San Joaquin County home prices being driven up by cash buyers

Bidding competitions often fueled by cash buyers are driving up the prices of San Joaquin County homes, making it increasingly difficult for less well-off prospective buyers to find housing, according to local real estate agents.

“Seeing a $15,000 to $20,000 over-bid is pretty common,” said Nick Bokides, owner of Bokides & Hesseltine Real Estate Company in Lodi.

“A lot of these deals are (in) cash,” he continued. “So they’re making it really hard for people who need financing or have (Veterans Affairs) loans.”


In 2021, sale prices for homes in the Stockton metropolitan area were 20th-highest in the US relative to their listed prices, an analysis by — a website that connects users with home improvement services — found. About 68% of Stockton homes sold for more than their listed prices.

A similar scenario is playing out across the county, said Bokides and Kiera Ellis, a Keller Williams realtor based in Stockton.

In a normal market, one home might have two competing bids, Bokides said. But Bokides has received as many as 18 offers on one property, he said.

Bokides said he recently accepted an offer of an extra $30,000 for a Stockton home listed at $500,000.

“We’re approaching the point where a smaller and smaller percentage of people can afford a house.”

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High prices and repeated rejection make for an emotional roller-coaster for prospective buyers, Bokides said.

“It’s an extremely emotional situation … they buy into (a house), they fall in love with something,” he said. “I see consumers making bad decisions based on the fact that they just can’t find a place to live.”

Occasionally, a seller’s sympathy for the plight of a low- or middle-income buyer can decide a sale in their favor, even when a better offer could come along, Ellis said.

A military family she represented managed to buy a house on their second attempt because the seller was moved by their story, Ellis said.

“Sometimes if you have a good story, and they know you’re a good person, you have a good heart … it’s not always just about the dollar signs,” she said.

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Ellis urged low- and middle-income families searching for a home not to give up.

“I definitely don’t think this strong sellers’ market is something we’ll have to deal with for a long time. I think its going to fluctuate,” she said. “That home that’s meant for you will come to you.”

Record reporter Aaron Leathley covers business, housing, and land use. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

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