February 2008 Santa Cruz Real Estate Sales

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Oy vey. Ooof. What’s a good thing to say when you’ve just managed to crawl out from under a ton of bricks that got dropped on your head? I have been slammed. Slammed, I tell you! But you probably won’t find that nearly as interesting as I do. A lot’s been happening…

Like what’s up with that Eliot Spitzer guy, anyway? There’s a guy you think would know better. You’d think. It just goes to show, the world is just full of surprises.

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One thing that’s going to come as a surprise to some folks is the February real estate sales data here in Santa Cruz county. The bottom line? Business is up. That’s good news, but if you think about it, you’d realize it couldn’t actually get much worse, and even with this improvement, we’re really just kind of skipping along the bottom. If you don’t already, I invite you to subscribe to my Santa Cruz real estate newsletter, which comes out once a month, or just cruise over to my page of Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Data, which is updated monthly.

In case you’re too lazy to do either, let me summarize it into a tasty new chunklet: Santa Cruz County home sales rose 9.1% in February, woo hoo! That’s compared to January, of course. Year over year, home sales are off 46.7% from February of 2006. And, of course, I don’t have the hard data handy to back this up, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’d bet most Februarys have at least 9.1% more sales than the Januarys that precede them. So although this 9.1% sales increase is good news, mostly it’s good because if it were a decrease, that would have spelled some serious trouble.

That 9.1% is the sales volume – that is, the number of units (single-family residences – yes, your home is just a unit, like a Big Mac or a jar of Ponds Cold Cream) sold was 9.1% higher in February than in January. But if you already own a home, you may be more interested in knowing about home prices- is your home worth more, or less? Good news, good news – median home prices rose a rockin’ 11.9% from January! But don’t pop the champagne corks quite yet – prices are down, county-wide, 5.2% from February 2006.

Of course, all markets are local, so it doesn’t do a whole lot of good, really, to look at the county as a whole. But we’re Americans (a lot of us, anyway), and we like those tasty news chunklets, so probably you’d be satisfied with just knowing that one glib statistic. But if you demand more – if you are, say, a reader of The Economist – you might want to know, say, how Soquel is doing? The median price in Soquel is up a whopping 4.2%! Whereas if you’re in Watsonville, alas, the median price is down 28.7% from February in 2006. But that’s good, the rate of decline is slowing there – it was down about 40% for all of 2007.

I hope to get back to a more regular update schedule here on the blog – I need to learn to walk around the dangling net with the ton of bricks snared inside. Note to self.

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