December 2012 Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Statistics
Well the weather has definitely taken a turn for the cold and damp, but the Santa Cruz real estate market seems to have shrugged it off. While October saw the market cooling a bit, the market came roaring back in November 2012, with the median home price surging 25.1% year over year to end up at $522,500 for single family houses county-wide. No matter how you slice it, that’s a pretty significant increase in home prices and I think clearly shows a market that has turned a corner.
However, the big news to come out of this month’s numbers is not the median home price. If you ask me, the big number to look at really isn’t a big number – it’s a shockingly small one, and that is the amount of available inventory. We closed out November with just 349 single-family homes available for purchase county-wide, which at the current sales volume of 166 units per month, gives us only a 2.1 month supply of homes. This is a market that is clearly starving for inventory – a six-month supply of homes is considered a market that is well balanced between buyers and sellers, so the two-month supply we currently “enjoy” makes this, most definitely, a seller’s market.
So that begs the question – where are the sellers? And whatever happened to all this shadow inventory? Well the shadow inventory was always an over-hyped phenomenon – there’s some “shadow inventory” out there, but it’s going to stay in the shadows, until it eventually dribbles out onto the market over a period of years. The more interesting question is, where’s the rest of the inventory? What about all those folks who have been waiting for a recovery in housing prices before they put their houses on the market – just what are they waiting for?
I wish I knew! Perhaps we’ll see the inventory thaw in the spring, and all these would-be, beleaguered buyers will finally be able to get into the house they’ve been waiting anxiously to arrive, still in time to lock in a nice 30 year fixed at 3.75% or less.
We can always hope. If, however, you are a homeowner and you’ve been thinking you’ll want to sell your house soon, believe me when I tell you – there’s no time like the present. You’re almost sure to get multiple offers and have your home sell quickly and over asking price to a well-qualified buyer with the means to see the transaction through, one who’ll have little room to negotiate because you’ll have a couple of strong backup offers waiting in the wings.
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