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Auburn-area housing market feeling impact of foreclosures

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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For those looking for bargains, now’s a good time to go house hunting, according to Jack Amick, sales manager for Windermere Real Estate in Auburn. Auburn has been spared the full brunt of the tidal wave of foreclosures, but bank-owned homes represent about 16 percent of the inventory right now. Currently, the Multiple Listing Service shows 244 homes for sale in Auburn, with 39 bank-owned (foreclosed properties), Amick said. 'In the last 30 days, there have been 22 sales, seven of those REO (bank-owned) or 31.8 percent,” he said. “It has varied from 23 to 35 percent over the last six months.” Of the seven bank-owned home sales, six were in the Auburn Greens — three of those condominiums sold for $70,000 or less and three sold for less than $100,00, Amick said. Overall, the average selling price for the preceding 30 days was $292,931 with an average asking price of $310,680, he said. That’s down from $375,000 for the Auburn/Newcastle region in March and $343,000 in February, according to previous Journal reporting. Auburn’s location has given it some immunity from the foreclosure boom in nearby cities. “I think the Auburn area has been a little more fortunate than areas closer to Sacramento where we’re seeing a larger number of homes going into foreclosure or that have been foreclosed on,” Bob Brunswick, president and chief operating officer for Coldwell Banker Northern California, said. “Auburn is less because it is a little more rural. As far as density of homes, it is not as severe. A lot of people have been in their homes a long time and many buyers, when they purchased, came in with good downpayments.” Recent efforts by the federal government to stem the tide of foreclosures likely will be only a slight temporary reprieve, he said. “It appears Congress has put a moratorium on the foreclosure process right now,” Brunswick said. “They’re trying to get through the inventory that is there and not flood the market with foreclosures. Banks don’t want to flood the market at holiday time.” That policy has created a slight slowdown overall in the last 30 to 45 days, he said. “A lot of adjustments are coming,” Brunswick said. “New bills (from Congress) are going to affect a very minute group of people. Coming in 2009, we’ll probably see another large slate of foreclosures coming forward.” Residents looking to put their homes on the market will find a competitive, but not impossible, field. “It is not like the market has dried up,” Brunswick said. “They’ve got to price it correctly. That is very critical right now more than ever. To say it is a buyers’ market, I usually don’t go to that extreme. Financing opportunities now are not what they once were.” But sellers may need to go the extra mile to get the home sold. “They need to have the home in the best condition possible and priced right,” Brunswick said. “If it is a good value, there is still a tremendous amount of buyers with good jobs. Banks are making loans available to people falling in the 20 percent downpayment range.” The price has adjusted downward 35 to 40 percent since the 2004-05 market, so many potential homebuyers who were priced out at that time are now finding they can afford a home, he said. Amick also stressed the importance of pricing a home correctly for the market. “You’ve got to be the low guy on the block,” he said. “If there are 20 houses or 10, (potential buyers) start at the bottom and work their way up, rather than the other way.” He sees sales moving in the below-$500,000 range and above $1 million, he said. “The tough (segment) is from $500,000 to $1 million and that’s where a lot of homes in Auburn are and they are just not selling,” he said. Amick doesn’t envision prices going much lower. “Right now we’ve got pretty good financing and interest rates are very good — they’ve come down a little,” he said. “If there is a time to buy, it is now. There are people sitting on the fence who are going to be sitting on the fence and all of a sudden, the bargains are going to be gone.” The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com or comment at Auburnjournal.com. -------- By the numbers As of Nov. 12, there were 41 pending sales with 17 (41.5 percent) of those bank-owned (foreclosures). l In the last six months, there were 168 sales; of that, 50 (29.8 percent) were bank-owned. l In the past 30 days, there have been 22 sales, 7 (31.8 percent) of them bank-owned, and three short sales (when a home sells for less than the owner paid). (Information from Multiple Listing Service, extracted by Jack Amick/Windermere Real Estate) A printout from the Placer County Clerk-Recorder’s office shows 458 foreclosures countywide from Sept. 1 to Nov. 10. According to the Web site realtytrac.com, there were 65 foreclosure filings in Auburn during September. For the same period, Roseville had 253; Lincoln, 143; Rocklin, 87; Loomis, 29; Granite Bay, 20; Meadow Vista, 19; Colfax, 17; Newcastle, 6 and Foresthill, 6.