Real Estate News

'That's a California thing.' Sacramento ranks high among cities with million-dollar homes

It's generally agreed, especially among people searching for a home, that Sacramento is no longer the modest and moderately priced valley town it once was.

Now comes further evidence: Authors of a new study say the capital region has the 13th highest share of million-dollar homes in the country.

Lending Tree analyzed values in the 50 largest metro areas in June, ranking them by percentage of seven-digit homes in the overall market. It found a West Coast tilt.

The top cities nationally, in order, are San Jose and San Francisco, followed by Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and Seattle. Sacramento ranks just behind Austin and Portland.

In a way, that's not a surprise, said local real estate analyst Dean Wehrli of John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

"That’s California, that's a California thing" and a coastal phenomenon, he said. "Million-dollar houses nationally are still extraordinarily uncommon."

Sacramento isn't coastal, but it likely ranks high because it's a top destination for Bay Area emigres.

That said, there aren't million-dollar homes around every corner in Sacramento, at least not yet. Lending Tree found that only 1.7 percent of Sacramento homes are worth more than $1 million.

That's nowhere near the percentages in the Bay Area, where an astonishing 54 percent of San Jose homes and 40 percent of San Francisco homes are valued at more than $1 million. Those cities, which sit at the center of the Silicon Valley tech world, stand out nationally.

New York ranked fourth with nearly 12 percent of homes at the million-dollar level.

Sacramento-area real estate agent Erin Stumpf of Coldwell Banker said it may be useful to look at the Sacramento percentage in reverse for some perspective.

"Then 98.3 percent are not million-dollar homes," she said. The million-dollar number is growing, "but it is not a dominant part of our market. The median (Sacramento County home sale) price is still well below $400,000."

She's representing a couple from the Bay Area who have been looking for weeks for a home in the $2 million range in Sierra Oaks, but have not been able to find one to their liking, in good part because so few are available.

Most of the region's million-dollar homes remain clustered in a handful of posh areas: Granite Bay, Sierra Oaks, the Fab Forties section of East Sacramento and on bluffs overlooking the American River.

But the the million-dollar terrain is spreading. New data shows 28 ZIP codes in the greater Sacramento area registered million-dollar sales in May, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data analysis firm.

What's the recipe in Sacramento? It could range from a simple ranch style home in an upscale neighborhood to a massive rural or riverside estate.

In East Sacramento this week, a 2,400-square-foot Tudor-style cottage, built in 1921, with three bedrooms and two baths adjacent to busy Folsom Boulevard is on the market for $1 million.

In the Silver Springs area near Elk Grove and the WildHawk Golf Club, a six-bedroom, four-bath, 4,355-square-foot home, built in 2000 on a private court with a backyard vineyard and separate casita, is on the market for $1.1 million.

In the Tahoe region, the million-dollar mark is hardly noticed. In May, one Truckee home sold for $7.7 million and another in the Homewood area on Lake Tahoe's west shore sold for $3.7 million.

Downtown Sacramento is now getting its share of seven-digit sales with some of the 45 condominiums on top of the Sacramento Kings' Sawyer tower next to Golden 1 Center going on the market.

Building products mogul James Anderson bought the priciest of those, at $4.1 million. Kings' managing partner Vivek Ranadive recently bought one for $2.5 million, and Kevin Nagle, owner of the Sacramento Republic FC soccer team, paid $2.1 million for a tower condo.

Even new subdivisions in Davis, Sacramento and Placer County now offer homes that hit the million-dollar mark for buyers who buy the biggest homes and throw in upgrades and builder extras.

Realtor Linda Wood, board president of the Sacramento Association of Realtors, said million-dollar homes typically take longer to sell than moderate-priced stock. Fewer buyers are able to pay that much, and they are generally careful about what they buy.

But, with more Bay Area residents coming here, Wood said, "if they are priced right, they are selling quickly."

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