The Stockton Record reported last Thrusday that San Joaquin Counties home prices seem to be moving up.  This is great news for us!  Take a look at the article.

The San Joaquin County real estate market appears to be on the rebound, industry professionals said after a July sales report posted a significant gain in the median price.

While the number of homes sold in July miorred the June figure, San Joaquin County's  median home price bumped to $165,000, a 10 percent increase over the previous month's $150,000, according to the Grupe Real Estate-Trendgraphix monthly sales report, based on Multiple Listing Service data.

It's the largest single-month increase since home prices began to slide two years ago and is an indicator to some real estate professionals that the housing market hit bottom in April, when the median price was $145,000, and is on the rebound.

"We haven't seen (the median at) $165,000 since December.  The past seven months had been pretty steady, a little up or down, but what this tells me is that we have some stabilization and are potentially heading up," Grupe Real Estate broker Jerry Abbott said.

In July 2008, the median price was $215,000 but sliding downward.

The optimisim goes only so far, however.  Abbott and his industry colleagues have reserved some concern in anticipation of a second wave of foreclosures that banks have held off the market in an effort to help sturggling homeowners modify loans.

Prices are on the upswing because competition between buyers is escalated by a lack of inventory on the market.  If too many homeowners are unable to rework their loans, and their foreclosed properties flood the market, the law of supply and demand could dictate a lower pricing point for buyers, experts say.

"There are multiple offers on everything right now," Stockton real estate agent Art Godi said.  "There's a pent-up demand that is driven by a low inventory.  It's so competitive right now, you have buyers willing to make offers above the asking price before they see the home, because they're worried if they wait, it will be sale pending before they even have a shot at it."

Buyers are also eager to make their purchases while interest rates remain low and before an $8,000 federal tax credit expires Novemeber 30.

Keller Williams Realty agent Jill Flewitt of Tracy said she believes the $165,000 median is a little bit lower than where prices should be.  However, she said real estate's seeming recovery is unnatural.

"The banks are creating an artificial demand by holding onto foreclosed properties, and that's driving up the price," she said.  "Until they release the defaulted properties onto the market, we have no idea what the market actually is."

Abbott said foreclosures make up 52 percent of the San Joaquin County market, and short sales- homes offered for less than their owners owe- make up 31 percent.  The other 17 percent are conventional or what Abbott calls "organic" sales.

A $15,000 median price increase in one month will become significant, some say, when the banks relate the price differential as equity.

"The true test is going to be when a homeowner goes to the bank and asks for a $15,000 line of equity, and the bank gives it to them," Stockton real estate broker Paul Jacobsen said.  "That's when we'll know for sure that home values are increasing."

Reid, Keith. "Median Home Price Jumps." The Record [Stockton] 13 Aug. 2009, Business sec. Print.