Montly Market Report

Real Estate Update | April 2020

Price on request

real-estate-market-report-apr2020Here’s a snapshot of the real estate market in Santa Barbara County for the month of April 2020. Enjoy and check back soon for the May 2020 update.

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Special Report: The Two Month Real Estate Market Snapshot (and a sweet success story)

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The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR) just issued a two-month market recap to appease those of us who are clutching the edges of our seats and dying to know how the residential market is shaking out. SBAOR compared market activity between March 1st and April 30th to the same period in 2019. We must say, the news is better than we expected. And for those of you who are true real estate aficionados, we’re including a COVID-sale success story that will warm your heart.

Coronavirus-2-month-statsv2

Our interpretation: As we move into May we’re seeing more and more homes come on the market. In fact, the number of new or “coming soon” listings have doubled in the past week. Some are brand new inventory; some are relists by concerned sellers who withdrew their properties from the market in March. While we are still not at the inventory levels we normally are at this time, it appears that consumer confidence is on the rise as sellers gingerly step back into the market.

The same is true with buyer activity. While pending sales are about half of what they normally are at this time, there is pent-up demand in this low-inventory market. Our success story offers a case in point.

Selling during COVID – A success story
*Warning – the story you’re about to read includes a bit of horn-tooting but heck, we think we deserve it!

Becky Davis found herself needing to sell her mother’s darling Eastside home shortly after the Governor issued California’s SIP order. We were hired to help. Thankfully, residential real estate was declared an essential service by mid-March, but many important questions remained: How do we safely prepare a 100-year old home for sale? How do we market it to interested buyers while following CDC, state and local guidelines? How do we do our part to flatten the curve while serving our client’s best interest?

With the help of VP Assist – Village Properties’ concierge home improvement service powered by Zoom Casa – we slowly arrived at answers to our questions. Zoom Casa assigned a project manager to safely oversee necessary property renovations while keeping us virtually informed of their progress. In less than 2-weeks the home and yard were transformed from tired and overgrown, to fresh and full of potential.

before-after

Next, our group invested in high-impact professional photography and a 3D virtual walk-through using state-of-the-art Matterport technology. This technology allowed us to create a digital twin of the home so that buyers could view it virtually from multiple angles and get accurate measurements before requesting an in-person tour. We believed this transparency was good for everyone. We were right.

matterport

Within days of launching the listing through multiple real estate channels, Becky found herself reviewing 6 offers from eager and deserving buyers, many of whom were willing to pay over asking price. Before she made her decision, a 7th offer was presented with terms she couldn’t refuse: full asking price; all cash purchase; no buyer contingencies; and a 5-day closing. Becky found herself closing escrow and celebrating her 50th birthday all in the same week.

beckyWe often say that we are in the business of selling dreams. This sale was certainly a dream come true for Becky, and a feather in the cap for the Knight Real Estate Group. The property was safely prepared for market, advertised, shown and sold within 6 weeks of signing the listing, and all during the COVID pandemic.

If you are interested in learning more about how we created a great selling experience for Becky, give us a call. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.

Real Estate Market Report | March 2020

Price on request

market-report-mar-2020Here’s a snapshot of the real estate market in Santa Barbara County for the month of March 2020. Enjoy and check back soon for the April 2020 update.

Click here to view the full report >>

Coronavirus Update: How’s Santa Barbara’s Spring Real Estate Market?

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While this is usually a simple question, it’s not so simple to answer right now. We are 3+ weeks into shelter-in-place, and we’ve been obsessively reading real estate industry news, looking at sales data and learning about lending changes so we can help clients make major decisions in the coming days, weeks, and months. The questions we’re being asked are “Should I sell now?” “Should I buy now?” “Can I get a loan?” “Will I find a deal?” “Will I get lowballed?” and, frankly, “What the heck is going on out there???

Here’s our take…
Covid-19 has slowed but not stopped Santa Barbara County home sales.
We’re seeing substantially fewer sales. No surprise. People are waiting to see how the market shakes out.

The number of transactions dipped in March, but prices remained stable or even rose slightly compared to a year ago. See stats for your neighborhood in the graphics below.
Thank you, Fidelity National Title Group!

CORT-MAR-2020

April will likely be a different story.
Remember that most homes sold in March were listed before Californians were ordered to shelter-in-place (SIP). Until about mid-month, it was business-as-usual with open houses, broker tours, staged properties, fast loan approvals, etc. Since home sales data lags by at least 30 days, it’s going to be a few weeks before we know more.

Will home prices drop?
Home prices today are affected by several factors, including the laws of supply and demand and how easy or hard it is to buy and sell. Before Covid-19, the Santa Barbara housing supply was at a historic low. High demand and low interest rates pushed prices higher.

Today, the already low inventory is shrinking because sellers are pulling their homes off the market. Others are watching and waiting. But determined buyers are still out there competing for a limited number of properties. Not as many buyers, of course, but serious buyers are there. Santa Barbara County is blessed with a strong and diverse economy filled with folks who can work from home (or, frankly, don’t need to work). They are confident about their jobs and financial situation. So, does this mean that property values will hold?

It’s too early to tell …
Selling and buying a home while SIP isn’t easy. While our local Realtor Association has put showing protocols in place to help keep everyone safe, we’re in an unprecedented time. Everything is taking longer. Properties can’t be readied for market in the usual fashion. Open houses aren’t being done in our county, or in most areas of the country right now. While we are implementing new virtual technology to help buyers look at property, it will take some time before buyers and sellers are comfortable with the new “virtual” normal. Anything that’s harder to do will mean less people will do it, which could negatively impact sales prices.

Can buyers still get a loan?
Lenders are still approving loans. Just be aware that loan requirements have become more stringent as lenders figure out how to quantify the long-term lending risks. Mortgage investors need to do the same thing. So while jumbo loans have become more expensive, conforming and FHA interest rates are at all-time record lows.

Last thoughts.
We are lucky enough to live in one of the most amazing places on Earth. Now more than ever, people want to live in Santa Barbara County. Unlike most communities, our beaches and hiking trails are still open. Fresh produce is abundant. Local seafood is being sold off the pier. In many ways, life is good.

So while the real estate market will have some challenges this year, it is fundamentally strong. We will weather the short-term hit and come through this stronger. Until then, stay safe.