Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Update – February 2013

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Hey everyone – Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re now a good ways in to 2013, and the market data for the first month of the new year is in. How’s the Santa Cruz Real Estate market doing so far this year? Very well, thank you! The median price in January 2013 came in at an even $500,000 – a cool half million! This is down about 8.3% from the month prior, but the real number to look at is a year ago, when the median price was $450,000 – a solid year-over-year price increase of 11.1%.

Sales volume – that is, the number of houses which sold – came in at 103 units – which is just about unchanged from a year ago, when 101 units were sold in January 2012. However, this is a big drop-off from the month prior, in December, when 153 homes closed escrow – a monthly drop in sales volume of 34%.

This drop in volume could be chalked up to seasonal factors – but clearly there’s something else at work here too, namely, the exasperating lack of inventory. At the end of January, where were just 268 homes available for sale, county-wide. A year ago, in January 2012, there were 629 homes available for sale at the end of January – a decrease of 57.4% from a year ago! And it’s not like there was a lot of inventory last year, either! The good news is, the available inventory remained largely unchanged from December 2012, when there were 278 homes for sale.

Academically speaking, these are interesting times in the world of Santa Cruz Real Estate. It’s incredible to see that with inventory so low, demand strong, and prices surging, that inventory remains so low. To all your sellers out there, I say: hellooooo? Anybody home?? What are you waiting for?

I reckon that many sellers are waiting until the spring or summer to put their homes up for sale. Anecdotal evidence says sellers are thinking that prices will continue to surge upwards between now and then, and who knows, they might be able to net another 5-10% on the sale if they hold off another six months (possibly allowing them to avoid a short sale in many cases).  So to all you long-suffering buyers out there, I say, take heart: relief may be in sight!

Ever hear the phrase “Caveat Emptor”? Lots, right? “Buyer Beware.” Here’s one which you may have not heard: “Caveat Venditor” – “Seller Beware.” Catchy, huh? I just Googled it. I mention this because I get a feeling like there might just be a lot of sellers who are planning to list this spring and summer. There may well be an explosion of inventory in the coming months. This, tied with (possibly) modestly rising interest rates and subsequent erosion of buying power could well mean that these healthy price rises we’ve been seeing could moderate – or retreat in the face of oversupply.

Caveat Venditor! If you’re thinking this spring or summer is the time to sell, but you could perhaps get your property on the market sooner than that…I say, do it now. We know the state of the market today, which is, the best seller’s market we’ve seen in 7 or 8 years. Why gamble on a future market which may have significantly more competition than this one?

To get the full, PDF version of my newsletter, broken down by different areas of the county and also by Single Family Residences as well as Condominiums, click here to download the full the Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Trends newsletter.

Please share my newsletter with anyone you think is interested in what’s going on with the Santa Cruz real estate market – just send them the link and they can sign up to receive an e-mail every month when the newsletter is ready. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this – I hope to hear from you soon!

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