Many of the bank-owned properties and short sale properties have been purchased and the prices seem to have leveled out and not continued their free fall. There are a lot of great properties available and very reasonable prices and the properties below $500,000's are getting purchased the fastest. the interest rates have remained low and the $8000 credit for first-time buyers is going to expire in December. These first time buyers are out looking and buying so they can take advantage of this credit.
I think the low end of the market is stabilizing in the Santa Ynez Valley just as it has stabilized in Santa Maria and Lompoc. We can tell because there are multiple offers coming in on properties in this price range as soon as they hit the spot where they should be priced according to current comparables. I have been a real estate broker for 30 years, 29 of those years in Santa Ynez. I have weathered at least 3 recessions of the market and the pattern is similar. That is not to say the great deal cannot be found as that will always be true with the banks wanting to move their REO inventory (Real Estate Owned through the Foreclosure process) and the short sales because of sellers in trouble. If you are waiting to buy for the market to bottom out, you will most likely miss it. If a seller continues to have pride in his property, maintains it and puts it in "Show Ready" condition and prices it within 3-5% of the current market comparables, it will sell. There are still individuals who will put in an offer that is below market value at this time but they have competition and they will most likely lose the house to a competitive offer.... more