Home Prices Soar, But Buyers Are Gaining Ground In Monterey Bay Real Estate

Home Prices Soar, But Buyers Are Gaining Ground In Monterey Bay Real Estate

  • Liz Kroft
  • 07/1/24

Monterey Bay Real Estate Market Insights: June 2024

The Monterey Bay housing market, covering the scenic Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, is experiencing some unexpected twists. Home prices are soaring, but there's a silver lining for buyers. With more listings and tempering buyer demand, the market is shifting towards a balanced state, bringing new negotiation opportunities. Whether you're buying or selling, understanding these trends can help you navigate this dynamic landscape. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let's dive into the latest insights that will help you make informed decisions in this evolving market.


Factors Influencing the Monterey Bay Housing Market Today

Vacation season significantly impacts real estate listings, as families focus on summer plans rather than selling their homes. This seasonal dip leads to fewer new listings month-over-month, yet buyer demand in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties remains robust. Homes continue to sell quickly, showing that serious buyers aren't taking a break.


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High-end sales also skew market data in smaller markets like Monterey Bay. Just a few luxury transactions can make it seem like home prices are rising across the board, even though the majority of the market might not see the same increases. Understanding these dynamics is crucial.

Additionally, the steady increase in months of inventory signals a shift toward a balanced market. This equilibrium, where neither buyers nor sellers have a distinct advantage, can lead to more stable prices and a more predictable market environment. This trend is promising for a more sustainable and less volatile real estate landscape.


graph chart months of real estate housing inventory data monterey bay santa cruz county


Negotiation Strategies for Today's Housing Market

Buyers, Here's Your Chance!

With homes lingering on the market and selling closer to their asking prices, buyers now have more negotiating power. This shift is a significant change from the frenzy of bidding wars we've seen in recent years. If you're looking to buy, this could be your moment to snag a deal.

Sellers, Stay Competitive

Sellers need to be aware of this shift as well. Pricing your home competitively and ensuring it is in top condition are more critical than ever. Buyers have more options now, and they're looking for value. Simple updates can make a big difference in attracting offers close to your asking price.


Tailored Advice for Different Buyer Segments

Luxury Buyers: Find Your Dream Home at a Better Price

Monterey Bay is home to some stunning luxury properties. While the top-tier homes still command high prices, there's more room for negotiation now. The right luxury realtor can help you navigate these opportunities and find a property that meets your needs and budget.

Downsizers: Leverage Motivated Sellers

For those looking to downsize, homes that have been on the market for over 30 days can present great opportunities. These sellers might be more willing to negotiate, especially if their property needs some updates. By making your own home move-in ready, you can stand out in a competitive market.


ultimate ebook guide to downsizing your home with important considerations and steps for downsizing


First-Time Buyers: Look for Fixer-Uppers

First-time buyers, especially millennials, can find affordable entry points in homes that need a bit of work. These properties are often priced below market average, giving you a chance to build equity through renovations. Local realtors are invaluable in finding these hidden gems and guiding you through the buying process.


Preparing Your Home for Sale

Boost Your Home's Appeal

To compete in today's market, sellers must ensure their homes are in top-notch condition. Small updates like a fresh coat of paint, new appliances, and well-maintained systems can significantly increase your home's appeal. Buyers are more likely to make offers close to your asking price if they don't anticipate needing to invest in repairs or updates.


| Don't Sell Your Home Until You Fix These 9 Things [Or Regret It Later]


Understand Current Trends

Interest rates are a crucial factor in the real estate market. Over the past eight weeks, rates have declined, which is good news for buyers looking to finance their homes. The median sales price has increased, but this rise is tempered somewhat by the higher-end sales that skew the data. Understanding these trends helps you set realistic expectations whether you're buying or selling.


Addressing Affordability in the Current Market

Higher Interest Rates: A Double-Edged Sword

Higher interest rates have made housing less affordable for many buyers, especially first-time and moderate-income buyers. These rates have led to decreased home completions as builders hesitate to invest in new projects. For buyers, this means fewer new homes to choose from, adding to the competition for existing homes.

But there is some good news! Interest rates have been on a steady decline over the last two months. In fact, 7 out of the 8 last weeks we saw declines. According to Freddie Mac, "the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continues to trend down, hitting the lowest level in almost three months. By historical standards, the economy is in good shape, and we expect rates to continue to come down over the summer months, bringing additional homebuyers back into the market.


freddie mac graph of interest rates for 30 year and 15 year mortgage rates


Strategies for Affordability

To navigate these challenges, potential buyers need to be strategic. Consider smaller, more affordable homes or those in need of some work. This approach can help you get into the market despite higher interest rates. Additionally, working with a knowledgeable realtor can help you find the best deals and financing options.


National Trends and Their Local Impact

Reflecting National Trends in Monterey Bay

Nationally, the real estate market has seen a decrease in existing and new home sales. However, new listings have increased, which could signal more activity in the coming months. High mortgage rates have impacted the spring buying season, but there is hope that easing rates could improve sales activity in the summer.

Local Market Dynamics

In Monterey Bay, these national trends are mirrored. The area has experienced a dip in home sales, but the increase in new listings suggests that more homes will be available soon. This influx could help balance the market, providing more options for buyers and reducing some of the upward pressure on prices.


The Role of Real Estate Organizations

How NAR Influences the Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides critical market insights that influence buyer and seller decisions. Their recent reports indicate a slowing in home price increases, which could make homes more affordable. However, affordability remains a significant challenge. The NAR's studies, in collaboration with Realtor.com, highlight the potential impact of even slight reductions in mortgage rates on buyer purchasing power.

For more detailed insights, you can explore NAR's Housing Statistics and Real Estate Market Trends and Realtor.com’s 2024 Housing Market Predictions and Forecast


Housing Affordability Trends and Challenges

Affordability Crisis Continues

The affordability crisis persists, driven by rising debt-to-income ratios and mortgage delinquencies. Even with a slight improvement in housing inventory, it is not enough to balance the market. High 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remain a significant barrier for many would-be homebuyers.

Debt-to-Income Ratios

The rising debt-to-income ratio among homebuyers indicates that affordability is at an all-time low. Mortgage delinquencies have also increased, affecting overall housing affordability. Despite some improvements in inventory, the market remains out of balance, making it harder for buyers to find affordable options.


Current Market Activity and Predictions

Sales Activity Trends

Home sales activity in June 2024 shows signs of improvement compared to the previous year. Pending sales are up, indicating increased buyer interest. However, closed MLS home sales for May are still down by 9% compared to the previous year. High mortgage rates and limited inventory have impacted sales activity, but easing inflation and rates could improve conditions during the summer months.

Looking Ahead

Experts believe that if inflation and interest rates continue to ease, home sales activity could see further improvement. This potential improvement offers hope for buyers struggling with affordability issues. Monitoring these trends can help you time your buying or selling decisions more effectively.


The Federal Reserve's Influence

Impact on Mortgage Rates

The Federal Reserve plays a crucial role in shaping the housing market through its influence on interest rates and inflation levels. As inflation remains a concern, the Fed has delayed cutting the federal funds rate, impacting mortgage rates and affordability. Builders are responding to these affordability issues by offering more smaller and affordable housing options to meet changing market demands.

Long-Term Market Conditions

While the housing market is expected to see improvements, these changes may take time. Decisions made by the Federal Reserve will continue to impact the overall market conditions. Staying informed about these decisions can help you anticipate market shifts and make better real estate choices.


Recent Market Fluctuations

Understanding Market Fluctuations

The housing market has seen significant fluctuations due to various factors such as economic conditions, mortgage rates, and home prices. Changes in immigration policies and global economic shifts have also impacted the market. As we move into June 2024, experts predict a more stable market with a slight increase in sales volume but still below average levels. Buyers continue to face challenges such as high mortgage rates and soaring home prices, making it difficult for many to enter the market.


What are the current trends in the housing market going into July 2024?

As of early July 2024, the housing market is experiencing a surge in demand driven by low-interest rates and a shortage of inventory. Prices are on the rise, particularly in urban areas, while suburban markets continue to attract buyers looking for more space and affordability amidst remote work trends.

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With over nine years of full-time experience and more than $114 million in sales across the greater Bay Area, I work tirelessly to be a well-regarded agent, industry innovator, and ambassador for my clients.

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