Uncertainty – that’s for certain! But what else is new?
The housing market has reached a pivotal point, but no one really knows what is next – hence “uncertainly” is the buzz word I hear most these days. Bidding wars and outlandish price increases seem to be behind us. The perfect storm that has been raging for months has passed and we are entering calmer seas.
That perfect storm resulted from raging demand, tight inventory and what appeared to be endless amounts of available money. Though many winning bids went to the cash buyers, the low interest rates provided plenty of would-be competition to the market, which is part of the formula for bidding wars and fast-rising home prices. Now that mortgage rates have ticked up, many buyers have put the brakes on and are re-evaluating. Rates are still historically low. The quick sales at exorbitant prices were stressful for all involved and is likely now a thing of the past.
This could mean a break for buyers. And just in time for the renters out there because the rental market is soaring – across the country and especially right here in our neck of the woods. Renters will likely be looking at some steep rental rates for the next few years. Those that were on the cusp of buying may not to be able to reach their goal now and will be forced back to the rental market. Renters might re-evaluate what they are paying in rent compared to what their mortgage could be if purchasing a home. Yes, interest rates are higher, but they are still good. And the adjustable-rate mortgage has come back into fashion.
Many are wondering if the prices are going to take a nosedive. Most experts are saying not likely nationally, though there are a few cracks showing. Demand is down and most homes are not selling as fast or at prices far above their asking price. However, our area is unique and what is happening in Phoenix or Tampa is not likely happening here in the Santa Cruz area. What is happening here, as most places, is that inventory remains low. Months of Inventory – a measurement of how long it would take to sell every home on the market if nothing new came on – has been as low as 1 month since Jan 2022. As of the end of August that number has grown to 2.6 months. Still low compared to the norm of 2019 which was about 3.5 – 4 months, but noticeably higher than earlier this year and before interest rates jumped.
Let’s talk about those low, low rates of “yester-month”. The super low rates may not have done us any favors. They helped to stoke the flames of a wildfire of increasing prices making many homes un-affordable even with the low interest rate. Rates in the 5-6% range, still an historically low rate, make for a more sustainable housing market. The frenzy of 2020 and 2021 left no room for negotiations. This current market, still good for sellers whose homes have appreciated, presents more of an opportunity for the buyers willing to get in. There’s some breathing room. You can take some time to look and evaluate the homes you’re considering. You don’t have to push your way through the only open house available with throngs of other hungry buyers. Now you can look at the view, the neighborhood, see if it’s right for you and not just the only thing out there forcing a desperate bid to be lost, or worse, simply ignored.
Settling into a more normal pace is good for everyone. Sellers are still looking at good prices for their homes compared to what it was worth a year or two years ago. They might have to wait more than a week – or even 2 weeks, heaven forbid, to get an offer, but it will be from a buyer that has had the time to peruse the available properties on the market. It will likely be a buyer that is buying because they love this home more than any other home they’ve seen. Yes, there could be negotiations and you will still do better by having your home looking it’s best and with all the lights working, polished floors and sparkling windows. I always feel that the best sale is one in which both parties are happy with the transaction. Buyers get a home they love, or at least like a lot, and sellers get a good price allowing them to move on to their next chapter.
We are always happy to help you evaluate your situation. Whether it’s buying or selling, it’s best to make a plan. We know how to do that and can help you. It might be a plan for a month or two out or a year or two out. Plans can change but getting a handle on it in the first place gives you direction and room to dream, and dreaming is always good!
The Importance of Referrals
A pretty common conversation we have with friends and family goes something like this:
Friend or Family Member: “I love receiving your marketing materials, but I can’t imagine ever wanting to sell my house. Am I wasting your money by receiving these materials?”
Bettsy/Maddie: “Absolutely not! We love any chance to connect with you, and it’s no biggie if we never do business together. But, there are 2 ways you can still help us, and us you. Refer your friends or family to us, and/or ask us to help you find an agent if you want to buy out of the area or state.”
Let’s break these two situations down.
Referring Friends and Family
Our business depends on referrals. And what better way to help out one of your friends of family members, then by referring them to a trusted, experienced, and fun real estate team like us? ?? It also helps us in having a connection to someone through someone else we already know.
Keep us in mind, when talking with your friends and family about real estate.
Asking for a reference to buy elsewhere.
Don’t think that just because we don’t do business in San Diego or Sacramento, doesn’t mean we can’t help you buy or sell there. We sure can! Our network is extensive – we have connections with agents EVERYWHERE. And you can rest assured that we will put in extra hours to research agents, call colleagues, and find the best REALTOR to represent you. And if we are successful in finding you an agent you want to work with, we can then be a part of your real estate experience. We will be there to help answer questions and be a sounding board. We are not there to run things, just as an advisory.
So please refer us and we will help to refer you. Working with people you know and trust is always better than working with a stranger.
Housing and Construction Projects in Santa Cruz County
This project calls for 205 market-rate housing units with ground-floor shops. The project takes up the entire downtown block between Pacific Avenue, Front and Laurel streets. The project has six stories plus two levels of underground parking.
This project includes a total of up to 179 affordable units above ground-floor commercial space. It also includes a new downtown Pacific Station Metro bus station and medical office space.
This project calls for a six-story apartment complex with shops at 130 Center St. in Santa Cruz. The lot near Depot Park now has an auto body shop and a Hertz rental car shop.
The 1500 Capitola Road project near 17th Avenue calls for 57 units of affordable housing. The project will include two clinics: a Dientes Community Dental Care and a Santa Cruz Community Health Center.
53 affordable housing units have been approved for construction at Freedom Boulevard and Atkinson Lane.
50 apartments will be built at 558 Main St., south of East Fifth Street in Watsonville.
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