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Santa Cruz Market Trends Report – April 2015

The median home price in Santa Cruz County was $775,000 in March of 2015. This us up a whopping 15.7% from a year earlier. The number of sales in March were 123 which is 7% higher than a year earlier. There are currently 255 active listings which is down 35.6% from a year earlier (where is that inventory of homes????). We are still in a sellers market and until we get more inventory it should stay that way.

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices

By Ken Harney

Excerpts: Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff…says Zestimates are “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.

Shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents – and to one another – as gauges of market value. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers’ list price of $425,000. Or a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.

My comments: Ken Harney is well know, nationally syndicated real estate writer. We are hoping that a lot of people read this article so they understand the pitfalls of relying too heavily on Zillow. Zillow does have a great data base of sales and wonderful graphs, but their Zestimates have a large margin of error. AVM’s like Zillow work best in conforming neighborhoods with homes that are less than 10 years old.

What do you think about Zillow? Post your comments.

Market Update – Santa Cruz County – November 2014

Market Update – Santa Cruz County – November 2014

Single Family Residential Report

The median value for single-family homes in Santa Cruz County took a slight dip from last month, but is still above the November 2013 median value.  The following is a snap shot of recent market statistics covering the single family housing market in Santa Cruz County.  The analysis presents a broad-brush overview of market indicators such as median sales price, month’s of inventory, and sales volume.  SC table


Median Sales and List Price

The median selling price of a Santa Cruz County single-family home increased last month on a year-to-year comparison.  The median sales price of such a home was $663,750 in November 2013 versus $685,250 in November 2014, a boost of 3.2%.  Last month, the median sales price was $716,615.

Nov Median Sales Price vs Months Supply

Source: (As of 12/11/2014 )

Month’s Supply

The inventory of active listings has long been a vital leading indicator of housing market dynamics. Ultimately, the inventory ratio provides the best predictor of near-term market direction and one of the major keys to understanding price shifts in the market.

There was a 2.9 month supply reported in November 2014.  This is down from last year and  below the historical average of approximately 6.0 months.  At three months of inventory, the median sales price will likely continue to climb.


Another indicator of market dynamics is the number of days a property is on the market prior to being sold.  As demand increases and supply shrinks – the time it takes to sell a property will decrease.  For days on market, the median tends to be a better indicator as the average can easily be skewed.

Nov Days on Market vs. Sale-to-List Ratio


Source: (As of 12/11/2014 )

Historically, days-on-market for a home in Santa Cruz County ranged from 15 to 128 days, and averaged 47 days.  Currently, the November 2014 median days on market is 36 days, comparable to the 34 days reported in for the same time period last year.

Sale-To-List Ratio

Limited supply and pent up demand will tighten the ratio of sale to list price.  Historically, sellers have been able to command approximately 98.0% of asking.  The November 2014 sale-to-list ratio is 98.8%, which is just slightly above the 98.2% reported in November 2013.

Number of Sales and Number of Active/Pending

The volume of single-family home sales was down slightly. Last month, 124 single-family homes were sold in Santa Cruz County, compared with the 138 sales in November 2013; a decrease of about 10.1%.  Active and pending homes have seen a more significant jump.  In November 2014, there were 351 active listings compared to the 498 reported in November 2013.  The decline reflects a shrinking inventory, but also is indicative of the winter cycle.

Nov Number Actives...



For those of us in the real estate market, it comes as no surprise that there is a seasonal pattern to home sales data.  In general, the changes that we’re seeing are typical for a winter pattern.  Values appear to be stabilizing somewhat in the Santa Cruz County market.  The year-over-year growth for November was 3.2%, and month’s supply has been on the rise.  As of right now, the current market activity supported by historical trends suggests slow but modest price increases in the Santa Cruz County single family residential market.

DQ News Reports: Bay Area Home Sales Slowest in Six Years – December 16th, 2014

Corelogic released its November San Francisco Bay Area housing market report today. Home sales dropped to the lowest level for the month of November since 2008, the result of a limited number of homes for sale, cautious buyers, a challenging mortgage market and a quirk of the calendar that resulted in a relatively low number days for recording deals. The single-digit, year-over-year rise in the median sale price was the lowest since May 2012. See below for a chart of the # of homes sold and median prices per county.

Total November Home Sales
in the San Francisco Bay Area counties

Homes Sold Median Sale Prices
All homes Nov-13 Nov-14 Percent Change Nov-13 Nov-14 Percent Change
Alameda 1,469 1,246 -15.20% $518,500 $585,000 12.80%
Contra Costa 1,250 1,145 -8.40% $410,000 $435,500 6.20%
Marin 287 265 -7.70% $741,250 $870,000 17.40%
Napa 110 98 -10.90% $455,000 $562,750 23.70%
Santa Clara 1,517 1,450 -4.40% $667,500 $715,000 7.10%
San Francisco 544 434 -20.20% $843,000 $1,072,500 27.20%
San Mateo 581 499 -14.10% $700,000 $818,500 16.90%
Solano 430 433 0.70% $275,000 $305,250 11.00%
Sonoma 471 433 -8.10% $418,750 $447,250 6.80%
Bay Area 6,659 6,003 -9.90% $550,000 $601,000 9.30%

Click her to read the full article.

Market Update – Santa Cruz County – October 2014

Market Update – Santa Cruz County – October 2014

Single Family Residential Report

Values for single-family homes in Santa Cruz County continue to rise, but the number of active and pendings reached a four-year high last month.  The following is a snap shot of recent market statistics covering the single family housing market in Santa Cruz County.  The analysis presents a broad-brush overview of market indicators such as median sales price, month’s of inventory, and sales volume.

Top Chart


Zillow vs. The Appraisers

There have been a couple of great blog posts where appraisers have compared their appraised values of properties to zillow’s estimate.  A quick summary of two of these blogs is listed below:


Common FHA Real Estate Repair Items

Common FHA Real Estate Repair Items

There can be a lot of potential issues that arise during an FHA real estate appraisal inspection. This can be a frustrating experience for a homeowner and real estate agent, as they will typically get feedback from the lender that there are certain items that must be repaired before closing. It is a good idea to be prepared in advance by correcting any of the issues mentioned below before the real estate appraiser performs an FHA inspection. The FHA Appraiser is looking for the following items:


Residential Market Update for Salinas

Here is Pacific Appraisers Real Estate Market Update for the Salinas residential market:

19 active listings under $250k
121 active listings between $250k- $500K
47 active listings between $500-$750K
20 active listings between $750k-$1,000,000
16 active listings over $1 million

The Salinas market is very active in the $250,000 to $500,000 range. The number of homes for sale under $250,000 is about the same as the number of homes for sale between $750,000 to $1 million. The median home value for Salinas rose 21.38% from August of 2013 to August of 2014. The current median home value is $352,000.

In summary, the overall single family market has been strong over the last 12 months and the Salinas market is not showing any signs of slowing. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next several month. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us anytime at (831)607-3800.