Central Valley

Housing numbers rise a bit

The home price free-fall continued in March throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley, but sales volume picked up a bit, just-released statistics from Data- Quick Information Systems show.

Home prices in the region are back to what they were in 2003.

Merced County homes sold for a median $201,500 last month, which was 34.7 percent less than March 2007 and $23,500 less than February 2008.

Stanislaus County homes sold for a median $232,163 last month, which was 33.5 percent less than March 2007 and $18,087 less than February 2008.

San Joaquin County homes sold for a median $265,000 last month, which was 36.1 percent less than March 2007 and $10,000 less than February 2008.

Tuolumne County homes sold for a median $260,000 last month, which was 21 percent less than March 2007 and $10,000 less than February 2008.

Sales volume increased in all four counties compared with February, but sales remained far behind previous years.

In Stanislaus, for example, 495 homes sold this March compared with 405 in February, 589 in March 2007, 941 in March 2006 and 1,224 in March 2005.

Statewide last month, 24,565 homes sold for a median $358,000. That price was 26 percent less than in March 2007.

Home prices in most Northern San Joaquin Valley cities have dropped significantly more than those elsewhere in California.

Newman has suffered one of the state's largest declines in home values: The median March sales price was $177,250, down nearly 54 percent from last year.

Plummeting prices

West Modesto, specifically the 95351 ZIP code, had homes sell for a median $138,000 last month, which was nearly 52 percent less than a year ago. Patterson prices plunged more than 43 percent to $257,000. Los Banos fell more than 45 percent to $196,500.

DataQuick on Tuesday also released foreclosure statistics for the first quarter of 2008, which showed a record number of homes were repossessed by lenders.

During January, February and March, there were 1,596 homes lost to foreclosure in Stanislaus County. An additional 3,192 were sent notices of default, the first step in the foreclosure process.

In San Joaquin County during those months, 2,436 homes were foreclosed and 4,657 received default notices.

In Merced County, 868 were foreclosed and 1,759 received default notices.

Statewide, 47,171 homes were foreclosed and 113,676 received default notices.

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