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What goes down must come up
This 2,120-square-foot house at 1239 Laurel Place Circle sold for $215,000. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
The typical transaction involving an existing home closing escrow in Manteca is flat – for now.

The median price matches that of 2009 at $175,000. The median price could hit $183,209 within three months.

That is gleaned from basic sales data. So far this year, 61 homes have closed escrow with a median selling price of $175,000 while another 176 homes are pending with a median deal price of $186,055. There were 1,211 existing homes sold in 2009 with a median price of $178,000.

What will bring up the median is a surge in the number of homes selling for more than $250,000.

There were months in 2009 that there was either just a handful of $250,000 plus transactions or none.

Of the 61 transactions so far in January, 12 of them sold for $250,000 or more with the highest being $392,000 for a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home with 4,374 square feet at 464 Munter Court.

In December 23, of the 76 existing homes the changed hands sold for more than $250,000. That included $389,000 for the most expensive tract home – 1773 Huerto Place with five bedrooms and three bathrooms in 3,524 square feet. The most expensive though, was an estate-style property with a three bedroom, two bathroom 2,865-sqwuare-foot custom house with extensive landscaping plus an additional dwelling and horse barn and corrals on additional acreage that was featured on a Manteca Garden Club tour. The property at one time on Avenue D south of Manteca had a value in excess of $1.1 million. It closes escrow in December for $638,000.

A spot check of five neighborhoods ranging from pre-World War II central Manteca to Powers Tract from the 1950s, Shasta Park from the 1970s, Woodward Park from the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Silver Brook from the late 1990s and early 2000s as well shows most homes are up about $3 to $5 per square foot compared to what similar homes sold for in early-2009. That, however, doesn’t reflect the home’s condition but simply its square footage.

So what does 2010 look like?

Here are some projections based on the trends in various segments of the Manteca housing market:

•Condos – especially the ones on Cherry Lane are still trying to find bottom going from $220,000 four years ago to $46,200 this month. The last two 944-square-foot units with two bedrooms and 1.5 baths to sell in 2009 went for $51,500 and $49,000.

•You can still buy older two bedroom and one bathroom single family homes under $85,000. Seven such homes sold for that or less in the past three months. Prices haven’t really changed that much based on property type for the last three to six months. It is highly unlikely you are going to see prices fall much more if at all.

•Prices on three bedrooms and two bathroom homes across the board have bounced back slightly and will continue to do so. It is understandable since they are the most popular floor plan. Keep in mind that “bounce back” reflects the fact they have been selling for significantly below market.

•The upper market of tract homes above $350,000 remains soft at best for prices but you won’t see a return to the $15,000 plus monthly backslide in prices that swept though the market segment in late 2008 and the earlier part of 2009.

•The median price could finish 2010 at $8,000 higher than it is today ($175,000) but most of that will come from larger homes selling plus market forces coming to full grips that, many homes have been selling substantially below cost