The Santa Cruz real estate market continues to be seriously troubled as foreclosures pile up and the double dip housing recession seems more realistic than ever. The region saw an anemic volume of home sales in the most recent tracking period, as well as historically low median sales prices and extremely high rates of foreclosure. Santa Cruz generally has housing prices considerably higher than the rest of the state, although in February the median price declined substantially compared to year ago levels. February 2011 saw a median single family home sales price of $450,000, representing a decline of about $50,000 from February 2010. This figure is still higher than the trough of the market, when the February median sales price was $380,000, largely in response to a flood of foreclosures in the region. It is possible that the decline in median price is indicative of an impending double dip in the Santa Cruz housing market, or possibly just an expected seasonal weakness. January and February are normally the weakest months of the year for Santa Cruz in particular and California in general. Foreclosures have substantially depressed median price over the last two years, totaling more than three thousand in the last twenty four months.
There were less than one hundred single family homes sold in the entirety of February 2011, of which nearly fifty percent were at some stage in the foreclosure process. There were twenty three Santa Cruz County condominiums, of which almost sixty percent were either bank owned or short sales. Throughout January and February, more than half the properties sold were purchased for less than half a million dollars, although twelve percent were bought for more than a million dollars. It is possible that the market has finally bottomed out, although foreclosures are still enough of a problem in Santa Cruz County to cause a protest outside of the local Wells Fargo office in response to the so called robo-signing scandal. On the bright side, unemployment in Santa Cruz County declined slightly in February 2011, falling 0.1 percent from January 2011 and about one percent from February 2010. Still, nearly fifteen percent of Santa Cruz County residents remained unemployed.