As we head into December and are right in the middle of the holiday season, the available housing inventory in Scotts Valley is at one of it’s lowest points all year, as is usually the case at this time of the year, and interest rates have shot up about .5% since the elections with uncertainty as to where rates will go. Pending sales also went from 54% in mid-November to 42% today, as of this writing. But with the low amount of inventory, that figure could move rapidly with a couple of new pending sales or homes that come on the market so this figure is not that much of an indicator when there is too little data.
Single Family Homes
Currently there are 32 total homes for sale including condos and townhouses with 26 of them being single family homes. Of those, 15 are still active with an average list price of $1,034,193, which will buy you a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with an average of 2,339sf and a 27,225 lot size. This is of course, what you should expect to buy in this price point. The average days on market for active listings is currently at 83 days.
The lower price point continues to be quite active as the pending sales have an average list price of $786,455. That price should buy you a 3 bedroom, maybe 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and approximately 1,698sf on a 12,205sf lot. The average days on market for pending sales is currently at 41 days.
Condos and Townhouses
Condos and townhouses continue their hot pace as they do in almost any time of the year, especially as average sales prices jump for single family homes.
Right now there are 6 total condo-townhouses for sale with 2 being still available at an average list price of $603,500. That would buy you a 2-3 bedroom, 2 bath home, with 1,421sf and a garage. The average days on market for active listings is 50 days.
Pending condo-townhouse listings are averaging a $574,125 list price, which buys you a 2-3 bedroom, 2 baths, 1,227sf and at least a one car garage. The average days on market for pending sales is 32 days.
Prices for condos have risen quite a bit this year as the spread in price between a single-family home and condo-townhouse has been quite substantial, which has had more buyers switch their home search to the more affordable condo-townhouse market.
Rates Spike Upwards
Since the elections, there has been a steady climb upwards which have been at about .5% higher since right before the election. Where 30 year fixed rate mortgages were commonly obtained in the 3.5% range, we are now seeing 4-4.125% for the same mortgage. That is a difference of approximately $28.38 per month for every $100,000 with a .5% rate hike. While it may not make much of an impact for $100,000, if you were trying to obtain a $700,000 mortgage you are now talking about a rise in payments of $198.66 per month.
“Rates are still at historic lows and HUD has raised the loan limits”, said Lynn Bridges of Bay Equity Home Loans in Scotts Valley. “Our max conforming loan went up to $653,150.00 and we are seeing lenders come back into the market with more loan options to help borrowers get into a home.”
Do what you can to stay with a 15 or 30 year fixed whenever possible. As Lynn stated, rates are still excellent and taking a chance on an adjustable mortgage that looks good today, may not look so good a couple of years from now. A 4% fixed rate mortgage is still a great deal. Of course, 3.5% is better, but 4% is not bad if that is the best you can get.
Real Estate Tips
If you are thinking of buying a home, the holidays are a good time to shop as less home shoppers are out, meaning less competition. The issue is that less homes are also for sale. But those homes that do come on the market during the holidays are homes with home sellers that are serious about selling and in some situations can be a sign that a good deal is around the corner.
Wait until spring when many home buyers are shopping and you could face a lot more competition. This happens year in and year out so be alert and be ready of something comes up right now while other buyers are at the mall while you are home shopping.
If you are thinking of selling a home, it may not be a bad idea to start putting some things in motion such as inspectors and even repairs that could be needed as many inspectors, painters, etc., are experiencing a slow time which also could translate to better deals for repairs and possible upgrades.
If you need to sell now, inventory is pretty low and that could help you. I am still seeing homes going pending right now during the holidays, provided the home is ready and priced right.
Happy Selling, Happy Buying, and Happy Holidays!
REALTOR® since 1986
BRE # 00921165
American Dream Realty in SV
5522 Scotts Valley Drive
Scotts Valley, CA. 95066
831-252-3959 Direct Line
Robert Aldana is a 30+ year licensed real estate veteran with American Dream Realty in Scotts Valley, and also a long-term resident and homeowner here in town. He is the founder of MyScottsValley.com and the popular local news and events page at Facebook.com/MyScottsValley.
Robert was also a nationally syndicated real estate journalist and was a highly sought after interviewee on the topic of real estate by local, national and even international media, in addition to appearing on HGTV and local NBC’s “Best of the Bay”.
Many of his articles and interviews can still be read at RobertAldana.com, RealtyTimes.com, Forbes.com, among many other real estate and finance news sites and publications.