Investors and distressed sales now make up a much smaller part of Sacramento’s real estate market than at anytime in recent years, and the number of higher-end homes selling has doubled since a year ago, DataQuick reported Friday.
The San Diego-based real estate information service said the share of resale homes in Sacramento County sold to cash buyers dropped to about 28 percent in August after peaking in February at 43 percent. August’s cash figure was the lowest since June 2010.
Absentee buyers made up about 30 percent of the Sacramento market in August, after topping out in January at 45 percent. Almost all absentee buyers are investors, said DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage.
“Not many people buy a vacation home in Sacramento,” LePage said.
Investors are falling away because prices are rising, he said.
There are far fewer cut-priced homes on the market. Foreclosures and short sales now represent about a quarter of all sales, compared with more than 80 percent in early 2009, LePage said.
At the same time, more higher-priced homes are selling. There were 650 sales in the $300,000 to $800,000 range in August in Sacramento County – nearly double the number of a year ago. Sales above $500,000 were up 130 percent, DataQuick said.
The factors that led to a big run-up in prices over the past year are abating, LePage said. The Sacramento region’s historic housing rebound from the depths of the crash was driven by ultra-low mortgage rates, a scant supply of homes for sale and high levels of investor activity.
“Now each is in reverse,” he said. “Rates are higher. Supply is greater. And investor levels are coming down.”
With the factors changing, “it will be hard to continue the huge year-over-year price increases” of around 25 percent that many parts of the region have experienced, he said.
Even with higher prices, housing values are still far below their bubble-era peaks in 2005. And the changing market may be good news for traditional homebuyers, who were frustrated at the difficulty of buying a home when they had to compete with cash-paying investors for the few homes for sale, LePage said.
“The fall home-shopping experience could be significantly different than in the last four or five months,” he said.
Call The Bee’s Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.