Breaking the Rate Lock: Surge In Listings Revitalize Santa Cruz County Housing Market

Breaking the Rate Lock: Surge In Listings Revitalize Santa Cruz County Housing Market

  • Liz Kroft
  • 04/1/24

The Santa Cruz County housing market is experiencing a vibrant start to the spring season, with a significant influx of new listings and a potential shift in market dynamics. After a period of stagnation last year, homeowners are now seizing the opportunity to list their properties, invigorating the market with fresh inventory. This surge in supply is being closely monitored by buyers and sellers alike, as it could reshape the competitive landscape and create new opportunities for those looking to purchase or sell their homes.


New Listings Bloom

The Santa Cruz County housing market is blooming this spring with a substantial 21% year-over-year increase in new listings of existing homes in Q1. This influx of inventory is a welcome relief for buyers who have been facing limited options amid a competitive market.

As shown in the chart above, new listings surged 28% in March compared to February, indicating that the "rate lock" effect that kept many potential sellers on the sidelines is starting to dissipate.


Pent-Up Seller Demand Released

This aligns with persistent evidence from Zillow homeowner surveys since early 2023, which revealed an elevated share of owners expecting to sell their homes within the next three years. It appears that many of these prospective sellers who had been postponing their moves are finally returning to the market.  

The rise in new listings has been most prominent in the Santa Cruz, Aptos, and Watsonville areas, while Seacliff and Brookdale have seen the lowest increases.


Opportunities for Sellers and Buyers

For retirees looking to relocate or downsize, this limited supply still presents an opportunity to capitalize on near-record high home equity levels across Santa Cruz County. Meanwhile, the large generation of potential first-time homebuyers will be hoping that new listings continue to climb, providing more options in their hunt for their first homes.


Competition Remains Stiff

Despite the recent supply increase, competition remains fierce for attractive, well-priced listings. Homes sold in March went under contract in just 35 days on average – slower than the rate-fueled frenzy of 2021 and 2022 but still much faster than pre-pandemic levels.


Pricing Strategies and Trends

However, listings that lack proper pricing or virtual curb appeal are lingering on the market. Price reductions are declining, with only 25% of homes sold in March undergoing a price cut, which can be attributed to several factors, including an uptick in buyer demand, improved pricing strategies by sellers and their agents, and generally downward trending mortgage rates last month.


Home Values Soar

On the value front, a typical home in Santa Cruz County is now worth $1,315,000, reflecting a substantial 30% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels. The most expensive areas in March were La Selva Beach ($2,500,000 median), Corralitos ($2,025,000), and Los Gatos ($1,712,000), while Felton ($643,000), Freedom ($734,000), and Watsonville ($739,000) remained the most affordable.  


Key Takeaways

As the spring market continues to heat up, both buyers and sellers in the Santa Cruz County housing market will be closely watching the trends in new listings, prices, and competition levels. With more options becoming available, it remains to be seen how quickly the increased inventory will be absorbed by eager homebuyers. This surge in new listings has the potential to reshape the market dynamics, creating opportunities for buyers to find their dream homes and for sellers to capitalize on the strong demand. It's an exciting time in the Santa Cruz housing market, and all eyes are on how these trends will unfold in the coming months.


Work With Me

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.

Follow On Instagram