Santa Cruz August Median Home Price – $585,000

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The numbers for August are in! If you’re like me, you’re wondering – are we there yet? Have we hit bottom? Probably not, but we’re getting there. In the latest edition of my newsletter (if you don’t already get it, I invite you to subscribe to my Santa Cruz Market Trends newsletter), I provide lots of juicy data about how real estate values are continuing to drop in Santa Cruz.

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As of August 2008, the median home price in Santa Cruz county is now down to $585,000 – and in July of this year (just a month ago!), the median price was $619,000 according to my calculations, and that’s a decline of about 5.5% in just one month. Also, there were 152 sales in July, and 153 in August – so there’s a broad selection of houses being sold.

Interestingly, the median sale price in August 2007 was $790,000 with 137 units sold. The Real Estate industry is doing somewhat better in terms of volume. In other words, it’s easier to sell your house this year than it was last year, so long as you are willing to sell it for 25.9% less than it would have sold for a year ago. Zoinks!

How are we doing with condos? The median price for a condo in Santa Cruz county in August 2008 was $420,000 – that’s down 17.2% from a year ago, but up 3.4% from last month. There were 31 condo sales in August, the same number as last month.

It looks like prices are still sliding. When you look at the MLS, it is very interesting to see where the “pending” listings (that is, houses that are in contract, pending sale) are in the spectrum – about 90% of them are below the median price of “active” listings. This is going to continue to drag down the “sold” prices.

I know, I know – you are saying, “yeah, well it’s only the cheaper houses that are selling. The bigger, nicer houses in the better parts of the county, where I live, aren’t really falling that much.”

If only that were the case. What’s happening is that the bigger, nicer homes in the better parts of the county are still asking top-dollar – but few are getting it. Instead, what’s happening bit by bit, is that someone in these nicer areas feels a bit more pressure to sell. And so, they take that low offer. That then brings down the prices in the neighborhood. Then, someone else a few streets over takes a low offer. Slowly, slowly, one by one, the prices fall.

It may take longer to happen in your neighborhood – but it’s happening. I think prices will continue to drop throughout the year, and probably a bit into 2009 before we find a firm footing on the bottom.

I’d also like to invite you to check out the page on my web site that has home sales data for Santa Cruz county. It’s a very useful page, and it allows you to break out the data by MLS areas (e.g. East Side of the city of Santa Cruz, West Side, Felton, etc.). Under the “property analysis” tab, it also has a a very cool feature that allows you to see active, pending, and recently sold properties plotted on a Google map.

Check back in a month or so to see how we did in September!

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