The average price of a resale detached home in San Diego County was 31 percent higher last month than in March 1999, the San Diego Association of Realtors said.
The price hit $362,267 last month, up from $276,143 last year, the organization said. Local real estate brokers attributed the rise in prices to a shortage of inventory.
“The biggest frustration is the lack of homes for sale,” said Mike Tristany, a broker associate with Prudential California Realty in San Diego. “Many buyers are pre-approved for financing, but can’t find anything to buy.”
Tristany specializes in houses in the city of San Diego, most of which are more than $300,000, he said.
“My focus is in the metropolitan San Diego area the older classic Spanish and Craftsman style ones and there is a very high demand for them,” Tristany said. “A lot of the buyers are restoring them to what they might have looked like years ago.”
The average condominium price climbed 7.5 percent to $182,716 from $169,927 a year earlier. However, in some areas prices have risen even faster, according to one broker.
“The Cable Lofts at Seventh Avenue and University in Hillcrest originally sold out a year ago between $200,000 and $300,000 and now the resales are between $350,000 and $635,000,” said Ginny Ollis, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker in Mission Hills. “A major change that I have seen in the past year is the increased demand for pedestrian communities like Hillcrest.”
She attributed the increase in condo prices in the mid-city area to the relatively good traffic flow and also to aging of the baby boom generation and its desire for smaller living quarters.
“They’re all facing 50,” she said. “That means their kids are gone, they have more money and time, so it’s the quality of life , Sunday paper at the coffeehouse, brunch with friends, time for museums and bicycling , that’s coming back into its own.”
Almost all of the buyers she’s working with are in their 40s to early 50s.
“It’s a very savvy crowd that is investment-conscious,” Ollis said. “One thing that they look for is a couple of units with a penthouse on top.”
It’s more than just local move-up buyers fueling sales in the higher price ranges, according to Patrick Lynn, broker at Patrick J. Lynn & Associates of San Diego.
“There are a lot of people relocating to San Diego County who are looking for high-rise living,” Lynn said. “The people who are coming to the Harbor Club, for example, are from all over the world and all over the country.”
The Harbor Club, where Lynn has sold properties, is a high-rise condominium development across from the San Diego Convention Center. Prices for a one bedroom start at $500,000 and larger, penthouse units sell for as much as $4.6 million at the development, Lynn said.
Lynn has not yet seen any slowing in the market due to rising interest rates. The rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages is hovering around 8.5 percent, he said.
“I don’t see any slowing in the market in the foreseeable future,” Lynn said. “I believe growth will continue and values will continue to grow for the next three to five years.”
The anecdotal reports of shrinking inventory are confirmed by statistics from the association of real estate agents. There were 5,252 new listings of all types taken last month, compared to 5,706 in March 1999, an 8 percent decline.
The total number of properties of all residential types closing escrow last month was 3,168, down from 3,769 last year. That’s a 16 percent decrease.