Team Sweasey's Real Estate Blog

July 13, 2021

Our July San Luis Obispo Market Update

Believe it or not, half of the year is already behind us, and we’ve had the best six months we’ve ever had in my 30-year career. Thank you so much for all your support. Today we’re discussing our July real estate market statistics and what’s making this year so special.

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but again, in the last month, we’ve had 50% fewer homes on the market than we had a year ago. Sales have increased about 50% from what we saw last June. That’s a massive swing between the number of properties sold and those on the market.

Interest rates are still historically low, at a little below 3% for a 30-year mortgage, which is incredible. Also, it’s not just about what you pay but the money you’re earning. By leaving your money in the bank, you’re earning almost no interest. If you buy real estate, whether it’s your home or an investment property, your money sees a much better return, plus there are tax benefits. It’s an excellent time for buyers to lock in a low rate and also a fantastic time for sellers because of the high demand and solid prices.

The effects of the pandemic have changed what people want from their houses. We’re seeing many people both upsizing and downsizing. We’re also noticing a slew of people leaving certain areas, and there’s been a shift to people wanting to live in more rural areas.

For example, if you live in Los Angeles or San Francisco, San Luis Obispo is an appealing rural area outside of the densely populated areas. People selling here may be moving to Idaho, Oregon, or other less dense areas. Plenty of people are relocating to be closer to family, too.

As we look at all these factors, people see that the market has been going up for a while and are wondering if a drop is coming. We’re selling homes at such a quicker rate than new homes are coming onto the market that there would need to be an enormous spike in inventory and a major decline in demand for this market to change much. It simply doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the foreseeable future. This is the market we’ll have for a while, and a bunch of wise people are taking advantage of it. Perhaps you should too.

If you have questions about how you might be affected by the market or how we can help you, give us a call. We’re always here to be your real estate resource.

June 15, 2021

Summer Market Update and a Shoutout to Our Team

In case you haven’t heard already, Team Sweasey just moved into our brand-new office. It’s bigger, modern, and will provide even more value to our clients. Come visit us at 860 Walnut in San Luis Obispo anytime. We would love to see you.

In the meantime, let’s talk about what’s going on in the real estate market from both a national and local perspective. Let’s start with the local market stats. I could probably tell you to watch any video from the last six months and the story would be the same. Inventory is down, sales and pendings are up, and new listings are pretty flat. There are plenty of homes for sale, they’re just selling quickly because demand is so high.

One recent home we listed at $1,250,000 is going to go $400,000 over asking price. Another was listed for just under $1 million, and we will sell it for over $200,000 over asking price. Time will tell, but with interest rates staying where they are, I don’t see any change in the marketplace.

Now let’s talk about outside the area. I get a lot of calls from people who are in trouble after hiring an agent in a different market based on a quick online search. The inexperienced agents they end up hiring are causing challenges.

I have an easy fix for this if you’re in a situation where you're looking for a Realtor. I have a network that I’ve cultivated over the past 30 years, and I know great agents all over the country. We vet them, we get to know them and their businesses, and we trust them to give you the same great service we do. Give us a call if you or someone you know is moving anywhere in the U.S. I have appraiser and lender connections in every market, too.

Finally, I can’t say enough how great our team is. I wanted to give a few of them a quick shout-out today. One of our newer additions, Sara Humes, is my executive assistant and has been fantastic with our customer service and helping me reach out to our clients. Sharon Benedik is our listing manager who helps me get listings on the market and consistently get top dollar for our clients.

Once they go into escrow, Dakota Bailey, our escrow manager, takes the transaction and ensures it closes from there. He’s already helped over 100 families this year. One of our newest additions, James Bueno, is our director of marketing and is helping us take our online presence to the next level. Finally, Patti Hughes has been with me for years and makes sure the office is a well-oiled machine. The reason the Sweasey Team gets so many great reviews online is because of these excellent people.

If you have questions about the marketplace, want to come see our new office, or have any other real estate-related questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

June 3, 2021

Virtual Tour: 850-858 Buchon St, San Luis Obispo 93401

 Virtual Tour: 850 -858 Buchon St, San Luis Obispo 93401

A stunning new luxury listing in San Luis Obispo. Historic Greystone Manor located just steps to downtown, on two lots, underwent an extensive $2.2 million renovation in 2011, creating a modern, elegant and incredibly well equipped family home.

Also referred to as The Clark Norton House, it was the largest home in San Luis Obispo when built in 1906 at 4,500 square feet, and was the home of two San Luis Obispo Mayors; Elmer Clark and Thomas Norton in the early 1900s.

The main home features 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, a traditional living and dining room, a family/TV room, a dedicated office or 4th bedroom, a library, a sun room, a modern kitchen, and a full work out & game room on the third level.

Every detail of this home was meticulously planned and executed by Holland and Knapp construction including the unique lighting fixtures created in the style of the early 1900's with an authentic kerosene light in the family room circa 1910. The tiles in the kitchen circa 1910-1930's were hand picked and came from all over the world.

So many details in this home including a hidden cellar under the window seat in the kitchen, a hidden bathroom in the garage/bonus room behind the wet bar, and the original wiring "artwork" piece in the hallway from the kitchen to the library.

The home was designed for entertaining with sliding glass doors opening from the main house and the garage/dedicated playroom, creating an expansive open air environment with an easy flow from both the main house and garage with ample parking for up to 8 cars in the driveway.

The guest unit above the garage features 2 bedrooms, a loft, living room with fireplace, kitchen, 2 full baths and 2 decks with gorgeous views of Cerro San Luis and Bishop's Peak.

The property offers incredible privacy, sitting well above the street, providing a sense of seclusion while also being in the heart of San Luis Obispo's Historic District.

Click here for full property details and more images.

May 12, 2021

The Latest From Our Booming Market

Welcome to our May 2021 real estate market update.

We’re in a booming market, but I always like to put things into perspective. Think back to 12 months ago: We were in lockdown, didn’t know what would happen, the stock market was lurching up and down, we couldn’t find toilet paper, and more. A year later, many people have been vaccinated, the economy is on the mend, and real estate is thriving. A year ago, people were afraid to sell their houses or go looking for homes. Today you can buy all the toilet paper you want, but you can’t find a house.

Active listings have decreased 63% year over year, and we had three times as much inventory two years ago; that was a low inventory market, and now we have much less. Pending sales have risen 133%, closed escrows have climbed 72%, and new homes coming onto the market have declined by 20%. Right now we have 297 pendings and 117 new listings, which is not even close to enough to replace the homes coming off the market. So if you’re considering selling, this is an excellent time to do so.

"Today you can buy all the toilet paper you want, but you can’t find a house."

Amid all this, why are people even trying to buy? First, we have historically low interest rates; people like having a fixed payment when everything else is getting more expensive. Second, if they have money saved, they aren’t making much interest with it sitting in the bank. Third, with the pandemic, many people want to move closer to family. Our market is working for both buyers and sellers these days in a way I’ve never seen.

The little caveat is that we’re seeing more homes not closing and going back on the market. That means that sometimes buyers and sellers aren’t compromising or the buyers are getting cold feet. That hasn’t made a difference in the market yet, but we’re keeping an eye on it. Our associate John Turner just said this to me, and I thought it was a perfect quote: “Most escrows don’t close on the exact terms on which they opened.” So if you go into an escrow thinking everything will be the same at the end of 30 or 90 days, you’ll likely struggle and the deal may not work out; the key word in this market is 'compromise'.

Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling, now is a fantastic time. If you have any questions about the market or real estate in general, call or email us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

April 14, 2021

Your April 2021 Market Update

Here are three reasons our real estate market is outstanding these days.

Today I’m sharing our April 2021 real estate market update. The market has been fantastic lately, and there are three main reasons why:

First, in our market update last month, I said that was the best market in our area’s history. Well, I was wrong. This past month has now been our best market ever. That’s because, in the last month, we’ve had about 64% fewer homes available for sale than we had a year ago, and we had low inventory last year, too. We also had 30% more houses sell but only 96 new listings come onto the market versus around 230 last year at this time. All this is placing quite a bit of pressure on the properties available.

Right now our market has appealing rates, massive demand, and tons of buyers.

Second, home values are rising, and here are two examples to illustrate that: In December 2019, a new custom home sold, and it was just resold in February. In 2019 it sold for $2,595,000; in just 14 months it sold again for $3.3 million, which is a 27% increase. Another house originally sold for $990,000 and just sold again for more than $1.2 million in just over a year. So we’ve seen more than a 20% rise in a little more than a year. I’ve never seen this much pressure on prices.

Third, I’ve been receiving many calls from people who at first wanted to wait to sell but decided to take advantage of the current market, and they’re pleasantly surprised by the results. If you’re considering selling, even if it’s a year from now, you may want to think about moving sooner because we don’t know how long this strong seller’s market will last. Right now our market has appealing rates, massive demand, and tons of buyers; it’s a perfect storm for sellers.

If you have any questions about our market or how it will affect your plans, call or email us. We would love to help you.

March 17, 2021

This Market’s Impact on Buyers and Sellers

Here’s how both buyers and sellers win in our current real estate market.

I’ve had a mentor and coach throughout my 30 years in real estate, and he’s been in the business for about 50 years. I truly respect his opinion, and I was recently asking him what he thinks of our current real estate market. He said that this is the best market ever, and I agree.

In February, active inventory decreased by 60% compared to a year ago. Despite that, our sales are still higher than last year by 7% to 15%. Since fewer homes are coming onto the market, prices are continuing to rise.

If you’re a seller in this market, you’re likely to get the best price in the history of real estate. However, that doesn’t apply to every home; just like the stock market, the market could be up, but you may own some stocks that went down instead. Overall, we couldn’t ask for a better market.

 "In our market these days, sellers will get an excellent price and buyers will get a fantastic rate."

If you’re a buyer, you may be wondering how this can be good for you. Well, the market has bottomed out—not with prices, but with interest rates. Interest rates have such a massive impact on the affordability of real estate.

Here’s an example: Two years ago, rates were hovering around 5%, and right now they’re at about 3%. That means that if you were to borrow $683,000 today, your payment would be the same as a $500,000 mortgage two years ago. You have $183,000 more buying power now than two years ago. That’s another reason home prices are trending upward.

So, in our market these days, sellers will get an excellent price and buyers will get a fantastic rate. That’s why our market is so active; it’s stellar for both buyers and sellers.

If you have any questions about our market or real estate in general, give us a call or send an email. We would love to be your real estate resource.

Feb. 5, 2021

San Luis Obispo Real Estate Market Update for February 2021

Here’s a quick snapshot of our real estate market from this past month.

I feel like a broken record when I say our real estate market has remained strong again this month, but that is the case here in February 2021. Before I get to my update, I first want to give a shout out to all of our physicians and front-line workers. We’ve now got people administering vaccines, which is great news.

Now back to real estate. As we look at this January’s numbers compared to January 2020, our pending sales are about the same. This makes sense after a very strong start in 2020. Closed sales are up 40% to 50%, which is a reflection of how strong December was. Interest rates have dropped from 3.4% to 2.75%, and inventory is about half of what it was at this time last year.

What is the challenge I’m hearing about the most? Sellers who would love to move up or down, but are worried about their subsequent purchase because of the limited inventory. They can’t imagine putting a house up for sale and having nowhere to go. If you’re in a similar situation, we have seven different solutions. One is an extended closing. Buyers are so eager to buy homes in this market, they are willing to wait. They just want to know they have somewhere to go.

The biggest challenge for sellers is finding where to go next.

Here’s another option homebuyers are taking advantage of with these low rates. You can buy an investment property, move into it, buy it with an owner-occupied rate, then sell the primary residence, take all that equity, and be sitting in that house in a position to buy the next home. When that home comes along, you have plenty of time to move in, then find a tenant for your rental property.

Those are just a couple of avenues. If you’d like to learn more or if you have any other real estate questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Jan. 8, 2021

How Can I Capitalize on Market Conditions?

The new year is finally here. As we begin 2021, I’m excited to share the latest market stats, my predictions for 2021, and how to capitalize on what’s going on right now in our real estate market.

At the end of 2020, we had 49% fewer homes on the market than we did at the end of 2019. We also had 49% more homes go into escrow. This has sped up home sales while simultaneously raising prices.

Looking forward to 2021, I predict a continued increase in prices. Our supply of homes remains very small while demand remains very high due to historically low interest rates. More and more people working remotely has also increased demand for homes because homebuyers are realizing they can live anywhere they want.

It doesn’t take many people from San Francisco or Los Angeles to migrate here to affect and change what happens here in San Luis Obispo. This trend will bolster our market. The great news is that affordability will remain strong because of the low rates.

It’s a great time to buy, sell, or refinance your mortgage.

How can you take advantage of these trends? For starters, you could buy a home with some of the lowest interest rates that we’ve ever seen in this country. You could also sell your property for an all-time high price. If you need to buy and sell, your ability to sell for top dollar while also buying with an interest rate below 3% is an ideal place to be.

If you're not planning on buying or selling but you are a homeowner, double check your mortgage’s interest rate. Over 4.6 million people have refinanced their mortgages in the past year and lowered their rates. That’s almost 25% of the homeowners in this country.

Why wouldn’t you want to lower your monthly payment? I understand that it can be a cumbersome and intimidating process to refinance. There is a bit of paperwork involved. If you don’t have someone to give you guidance through the process, that makes the process even more difficult. However, if you work with a strong agent and local lender, you could be saving $600 to $700 per month for the remainder of the life of your loan.

If you need some advice on how to buy, sell, or refinance in this market, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dec. 30, 2020

Here’s what every property owner in California should know about Proposition 19

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with County Assessor Tom Bordonaro to discuss some important changes to state property tax law that will take effect in early 2021. For those of you who don’t know, the newly passed Proposition 19 increases the portability of tax bases among senior homeowners across county lines but imposes new limitations on the transfer of tax bases via family inheritance. In other words, residents 55 years or older who are moving into a new property can now carry their old tax base with them, regardless of that new property’s location in the state; they’re also allowed to do this up to three times.

Feel free to listen to our conversation in the video above, or use the timestamps below to navigate the discussion at your leisure:

1:00 - An introduction to Proposition 19 and the increased portability of California tax bases.

2:22 - New limitations on the transfer of tax bases to family members.

3:22 - How will these new limitations put pressure on our San Luis Obispo market?

4:30 - When the different components of Proposition 19 will go into effect.

5:22 - Tax bases can only be preserved if the property is inherited as a primary residence.

7:55 - Wrapping up today’s topic.

Special thanks to Tom Bordonaro for taking the time to help us make sense of this new tax law. As he said himself, much work will be needed to further clarify some gray areas in the legislation. Until then, Tom suggests that you consult with your attorney for advice on how to manage your real estate assets in the coming month or so. (The County Assessor’s Office can inform you of what may happen in a given scenario, but they cannot offer legal advice).

As always, reach out to me by phone or email with any questions or real estate needs you may have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dec. 4, 2020

Is It Possible for the Market to Be Any Better?

What’s the latest news from our San Luis Obispo real estate market as 2020 draws to a close?

Before I answer that question, I want to say that with everything that’s happened this year, a lot of people are probably ready to close the door on 2020 and hope for a much better 2021. Every morning I like to take time to reflect on what I’m grateful for. Obviously I’m grateful for my wonderful family and their good health, and I’m also grateful for my team and the opportunity we have to deliver the kind of service we take pride in. Lastly, I’m grateful to all my great clients—thank you for supporting my team and I and using us as a resource. Helping you is how we find our joy, and you bring tremendous value to our lives.

"In spite of everything that’s happened in 2020, it’s a phenomenal time to be a buyer or seller."

As far as our local market goes, not much has changed lately. Our market remains incredibly strong. Last month, the number of sales and pending listings both rose about 20% year over year. Our listing inventory, meanwhile, is about half of what it was at this time last year, which itself was lower than 2018’s numbers. Over the last two years, our marketplace has done nothing but improve. On top of that, interest rates are still historically low - as low as 2.75%.

What does this mean moving forward? I don’t see a lot of change happening. If you’re a buyer or seller right now, good for you! Low interest rates benefit buyers and sellers. At the same time, be prepared for some delays. I know this can be stressful when moving, but lenders, underwriters, and appraisers are working as hard as they can right now.

In spite of everything that’s happened in 2020, it’s a phenomenal time to be a buyer or seller. If you need help buying or selling a home or have more questions about our San Luis Obispo market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you, and I hope you have a happy holiday season.