Another edition of my Santa Cruz County Real Estate Report is out, with sales data for August of this year. On the surface, the numbers look anywhere between “not so bad” and “good.” The #1 thing that most folks look at is Median Price – the “good” news is, it’s up – in fact, it’s set another record, with the median single-family residence home price hitting $794,200. The average price is considerably higher than that – $890,000. What that tells me is that the mid-and-upper levels of the market are relatively fluid, but the lower-end of the market (where first-time buyers, sub-prime buyers, etc.) are buying is withering on the vine.
There are other interesting items in the report as well: home sales were down 3.5% from July, and down 25.9% from August of 2006. Year to date, home sales are off 12.6% – not too bad, but considerably down from the peak in 2005. But there is some good news for sellers out there: the amount of inventory has dropped down 0.4% from July, and is down 4% from August of 2006.
It’s an interesting market, that’s for sure. There are lots of opportunities for buyers in the lower part of the market (condos, and smaller homes in the rural/mountain areas). If you’re in the market for first-time buyer type properties, and you’ve got a pre-approval lender from a reputable lender, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel out there. If you’re looking at a bigger house or a prime location, be prepared to compete. Well priced, prime properties are still moving relatively quickly – usually at or sometimes even above asking price.