Like many areas of the country, El Dorado County’s housing market is still struggling to recover from the economic downturn. However, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage reported today that sales at its Placerville and El Dorado Hills offices have soared during the first half of 2011.

Unit sales (as measured by transaction sides) are up 62 percent for the Placerville office and 29 percent for the El Dorado Hills office compared to the same period last year. The dollar volume of sales for the company has also had a big upswing, rising 34 percent in Placerville and 24 percent in El Dorado Hills since last year.

The gains are even more remarkable when compared to the market as a whole, which has had just a five percent increase in unit sales and actually suffered a seven percent drop in sales volume during the same period of time, according to El Dorado County MLS figures from Metrolist Services Inc.

“Our two El Dorado County offices are turning in a banner year, especially given the challenges of the real estate market,” said Kris Vogt, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Sacramento-Tahoe region. “There are a number of reasons why this is happening, but it really begins and ends with the outstanding job our agents and manager of these offices are doing in these two cities. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Katie Minor, manager of the Placerville and El Dorado Hills office, said many of the sales associates in her offices are having one of their best years in spite of the choppy market. “This really comes as no accident, but is the result of a lot of hard work,” she said. “They’re putting in long hours, helping each other out and doing whatever it takes to get the job done for their clients. That’s translating into more business than ever.”

Minor said that because of today’s challenging market, homebuyers and sellers understand more than ever the importance of hiring the best, most experienced professionals to assist them.  

“This really isn’t a time to take chances,” she said. “Our sales professionals are known for their professionalism, integrity, and local market expertise. They’re among the very best in the business, and I’m really proud that consumers throughout El Dorado County are putting their trust in our team.”

While no one can predict where the real estate market is going, Minor said that local homebuyers are beginning to realize that this might be an unusually good time to consider purchasing a home.

“Affordability is as good as it has ever been,” she said. “When you combine very attractive home prices with mortgage interest rates that are near historic lows, I think some hesitant buyers are starting to get off the fence and into the market.”

Minor added that sellers who may have been reluctant to list their home out of fear that they won’t get as much as they could have a few years ago are beginning to realize that they can move up to a better property in a market like this.

“There are huge, upscale homes and estates that are on the market at tremendous sale prices,” Minor said. “Homes that were going for $1.5 million or more are now on sale for under $1 million in some cases. So while you may get less on your sale, you’ll gain far more on your move-up purchase.”

Because of the upswing in business, Minor has expanded her sales team in El Dorado County, hiring six sales associates since the first of the year. The El Dorado Hills office now has 45 sales associates and the Placerville office has 33.

Placerville and El Dorado Hills aren’t the only offices of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage that are expanding.  Since last year, the company has increased its sales force across the Sacramento-Tahoe area nearly 13 percent to approximately 800 agents to meet growing business and customer demand.