The forecasts of higher interest rates for homebuyers by the end of the year don't faze Joyce Doherty very much.
"I have to kind of chuckle at the concern about interest rates," said Doherty, owner/broker of Pacific Coastal Properties. "Most of my career, they've been double-digit. That hasn't kept prices from going up on a consistent basis. The interest rates are so low now, if they go up just one or two points, it's still cheap. That's my take, but everybody gets spoiled."
Doherty has weathered the ups and downs of coastal properties since founding her company in Solana Beach in 1991. She relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she got her start in the industry 25 years earlier.
While 2013 was a "so-so year" for Pacific Coastal, she was able to add staff.
Owner/broker Joyce Doherty of Pacific Coastal Properties in Solana Beach is optimistic about the residential real estate market for 2014. Photo by Glenn Grant
"I'm looking forward optimistically to 2014 bringing a lot more activity, and all indications are it will be," she said. "The last part of 2013 picked up quite a bit. The market has been changing, so I feel optimistic about it.
"There are a lot of cash buyers in the market right now," she said. "I think it's probably because the money wasn't doing very much for them sitting there, so they put it into something they know is solid."
Qualifying is a still a hot-button issue, she said, because banks have gotten tough on the types of properties they will lend on.
"We have a lot of vacation rentals and rental properties because of the nature of this area, and sometimes the banks will say, 'No, you have a lot of rentals in the complex,' if somebody's buying a condo, then they're a little tighter on lending," she said. "On second homes, there are a [few] more issues on getting financing.
"But real estate people in North County are busier than before and hopefully it will continue."