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It is turning into a gentle rolling market
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The Manteca housing market appears to be stabilizing in terms of bottom prices.

After closed escrow prices in the first three months of the year were pushing the median price of homes that were close to $171,000, the market has regained some ground.

Median sale prices of the 415 homes that have closed escrow so far this year is $175,000. That is 5.7 percent off the median of $185,000 in 2010 that represented a $7,000 jump per home from the 2009 median level of $178,000.

Re-enforcing the upward trend are the 175 homes currently in escrow with a median pending price of $180,000. If all of those deals go through, it will increase the median statistic by just under $2,400 per home to $177,400.

It illustrates what some Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop real estate professions expected would happen four years ago when the market’s free fall started slowing at the point when it became affordable for most people who work in Manteca and were long-term renters to buy a home.

In a nutshell, they expected the bottom to be a gentle roller coaster. That is exactly what the Manteca market has been doing since 2009. The median went from $178,000 that year up to to $185,000 in 2010 to $175,000 so far this year with pending sales sending the market toward $178,000.

The difference in monthly home payments with that type of variance is right around $30 a month assuming interest rates are flat-lined.

It underscores the affordability of the market.

First-time buyers in position to buy will see little, if any advantage, from waiting for the next gentle dip. The reason is simple. Everyone expects the Federal Reserve to clamp down slightly on the money supply which has a solid chance of increasing the cost of borrowing. That, in turn, would increase the actual out-of-pocket costs each month to buy a home.

At this time, a buyer’s biggest concern in buying a home isn’t the price as much as it is the interest rate.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail