Business / Economy

San Benito Real Estate Snapshots

Latest information on the real estate market in San Benito County for March

RealtyTrac just released a rather frightening statistic: Home appreciation is outpacing growth in wages at a ratio of 13 to 1. Housing hit its bottom in 2012, and since then it has rebounded robustly, especially in markets where investors were buying.  However, for the housing market to continue its health, it needs to attract the interest of non-investor buyers.  And that won't be possible if no one can afford a home.

As of March 27, 2015 there were only 74 properties available for purchase in San Benito County. That is very low, and reflects how quickly properties are selling right now, especially in the lower price range where homes are more affordable.  As soon as a property pops onto the market (assuming it is properly prepared and priced) it is snapped up by happy buyers. If you have been thinking of moving up or moving on, this is a really good time you to call your local real estate agent.

Notice I say local?  The Wall Street Journal had an article a couple of days ago about a study done in Virginia, but the findings confirm what I have said for years. The study, done by the Journal of Housing Research from Longwood University in Farmville, VA found "… for every mile between a property and its listing agent’s office, average time on the market goes up 0.36 percent and the overall likelihood of selling goes down 0.5 percent."  Distance makes it more difficult for agents to market a property. And each geographic area has its own personality and peccadilloes which distant agents may not appreciate.  So keep it local.

Whether you are thinking of selling your home this year or not, spring is a lovely season to do a few simple things to brighten your home. I always suggest my sellers power-wash their front porch, getting rid of cobwebs and dirt. Take some Windex to your doorbell. Imagine all the germs it has housed since last Halloween!

One of the easiest and most rewarding projects is to plant a few spring annuals in the front yard. Whether you opt for the ground or for a pot of concentrated color, flowers and plants give vibrancy to your entry way. 

This year I brightened my house by painting my front door bright orange. I love the burst of color, and it looks fresh and alive.  Not everyone is a bright orange color person, I know. But a fresh coat of paint, whatever the color, is a relatively inexpensive way to make a home look better. And a new doormat helps as well…

So what has March been like for real estate? You already know the inventory is low. Currently 103 properties are pending. This means there is an accepted contract between the buyer and seller, and the players are going through the normal hoops: Getting a mortgage, doing inspections, making repairs, etc. Generally the selling time is about six weeks from start to finish, though an all-cash deal can be done in days and a difficult sale could take a year or more.  Hopefully, all of these will close in time.

During the month of March, 27 properties exchanged hands.  Prices ranged from $205,000 to $952,000.Another 15 properties were removed from the multiple listing service (MLS) by cancellation, withdrawal or expiration of the listing contract.

If you have questions about the market, or need some expertise to help you make the best decision for you, call your local real estate professional. 

It's a good life.

Nants Foley is a licensed broker (CalBRE 01222234) at Four Corners Real Estate Group in historic downtown Hollister. You may reach her at 831-801-5110 or email [email protected]

Nants Foley - Broker Associate

Nants Foley is a real estate broker DRE 01222234 and writer who works throughout California. She makes her home at Quicksilver Farm in San Benito County.