Rising prices and interest rates are slowing local residential real estate’s price appreciation, figures from the San Diego Association of Realtors show.
That’s the bad news for homeowners, but the good news is the average price of a resale house in San Diego in July was still 25.4 percent higher than July 1999, the real estate agents group said. As recently as March, the average sales price was 35 percent higher than the same month last year.
The total number of all new residential listings entered into the Sandicor Multiple Listing Service database in July fell to 5,077 from 5,717 in July 1999.
“Asking prices are still pretty firm and it’s still a seller’s market,” said James Moulton, a sales associate with Century 21 Award in La Mesa. “If it’s a property in very good condition
in a good area, you can ask an aggressive price and you will get a bidder, but the house has to show well.”
Moulton added 95 percent of the buyers he’s working with don’t have the time or inclination to repair or modernize the house they purchase. They are overwhelmingly two-income couples pressed for spare time, he said.
The buyers often look for some seller help with the closing costs because they are short of cash as well, he said.
“It behooves the seller to paint the house and put in new carpet,” Moulton said.
Roger Roberts, a sales associate with Prudential California Realty in La Mesa, echoed Moulton’s comments about buyers not being willing to do much fixing up when they move into a house.
“It seems like buyers in the coastal area are unwilling to put in any sweat equity,” Roberts said. “But the houses in East County are more entry-level and people are still sometimes willing to fix up their purchases.”
Single-family attached homes also rose in value. The average sale price was $210,789, an increase from $169,908 last July. The median price hit $160,000. That’s up from $137,500.
There were both fewer new listings and fewer sales than last year as well.
Roberts said that the shortage of inventory and a tight rental housing market has stopped many property owners from putting their houses up for sale. People are now less likely to sell their house, move into a rental property and then look for a new house because of the shortage of larger, higher priced homes, he said.
A lot of people are also unwilling to buy a house while they are still in escrow to sell theirs. That requires a bit of brinkmanship that most homeowners don’t have, Roberts said.
Rising prices have also reduced the pool of new buyers, Roberts said. According to the California Association of Realtors, only 25 percent of San Diego County’s households can afford to buy a house now.
Those thinking about buying a cheap lot in the country are in for a surprise. Last month, the average price of the 111 vacant lots sold through the MLS was $236,185.