A scarcity of homes on the market pushed home prices in the greater Sacramento area to new post-recession highs last month with the average sale price in the tri-county region jumping 7 percent from last year to $353,000, according to a new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

The figures are based on Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties.

El Dorado County led the way with the average sale price in February surging to $482,000, up 19 percent from a year ago when it stood at $404,000. Placer County followed with an 11 percent price increase to $444,000 last month, up from $402,000 last year. And the average sale price in Sacramento county rose 4 percent to $310,000 from $297,000 last February.

Continuing to drive prices higher is a severe shortage of homes on the market, which has resulted in buyers competing for the relative few homes being listed – in some cases prompting multiple offers and bidding wars for choice properties.

Sac Tri-County Stats - Feb. 2016

“We thought inventory was low last year at this time, and it was,” said Kris Vogt, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “We couldn’t imagine inventory getting a whole lot lower, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now. In some areas it’s running almost half of what it was a year ago.”

In the tri-county area, the number of active listings tumbled 33 percent in February from a year ago to 3,463 units, down from 5,179 in February 2015.

The greatest decline was in Sacramento County itself where inventory has plummeted 39 percent, with 1,979 active listings compared to 3,221 last year at this time. Homes for sale are down 26 percent in Placer County with just 907 units on the market, and down 21 percent in El Dorado County with only 577 active listings.

Vogt said the sharp decline in homes for sale presents a tremendous opportunity for homeowners who have been thinking about selling. “When you consider how few listings there are right now and how much sellers are getting for good properties, if you’ve ever thought about selling you probably can’t find a better time than now,” he said.

As expected, the shortage of homes on the market is starting to have an impact on sales in the tri-county region, where there were 1,653 sales last month, down 3 percent from a year ago. Tri-county home sales in February were up 7 percent from January, although a seasonal increase is to be expected.

El Dorado County, which had the biggest price increase, also had the sharpest sales decline with 144 transactions closing in February, down 11 percent from a year ago. Sales in Placer County were down 3 percent year-over-year last month, followed by a 2 percent decline in Sacramento County.

Some other key findings from the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Sacramento Regional Housing Report for last month:

  • Year-to-date sales in the tri-county area through February reached 3,191, up 2 percent from the same two months in 2015;
  • Sales over the past 12 months in the tri-county area climbed 11 percent to 28,492 units compared to the previous 12 months;
  • The average sale price in the tri-county region through February is up 9 percent to $350,000;
  • The average sale price in the region over the last 12 months rose 7 percent to $347,000 compared to the same period the previous year.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage serves Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties with nearly 800 agents and 12 offices. For more information, please call 925-771-5285.