Home-Buying Trends

While the overall California housing market is slowing as interest rates inch higher, Santa Cruz real estate listings show no signs of hitting the brakes. If anything, the market reflects a “pedal to the metal” attitude. As a result, housing prices continue to climb, as more people seek to move to the Bay Area.

Located south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz County is more than just a bedroom community for people who work in San Francisco. The area has become a destination in its own right, offering advantages to living in “The City.” And the Santa Cruz real estate market reflects that. The number of houses sold has increased every year, and projections for 2017 predict more of the same.

Reasons for Santa Cruz Real Estate Popularity

Santa Cruz real estate’s desirability is due in part to its proximity to Scotts Valley, where international technology businesses have campuses. The tech sector offers high-paying jobs that persuade the young and restless to settle down. As a result, the real estate markets from San Francisco and the East Bay down to Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties continue to grow month after month and year after year.

The Santa Cruz area is also rich in outdoor activity opportunities, so you can find the amenities you want convenient to your new home. The parks, beaches and forests draw enthusiasts who came for a job and stayed for the lifestyle. Area schools are graded seven out of 10 or higher, which appeals to the many first-time homebuyers searching for homes in the area.

Lots of Competition

Other factors driving the market include baby boomers looking to downsize and Millennials looking to own. Retiring boomers are buying vacation homes, second homes or smaller homes. Millennials, now in their late 20s, are now ready to buy a house that’s big enough to raise a family. Both population segments find the Santa Cruz real estate listings appealing due to the location, traditional house styles available and proximity to amenities.

Since demand is high, homes in the Santa Cruz real estate listings are averaging just 50 days on the market — less than two months! — so don’t delay when considering making an offer if you see a home you like. Houses don’t last long in this market.

Buying in Santa Cruz

Some say it’s a seller’s market right now in Santa Cruz County. That’s what happens in a hot market like Santa Cruz real estate. Buying a house in a market like this requires that you be prepared, do your homework and find trusted professionals to help you. You will have find competition among buyers. To come out on top, you need to give yourself an edge by getting a pre-approved loan.

Pre-qualification for a loan  may sound intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time buyer,  but it’s a pretty straightforward process. The lender of your choice — like Zack Adam of Prime Mortgage Lending, Inc. (dba PrimeRate Mortgage Lending, Inc.) — does some preliminary checking to see that your finances are up to snuff. Once pre-qualified, you get a snapshot of what you can afford.

The Value of Pre-Qualification

Pre-qualification doesn’t mean Zack has guaranteed your loan. It means is that it looks to him like all your ducks are in a row:

  • Your credit score is acceptable
  • Your credit history doesn’t have any negative stoppers
  • You may even have your down payment ready

When it comes to pre-qualification, Zack goes the extra mile to make sure he’s right about your finances, and that helps you be more certain of your situation. Zack can tell you, based on the information he’s seen so far, how much he thinks you can afford to borrow. If you get pre-qualified before you go out house-hunting, you’ll be able to narrow down your search. You’ll know what you can spend, so your house-hunting expeditions can become fun and exciting again.

Every Advantage Helps

In a hot market like Santa Cruz real estate, you need every advantage you can get. You’ll likely face competition whenever you make an offer on a house. Zack provides you with a pre-qualification letter; include a copy with your offer, and it’ll score you some points with sellers.

When they see you’re pre-qualified, they’ll realize a financing professional has looked you over and deemed you fit to borrow money. They ‘ll see you as a better risk than those who aren’t pre-qualified. As a bonus, your pre-qualification can reduce your home-buying anxiety, since you’re already on the road to getting a loan.

With your pre-qualification letter in hand and a good idea of what you can afford, you can search for your next home with confidence. Santa Cruz real estate statistics reveal that average sales prices and median home prices climb by double digit percentages every year. So, buying a house in Santa Cruz County is also a pretty solid investment.