Valley Real Estate

KFSN According to Dataquick information systems, the median home price in California dropped nearly fifteen percent last year.

From $472K in December of 2006 to $402K last month.

While real estate reports show fewer people are buying homes statewide... Some realtors we talked to say in the last month and a half they've sold more existing homes than they did during the same time period last year.

They say brand new homes like the one being built behind me, aren't so popular.

Workers aren't rushing to finish construction of these new homes in north Visalia.

On Thursday the census bureau reported a 14% drop in housing starts nationwide for last December making it the slowest period for new home construction in 16 years.

Carlos Aleman, Tulare Co. Assoc. Of Realtors: "It's just a reflection of what's going on out there. Some of these new construction builders just wanted to continue going and realize that they can't go as fast as they can."

Aleman says the home construction slump has stirred up more activity for real estate agents selling existing homes.

With interest rates so low, some realtors say they've received about twice as many calls from interested homebuyers than they usually do during the normally quiet months of December and January.

Aleman: "They don't want to start from scratch. They want a home that has the amenities and has the pool already built into it."

But the recent increased resale activity doesn't mean the housing market is on its way up. Real estate tracking company Dataquick reports in some markets home sales are the lowest they've been in 20 years.

In October Tulare County offered to reassess home values, so some residents can pay less in property taxes.

1700 people applied for a reassessment in 2007 and so far in 2008, almost 300 people have done so.

The last time the office came close to having that number of appeals was in 1987 with 750.

Greg Hardcastle, Tulare Co. Assessor: "There's probably more out there, one of the things I fear is people are in denial because they don't want to admit that the house that they bought two years ago may have fallen in value by $50,000."

Some reports show new home construction can have a direct impact on appliance sales...if fewer homes are being built then fewer appliances, such as refrigerators for the homes, are being purchased.

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