Fall traditionally brings the last surge of the year before the real estate market all but shuts down over the holidays.

This year, the surge is strong. As has been the case for three years straight, housing inventory in Livermore remains tight in all price brackets. Buyers are out looking for homes to purchase so they can move before the end of the year.

The difference between now and in the Spring is that buyers are taking a little more time to make their decisions. Instead of homes selling in 14-17 days, as was the case in the Spring, today’s listings remain on the Multiple Listing Service an average of 24 days, according to Trendgraphix.

That’s still a very short time. For perspective, the National Association of Realtors considers a balanced market – one in which neither buyers nor sellers have the advantage – to be 6 months of inventory. There was less than one month of inventory on the MLS in August. September numbers look to be similar.

That demand has pushed up the median sales price by about $100,000 – from mid-$600,000s to mid-$700,000s – since this time last year.

As of late Monday, there were 87 Livermore homes on the MLS, including a sampling of newly constructed houses and townhouses being offered by builders. That’s roughly 40 percent of the number required to meet demand.

List prices range from $314,950 to almost $5 million.

Fourteen of these homes are priced under $650,000; 29 are from $650,000 to $800,000; 12 are from $800,000 to $1 million. Thirty-two are priced over $1 million, with eight of those in the $2 million-$5 million range.

Of the 14 in the lowest price bracket, three are condominiums, six are townhouses and one is a duet. That means there are four detached homes on the market priced under $650,000. As you might imagine, buyers – especially first-time homebuyers – are scrambling for those.

The next bracket -- $650,000 to $800,000 – is comprised of five condos, three townhouses, one duet and 20 detached homes. The townhouses and condos have all been built since 2006. Some are brand new. One of the detached homes is a new offering in a zero-lot-line development.

This price range has more homes than some of the others, but it is also one that meets the needs of a high percentage of buyers.

This category includes a wide variation in sizes, with the smallest being a detached home of 1154 sq. ft. to the largest at 2256 sq. ft. That small house is located in the desirable Old Southside area near Downtown. The larger home is in a zero-lot-line community north of I-580.

Homes in the top brackets are all detached houses.

In the $800,000 to $1 million dollar range, the homes are similar in size, ranging from about 1700 sq. ft. to just over 2500 sq. ft., with three to five bedrooms and two or three bathrooms. Lot sizes vary from 6,500 sq. ft. to almost a quarter of an acre.

The most expensive homes in Livermore – those priced over $1 million – mostly fall into two basic categories: large executive-style homes in neighborhoods of similar homes and country properties with acreage.

The only homes with acreage priced under $2 million are a four-acre property with a large home on Hilliker Place is priced at $1.595 million and a two-acre property with a 2800-sq.ft. home on Marina Avenue is priced at $1.65 million.

Of the 22 executive-style homes on less than one acre, the smallest is a 2522-sq. ft. single-story home on about one-third acre in Tapestry.

The largest is a Victorian estate on East Avenue, which includes a large house, a carriage house and a structure that has been converted to a multi-story apartment -- for a total of seven bedrooms and four baths -- on a 25,170 sq. ft. lot. This property is zoned for some commercial uses as well as residential.

The other homes in this category range from about 2700 to 4200 sq. ft., each with four or five bedrooms, on lots of just under one-quarter acre to almost one acre.

Most are located in South Livermore, in communities such as Kristopher Ranch, Forest Glade and Los Olivos. Two are in a small gated community.

The eight most expensive properties are a varied group.

Two are within city limits: a two-acre parcel with a modest home on Central Avenue and a four-acre parcel with a larger home on Lomitas. These properties may have development potential, and are priced at $3.5 million and $4.85 million, respectively.

The other six are true country properties, ranging from a 17-acre parcel with an 8,626 sq. ft. home on Kalthoff Common across from Ruby Hills offered at $3.888 million, to a smaller home on 10 acres next to Poppy Ridge Golf course priced at just under $2.4 million, to a 100-acre Diamond Hills horse facility with a large home on Dagnino Road priced at $4.875 million.

Other high-end offerings – all with amazing views -- include 20 acres and a house on Victorine Road off of Tassajara priced at $2.495 million, 100 acres and a house on Mendenhall Road west of Del Valle for $2.6 million and a 96-acre ranch with house on Vallecitos Road offered at $2.9 million.

Not surprisingly, these more expensive homes can take longer to sell. While homes priced under $2 million are on market an average of 20 days, homes priced $2 million and up remain on the market an average of 252 days.

And, these are just averages. Some homes in every category take much longer to sell than average. Some country properties have been listed for 12-18 months.

Sometimes homes take longer to sell because they don’t show well, they have not been marketed aggressively or they are priced higher than the market can bear.

But there can be other factors. Country properties, for example, are a specialized market, requiring buyers looking for that lifestyle and who can afford to pay for it.

If you are looking to buy or sell real estate, contact your local Realtor today.

Cher Wollard is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties in Livermore.