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Opendoor, a web-based home buyer and seller, has bought more than 100 homes in Sacramento. Here's how their service works – and how to tour a home with an Opendoor sign.

Sacramento’s home real estate market remained cool in the opening months of 2019, but there are hints a springtime buzz may be on the way.

That is, if the rains ever stop.

Homes sales so far this year are low, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data consultancy that monitors housing trends. And the number of homes available for sale also remains low, suggesting would-be buyers could face stiff competition for more desirable houses.

But houses have become more affordable in recent months thanks to plateauing prices and to a notable dip in mortgage interest rates down to nearly 4 percent. Analysts say that appears to be encouraging early spring shoppers.

“I think some of the home shoppers who’d retreated to the sidelines last year – priced out or fearful of a market peak – are back in a shopping mode because of the drop in mortgage rates,” CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage said.

Linda Wood, a Realtor with Dunnigan in the Sierra Oaks office, said she anticipates a normal spring for both buyers and sellers, where correctly priced homes will sell, but where competition won’t be crazy like it was this time last year.

“As soon as we got a break in the weather, we got busy again,” she said. “It’s still a wait and see what it really pans out to be.”

CoreLogic reports the median home sale figure in Sacramento County increased slightly in February, from $350,000 the previous month to $354,000. But that remains below the most recent high median of $365,000 in September of last year.

A recent analysis by the Sacramento Association of Realtors indicates that four out of 10 homes sold recently in Sacramento were in the $300,000 to $399,000 range.

Sacramento real estate appraiser and analyst Ryan Lundquist said moderate price increases may encourage buyers and sellers into the market. “Price increases are not going crazy,” Lundquist said. “The market is competitive, but it’s not insane price increases like we saw in the past.”

The Sacramento home sales pattern roughly mirrored the Bay Area’s, where the number of homes sold increased from January to February, but remained low compared to past years, according to CoreLogic data. Median home sales in the Bay Area – at $770,000 in February – remain much higher than in the Sacramento area.

In a list dominated by Bay Area cities, Folsom and Elk Grove made the top 15 in SmartAsset’s recent ranking of the best places to raise a family on the West Coast.

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Tony Bizjak has been reporting for The Bee for nearly 30 years. He covers transportation, housing and development and previously was the paper’s City Hall beat reporter.
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