Real estate news you can use
By M.C. Dwyer
Visitors to our lovely small Santa Cruz Mountains towns and the Santa Cruz coast are inspired by the sheer beauty of our landscapes. Many may dream about what it would be like to live here, maybe buy a vacation home, or invest in a place to rent out until future retirement. Some people from out of the area are surprised by the strength of our housing market – but we locals understand the value of living here! We’re blessed with small-town lifestyles and friendly people, temperate weather, and so much of our land is dedicated to public parks; yet we are less than an hour from Silicon Valley.
Across Santa Cruz County, 130 homes sold during the first three weeks of April at an average price of $1,328,001. There are many more buyers here than sellers, pushing home prices up. During the first quarter of this year, county-wide home prices rose 28% over the same period last year. The market is fabulous for anyone thinking of selling their home! Home buyers should expect to compete with other buyers. While home insurance has gotten more challenging, the Cal Fair plan (cfpnet.com) is available to everyone. If you haven’t talked with your insurance agent in a while, check in to make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild if necessary: rebuilding costs have nearly doubled in just the last year.
In the chart below, notice that “Days on Market” – the number of days homes are on the market before going into escrow with a buyer – continues to shrink. In Scotts Valley, home prices rose a shocking 49% over this time last year, while across the San Lorenzo Valley (SLV), home prices rose by a strong 16%. We are seeing a lot of all cash (no loan) purchases in all sectors, from entry level homes through the luxury segment. The most expensive home sold in the SLV was in Boulder Creek: about 2600 square feet of luxury on an acre, fetching $1.35 million, ($100,000 over asking price, all cash). The most expensive property sold in Scotts Valley had 3 homes and 4,500 square feet of living space on 10 usable acres, which sold for $3.8 million, all cash.
More parcels where a home burned down are coming up for sale, from city sized lots to acreage. The “fast track” rebuilding process is available to new buyers, making building your dream home here in the Santa Cruz Mountains much easier than before. Given Proposition 19, people over 55, disabled, or survivors of fires and other natural disasters now have the ability to transfer their original property tax basis to any California county. Many experts have said that one of the reasons behind the housing shortage in California was that people couldn’t afford the new property taxes if they bought a different home – but now many can! It’s possible that more homes may go up for sale over time across California, which would help alleviate our housing shortage.
My husband’s property, which burned in the CZU Complex fire last summer, is in the final stages of soil testing. Once that is completed, he can submit plans and begin the permit process to rebuild. Unfortunately, the heavy equipment used to clear the land destroyed a steep curved section of his driveway, a significant expense to repair (that is not covered by insurance). Although many trees, especially firs, pines, and madrones, died from the fire and must be cleared, some badly charred trees are showing signs of life this spring. Right now, the grasses are lush, and deer graze peacefully.
“M.C.” Dwyer, MBA, REALTOR® CA DRE License 01468388
With Century 21 Showcase REALTORs® since 2005