Team Sweasey's Real Estate Blog

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.

Nov. 12, 2020

Coming Soon - 2515 Bayside Pl, Arroyo Grande 93420

Coming Soon - 2515 Bayside Pl, Arroyo Grande 93420

Coming Soon in Arroyo Grande. A stunning 4 bedroom, 3 bath, single level home located in the gated community of Bayview Estates. Immaculately maintained with an attention to detail that is evident upon arrival. The beautifully manicured front yard, double insulated garage doors with wood façade and Knotty Alder custom double slab entry door with custom ironwork made locally in San Luis Obispo, set the tone for what's to follow. Hardwood floors throughout the living areas including the remodeled gourmet kitchen with solid granite counters, updated cabinetry and under the counter wine fridge. Recently upgraded family room fireplace with natural stone wall and hearth. Enjoy the view of the adjoining 5 acre park from the covered patio, bar area or firepit or watch the sunset from the hot tub. Plenty of room for your gardening ideas, including raised beds and several fruit trees. Great location near Cypress Ridge Golf Course and just minutes to the beach.

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Coming Soon - 2515 Bayside Pl, Arroyo Grande 93420

Coming Soon - 2515 Bayside Pl, Arroyo Grande 93420

Coming Soon - 2515 Bayside Pl, Arroyo Grande 93420

Nov. 12, 2020

Market Update Comparing Octobers 2019 and 2020

As we take a look at our most recent statistics, they’re very similar to what we’ve been seeing lately. Our inventory has decreased by about 50% from a year ago, and generally, October through December are lower inventory times anyway, so the season will exacerbate our inventory issue. However, pending sales have risen 31%, so as we head into the holiday season, this will likely be the best holiday market I’ve ever seen because we have increased demand but a decreased supply. This is excellent for sellers.

Of course, this is affecting prices; we’re beginning to see challenges with appraisers because they can’t always justify the price a home is sold for. The number of homes coming onto the market has dropped by about 50%; last October we had about 200 homes, while this October we only had 106. This is going to be a strong market for a while.

We can tell how different sellers are going to experience this real estate market by how long houses are staying on the market. Certain properties will sell very quickly; we have an average days on market of 30 . That means some homes are selling in four or five days, and some are taking two months. A few of the reasons some houses aren’t selling as quickly are because of the condition, floor plan (single-levels are more in demand than two-levels), less usable yard space, location, or price. So not everyone is benefiting the same way from this hot market; the home will sell, but some take a bit longer if there’s less demand for it.

"This will likely be the best holiday market I’ve ever seen."

We’re currently seeing a massive influx of first-time buyers, and I credit that to the very low interest rates. If you look at the rental prices right now, they’re so much higher than what you would pay to own a home. Those considering buying will be shocked by what they can afford.

If you’re thinking about buying, I recommend three things:
1. Find a stellar real estate agent to help you with the process
2. Connect with a great lender and get pre-approved
3. Start looking at houses

I suggest doing these things in this order because the right agent will help you find which lenders will provide the best service. They’ll also help you figure out where to look and what options you have so you can find the ideal property for you. This is an opportune time to get into the marketplace because you have exceptionally low rates, and prices are only going to rise.

If you have any questions or you’re considering buying for the first time, give us a call or send an email. We would love to help you. We also appreciate the fantastic referrals you’ve sent our way, so thank you!

Oct. 8, 2020

What Do the September Stats Say About Our Market?

As we move through October, what do the latest numbers say about our San Luis Obispo real estate market? Is there anything that can cause our market to shift moving forward?

I know I sound like a broken record, but I once more have to report that inventory is down. In September, it dropped 45% year over year. Pending sales also rose once more, this time to the tune of 18% year over year. Additionally, the number of escrows closed rose 40%, which marks the first time in 2020 we saw more sales than a year ago. In other words, closings have finally caught up to the number of pending sales and everything else that’s happened these past few months. Finally, the number of new listings dropped 30% year over year. Overall, there’s a lot of energy in our economy that’s coming from real estate.

This means we’re about to see a lot more of the same from our market. We’re taking homes off the market at twice the pace that they’re being listed. If we stopped listing homes altogether, we’d have a 45-day supply left. During the Great Recession, it wasn’t uncommon to have a seven or eight-month supply of homes. The difference is unbelievable. On top of that, interest rates are still incredibly low. A friend of mine recently refinanced their home at a rate of 2.69% with no additional costs.

None of us have a crystal ball, but one thing that could alter the state of our market is a change in inventory, which would then affect home prices. For example, many people experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus may have no choice but to list their home. Or, many people may be nervous about the prospect of listing their home due to safety concerns. The biggest factor that could impact inventory, though, is the number of new homes that have been approved and are under construction. If this number is big enough, it could make our market look a little more normal. However, this change still would take at least three or four months.

If you’d like to talk more about our San Luis Obispo market or have any real estate needs at all, don’t hesitate to call, email, or stop by my office (we’ll provide the masks). I look forward to hearing from you.

Sept. 10, 2020

How Can You Take Advantage of This Strong Market?

Thanks to your support, we are on our track to have our best year ever in this confusing 2020. A lot of that has to do with your referrals, and a lot of it has to do with the marketplace. This leads me to our market update today.

A lot of people have been asking me about our market lately and why it’s so strong. We don’t have all the answers, but we know a few for sure. The No. 1 reason for our market’s strength is interest rates. We have clients that are locking in 30-year loans at 2.75%. Some are getting them even lower.  

What does this mean if you’re a buyer? You could be finding a house you love at an interest rate and monthly payment that you’ll never see again. If you’re a seller, the strong demand allows you to move up, move down, etc. The buyer will be able to afford more, which makes your home more valuable. When rates go back up, that will affect home values negatively.

More people are working from home these days and trying to get away from the city. If you know someone from the Bay Area or L.A. who is looking for a change of scenery, you now know why.

Here’s the best example I can give you about the opportunity in this market. We had a client who sold a property and had to buy another for tax purposes. They were looking for rental properties to purchase and couldn’t find anything online. However, I remembered that I knew someone who was talking about selling their rental property. I showed the buyer the property once, they loved it, and bought it.

If you’re thinking of moving or know someone who is, there hasn’t been a much better time than this and we can use our vast resources and knowledge of this market to help you find opportunities you may not have with another team. We’ve done this for so long that we take it for granted, but we have solutions to help anyone in any situation buy, sell, or invest in real estate.

If you have any questions for me about this market or about real estate in general, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Aug. 17, 2020

Where’s the Market As We Enter the Back Half of 2020?

There’s no denying that our market is red hot. This month, we find our inventory down roughly 38% year over year. Last month it was down 30%, so we’re witnessing a definite tightening of the market, which I’ve already touched on in previous videos.

Meanwhile, our sales are up 16%. 360 homes went under contract in the county this month, but only 180 new listings. So again, no matter how you slice it, fewer homes coming on the market and more homes going into escrow is squeezing our market. Though there are a few homes lingering in certain price ranges, most are selling quickly right now.

How should we interpret all this? Well, if inventory continues to shrink, there will be greater upward pressure on home prices. Unless we get a flood of new homes for sale, or buyer demand drops off abruptly, we’ll likely have a strong market through at least the end of this calendar year. Beyond that point, it gets significantly harder to see.

Keep in mind, however, that things can shift very quickly. After all, this market went from being soft and quiet at the onset of COVID-19 to absolutely explosive once summer rolled around.

COVID hasn’t gone anywhere obviously, and in today’s ever-changing environment, having the right mortgage professional in your corner is invaluable. Here’s a recent example: A buyer working with an out-of-state lender had to wait a full month for the qualification process to be completed—well beyond the 17-day contingency removal we were supposed to have. Though the lender was doing their best, they had to be the bearer of bad news for a buyer who had already waited 30 days: Sorry—the buyer didn’t even qualify! Yikes…

We ended up taking that buyer’s lending package to a trusted local lender and, in just two days flat, the loan was approved. They also signed the documents allowing us to close within eight or nine days. Not all service providers are created equal; we know who’s able to provide excellent, timely service in our marketplace, and when it’s crunch time for our clients, we get those folks involved in the process so everyone can have a seamless transaction.

In summary, our market is strong and will continue to be so, but working exclusively with experts has never been more important than it is right now. As always, reach out if you have questions on the market’s course, the lending process, or anything else pertaining to real estate. I look forward to hearing from you and being of service!

Aug. 6, 2020

Virtual Tour: 304 Longview Ln, San Luis Obispo 93405

Beautiful views of Bishop's Peak and the surrounding hills from the living room and multiple decks of this stunning 5 bedroom 3 bath home. Featuring vaulted wood plank and beamed ceilings with floor to ceiling windows, 2 fireplaces, a sauna, wine cellar and newly re-cemented driveway. Newly remodeled foyer and staircases featuring Brazilian hardwood flooring. The kitchen with 2 solar light tubes to bring in natural light, opens to the family room with direct access to the back deck with lush vegetation offering privacy and the ideal location to enjoy family gatherings or quiet get-togethers. Three of the five bedrooms are situated on the main level including the spacious master bedroom and recently remodeled master bath with new flooring, tile, shower enclosure, toilet and fixtures. Enjoy fabulous sunsets from the private balcony off the master suite. All 3 bedrooms on the main level share access to the sauna and the back deck. The lower level features two additional guest rooms with a full bath in between. Just a few more steps down to the wine cellar with built in shelving and bar. The attached 2 car garage features an elevator, laundry area, high ceiling and windows adding light plus ample room for storage. Great Cal Poly rental opportunity, just a couple of blocks from campus and just a few minutes to downtown San Luis Obispo.

Click here for more details.