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County’s median home price drops to $815,000 in September

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The median home price in Santa Cruz County, Calif., dropped to $815,000 in September, according to Gary Gangnes of Real Options Realty, who tracks the numbers.

A year ago, the median home price was $920,000, according to Gangnes’ figures.

In September, 149 single-family homes were sold, an increase from 131 sales the year before. The month had more sales in the more affordable areas of the county, which affected the county’s median price. San Lorenzo Valley and Watsonville had 57 sales closed, which is the most sales in 21 months, according to Gangnes.

Gangnes reported that there were 46 sales at $1 million or more in September 2019. The September figure is the fewest number of sales at $1 million or higher in 19 months, he said.

Low mortgage interest rates also contribute to sales, Gangnes said.

Interest rates at the end of September and into October were nearly a quarter percent of the lowest interest rates of 2012, according to Tom Brezsny, real estate agent with Sereno Group.

One number used to determine how the market is doing is the unsold inventory index, which is the length of time it would take to deplete the unsold housing inventory.

The September unsold inventory index is four months, according to the Ganges’ figures, down from 4.2 months a year ago. Previous to September, the index had increased for 12 consecutive months year over year.

One single-family home in the county that sold close to the median price was 140 Boulder Brook Drive in Boulder Creek. With three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,461 square feet, the home was listed June 12 for $840,000, according to Bailey Properties real estate agent Jo-Ellen Smith, the seller’s agent for the home. After the price was dropped twice, the house closed escrow Sept. 28 for $795,000.

Smith said real estate agents should price their houses “at or under market,” or at the prices consumers are buying.

“There’s more of a power balance between a buyer and seller,” Smith said, “It’s an equal field depending on which location.”

Sellers have to manage their aspirations, or expectations for a price, because they have been in charge for so long, Smith said.

Sellers should expect longer lengths of time on the market and lower prices overall toward the end of the year, Brezsny said. But if prices stay the same, he said inventory could shrink and the market may shift in sellers’ favor at the beginning of next year, he said.

Tribune Content Agency

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