Large numbers of distressed - and discounted - homes on the market continued to punish Sacramento-area homebuilders in April, making the capital region one of the state's weakest markets this spring, the California Building Industry Association announced Wednesday in a statewide report.
Builders in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties reported to their statewide industry trade group that they sold 290 houses in April.
But that was down from 297 in March, and it was 48 percent fewer than the same time in 2008, the CBIA said.
The sales numbers put the capital region's builders on track for an even worse year than 2008, when they sold just 4,847 homes, according to Hanley Wood Market Intelligence of Costa Mesa. Most in the industry believe last year had to be the worst for builders in at least two decades.
Sales in previous years: (Hanley Wood numbers for El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba counties)
This hard fall - blame now the abundance of cheap bank repos and short sales on the market as many of the homes sold in recent years are sold again - has led to widespread downsizing of the industry and numerous builder bankruptcies.
The median price for a new home in the four-county area was $292,900 in April. And that, too, was down 10 percent from the same time last year - the CBIA reported.
Fairfield-Vacaville, too, is in the same boat. Its sales were down more than 10 percent from March and down 53 percent from April 2008.
Statewide trends were a little better in April. Builders reported a 6.7 percent increase in sales over March, though sales were down almost 31 percent from April 2008.
But the industry said it's noticing that the severity of year-over-year declines is lessening in recent months.
Builders in Yuba and Sutter counties reported 33 sales in April, up from 19 in March. But sales were down 25 percent from the same time last year.
The median April sales price in the two counties: $237,000.
Photo: Sacramento Bee