I charted numbers from the local MLS to get the average home price for every home sold in Shasta County in six month intervals since 2000. You can click on the chart to enlarge, but even small, the trend is evident. Home prices started out in the first half of 2000 at an average of $138,327 each, or $79 per sq ft. Prices peaked in the first half of 2006 at $328,753, or $202 per sq ft. For the first half of 2010, the average home price was $202,361, or $118 per sq ft.
Real estate as an investment is typically a long term affair, unless we have a bubble. If you bought in 2000 and held, it looks like you've done OK despite the bubble. If you bought in 2000 and sold in early 2006, you killed. If you bought in the bubble, you got killed. Such is the lethal nature of investment hysteria.
Longtime readers will recall this chart from the California Association of Realtors for median home prices statewide. Median price is different than average price, but in general comparison, Shasta County never reached as high, or fell as far, as the rest of the state. A kinder, gentler bubble.
The chart below shows the number of homes sold in the periods corresponding to the first chart. A total of 23,985. There was a lot more activity in the first half of the decade.
During the first 6 months of 2000, there were 1040 sales transactions. At the peak of activity in the second half of 2005, that number was 1539. In real estate jargon, there are 2 "sides" to every transaction, so agent work went from 2080 sides, to 3078 sides in that heady 5 years. It then fell to a low of 1456 sides in the first half of 2008, so the amount of available work dropped by more than half in just 3 years.
Yes, I am aware nobody cries big tears for underemployed real estate agents. Nobody but other real estate agents and their brokers, anyway. But pause to consider the ripple effect that money had in the first half of the decade. Construction, supply, administration, taxation, all in nearly exponential growth, and then abrupt steeper decline. And then here we are.