FALLBROOK – As we enter the spring buying season in the next few months, local real estate analysts are reporting fewer homes for sale in North County San Diego than a year ago. Inventory is lower across San Diego County and it remains low in markets like Fallbrook and Bonsall where local inventory has dropped 40 percent in the past 36 months.
“It’s a wholesale shift in the market from just a few years ago,” said Marla Cruickshank, a local Re/Max Realtor based in Fallbrook. “We’re at a 28 month low point in inventory region wide,” which she said includes all types of sales listings including traditional sales, short sales and foreclosures.
For buyers, tight markets mean fewer homes to consider and limited supply means prices usually rise. Unfortunately for sellers, lower inventories in recent months haven’t translated into higher sales prices. According to the North County Association of Realtors January 2014 HomeDex’ Market Report, the average listing price per square foot peaked in North County in the late summer. “Since the end of summer, prices have stabilized or even dropped slightly,” said Cruickshank. “I know that sellers have been disappointed at the stall in prices, but after a good year and a half of solid price appreciation, the market needed a break. Last year’s rate of price appreciation was unsustainable in the long run.”
Tight inventories have been vexing to buyers who are challenged with fewer homes to preview. Cruickshank said, “We definitely have a shortage of homes on the market today in Fallbrook and Bonsall. But what is encouraging is that distressed market activity is off sharply from a few years ago.”
Cruickshank noted that there has been a 78 percent decrease in the number of short sale and foreclosed/bank owned properties for sale in the combined Fallbrook and Bonsall market over the past three years. In February of 2011, there were 83 short-sale or foreclosure properties on the market in the 92028 and 92003 zip codes. Today that number has plummeted to just 18 homes.
“The lack of distressed properties is good news for sellers,” said Cruickshank. “It’s no coincidence that prices rose substantially as foreclosure activity weakened.”
Market analysts are pondering what the current trends mean and why price appreciation has slowed. Cruickshank says its a combination of seasonly lower demand and higher interest rates that is influencing pricing today. “I’m looking forward to seeing what develops as the spring listing season begins. Buyers are asking for more inventory.”
Marla Cruickshank is a Realtor and a listing specialist for the Fallbrook/Bonsall region. For more information about current market conditions for sale in Fallbrook, Bonsall and surrounding areas, visit Marla Cruickshank’s “Fallbrook & Bonsall Real Estate Market Conditions Report Winter 2014” or call Cruickshank direct at (760) 521-2787.