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Fewer homes for sale, demand make for seller's market in Ceres
Home for sale
This 3 bedroom /2-bath home on Joy Avenue is typical of homes available in Ceres. It is 1,108 square feet and priced at $250,000. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

"For Sale" signs are a not so common sight in Ceres neighborhoods.

Healthy demand for homes and a smaller-than-average inventory means Ceres remains in a seller's market.

"We have about two months of inventory on the market," said Renee Ledbetter, an agent with EXIT Realty's Ceres office.

Last week Ledbetter said there were 38 "average" 3BD/2BTH homes on the market in Ceres sized at approximately 1,200 square feet. The median price was at $312,000, which is "significantly higher than it was a few years ago," she said.

In 2015 the sold inventory totaled 311 homes. In 2017, that number fell to 271, probably because prices have gone up. In 2015, the average home in Ceres sold for $239,750 to now an average of $279,000.

During the recent holiday period, Ceres homes stayed on the market a little longer than other times of the year but typically the homes are selling 30 to 45 days depending on price.

Ledbetter said the housing market reflects a lack of move-up newer housing and a lack of new smaller homes for persons wanting to downsize.

"There's not a whole lot of inventory for people to move up to, new housing for people who have been in older established homes that are looking to move up, maybe to a larger home, or even to a smaller home if they're looking to downsize. Maybe all the kids have left the nest and now they don't need that four- or five-bedroom home and they'd like to downsize. We just don't have that type of new housing for them to downsize to."

She said Ceres is in a catch 22 situation until new housing is constructed and not a lot of construction is expected.

Ledbetter said first-time home buyers are looking but so are those re-entering the market who went through foreclosures or short sales and who maybe have cleaned up their credit or boosted their income levels.

She expects sales activity to pick up in early- to mid-February from the holiday slowdown as people are waiting income tax refund checks toward closing costs or down payments.

Others often start looking to buy when the new year rolls around.

"In January people have that New Year's Resolution that ‘we're buying a house' or they're ready for a change."

A new 80-lot housing project is ready to roll in Westpointe Estates at Whitmore and Malik avenues. KB Homes is currently going through the entitlement process. The Ceres Planning Commission could be evaluating the request in February. The project originally was proposed by Joe Woo in 2006 with the lots having never been built.