Valley Home Values Plummet in 2009

FRESNO, Calif. Though the dropping values can be devastating to homeowners, home buyers are seeing a silver lining. The dropping real estate prices also mean more people are now able to afford a home and that's helped keep realtors busy, selling more homes this year than the peak of the housing boom.

In the year 2010, Travis Brown is planning on making a big transition - from a tenant to a homebuyer. "It's the time to buy, prices are down, and people are selling. I'm in that stage where instead of renting, I need to do my own stuff, starting with buying a house," said Brown. Brown is also eligible for an $8,000 tax credit. That credit has already helped contribute to a record setting year for home sales in Fresno County, with more than 9,000 homes sold in 2009.

"What we're seeing is multiple offers on many of our listings, selling at list, or over list many times," said Fresno Association of Realtors President George Mees. Mees says the busy buyer market has actually created a shortage of homes available. In November of 2008, there were 4,676 homes on the market. Now, that number is closer than 2,600.

"We really need the listings. There's a demand out there. There are buyers wanting to make a purchase," said Mees.

2009 will also go down as a tough year for homeowners. Many of the homes on the market are foreclosures and others who purchased their home during the housing boom have seen their values drop by nearly 40 percent in the past three years. Realtor Don Scordino, who's helping Brown find his first home, says it appears that downward trend maybe over. "In the last seven months, they've basically stabilized. They've hardly varied at all," said Scordino.

In the meantime, Brown has found out buying a home can be tough. He was outbid on his first offer but he's far from giving up. "It's just a matter of getting a seller to pick me as a buyer," said Brown.

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