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Folsom, El Dorado Hills real estate market showing strong rebound

By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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Home sales and prices have been going through the roof in El Dorado Hills and Folsom most of this year, driven by low interest rates, a slowly reviving economy and low inventories of houses for sale.

As of this writing, there were 112 homes listed for sale in El Dorado Hills. That compares with 350 to 380 homes on the market in the past few years, a third of what there used to be.

“If no new listings came up, we would have less than a 30-day supply. That’s astounding,” said Jim Barnes, marketing director for Connie Barnes Real Estate Sales and Marketing Group, the top home seller in El Dorado Hills.

“In the past few months, there’s just been a lack of product in all price ranges,” confirmed Manny Cazares, a Realtor at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in El Dorado Hills.

“Homes priced at under $700,000 are selling quite fast, with multiple offers. If it’s a nice property, in a matter of a week or two or sooner,” he said. Homes listed above $700,000 are seeing a more sluggish selling pace.

“But $700,000 and below, sales are hot,” said Cazares. “If it’s a great home, it’s getting anywhere from two to five offers and in most cases, there’s usually at least one all-cash deal.”

Nadean Music, a Realtor with Intero Real Estate Services in El Dorado Hills, traces the heating up of the home sales market from last spring. “That’s when my business started turning around,” she said.

With the tight inventory of homes for sale, prices are increasing about 1 percent a month, she said. “In El Dorado Hills, offers are starting at asking price or a little above.”

Because rising prices are based so much on the shrunken inventory, she sees the current heated up home selling pace as “kind of a false market, a false little boom.”

Judy Durket, a Realtor with Intero Real Estate Services in El Dorado Hills, believes local area price increases are due primarily to the low housing inventory.

“I don’t think they’re going to stay up and keep moving up,” she said. “I think we’re going to start seeing inventory increase as prices maybe go down a bit again.”

Dave Ransom, a home loan consultant with Citibank in Folsom, on the other hand, believes today’s market is more than a blip and has been for the past nine months.

“When a house comes on the market, if it’s priced at $300,000 or $350,000 it just goes right away, and usually for multiple offers,” he said.

He tells of holding an open house with a Realtor, listed as a short sale at $370,000 early this month that came out on Multiple Listing at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

“We had 40 people come through in four hours on Saturday. By Wednesday, the Realtor had nine offers. The bank accepted an offer of $392,000,” Ransom said.

“I’ve got customers who are pre-approved for loans and they’re getting beat out,” he added. “I’ve got one client I’ve been working with for nine months. She’s been approved for up to a $420,000 loan and can’t find a house.

“Every time we find a house, she’s getting beat out on it, and she’s putting 10 percent down. Somebody’s always coming up with either more down, a higher offer or a cleaner offer. We’ve gone through six offers with her,” Ransom said.

“In most areas here, if you have a listing under $360,000 there are a lot of cash buyers out there, many with 50 percent down, and they’re buying them as rentals,” he said. Barnes said the Connie Barnes shop has seen offers by investors for as many as five houses at a time.

Dave Meehan, a Realtor with Lyon Real Estate in El Dorado Hills, said the buyers’ market window “absolutely” is shrinking, along with home inventory, which is driving up prices and multiple offers, with some houses selling the first day on the market.

“This is not a blip,” he declared. “I believe the market will continue strong as long as interest rates and inventory remain low.”