Soquel, found in Santa Cruz County, California, faced a sharp decline in the number of home sales in the month of July. The median price of Soquel homes for sale remained quite low relative to a few years ago, and the continued crisis has taken a toll on the elderly in particular. According to an August 24, 2010 report from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Homebuyers made themselves scarce in July though usually it's the biggest month of the year for sales...single-family home sales in Santa Cruz County dropped from 175 in June to 145 in July. That's not a record low, but it's close. The record is 143 sales in July 2007, a month before the credit crisis exploded. July's median price was $510,000, down from $775,000 three years ago, but sales haven't taken off. Despite falling prices and record low interest rates, agents say prospective buyers are reluctant to commit, worried that foreclosures will bring the housing market down another peg. About 49 percent of sales were for under $500,000; only 6 percent were over $1 million. With listings up and sales down, it would take 7.6 months to deplete the current inventory, nearing the eight-month point where there's pressure to lower prices...In Santa Cruz County, 41 percent of single-family sales and 45 percent of condo sales in July were bank-owned or "short sales," where lenders accept less than the amount owed on the mortgage."
The Soquel housing market has become so negative that the elderly and other vulnerable portions of the population are facing losing their homes. According to an August 13, 2010 article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, "That’s because she’s among the 120 Santa Cruz County participants in the California Senior Citizens and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Postponement Program. The program, which started more than 30 years ago, allows elderly homeowners who meet income guidelines to postpone paying property taxes. The state paid the taxes to the county and a tax lien was placed on the property; The state collected the taxes when the home was sold, usually when the homeowner died. Because of the recession and housing crisis, the program began losing millions...When the program was suspended, it had about 5,700 participants statewide and a balance of more than $100 million, according to the controller’s office."