Santa Cruz City Council Defies Voters

sebfreySanta Cruz Real Estate

Information in this report was provided courtesy of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS. On Tuesday, January 8th 2019 – a night which will live in infamy – the Santa Cruz City Council defied voters who recently rejected control and Just Cause Evictions when they soundly rejected Measure M by 61% to 39%.   They did this by passing a first reading of an “emergency” just cause evictions ordinance.  Councilman Brown made the motion, Krohn seconded, and Cummings and Glover voted yes. Watkins, Meyers, and Mathews voted No. The term of the draft Just Cause Eviction Ordinance was extended to one year. A few changes to the draft ordinance were made from the dais:  If the owner lives on the same property, it is exempt from JCE. Good temporary news for those with ADUs or duplexes. Partner was legally defined as registered domestic partner. However renters can still move in other family members without owner permission, beyond the number on a lease, and up to the federal occupancy limit. The relocation ordinance passed a second reading with hardly any discussion at 11:50PM.  Rent increases are limited to 5% in one year and 7% over two years. Higher increases, that cause renters to move, trigger relocation fees of two months actual rent.  This passed unanimously.  The Council states that this is not technically rent control and that it can therefore be applied to all rental property including single-family homes and condos (and so not be in violation of Costa Hawkins, the repeat of which was rejected statewide … Read More

Santa Cruz Marching Towards Rent Control

sebfreyCommentary, Santa Cruz Real Estate

In case you haven’t heard, the city of Santa Cruz is marching towards establishing rent control. Recently, the Santa Cruz City Council voted to adopt two new “emergency” ordinances: a rent freeze, and a new requirement for “just cause evictions.” These ordinances were put in place to freeze current rents while efforts are underway to get the required signatures to put a city-wide rent control ordinance on the ballot for the November election. Many landlords in the city of Santa Cruz have questions about how the rent freeze and just cause evictions ordinances will be implemented. To help answer those questions, legal counsel for the city of Santa Cruz has published a FAQ, which can be downloaded here. There is little debate that rents in Santa Cruz are exorbitant, and that relief is needed. However, there is strong evidence that rent control is not the best way to address the problem, and in fact will create a whole new series of problems for beleaguered tenants in the city – like fewer available rental units and higher rental rates. The problems presented by the initiative can be seen by recent shared observations, by analytical economic analysis, and by carefully conducted academic studies. For example, a study published in November 2017 by researches at Stanford University examined the effects of rent control in San Francisco, and their paper can be downloaded here. The study contains a lot of mathematical formulae, but the text is easy enough to understand and the graphs they provide are eye-opening. Their research shows … Read More

January 2017 Real Estate Update

sebfreyLocal, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

You probably haven’t noticed because of all the rain, but I’ve been keeping an eye on the calendar for you. Would you believe that we’re more than half way through the first quarter of 2017 already? Despite the torrential rains, flooding, land slides, and innumerable road closures, our local real estate market is slogging through it, and its story is dying to be told! So I’d like to give you the January 2017 local real estate update, my first of the year! Our local real estate market has for the most part shrugged off the many calamities which have beset us since the year began. I’m going to tackle each of the primary counties I serve (Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey), going from north to south.  But before I get started with that, I’d like to touch some macro factors. Economic News Last month, a lot of folks in the real estate and mortgage industry (myself included!) were freaked out about the sharp jump in mortgage interest rates since Donald Trump was elected President.  The good news is that mortgage interest rates have since moderated somewhat; the 30 year fixed mortgage today averages around 4.05%; depending on your credit score, loan amount, and lender this rate could be higher or lower for you.  Lower interest rates mean that buyers can afford to pay more for housing, which should buoy home prices. The other key housing price metric I look at is employment, and here we see job growth weakening.  In 2016, the nine-bay area counties … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update December 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

Real Estate Report

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and it may not be white, but at least it’s wet! I heard that the Sierras have seen the most snow this fall than any time in the past 30 years – so is it time to hit the slopes? Not for me – not yet, anyway. I would be remiss if I blew town before providing you with the latest news in this Santa Cruz Real Estate Update December 2016. This is the real estate market that just refuses to die. I listen to a number of real estate podcasts and pundits and they’re saying the sky is falling, or about to fall. Most of them don’t actually have any data to back up what they’re saying, and often fall back on the tired myth that real estate runs in 7-10 year cycles so we must be due for a correction, yes? Because around here, the market is – at least for the moment – in rude good health. The median price for single family homes in Santa Cruz county in November 2016 was $795,000 – and that’s up a hearty 13.6% from a year ago, when the median price was a measly $700,000. We also sold more homes this year compared to last – 145 homes closed in November, that’s up 12.4% from a year ago when only 129 homes sold in November 2015. And homes sold quicker this year, too – in an average of just 41 days, compared to 54 days this time … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update May 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

2102 West Cliff Drive

Did you see the newspaper headline from a couple of weeks back?  Here it is, check it out: This is the basically the same news I’d brought you a week before, with my Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Update for April.  But that’s yesterday’s news – so how is the market doing today, another month into spring? The median home price for single Family Homes in Santa Cruz county in April 2016 was…are you ready…$775,500.  This is a bit of a drop from both February and March, but it is up 3.4% from April a year ago, when the median home price was a cool $750,000. What’s YOUR home worth in today’s market? The Santa Cruz median home price has barely changed compared to a year ago – but how much is YOUR home worth in today’s market? Find out now with this free, quick, and accurate tool! An interesting fact is that homes sold in an average of just 30 days in April.  That’s an average.  That’s a really low average, which basically means that homes are selling like hot cakes.  For comparison purposes, a year ago, homes took 45 days to sell – and last April was certainly a blisteringly hot real estate market by anyone’s measure. My question is:  can it get any better for sellers than right now?   I don’t really see how. One thing I do see though is that some sellers are starting to get greedy.  They are setting asking prices higher than the market will bear, and for … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update April 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

It wasn’t supposed to happen until 2022. That’s what they said after it all went south, anyway. We weren’t supposed to see home prices like we’d been seeing for 15, 16 years – well it just goes to show what “they” know, doesn’t it? The big news in the Santa Cruz Real Estate Update April 2016 is that the median home price in Santa Cruz county has now exceeded the prior all-time high set in November 2005. With just three complete months of home sales data under our belts in 2016, two months this year have already beaten the prior all-time high of $789,500. The median price for single-family homes in Santa Cruz county in February 2016 was $794,500 – and it was $790,000 in March 2016. What’s YOUR home worth in today’s market? The Santa Cruz median home price has barely changed compared to a year ago – but how much is YOUR home worth in today’s market? Find out now with this free, quick, and accurate tool! For those of you who can still vividly recall the bad-old days of 2005-2007, you may remember the debate surrounding the froth of the housing market. Irrational exuberance, housing bubble, any of that ring a bell? Now that we’ve exceeded these prior high prices, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves if we’re in an asset price bubble once again? Anyone? Bueller? Want the best price for YOUR Santa Cruz home? Have you checked out the SellForSure Home Sale System? It’s everything you need to know about making a … Read More

Homes for Sale at Historic Low in Santa Cruz


Homes for Sale at Historic Low in Santa Cruz

It’s now front page news, plain as black and white: Homes for Sale at Historic Low in Santa Cruz. It was plastered right across the front page of the Santa Cruz Sentinel this weekend. If you read the article, you’ll see that the inventory level in January is the lowest it has been in the history of the modern MLS, going back to March of 1996. In the first week of February, there were just 250 homes available for purchase in Santa Cruz county – the lowest ever on record. In January, there was just a 2.6 month supply of homes for sale – also the lowest ever. Watch my take on this Historic Low in Santa Cruz I’ve written a great deal about the lack of inventory, it’s something I touch on in nearly every Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Update that I write. The public at large thinks that the real estate market is going gang-busters, because they see prices spiking up. Most people though don’t realize that the real story is that nobody is selling their Santa Cruz real estate right now. Which makes it an AMAZING time to sell. Demand for real estate is incredibly strong right now. Sellers – the few that there are – have very little competition, and are having a field day. Packed open houses. Multiple offers. Crazy overbids. Cash offers, non-contingent offers. It’s an embarrassment of riches! If you’re thinking about selling your home in the next year or two, ask yourself this: would you rather sell … Read More

Santa Cruz Probate Realtor

sebfreyProbate and Estate


Are you looking for an experienced Santa Cruz probate Realtor? When a person dies, their estate (including real estate) may need to pass through the probate process.  This is the legal process whereby a deceased person’s assets & debts are disbursed and settled. When the sale of real property (house, condo, land, etc.) is subject to probate, it typically requires that there be a court that oversees the sale of the asset. Your Santa Cruz probate real estate broker will help tremendously with the task of completing the sale of the estate’s real property assets. As a Santa Cruz Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES), I work with the executor, administrator, family members, representatives, and/or attorneys handling the probate sale to speed and facilitate the preparation for sale, marketing and negotiation for sale of the property. Santa Cruz Probate Realtor Services A few of the Concierge Services provided for a Santa Cruz probate sale sale include: Cleaning of the Property Sprucing up the Landscaping Sale and Disposal of personal property Obtain competitive bids from multiple contractors for repairs to the property to boost the sale price and net proceeds from the sale Inspect the property weekly to make sure it is safe and secure Stage the home for maximum appeal to buyers Taylor a marketing strategy that best fits the property, market, and the estate’s needs Loading the property on the Santa Cruz MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with professional, high-quality photos and video tour Featured the Listing on Major Real Estate Portals such as Zillow, etc. Negotiate the very highest price for the property, on the best terms Oversee the closing process to make sure all mandatory disclosures are complete for the protection of the … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update February 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

589 Browns Valley Road

February is the month in Santa Cruz when the real estate market starts to warm up. The darkest days of winter are behind us, and the sun is getting a little warmer – or, this year, perhaps a little too warm this early in the season! But is the real estate market feeling the heat? Let’s look at the newest numbers in this, the Santa Cruz Real Estate Update February 2016. The number everyone looks at first is of course the median home price, which rose to $703,944 in January, up 4.9% from a year ago, but down 1.3% from the prior month. The days (months, or even years!) of double-digit price increases appear to be behind us, for now – but the market remains very hot. What’s YOUR home worth in today’s market? The Santa Cruz median home price has barely changed compared to a year ago – but how much is YOUR home worth in today’s market? Find out now with this free, quick, and accurate tool! Sure, the number of closed home sales last month dropped like a rock – down nearly 40% from the prior month in fact. But last December was an atypically strong month for real estate sales, and it’s one reason why I think the real estate market will do very well this year. But compared to last year at this time, the number of sold homes dropped only by 1% – in the range of a statistical anomaly. And homes are selling more quickly this year than last … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update January 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

I can hardly believe it – another new year. Surprising I can’t believe it, as it’s something that happens, every year, pretty much like clockwork. This year though feels like it has a lot of promise – it’s been raining, the economy appears to be solidly on the mend, and it’s an election year, and the California state budget is actually in surplus. Last week I wrote about how the Bay Area real estate market – including Santa Cruz – is set to explode in 2016. That raised a few eyebrows, and rightfully so. There’s been such a huge run up in the market, where could it explode to? Well, let’s look at it this way. The median single family home price in Santa Cruz county was up just 0.8% year-over-year in December, to $703,944 from $698,500 in December 2014. The median price last month was still 10% lower than peak pricing – and that’s almost 10 years ago now, while inflation has nibbled away at values. If we look at 2014 as a whole vs 2015 as a whole, the price rise is more visible: the median price of all 2014 sales was $670,000 and $720,000 for 2015 – an increase of about 7.5%. Healthy, but not double-digit. What’s YOUR home worth in today’s market? The Santa Cruz median home price has barely changed compared to a year ago – but how much is YOUR home worth in today’s market? Find out now with this free, quick, and accurate tool! Now let’s look back a … Read More