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A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

December 31, 2009
Looking for some help regarding "The New Stability"
We've been thinking about a story that highlights one block, one cul de sac, or possibly even one house that exemplifies a phenomenon surely taking hold in some parts of the Sacramento area. It's what we are thinking of as "The New Stability."

What I mean is one place where a house or series of houses have been through constant turbulence - and now found a new buyer or occupant at a sensible price. My own little universe in Elk Grove has something like this beginning. I am looking for something similar or farther along.

Here's a little story to set the stage: The house to the right of us, for example, sold first - new in 2002 - when we bought our own new house in Elk Grove.
 It sold again at the very top of the market in April 2005 to a Bay Area investor - for twice its original value.
 It sat empty for quite awhile. Then it was rented to a single mom and a couple of kids for about a year.
 They left suddenly without explanation.
 Then there was a lease-option sign in the front yard.
 Another couple with a teenager moved in, leasing to own. They lasted about a year, then learned that the Bay Area investor was pocketing the money and not paying the bank.
 They left suddenly, too, forced out by foreclosure against the investor.
 We kept thinking, when is this ever going to end? (And this is going to kill our value).
 The house set empty for a few weeks. Then a guy bought it for about what it sold for in 2002, about $210K.  He fixed up the battered interior and is talking about planting flowers in the spring. He represents the new stability. This should last now, which means one nearby house has now stopped the downward spiral of boom and bust. Nearby, however, another is vacant. It's had three owners in six or seven years. The 2007 buyer's short sale didn't work.
 Behind me the grass is getting uncomfortably high, always a bad sign.

So that's what we're looking for, a block, a cul de sac or a house where everyone is new and bought at good recent prices, where the house or houses are no longer subject to turbulence. That phenomenon multiplied by the hundreds, maybe thousands as buyers move in, is what is going to turn traumatized streets into neighborhoods again. We want to capture that sense of renewal after three straight heavy years of foreclosures - 2007, 2008 and 2009.

If you know of any such places please let me know. 916-321-1102. or jwasserman@sacbee.com

P.S. We are also thinking that the first wave of people who lost their homes to foreclosure may be in shape to buy again. That first wave has endured the trauma, probably had some time to rebound and get their finances together. If that's you we'd love to hear your story to put alongside others for a big story. That, too, may represent the new stability.

Thank you all. Happy New Year.

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