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The Sacramento Business Review, produced by the Sacramento State College of Business, is the annual guide to statistics and emerging trends throughout the Capital city’s economy. Along with providing detailed local statistics from 2012, the Review forecasts continued improvement in the region’s housing market this year.

According to the report, the median home price through the 3rd quarter of 2012 reached $206,750, up 11.2% year over year from $185,000. Interestingly, this price still remains almost 50% below the peak levels we saw in 2005. Price per square foot in the region rose by approximately 6.5%, led by Placer County at over 8%.

Sales volume, while still low, rose modestly compared with 2011. Existing home sales, which represented 94% of all sales transactions, increased by 5% in the year. New home sales are rising off their 20 year low in 2011. Numbers last year account for less than 20% of the levels experienced from 2003 to 2005. The slight increases and quality statistics has gaged interest from major homebuilders, who have begun to purchase large amounts of finished lots in the region.

For 2013, The Review expects continued growth, assuming job growth doesn’t loses its current momentum. With rising demand and declining bank-owned properties on the market, home sales and prices should experience continued gains in 2013.

For more local reports and residential investment advice, follow this blog on and our investment projects on Facebook. You can read the full Business Review here

Record low mortgage rates and extremely low inventories continue to drive up residential real estate prices in Sacramento. The median home price in the city

from October to December 2012 was $155,000. This represents an increase of 3.3% over the previous quarter, and 22.6% over the year prior. A similar year over year increase is seen in average price per square foot, which now sits at $119.

Despite the drastic climb, sales prices in the region still remain more than 37% below levels five years prior. This gap is providing home buyers and investors with added confidence that prices will continue to rise in 2013. Although investors are snatching up much of the distressed properties on the market, retail home buyers are rushing into the market in hopes of not “missing out.”

So what should buyers in this market be watching for? First, much of the recent growth has been driven by todays rates. The Fed has vowed to keep target rates low until mid 2015, which bodes well for continued low mortgage rates. As well, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke said this week he is unsatisfied with the rate of the recovery, and will continue the mortgage bond buying process. Thus, rates are forecasted to remain low.

Secondly, home builders have begun to pick up production. New home sales increased 67% in 2012, but remain at 50 year lows. This will do little to dilute the scarce sacramento inventory, but the momentum will be important to watch.

Lastly, as prices rise, more and more homeowners will recover from their underwater mortgages and return to the home buying market. This should increase both supply and demand, while drastically reducing the number of short sales and distressed properties on the market. About 7 million borrowers remain underwater on their mortgages, down from 12 million at the peak of the down turn.

In case you haven’t heard, plenty of new real estate laws are taking effect in 2013. One of these is the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which aims to avoid foreclosure to help stabilize California’s shaky market. If things go according to plan, this will help diminish the negative effects of foreclosures on California families, communities, and overall economy.

This Bill of Rights will provide borrowers with more safeguards during the foreclosure process, and will give them the right to sue lenders for any violations. It also generally prohibits lenders from engaging in dual tracking, and requires a single point of contact for borrowers seeking foreclosure prevention alternatives. To learn more about this new bill of rights and how it can affect you, visit

It’s a new week and you know what that means – wild predictions of a housing recovery!!

With the stress of last week forgotten in the haze of a wonderful July 4th and a great weekend, it’s time to keep on our rose colored spectacles a little longer. Here are some of the rosier stats and then we’ll make some down-to-earth predictions.

– Even with a slowing economy, the housing market is picking up.

– New home sales are up over 18% from this time last year.

– Construction is up 20% in the first half of the year from 2011.

– Home prices are up 6.2% from this 3-month period last year.

So does this mean sellers, buyers, investors, banks, congressmen, and everyone else are running to call an end to the crisis? Well . . . for a change, they’re not. Even the most head-in-the-clouds individuals are being really cautious this time. Some of the sobering stats:

– Residential construction is at 2.3% of GDP, down from 6.3%.

– Home prices are down 1.9% total from last year.

– Rental demand is higher than ever with vacancy rates down to only 4.7%.

So there are reasons to be hesitant to make predictions, and I fully support that. Keep your chin up, keep contributing to our recovery, and your big payoffs will soon be in site.