big deal for you at all? Feel free to comment. Question: Could a location near a water tower impact market value for a home?


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I’m been crunching numbers since 5am this morning and thought I’d share a graph with you. This is a broad view of a market I am doing an appraisal in right now. This scatter graph is based on all single family detached sales in the city of West Sacramento from October 2006 to October 2009 (Sacramento MLS). It’s always interesting to me to take a view of the entire market before analyzing and graphing smaller and more comparable niches within that market.

West Sacramento Sales Past 3 Years City of West Sacramento Sales: Past 3 Years


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