Ventura County Real Estate Update

by David Bartels on August 4, 2014

The experts are telling us that our recovering real estate market has slowed in 2014.  The numbers don’t lie and they’re showing about a 15% drop in Ventura County home sales this year compared with last (California is off about 10%).

While the market is a little slower than we’d like, I think it’s important to remember what was going on in the first half of 2013 – last year.  As January turned into February, the ‘buy now’ impulse blossomed in home buyers.  So many had been sitting on the fence for so long, waiting for low rates, good prices and a level of confidence in the future.  Suddenly, in the Winter and Spring of last year, they had all three.  They jumped off the fence in droves and snapped up inventory quickly.  Houses sold in days, often with multiple offers, sometimes at more than asking price.  Sellers were in the driver’s seat to such an extent that some insisted on cash offers only, with no appraisal contingency and a quick closing.  It happened so quickly that some began to warn about another quickly growing real estate ‘bubble.’   By the end of the Summer, though, things had cooled back to near normal levels.

So, when we compare 2014 to 2013, it is important to remember that the real estate market during the first half of last year was a little crazy.  Yes, our numbers are a little off compared to that crazy period, but the long view still assures us that improvement continues.

Personally, our business at Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley hasn’t slowed one bit.  Home sellers are learning about the better deal we have for them and are seeking us out; and buyers are equally excited when they hear about our Guarantee.  In fact, as area sales numbers are down this year compared to last, our numbers are exploding in the opposite direction.  We must be doing something right!

More important than numbers of sales right now is the issue of affordability.  As prices and interest rates rise, fewer and fewer people can afford to buy.  Currently only 29% of our Ventura County population can afford the average single family home and that number is down almost 10 points from the January 2013 figure.  Affordability is somewhat better for first time home buyers who are usually seeking less expensive housing, condos and the like.  Of course, affordability is going to suffer if prices and interest rates go up . . . and wages stay the same.  Looking forward, this could restrict market activity in the coming year.

Here are the most recent graphics from the California Association of Realtors about our Ventura County market (you may view a larger version by clicking on the graphic):

Ventura 05 14 1b 803x1024 Ventura County Real Estate Update



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