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Sales of new homes remain sluggish in Yuba-Sutter
• 58 in 2009.
• 48 in 2010.
• n 41 in 2011.
• n 41 in 2012.
• 181 in 2009.
• 59 in 2010.
• 56 in 2011.
• 60 in 2012.
Note: 2012 data incomplete because of missing sales in the second half of December.
If house sizes were used as a metaphor to show last year's growth in new home sales, Sacramento would be a mansion and Yuba-Sutter would be a studio with no running water and a leaky roof.
A statewide surge in new home sales last year left Yuba-Sutter in the dust, but at least things are looking up, analysts said.
In 2012, new home sales throughout the state increased by 16 percent, marking the first year-to-year growth California has seen since 2005. That is good news for the housing market, said DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage, even for Yuba and Sutter counties, which when combined only sold three more homes than in the previous year.
In 2012, he said, 101 new homes sold in Yuba-Sutter. Of those, 41 sold in Sutter County and 60 sold in Yuba County.
"The potential might have been there," said Greg Paquin, founder of the real estate research company The Gregory Group. "There's just not a lot of projects."
Building new homes, at least in Yuba-Sutter, has hit devastating lows, said Holly Shackleford, business development representative at Interwest Homes.
Interwest sold 16 homes in 2012, up from eight in 2011, Shackleford said. Low prices and a shortage of resale homes are among the contributing factors.
"Interest rates are by far saving us right now because they are so low," she said.
However, there is no such thing as an "easy sale" anymore, Shackleford said. And until families feel more confident about the housing market, real estate agencies like Interwest will continue to see only a fraction of the sales they did seven years ago.
But Yuba and Sutter counties aren't the only regions in the state that are seeing slow growth.
Paquin said new home sales in Glenn and Butte counties are sporadic as well. This is normal, however, as the trend to buy new homes sweeps from the Bay Area to the larger inner cities, and then out to the less populated areas.
The numbers look lower when compared to other regions in the state, such as Sacramento, which is seeing a much larger increase in new home sales, he said. But that is no reason to assume that California's rural and semi-rural areas won't be able to one day see some of the high amount of sales they used to.
In other words, a flourishing housing market may still be in the state's future.
"It's coming," he said.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.