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Home builders suffer in grim '08

Could it get any worse for Sacramento's home builders?

Publicly traded home-building giants and family builders alike endured their harshest year in possibly a generation in 2008, according to statistics being released today by the Folsom-based Gregory Group.

Area home builders sold just 4,695 houses last year in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties as an historic real estate collapse diverted thousands of buyers to steeply discounted bank repos, the report shows.

The survey provides the newest evidence of how banks, desperate to unload their foreclosed properties, have pushed area builders to the sidelines and into grim battles for their own survival. Several builders filed for bankruptcy protection as repos climbed to two-thirds of Sacramento County sales, and the median sales price fell to $175,000.

"There's a lot of good-quality bank-repossessed properties, good, clean homes that would be in direct competition with the builders," said Warren Adams of Security Pacific Real Estate in Fair Oaks. Many are nearly new, he said. "I've had several listings where they're still selling the models in there."

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