Santa Cruz Real Estate and Homes for Sale

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Santa Cruz Housing Update (& How Events Halfway Around the World Affect Our Local Market)

santa cruz real estate market report: july 2015

The following market report is provided by Liz Kroft  & Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.

This last month saw Germany looking for Greece to pay their own way. Greece went begging for more time and money to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Germany capitulated and Greece received a restructured loan deal and the housing market in Santa Cruz benefits.

Say what?

How does the Greek debt crisis have anything to do with the Santa Cruz housing market?

And by the way, since when did this become a blog about international monetary policy?

How does any of this really have any relevance to rents, home prices, and the real estate market in Santa Cruz?

Well it all has to do with the strength of the dollar around the world and interest rates closer to home. Long story short, because the European Union lent the money to Greece we averted an international monetary crisis and the dollar came out stronger while interest rates remained stable. Thus, everything basically stays the same and the banking system and the Federal Reserve take a sigh of relief.

Now we can focus on the big question on everyone’s mind once again:

Are we in a bubble?

In our March 9th article we commented on how the 2015 market was coming out of hibernation and perhaps into a bubble. Other economists and industry experts seem to believe that we are in a bubble:

Yet others say that we are in fact NOT in a bubble:

In considering your opinion, take these two piece of information as you will:

  1. The Santa Cruz County median home prices are the highest they have been since 2007
  2. The National Foreclosure Inventory Is the Lowest it has been since December 2007

For the housing market’s continued recovery, there is no doubt that affordability is going to be a major deciding factor.

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Santa Cruz Real Estate: Extension of Silicon Valley or Still the Slow Coast?

Silicon Valley Santa Cruz Real Estate

The following market report is provided by Liz Kroft  & Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.

The Santa Cruz area has long straddled the line between being considered an extended suburb of Silicon Valley and firmly staking its claim as part of the Monterey Bay Area and the Central Coast.

Those of us who live in this beautiful part of the world would strongly argue that, we are NOT part of Silicon Valley but are uniquely Central Coast. Santa Cruz anchors the southern stretch of the Slow Coast and not Silicon Valley. We will leave that honor to Gilroy. We are Brethren to Monterey, Salinas, and Carmel. Not San Jose, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale.

Keep Santa Cruz Weird

Or are we?

The lines are blurring, and Santa Cruz seems to be in the midst of an identity crisis.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the local real estate market.

As it relates to housing rents and sales, we are being sucked into the Silicon Valley market demographics. Santa Cruz County is gradually losing its Central Coast identity as it’s drug into the hot, hot markets of one of the country’s largest tech hubs.

A recent Housingwire article ranked the Santa Cruz-Watsonville market as the 7th hottest housing market in America,  just behind San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara in 3rd and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward in 2nd.  

Rents are astronomical in Santa Cruz, housing prices continue to rise, inventory and interest rates remain low, and more people are discovering that the commute “over the hill” is worth it when you can still buy a home in the Santa Cruz area for significantly less than in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Keep Santa Cruz Affordable

Thanks to Santa Cruz Life reader, Sarah Cox for suggesting this updated take on “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.”

Have we lost or have we won?

That depends on where you sit. Are you a renter or an owner of real estate?

Let’s look at the numbers.

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The Last Frontier of Affordable Housing in Santa Cruz?

santa cruz market report: May 2015

The following market report is provided by Liz Kroft  & Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.

Have you had the pleasure of riding the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk? As you leave the station you immediately enter a tunnel before the ride really begins upward. That ride is a perfect analogy for this months market update.

This months update is kind of like the tunnel before the ride starts upward. We know the climb is coming, it is just that a bit of uncertainty has crept into the market this month before it all starts. Enjoy our Giant Dipper of a market report this month.

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How’s the Market? It’s a Normal Spring Market…Except for One Thing

santa cruz real estate report, april 2015

The following market report is provided by Liz Kroft  & Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.


Spring has sprung with few surprises in Santa Cruz’s real estate market, but there’s one thing that’s different. Entering into the 4th year of drought means more changes for homeowners from landscaping to plumbing.

Have you taken the necessary steps to meet your district’s mandatory water restrictions?

Before we dive (make that a very shallow dive) into the drought’s impacts on homeowners, let’s take a look at the numbers.

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Santa Cruz Real Estate: Where Has All the Housing Gone?

santa cruz real estate market report, march 2015

The following market report is provided by Liz Kroft  & Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.


Ask a few locals what the weather was like this morning and you’ll get wildly different answers depending on where each person lives within Santa Cruz County.

Your friend in Aptos may tell you it was foggy, someone in Seabright might gloat that it was warm and sunny, and yet another from Ben Lomond may tell you it was absolutely frigid.

We’re accustomed to microclimates, but there’s something similar which might not be as obvious:

Micro markets.

The “Santa Cruz Real Estate Market” is as nuanced as our local weather patterns. Each city and neighborhood has a unique housing market. This is important to keep in mind as we discuss the broader “Santa Cruz County” market.

Speaking of weather, and our local real estate market, rain isn’t the only thing we’re currently in short supply of.

At this point we all know that low housing inventory is also in short supply.

The supply of new homes is not keeping pace with the job and population growth that we’re seeing in Santa Cruz County. With historically low mortgage rates and other incentives, buyers are ready, yet sellers remain on the sidelines.

What gives?

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Santa Cruz Real Estate: Out of Hibernation and Into a Bubble?

santa cruz real estate report: Feb. 2015The following market analysis is provided by Liz Kroft and Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.


Yawn. Stretch. The real estate market begins to come out of its winter hibernation in January and February. 2015 is no different and as such the market statistics are not particularly enlightening just yet, but that does not mean there isn’t much to learn early in the year.

The last three springs in Santa Cruz County saw progressive markets, which took home values to new heights. From March through May of 2014 homes (single family and condo/townhome) were going like hotcakes, with a median1 of 18 days on market2 and selling at an average of 99.6% of list price. There is quite a bit of speculation and assumption about what will unfold in 2015 with historically low interest rates, tight inventory, and rising prices.

To put inventory into perspective: There are currently only 1,657 Single Family Homes for sale across Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey counties. Not much for a population of over 2.5 million.

First, lets take a quick look at what happened in February in the Santa Cruz County real estate market. The Infographic below provides a great snapshot:
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How’s the Market? Santa Cruz County Market Report: October 2014

Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Statistics
It’s been a while since our last update on the local housing market. What’s happened to housing in Santa Cruz County since the summer?

For starters, prices are up and inventory is down.

The median price for single family homes in October was $715,000, up 11% from last October, and up a healthy 6% from September. Condos had a median price of $465,000 in October. This is an increase of 24% from a year ago, and a 9% gain from September.

Evaluating the numbers gives us a good start at understanding the housing market, but while the numbers never lie, they don’t always paint the whole picture. That’s why this month we want to open the topic of the Santa Cruz real estate market up to local agents.

If you’re an agent in Santa Cruz County then head over to our Facebook page to let us know what’s really happening in the market. What’s hot? what’s not? Where’s the market heading? Add your voice, or just read along to find out what the experts have to say, at the following link:

Join the conversation on Facebook

October Housing Statistics in Santa Cruz County:

Single Family Homes

 20132014% Change
Inventory641535-17%
New Inventory198158-20%
Sales1621631%
Avg. Sales Price$687,750$794,80616%
Median Price$647,000$715,00011%

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How’s The Market? Santa Cruz County Real Estate Report: March, 2014

Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Statistics
good times best realtor 2013 & 2014The following market analysis is provided by Kathie Gomes of the Mulhern & Gomes Know Homes team at Keller Williams Realty. Mulhern & Gomes were voted the #1 Santa Cruz Realtor in 2013 & the Best Team and Best Senior Real Estate Specialist in 2014 by Good Times readers.  Kathie is a listing specialist who works exclusively with sellers.


While the chart below shows just a 2% increase in inventory from March 2013 to March 2014, there was a 37% increase in the heart of Santa Cruz County in just one month!

From February to March 2014 we went from 233 single family homes for sale to 321 in the areas of Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Soquel, and Aptos.

What does this mean for you?  Let’s find out.
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Santa Cruz County Market Statistics: February 2014

Single Family Homes

 20132014% Change
Inventory468451-4%
New Inventory182173-5%
Sales124111-10%
Avg. Sales Price$551,648$660,40320%
Avg. Median Price$449,000$597,50033%

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Santa Cruz County Market Statistics: January 2014

Single Family Homes

 20132014% Change
Inventory460409-11%
New Inventory1441579%
Sales10311916%
Avg. Sales Price$548,101$739,84435%
Avg. Median Price$485,000$609,95026%

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