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California Housing Market Surging After Wildfires

As Northern California rises from the ashes, so too does its housing market, suggests just-released Trulia data. After catastrophic fires swept through the area five months ago, it’s not only are resident choosing to stay—new ones are also aiming to move in, the report says. The heightening demand is creating a highly competitive market, with would-be homeowners jockeying for a seat at the buyer’s table.

To assess how the fires changed the region’s housing market—and, conversely, didn’t change it—Trulia looked at metrics such as prices, listings, and search data. What the company noticed is that the number of lots for sale rose, while the number of homes for sale took a sharp tumble.

Trulia also uncovered a pair of data points revealing current residents’ and non-residents’ desire to live there. First, even though citizens of Sonoma and Napa counties are looking outside the area at a higher rate than they did a year ago, most are still searching close to home. ZIP codes in the heavily devastated city of Santa Rosa are the top five ZIPs searched from inside the region, Trulia notes. There, empty-lot listings surged 235 percent to 231 in March, up from 69 the same period a year ago. Single-family home listing slid 16.6 percent to 267 from 320 in the same period.

Home prices have also risen appreciably. While Trulia attributes some of the increase to decreased supply, much of it simply stems from people’s desire to live in the area, the report says. Much of that demand stems from the San Francisco and Oakland areas, where prices are the steepest in the nation, Trulia says.

Inbound searches to Santa Rosa rose 8 percent in February from the same period in 2017. Searchers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose were the top out-of-towners seeking a spot in Sonoma County, Trulia reports.

“As the region rebuilds and new supply comes on the market, house hunters should snap up new supply if current conditions—including high Bay Area home prices—hold,” Trulia concluded in its report.

According to February study by Redfin, an estimated $1.5 trillion worth of homes are projected to be at risk from wildfires in the year to come—around 7.7 percent of the United States’ total housing value.

About Author: Alison Rich

Alison Rich has a long-time tenure in the writing and editing realm, touting an impressive body of work that has been featured in local and national consumer and trade publications spanning industries and audiences. She has worked for DS News and MReport magazines—both in print and online—since they launched.
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