November 2012 Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Statistics
As the season turns, so does the real estate market. The sales data for the past month is in, and in October, we saw a hot market starting to cool, which is not uncommon this time of the year. The median home price for single family homes in Santa Cruz County dropped significantly from the month before, however is still up year over year. In October 2012, the median home price in Santa Cruz county was $508,500 – that’s down almost 11% from the median price the month before ($570K, September 2012), but it is still up almost 5% year over year. However, looking at the sales prices using a moving average, we see that home prices are up 21% since the beginning of the year.
In addition to the large month-over-month drop in median home price, the month-over-month number of houses sold decreased (down 3.7%), as did the number of pending sales (down 8.4%), and sales-to-list-price ratio (down from 98.2% to 97.9%). These numbers point to a market that may be cooling somewhat, however, it’s far too early to call it a trend, and it is likely that seasonal factors are at work here.
Aside from the steep month-to-month drop in median home price, however, the market continues to be tight. Interestingly, the amount of inventory has been dropping, down 12.4% year-over-year. For buyers hoping to buy in this market, opportunities remain slim. Inventory has not been this low in years, which makes it very tough for buyers, with very little to choose from.
Given the inventory which is continuing to contract, one might be expected to think that prices would be rising – however, even as inventory drops, prices – at least last month’s prices – have dropped as well. Given the law of supply and demand, there is only one conclusion, and that is that demand softened in the previous month.
That should give buyers hope – less demand means less competition. This underscores something I’ve been telling my buyers in recent weeks – that this is the best time of year to buy a house. A lot of sellers who have kept their homes on the market over value are getting fatigued and may finally be in a place where they are ready to sell at a realistic price.
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