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San Lorenzo Valley real estate market - 2015

Real Estate Agent with Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. 01468388

Real estate in the San Lorenzo Valley - a group of small towns in the Santa Cruz Mountains near the Silicon Valley - has appreciated consistently for several years now.

SLV 2014 and 2015 single family home prices

The average price for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in the San Lorenzo Valley (SLV) during 2015 was about $625,000, up from about $537,000 during 2014, $492,000 in 2013, and $389,000 in 2012.   Back in 2006, the average was $662,500, compared to $616,000 for 2007.   It’s safe to say the region is close to full recovery from the historic “Great Recession.”

In 2015, the most expensive single family residential (SFR) home sale in the SLV was in Lompico Zayante, the second million dollar plus sale ever in that zone of the multiple listing service (MLS).   The house itself was a little bit rough around the edges, but at 3,000 square feet it had the “bones” to be a great home with some TLC.   What really caused the property to fetch $1.6 million was the private, sunny, 90 acre setting with ponds, fruit trees and a horse barn.

The next highest price sale was in Felton, also at $1.6 million, for 5,000 square feet of estate quality living area encompassing a main home and guest house, situated on about 7.5 acres.  

In all, 7 properties in the SLV sold for $1 million or more in 2015.   Two were in Boulder Creek, two in Brookdale and one in Ben Lomond according to MLS zones.   All were on acreage: the smallest lot size was an all-usable 1.7 acre parcel bordering the San Lorenzo River.

Boulder Creek; photo courtesy John Urwin

On the lower end, the least expensive SFR sold for $80,000, also in the Lompico Zayante area.   This 1 bedroom 1 bath was on a 6,500 square foot lot.     Next up was a $101,000 sale in Boulder Creek – a 1 bedroom 1 bath on a 16k lot between Highway 9 and the San Lorenzo River, a fixer upper to be sure.   All in all, just 5 houses sold on the MLS for less than $200,000 in the SLV during 2015.

Where is the real estate market headed in 2016?   Drawing upon all the articles I read, it seems the nation may experience modest price gains this year, perhaps in the 3-6% range.   Although the majority of the nation’s regions are back to full recovery, still, about a third of regions are below the peaks of 2006-7.  

Just 22 homes are available for sale in the San Lorenzo Valley: inventory is excruciatingly low.   With just 1 month of housing inventory, we are in a strong sellers’ market (6 months is considered to be a balanced market, more than 6 month’s supply creates a buyers’ market).     

Very few homes are available for sale right now in the San Lorenzo Valley

Favorably priced homes are selling quickly, some with multiple offers, and within a few percent above or below asking price.   Overpriced listings continue to linger on the market, making it appear that Days on Market is extending.

Days on market is actually short for properly priced homes

Santa Cruz County is influenced by real estate conditions in the Silicon Valley.   I’ll bet that recent declines in gas prices will make our more affordable housing even more appealing to commuters, particularly if the average home prices in the Silicon Valley continue to increase like they did in 2015.   The lifestyle here holds appeal for so many people who would rather live closer to beaches and mountains, parks and recreation, and amidst a lower population density which conveys benefits like less stress, crime and smog.

In Santa Clara County, single family homes started the year 2015 at a median sales price of about $850,000…rising to about $945,000 by December 2015.   In comparison, the Santa Cruz County median December 2015 price of about $680,000 (up from about $640k in January), continues to appeal to many home buyers.

Perhaps the Federal Reserve will pause and let the market absorb their first increase in interest rates in a decade…right now the market is expecting one more increase this year, although some central bankers are still talking about several increases.     December’s 0.25% increase in the Fed Funds rate has not affected the 30 year mortgage rate significantly, most likely because the increase was already factored in by the market.     Most buyers are still able to get rates in the low 4% range, if not a tad lower.

The stock market got off to a rocky start the first week of 2016, with negative global concerns like China’s faltering economy, falling oil prices and somewhat rich price earnings ratios being blamed.    While I’ve found most prospective home buyers don’t rely on the stock market for their down payment, (they tend to keep down payment money in cash at the bank), still, if the market were to enter bear territory, consumer sentiment could be affected.

Cocktail - commons.wikimedia.orgI’ll close with comments about the new consumer disclosure laws that went into effect in October of 2015.     “TRID” (TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure, also known among agents as “The Reason I Drink”) has delayed closing schedules for a few months now, as lenders and title companies get used to the new requirements and adapt their internal software systems.     Many of the escrows I’ve closed were affected by delays ranging from a few days to as much as a week.

Be sure to visit my website  for more real estate resources!

Looking for your dream home?     I'll help you find financing, negotiate with the seller, inspect what concerns you, and hand you the keys!


*2 homes sold in zone 35/Brookdale during 2015 for over $1 million, skewing the appreciation rate to the high side.   When the total number of transactions is low, like it is for this small community, these kinds of swings can happen.

Sources: MLSListings.com (Single Family Residences zones 34-38), Reuters, Inman News, REALTOR.org, Zillow, ActiveRain.com, Mercury News


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Building A Bridge to Your Future

M.C. Dwyer, MBA, REALTOR    call/text (831) 419-9759

Century 21 Showcase REALTORS Cal BRE 01468388

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John Pusa
Glendale, CA

M.C. Dwyer These are very valuable real estate stats for San Lorenzo Valley in 2015.

Jan 13, 2016 08:28 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks John Pusa !    It's a relief to our would-be sellers, that's for sure.

Jan 13, 2016 08:31 AM
Bob Baesmann
DFW Team Realty - Plano, TX
DFW Team Realty | 972-978-8800

Great Information. A valuable market report for buyers and sellers in your community!

Jan 19, 2016 01:20 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks for your comment Bob Baesmann!    It takes several days to put together an in-depth report like this...

Jan 20, 2016 01:35 AM