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Ed Fuller: Distressed Housing Sales in California Down Dramatically Since 2009

The California Association of Realtors reported this week that vastly improved home prices over the past five years have changed the landscape of California’s distressed housing market, which is now just a fraction of what it was during the Great Recession.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

In January 2009, 69.5 percent of all homes sold in California were distressed, which includes short sales and real estate-owned (REOs) properties. Five years later, that figure has shrunk to 15.6 percent.

More specifically, REOs comprised 60 percent of all sales in January 2009, while short sales made up 9.1 percent of all sales but rose to as high as 25.6 percent in January 2012. Short sales currently make up 9.2 percent of all sales.

During the same time period, California’s median home price has soared more than 64 percent, from $249,960 in January 2009 to $410,990 in January 2014.

The statewide share of equity sales hit a high of 86.4 percent in November 2013 and has been above 80 percent for the past seven months.

In some of the hardest-hit California counties, the distressed market in January 2009 was 93.6 percent in Stanislaus County, 93 percent in San Joaquin County, 89.5 percent in San Benito County, 86.1 percent in Kern County, 85.6 percent in Sacramento County, 84.2 percent in Fresno County and 83.6 percent in Monterey County.

The distressed market now has shrunk to 24.8 percent in Stanislaus, 25.1 percent in San Joaquin, 17.5 percent in San Benito, 18.4 percent in Kern, 19.9 percent in Sacramento, 26.3 percent in Fresno and 16.9 percent in Monterey counties.

Of the reporting counties, San Luis Obispo, Orange, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties held the lowest share of distressed sales in January 2014 at 10.2 percent, 9.5 percent, 7.7 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

In the Santa Barbara metropolitan area, 22 percent were reported as distressed sales in 2009 and 9 percent in 2013, according to Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service records.

Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at [email protected] or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.

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