We know all know the value of real estate here is our lovely local area. We live here for various reasons but one common reason is the year round fair weather. Because of this we are willing to pay a bit more for our homes than we might in other areas of the country. However, with a bit of research I noticed that we are not alone in our upswing in values.
The Phoenix metropolitan area climbed in value 22.9 percent in 2012, the highest in the nation, according to the research firm CoreLogic. Also, according to the National Association of Realtors, home prices increased in 88 percent of metropolitan areas around the country in the last three months of 2012. That makes our 7 percent increase pale in comparison.
Locally we are in a seller’s market with an average of one buyer to two sellers from Carpinteria to Goleta. Just a few years ago the Santa Barbara MLS reported one buyer to 13 sellers. Montecito and Hope Ranch have more inventory and Goleta less. For the past 15 months, buyers in the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas have been experiencing multiple offers on well-priced properties and this environment is likely to continue until we have more housing stock or interest rates rise.
If you are considering buying, be prepared to pay more than the list price and suffer the multiple offer waiting period to see if you are the winner of the home ownership game. After enduring that unsettling experience, enjoy how much home you can purchase with the low interest rates of today. Did you know that when rates rise just one percent, a house payment goes up by 13 percent? Since the monthly payments are what most of us calculate to see if we can afford a purchase, that cuts into the size of home one actually can afford quite drastically. As interest rates rise, instead of a three bedroom, two bath home, the only choice may be a two bedroom, one bath with outside living space to be more in the price range of comfortable payments. Now is likely to be the best time to buy or sell for a long time.
Nowhere else can you find these exact qualities that the Santa Barbara area gives. The weather, culture and quality of life sprinkled with a diverse population weaves a rich fabric of life for us all to enjoy year round.