San Diego’s real estate market is seeing a milder rise in price appreciation than in years past, which is good news, the incoming president of a local Realtors association said.
Price appreciation slowed in San Diego in 2014, with home prices closing out the year nearly 9 percent higher, compared to about 20 percent the year before, according to new numbers released by the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.
“To me, it’s very healthy to have the appreciation under the double digits because it means we are gradually moving up, rather than having astronomical differences,” said Chris Anderson, a 25-year veteran of San Diego real estate and the association’s 2015 president.
She recalled a condo she had listed about three years ago that received 31 offers. “It was unbelievable,” she said.
With both annual and monthly prices in the single digits for December, offers are more normal and prices are better gauged, she said.
Anderson, of Town & Country Real Estate in Ramona, said she has high hopes for continued success in 2015. She anticipates higher inventory, and thus more sales in 2015, due to an expected bump in interest rates.
Average fixed mortgage rates started the year by continuing to dive, according to Freddie Mac, to their lowest level since May 2013. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.73 percent last week.
Should there be a rise in rates, as economists continue to say, the change would encourage buyers to get off the fence and hesitant sellers to list their properties and consider buying up, Anderson said.
Relaxed loan programs taking effect this year should also help buyers.
The 2014 median sales price for single-family detached homes through the end of 2014 was $495,000, up 8.8 percent from the prior year. Year-end prices saw an even greater increase for attached homes, such as condos and townhomes, up 10.5 percent to a median price of $325,000 for the year.
Year-end numbers from 2013 saw a median price of $457,000, a steep 19 percent increase from 2012.
In 2014, the number of sold listings was down 12 percent to 21,899, while total sales volume slipped 4 percent to $14.2 billion.
Sales increased in December compared to November. Single-family home sales jumped 11 percent; condo and townhome sales were up 5 percent.
The median sales price for single-family detached homes for December was $499,000, a 5 percent increase from the median price of $475,150 recorded in December 2013.
The total sales volume for the month was up slightly, 1.9 percent from the previous year, while the number of sold listings for the month of December dropped 7.1 percent year-over-year to 1,620 for the month.
Active listings on the Multiple Listing Service in San Diego County have been on the decline, and are now fewer than 6,000, about the same as a year ago, representing about 2.5 months of housing stock. Five to six months is considered a healthy inventory level.
The average number of days on the market have consistently dropped for the past three years, from 93 in 2012, to 57 in 2013 and 44 days in 2014.
Anderson attributes the decline to a dramatic reduction in the number of distressed sales, which typically have longer market days because of the time it takes to negotiate with lien holders for the losses. A normal market would have properties listed for about six months, she said.
“If it’s priced right, it’s selling very quickly,” Anderson said.
According to county data, foreclosure filings have dropped steadily since their height. Trustee deeds in San Diego County have decreased since peaking in July 2008. Trustee deeds — filed as the last step of the foreclosure process — decreased to 140 in November from 176 during the prior month.
In December, the ZIP codes in San Diego County with the most single-family sales were: 92157 in Oceanside with 49; 92114 in Encanto with 43; 92127 in Rancho Bernardo with 42; 92028 in Fallbrook with 42; and 92009 in Carlsbad with 40.
The most expensive listing sold in the county last month was a 3-bedroom 3-bath, 2,500-square-foot beach home in Solana Beach at $8.75 million.
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San Diego, CA 92111
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