Nina fixer upperColumns Real Estate 

Surfing Summer Waves in Real Estate

By M.C. Dwyer

Summer weather is here — Boulder Creek recorded a high of 99 recently, Scotts Valley hit 95 — even if the season doesn’t officially start until June 21st. Right now we’re at the height of the home selling season, and home prices are sizzling like a summer bar-b-que. But the average 30-year mortgage rate is 2% higher than this time last year. Combined with home price appreciation, reports the average 30-year mortgage payment for a home purchase jumped 50% nationwide over the last year. The share of new adjustable rate mortgages rose to about 7.5% of all applications; the share was lower when the 30-year fixed rate mortgage was more affordable. also reported that investors have allocated about $89 billion dollars toward building new homes and/or buying rental homes; not great news for home buyers. Real estate is considered to be a good inflation hedge, providing diversification from the recently volatile stock, bond, and crypto markets. 

Not surprisingly, a number of local agents feel like the market is shifting. Early this year, new listings could barely keep up with sales. But over the past few weeks, the number of homes newly listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has been around twice the number of closed sales. Finally, buyers have more homes to choose from!   

In the San Lorenzo Valley, 16 homes sold during the first three weeks of May at an average price of $999,938, after an average of 11 days on the market. The average premium paid was just over $150,000: one fixer sold at asking price, followed by a low premium of $31,000 and a high of $350,000. The low was in Lompico: a fixer upper sold at asking price: $200,000. Five of the SLV homes sold had three bedrooms and sold at an average price of $1,101,000 within eight days. Six homes sold for between $1 million and $1.29 million. The most expensive SLV home sold was a stunning 4-bedroom 4-bath home at just over 3,000 square feet on just under an acre for $2,150,000.    

In Scotts Valley, during the first three weeks of May, 10 homes sold at an average price of $1,510,200 after an average 16 days on the market.    The average premium buyers paid over asking price was about $170,000. The SV home I helped a family purchase sold at a $138,000 discount to offset defects the buyers were comfortable repairing at the reduced price. After that, the smallest premium home buyers paid was $21,000, but the rest of the homes sold at just over a $200,000 premium.

Statistically, that’s too few sales to draw any conclusions. In a market this volatile, pricing is one of our most difficult jobs. Ultimately, buyers and sellers negotiate the final sales price. Housing inventory just increased to about 2.5 months’ supply, which is still low. But as inventory grows, there’s often less upward pressure on prices. The last time the market was “normal” was before the pandemic when inventory ranged between 3.5 months and 5.5 months’ supply. 

Our Rebuild 

My husband’s team submitted his building plans to the special unit handling CZU fire rebuilds in Santa Cruz County; we hope to get a response back within 2 weeks. His contractor was finally able to finalize the bid. Just like nearly everyone else in our community, my husband was hundreds of thousands of dollars underinsured, despite consulting his insurance agent earlier in 2020. So, he is re-opening his application to the SBA (the Small Business Association works with FEMA to provide loans to homeowners after a declared disaster. We will have to carefully evaluate that extra cost to see if the project is economically feasible. He designed and built the original house himself with the help of a contractor in the 1990s, but that’s not an option at his age now. After we met, he eventually decided to move in with me and turned his home into a rental. As a rental, there are complex tax laws that affect him no matter what he does. Please understand that, even if your property has defensible space (like his did), if you are near a steep slope, fires can race up hills. And, fires can spread by ember cast – a fire can create winds that can carry live embers long distances. We’re incredibly grateful to still have my home.


“M.C.” (MaryCatherine) Dwyer, MBA, REALTOR®
CA DRE License 01468388
EXP Realty of California, Inc.
Serving San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley since 2005                                                                                                                 

Sources: Commercial and Single Family Homes data through press deadline, Mortgage Bankers Association, California Association of REALTORs, Reuters, CoreLogic,, Mercury News.

The statements and opinions contained in this article are solely those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of eXp Realty, LLC, or its subsidiaries or affiliates (the “Company”). The Company does not assume any responsibility for, nor does it warrant the accuracy, completeness, or quality of the information provided.

Featured photo: Nina Drive, Boulder Creek, fixer upper.

Photos by M.C. Dwyer

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