The real estate market in Elk Grove represents the epitome of the mass media hype with regard to the declining real estate market. There has been a dramatic decline in value there since mid-2005. I have a short sale listing right now that actually closes escrow on Thursday. Two years ago the property was appraised at $505k. The lender approved the short sale for $320k! If you are looking to purchase there, I suggest you connect with a local agent who works regularly in that area, and keep your finger on the pulse of the market there.
Elk Grove Unified School District is one of the fastest growing in all of California, and is well funded. There are many new schools that have the latest and greatest bells and whistles...
There are some fantastic deals to be had there - just make sure you do not overpay there...my husband used to live in Felton, and I know home prices in Santa Cruz must make the Sacramento metro area look extremely inexpensive by comparison!
Elk Grove is an excellent choice for a buy and hold investment strategy. Especially for owner occupants. When the economy recovers, Elk Grove will too, because it is a nice city with a desirable school district, good amenities, many choices of shopping centers, employment opportunities in town and nearby.
More research is recommended here are some links:
MLS Search - no registration needed http://www.metrolistmls.com
http://www.elkgrovecity.org/community/about-elk-grove.htm (city of Elk Grove)
http://www.egusd.k12.ca.us (Elk Grove School District)
http://www.sacsheriff.com (Crime statistics and Maps)