San Lorenzo Valley Home Prices and Sales - 2012
The real estate market in the San Lorenzo Valley turned in a solid performance for 2012, with an average home sales price of $338,238, up 5% on average for the year.
The Santa Cruz Mountains and San Lorenzo Valley are an affordable housing alternative compared to the hectic Silicon Valley and greater Bay Area real estate markets which experienced rapid appreciation in the range of 20% during 2012.
With gas prices having fallen, more working people are willing to make the 30-45 minute commute. They feel it’s a great trade-off because they can come home to more affordable homes and a more relaxed lifestyle, with less crowding and more open spaces. For the average price of $350,000, San Lorenzo Valley buyers could get a 3 bedroom 2 bath, 1200 square feet home on an average of 1/4 to 1/3 acre lot!
The key factor affecting home sales right now is a lack of inventory – the number of homes for sale is at an eight year low! Yet, there are many buyers, including cash investors and first time buyers who want to lock in great interest rates. The imbalance of supply and demand leads to competition and that supports increasing prices.
A new home listing, priced properly and marketed well by your agent, is likely to get multiple offers, even over asking price. There just aren’t enough homes on the market to match buyer demand. Another measure of demand: Days on the market (before the house goes into escrow) is about 2-3 months, putting us solidly within what’s known as a sellers’ market.
If you are contemplating putting your house on the market, there’s pent up demand right now! Look at the typical upward swing in inventory during the summer months in the chart– is there really a reason to wait to list your property? To find out what your San Lorenzo Valley home is worth now, click here
Santa Cruz Mountains: Location, Location, Location!
Earlier this week I took the day off to enjoy a walk along Pleasure Point, dropping occasionally down to the beach to look at the tide pools, then back up to street level where people were skateboarding and walking their dogs, enjoying the sunshine. During dinner on the wharf in Santa Cruz, we watched the pelicans diving for fish, against the amazing backdrop of sunset and ocean. Returning back home to the San Lorenzo Valley in the evening took less than half an hour, and I again felt so blessed to be living in such a diverse and gorgeous place.
Mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed loan continue to average well below 4%, allowing people to secure their future housing costs. First time buyers are a big portion of the market, because renting costs just about the same as owning. Investor buyers are a big factor as well, often defeating first time buyers in competition, because they are putting down a lot of cash – often buying homes with no loan at all.
Understanding the challenges involved in getting a loan, many sellers will choose a cash buyer if they have the option. Buyers making a down payment of 3.5% or less may find themselves loosing in competition to buyers with a larger down payment, if the seller can choose amongst multiple offers.
2012 –year in review
299 homes sold in the San Lorenzo Valley – from Boulder Creek to the town of Felton (according to the Multiple Listing Service, areas 34-37). The volume of sales is up about 16% this year compared to last, and the average sales price is up about 5% to $338,238. (vs. $321,555 average price on 256 sales in 2011.)
In 2012, 46 homes sold for over $500,000, almost double the number in 2011, when just 26 homes had sold for over $500,000.
At the high end of the spectrum, two homes this year sold for $875,000 – one in a good Boulder Creek neighborhood and one in Felton – both were on acreage.
At the bottom end of the spectrum, 8 homes sold this year for less than $100,000 – all had serious deficiencies and would not qualify for a loan.
Distressed sales were still a big factor in the 2012 housing market in the Santa Cruz Mountains, particularly dominating the lower price range. 75 short sales and 76 foreclosures (REOs) resulted in 50% of sales being distressed property. 2013 will continue see distressed sales; however I expect more of these to be short sales. As lenders become more responsive, the waiting time for buyers is shrinking.
Source: MLSListings.com, Single Family Residential Sales Closed Escrow through 12/31/12.