North State real estate market stays hot through coronavirus; sales also up across California
Like its summers, the North State’s housing market continues to run hot.
Home sales in Shasta County in July increased 22% from June and jumped 27.5% from the same month in 2019, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) reported.
Low interest rates and few homes on the market drove demand.
Statewide, the real estate market has rebounded from the lull it experienced in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Home sales in July reached their highest level in more than two and a half years, CAR said.
July sales in California jumped nearly 30% from June and were up 6.4% from a year ago on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“With this year’s delayed start of the homebuying season due to the pandemic, we expect home sales to remain robust in August and September, extending the season later than what’s typical,” CAR President Jeanne Radsick said in a news release.
With the pandemic, the California Association of Realtors guidelines state that individual live showings can be done by appointment only. Open houses, which can attract crowds of potential buyers, are not allowed.
Rules for individual showings include that only a single agent and no more than two other individuals can be present during the showing. And anybody entering the home must declare that they are not sick with a cold or the flu.
Shasta County’s real estate market is dealing with a historic low number of homes on the market.
As of Monday, there were 513 homes for sale in the county, compared to 1,027 a year ago, a 50% plunge in inventory, Redding realtor Brad Garbutt of Vista Real Estate said.
“Pent-up demand, low inventory and low interest rates are driving demand, creating a seller's market,” Garbutt said, noting that nearly two-thirds of all sales in July were homes in the $200,000-$400,000 range.
Garbutt said there are still people who want to sell, but they are afraid to have would-be buyers come through their home because of the pandemic.
For the most part, home sales were up in other North State counties:
- In Butte County, homes sales in July rose 8% from June but were down 0.5% from a year ago.
- July home sales in Tehama County were up 28.9% from June and up 13.7% from a year ago.
- In Siskiyou County, home sales were up 45.2% in July compared to June and up 15.1% from a year ago.
Meanwhile, pending sales, or the number of homes in Shasta County that have entered into contract, were up 40% from a year ago, from 523 to 731.
Jeb Allen, co-owner of Palomar Builders, believes the low number of homes for sale will probably be a problem for a while.
"We see a low inventory for at least three years," Allen said.
Allen broke ground on the Stonesfair subdivision in south Redding in early June. He has 14 homes under construction and said he has sold eight.
Palomar is one of several contractors building new homes in Redding. While housing starts in the city were down about 10% through July of this year, they more than doubled compared to the same seven months in 2018.
Construction in Shasta County remains strong in large part due to momentum from rebuilding after the 2018 Carr Fire.
David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding.