Sacramento-area homes are cheap. Interest rates are low. The inventory of new homes is tight.
But prices stubbornly refuse to rise.
"It's a very strange time," said Doug Covill, immediate past president of the Sacramento Association of Realtors. "I question if we've ever seen anything like it before – to see this low of an inventory where values aren't going up."
If the demand side of the market is sufficiently suppressed, the usual operation of the law of supply and demand is curtailed. In this snapshot of one of the nation's most distressed residential real estate markets, the suppressing factors are ultra conservative lending standards, high unemployment and reduced household income and weak consumer confidence.