Central Valley

Valley home sales down a third since last January

Home sales in the central San Joaquin Valley continued their slide last month, falling by more than a third in the Fresno area since this time last year, a tracking service reported today.

While the real estate market is clearly struggling, some agents say lower prices and interest rates, along with the revival of a government-backed loan, have sparked a burst in activity.

Sales of new and used houses in Fresno County fell 36.2% in January from a year previously, DataQuick Information Systems reported. The median price slid 13.8% to $250,000 from $290,000, the company said. Sales tumbled 30.4% and 46.5% respectively in Tulare and Madera counties. Median prices in those regions fell 15.5% to $210,000 and 22.5% to $232,500.

The sales fell at the same time real estate agents report more prospetive buyers are coming to open houses, apparently enticed off the sidelines by lower prices and loan rates.