Real estate prices and sales continued rising in Solano County last month, according to a newly released real estate information service report.
The cost of a median-priced home here rose nearly 17 percent last month over a year ago and the number of home sales here increased nearly 12 percent in that time, according to DataQuick's latest report.
Last month, Solano County's median-priced home was $221,500, compared to last November, when it was $190,000, according to DataQuick's latest report. In November 2011, 545 homes were sold here, while last month, 584 changed hands.
The area's price increases were better than three of the other nine Bay Area counties, but lagged behind six others. The percentage of increased sales here saw the area's smallest increase. Sonoma County's 12.4 percent was the next smallest.
Napa County's 33.3 percent was the sharpest jump in sales, but those figures include a much smaller number of homes, from 99 to 133. Napa County's median-priced home rose just over 21 percent, to $550,000 from $452,000 last year.
The local real estate market's behavior is consistent with the rest of the Bay Area's, which "continued its march toward normalcy in November," with strong sales and rising prices fueled by increased demand, shrinking inventory, record-low mortgage rates and robust investor interest, DataQuick reported.
"This is great news and we are indeed on a 'march to normalcy,' Solano Association of Realtors President Paul Winders said. "This is the highest November sales number since the peak of the market in 2006. Buyers have confidence again in our market and realize that if they act quickly they will find there are lot of homes out there they can buy for less than it would cost to build them."
The recovery seems to have begun in February in Vallejo, where "there is lots of demand and very little supply," he said. "Supply will increase when more people with equity in their property decide to sell, to move into something bigger or smaller or to relocate."
Local Realtor Linda Cook said she's concerned that more than a quarter of Bay Area homes that sold went to out-of-area investors. That's up from the previous month and from a year ago, and it's a trend she said may be even more pronounced in the Vallejo area.
"Current trends are likely to stay with us well into spring, at least," DataQuick president John Walsh said. "There are still mortgage finance issues. Some loan categories are not active. But right now, low mortgage interest rates make up for that. With the mismatch between supply and demand, there's upward pressure on prices."
The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $438,000 last month. That was up 5.3 percent from October and 20.5 percent from $363,500 in November a year ago. Last month's median was the highest since August 2008, when it was $447,000.
The peak of the current real estate cycle was $665,000 in June/July 2007.
Fewer of the properties sold last month were distressed sales like foreclosures and short sales, the report shows.
Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at Rachelvth. ___