A tight supply of homes for sale pushed Sacramento-area prices up again in January - further evidence of a fast-shifting market.
DataQuick, a market research firm based in San Diego, said today that the median price of homes sold in Sacramento County rose 22.4 percent in January from the same month of 2012 - to $187,000 from $152,750.
On a percentage basis, Yolo County saw the region's biggest year-over-year increase - from $199,000 in January 2012 to $250,500 last month, a nearly 26 percent spike.
Sacramento County's sales volume decreased 0.5 percent, with 1,615 homes sold in January this year, compared with 1,623 in January 2012. However, last month's total was down substantially from 2,046 in December 2012, which saw a run of transactions to close out the year.
Historically, DataQuick said, home sales always drop from December to January.
DataQuick's numbers followed a report by Emeryville-based ZipRealty Inc., earlier this week that ranked Sacramento the nation's third-hottest sellers' market among 32 metro regions. ZipRealty said Sacramento homes, on average, were selling for 100.9 percent of the price at which they were listed.
Even so, DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage pointed out that the Sacramento market is cruising well below the high-flying days before the recession. The median sales price of a house in Sacramento County topped out at $375,000 in the summer of 2005.
But prices are moving up fast, as the mix of houses being sold changes. Lender-owned homes unloaded at rock-bottom prices now make up a declining portion of the market compared with move-up houses, LePage said.
"January's (median home sales prices) are pretty big jumps from pretty low levels a year ago," he said. " ... What's selling today is not a cheap foreclosure."
In Sacramento County, LePage said, year-over-year sales of homes for less than $200,000 are down, but sales in the $200,000-to-$400,000 range are up.
LePage said a comparatively low inventory of homes available for sale continues to push area prices upward. He also speculated that the number of home sales in the region likely would have been higher if inventory were higher.
Meanwhile, the Bay Area saw the strongest January sales in six years and the 10th straight year-over-year increase in the median sale price.
DataQuick said 5,501 new or resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month, up from 5,330 in January a year ago. The median sales price last month was $415,000, up from $326,000 in January 2012.