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Local Newspaper Page One Headline “IN Short SUPPLY”

Local newspaper, THE UNION, serving Nevada County, including Nevada City, Grass Valley, Penn Valley, and Alta Sierra, writes that “Inventory shortage drives Nevada County’s tight housing market.”

Greg Bulanti, President of Nevada County Board of Realtors was interviewed for the article and was quoted as to the effect on the Real Estate Market. Mr. Bulanti offered the reasons for our low inventory levels in Nevada County and statewide. Read the full article in link below.


Macro forces are at work on the buying and selling of residential homes in most areas. First, the housing crash of 2009 lowered home values by about 40%. Values are rebounding and homes in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Penn Valley and surrounding unincorporated areas have regained significant equity, but are not at peak values. Many home owners are not putting their houses on the market, waiting for values to continue to rise. They are not yet ‘housing mobile’ and easily able, either psychologically or monetarily able to downsize or move to be closer to family from out of the area. Second, as Mr. Bulanti points out, family formation among the Millennials has been delayed by an unwelcoming job market concomitant with heavy student debt. That formation of new families has historically fueled housing booms. The third factor also discussed is the damping effect on new home builders, just now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long. While builders are beginning to venture forth, they continue to be conservative.

How’s The Market?

What does this all mean to all of us in Nevada County? In other words, “How’s the (Real Estate) market”. In the first quarter of this year, houses For Sale on the market, at 338 units, were down 20.9% compared with the first quarter a year ago. Houses Sold were down 3.4%, so almost flat. Inventory of residential houses for sale first quarter was equal to 3.3 months of inventory. Most real estate experts recognize 6 months of inventory a normal market. “The article in the Union says we’re in a Sellers Market, so it’s a good time to list?” The answer to that question is yes, it’s a great time to sell a house anytime we’re in a seller’s market, defined by months-of-inventory less than ‘normal’ (six months). You have significantly less competition. And the laws of supply and demand tend to push home prices up.

How do realistically I look at the value of my house? Zillow says……

Real-Estate portals, Zillow and it’s brothers and sisters aggregate data from ‘Zillions’ of data points, and some of that data is simply wrong. They often do not give accurate valuations, so use them as a starting point to get a rough idea of what your house may be worth. It’s not realistic to regard them as the bible of real-estate. Talk to a good local real-estate agent to get a refined valuation. Location, neighborhood, condition of your house, elevation , lot size, landscaping and other factors come into play that a good agent can factor in, especially after seeing your house and talking to you…something a real-estate portal is not designed to do for you.  Sellers reading the Union article may respond, “The paper says it’s a sellers market with multiple offers. I can get much more money for my house, yes?”  The valuation of your house will still depend on competition. A good agent can do a Comparative Market Analysis to give you a realistic valuation and list price. Average sales in Nevada County over the past 15 months have been in the $400,000 range. Average for-sale listed prices over the same period has been in the $500,000 – $600,000 range.  Average price per square foot as of mid March was $195 per square foot in Nevada County.  Averages tell us something, but not the value of you own home in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Alta Sierra, Penn Valley or Auburn. There are variances in each city and neighborhood.

All Real Estate Is Local

For you, your family, and your house it hardly matters what the averages are. A good, full-time, hardworking Realtor will be a valuable ally and important team member to assist your decision-making process and to handle the myriad details and negotiations involved in selling your home (or even thinking about it), or purchasing another. Find an agent you trust, who will give you an honest appraisal after looking at the market and recent sales, take into account you home’s amenities and upgrades (or lack of), and help to enable your next adventure. Contact us at the Sierra Lifestyle Team for any questions you have or assistance we can offer.