Home Front: Quarterly home sales worst yet for Sacramento area
Sacramento-area home builders just keep singing the blues.
July, August and September brought their worst quarter yet in this long housing crash: just 616 sales in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties, the Folsom-based Gregory Group reports today.
Actually, nearly all the region’s sales were in Placer and Sacramento counties alone. The suburban cities of Placer County accounted for 44 percent of third-quarter sales of new homes in the region. Sacramento County’s outer suburban rings comprised 43 percent.
The tough numbers reflect California’s expired $10,000 tax credit for buyers of new, unoccupied homes – and the imminent end of an $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers, said Gregory Group President Greg Paquin. "All the evidence was that people were coming in asking how to use the tax incentive," he said. "That was a big selling point."
Wednesday, however, the state Senate voted to extend the state’s $10,000 tax credit to another 4,300 buyers. The Assembly is expected to vote on it next week.
The newest sales numbers bring the year’s new-home tally to just 2,286 through Sept. 30. At that pace, sales may fall below 3,000 this year in the six-county capital region, a level not seen since the 1960s. Statistics this year from researcher MDA DataQuick show that closed escrows for new houses are about 9 percent of all home sales. In 2005, home builders claimed 25 percent.
Top five cities for sales in July, August and September:
• Roseville, 167 sales.
• Elk Grove west of Highway 99, 88 sales.
• Rancho Cordova, 79 sales.
• Lincoln, 57 sales.
• Rocklin, 52 sales.
No more up-front fees
Here’s mortgage news worth repeating: As of last Sunday, it’s illegal in California for loan modification companies or attorneys to charge up-front fees to help you get your loan modified.
Last Sunday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB94, by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, to ban up-front fees. No exceptions. The game now requires a loan modification firm or attorney to clearly spell out what steps will be taken on your behalf with lenders. A struggling borrower does not pay until the firm or attorney has performed all those steps. If, however, the lender declines to modify a loan after those steps have been taken, you must still pay.
Before you sign anything, the loan modification firm must tell you, in your own language, that you can get these same services free from government-approved nonprofit loan counseling firms. More information: www.dre.ca.gov.
Free foreclosure workshops
The Sacramento Mutual Housing Association will hold a pair of free foreclosure prevention workshops next week for people struggling with mortgages.
The workshops will explain the federal Making Home Affordable loan modification program and other options to keep your house. It will also explain steps of the foreclosure process and how to avoid scams. During sessions, people can schedule a free individual session with a foreclosure prevention specialist.
First session: Monday at 6 p.m. at Mutual Housing at Lemon Hill, South Sacramento. Address: 6000 Lemon Hill Ave.
Second session: Thursday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Sacramento Association of Realtors. Address: 2003 Howe Ave., Sacramento.
Preregistration is required. Call Tara at Sacramento Mutual Housing Association, (916) 453-8400, extension 43, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Links: www.localhomelink.com
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