The county seat of and largest city in Santa Cruz County sharing its name, Santa Cruz, California, is located in the San Francisco Bay area of the northern part of the state, about 70 miles south of the city of San Francisco on Monterey Bay's northern edges. The city was estimated to be home to a population of more than 56,000 in 2008, with a median annual household income level around $50,600. Like so many cities, particularly those in California, the Santa Cruz real estate market has taken a hit over the past several years since the onset of the financial crisis and the subsequent world recession. The market saw its inventory soar as the number of foreclosures in Santa Cruz rose, and the oversupply sent prices tumbling down even as many potential buyers were unable to secure financing to buy their much-coveted homes.
The Santa Cruz market has come a long way since the beginning of the recession, and many improvements have been seen this year and in the latter part of 2009. Nonetheless, there are still many fluctuations in the market so buyers and sellers must monitor facts closely.
In June, the most recent month for which statistics are available from the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors, there were 72 new listings for single-family homes, virtually steady from May, when there were 73, but down year-over-year from 85 in June 2009. Despite a lower number of new listings, total inventory in June was higher than it was a year ago and a month ago, with 235 homes for sale in Santa Cruz on the market. Sales of single-family homes were also down, with only 30 sales in June versus 55 in May and 68 a year ago. Prices also still show signs of suffering; both the average and median prices of homes sold in June were below the figures from the previous month and the previous year. The average price in June was $643,000 while the median sales price was $590,000.
Despite struggling signs in the Santa Cruz market for single-family homes, its other market segment, "common interest developments," showed more signs for optimism. Listings remained constant; in June, there were 18 new listings, compared with 20 in May and 17 in June 2009. Inventory stood at 85, down by three from May but up by 20 year-over-year. There were 12 of these properties sold in June, more than double May's sales of just five, and down only slightly from a year ago, when there were 13 sold. The largest improvement in the common interest developments market was in the average number of days properties spent on the market before selling. Last year, the figure was 120 days, and in May it was 157 days. In June, it was just 47 days. Likewise, both the median and the average price of properties sold has risen month-over-month and year-over-year. The average price in June was $401,600 while the median price was $399,500.