On a tree-lined street in central Napa, green lawns in front of modest 1940s-era homes paint the typical picture of middle class suburbia.All seems in order — except for the one house with furniture dumped on the lawn and boxes of clothing and other detritus scattered on the driveway. An old garage sale sign hangs on the trunk of a shady tree, covered with a second, hastily scrawled sign that reads “Free.”
The two-bedroom, one-bath home on Pacific Street foreclosed on June 30. To a passerby, it seems the residents attempted to make few bucks as an eviction date drew near, then gave up as the deadline passed.Unfortunately, the trouble isn’t isolated to Pacific Street.
But declining values have meant tough times for some homeowners, including a number on Harrison Avenue in Napa.This Westwood street of about 60 homes built in the early 1940s is just two blocks long. Back in late 2004 and early 2005, a number of the typically 800-square foot homes on Harrison Avenue sold in the low-to-mid $400,000s.Between March and July 2008, five of those homes foreclosed. Another three are in pre-foreclosure, meaning the owners must renegotiate their debt or make arrangements to stave off loss of the properties to banks and other lenders.
In the past 12 months, the median price of a Napa County home has fallen approximately $200,000, according to Trendgraphix, Inc. In June 2007 the median price for a Napa County home was $660,000. As of June 2008, the median was $446,000.A foreclosed home in the Rancho Del Mar neighborhood of American Canyon is just one example. Three years ago, the three-bedroom, one-bath home at 211 Carolyn Dr. sold for $465,000.The current listing price: $219,900.
“Historically Napa has shown the ability to bounce back from economic downturns,”
“My opinion is that the worst is over, especially locally.”“Good times are ahead.”