Solano Real Estate Scene: Median home prices stabilize

For the first time since 2011, the median price paid for an existing single-family home in the Bay Area fell by 2.3 percent, from $950,000 to $928,000, according to the California Association of Realtors. Marin County fell by 3.7 percent and Santa Clara by 5.6 percent and, interestingly, Solano County saw an increase of 1.1 percent and remains the most affordable of the nine counties. Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara all remain well over $1.2 million while Solano remains just under $500,000. The reason I have confidence in our market is that credit standards and lender scrutiny have been strict since the crash in 2008. The only buyers who have been able to obtain easy qualifier loans, also known as stated income-type loans, have been buyers and investors with substantial downpayments and decent credit. Ninety-nine and a half percent of every mortgage loan closed in Solano County over the past 10 years have been credit- and income-qualified, fully documented borrowers. With unemployment at a 50-year low and Solano County being blessed with a state prison, nearby oil refineries, Travis Air Force Base, Genentech, several hospitals and the University of California, Davis just 20 minutes away, buying a first home or moving up to the dream home sure looks like a safe move. Unemployment is low in my hometown of San Francisco and on the peninsula but, holy cow, $1.5 million will get you a 1,300-square-foot, 70-year-old house. The thing that fascinates me is how much big tech companies pay a lot of their employees, which makes it possible for young people to buy a house for $1.5 million in San Bruno. Solano County sure looks good to me and our homeowners are not dependent on big tech paying 30-year-old computer geeks $500,000 per year in stock options and restricted stock units.