In this current real estate cycle, appreciation is scant in some areas, negative in most. In Santa Cruz county there is such a wide assortment of quality when it comes to condos. Most were build in the
70's and show it. Those can appreciate if the owners remodel and update, adding value and panache.
The tired old stock ones are drifting down. Having said that, the affluent circle over the hill seek refuge from the city and still want and buy second home condos that they use as personal expression and enjoy
fixing up. The condo market is fickle, and for a historically solid performance the 3 bedroom 2 bath home is still the winner.
Historically Single Family Residences tend to appreciate faster than Condos where you don't own any land. This could be different in some popular downtown areas however. If you decide to buy a home shoot for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath. If your location is close to the beach then a 2 bedroom may not be a bad investment.
Rain Jordan of Bailey Properties here.
I believe that a single family house is usually the best bet. Consider, for one, eventual resale value: HOAs and their fees scare off many potential buyers. Other hindrances including lack of land, size, privacy, peace (noisy neighbors, for example), and, often, natural light. Houses, on the other hand, do not typically have those hindrances, at least not to the same degree, and typically SFR properties can be redeveloped (added on to, for example). Add to that the fact that there are some great deals still out there on houses right now, and all signs seem to point to HOUSE!
I do not believe that prices will get much lower here. Coastal properties in this area, I believe, are going to stabilize and recover. (See the Market News section of my website for a recent article on this topic.)
Feel free to email or call me to chat further; I'm happy to speak with you anytime.
In the past few years, we have seen areas which were previously the lowest value show the most appreciation, primarily due to a runaway sellers' market and high demand. During that timeframe, buyers who bought and sold in those areas, such as Watsonville or the San Lorenzo Valley, may have achieved the greatest return. However, with the shift in market, those places are also showing the greatest loss in value, and have given back most of the gain. In our current market, your attention should be directed towards the areas that have always been in demand, and towards finding the unique property that is priced to sell.
I just helped a buyer get into a home in Aptos that was bank owned, and probably listed for 20-25% less than comparable homes in the neighborhood. Their gain in equity was immediate, on paper at least, and judicious improvements will net even more gain for them. Good luck with your quest - let me know if I can provide you more specific data for complexes or areas you have in mind.
Traditionally Single Family homes will appreciate faster. However if your local downtown condo market is red hot that could make the difference. Normally I would stick with a house over a condo for a few reasons. 1. You actually own the land your house is built on, and can do as you wish with the yard. 2. Condo Associations are notorious for raising the HOA fees every year. Who knows how often they call for special assessments for repairs or maintenance. 3. You have control of what happens to your homes exterior, which would not apply to a condo. Good Luck!