• July 2022

    Real Estate

    Is the Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Toast? By Seb Frey What a difference a few months makes! It was just this past March when I wrote an article for Growing Up in Santa Cruz asking if the Santa Cruz real estate market was boiling over. As I write this in June, nobody’s asking that question anymore. Instead, everyone seems to be asking if the market is headed for some kind of crash. And that’s a fair question, because anecdotally and numerically, it’s apparent that the Santa Cruz County real estate market – and every market across the country that I’m aware of – has hit the brakes. Whether it…

  • June 2022

    About to Pop?

    The Santa Cruz Real Estate Bubble By Seb Frey The talk of a real estate bubble has been getting louder and louder for the past several years. Lately, it seems to have reached, if not a fevered pitch, something of a dull roar. Memories of the 2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent collapse of real estate prices linger. Prices are now considerably higher than they were at the prior peak, and housing affordability is as bad as it has ever been, and quite possibly worse. It seems everyone is asking, “Are these prices sustainable?” and “should I wait for the market to correct before I buy a home here?” Those are…

  • May 2022

    Do REALTORS Even Matter

    Do REALTORS Even Matter? By Seb Frey In a real estate market as hot as this, where homes appear to “sell themselves,” it’s a fair question: do REALTORS even matter? I’m going to give you an answer that may surprise you…considering that I myself am a REALTOR, and have been for 19 years. In fact, I was even President of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS in 2019 so I consider myself something of an authority on the subject. I won’t bury the lede here. I’m going to come right out and say it: no, REALTORS do not matter…if you don’t believe they matter. When it comes to answering…

  • April 2022

    Housing Market is Boiling Over

    The Santa Cruz Housing Market is Boiling Over by Seb Frey This is my first column of 2022 for Growing Up in Santa Cruz, and it’s good to be back! I wrote several articles last year where I discussed buying a home in Santa Cruz. As everyone knows, the Santa Cruz real estate market in 2021 was a hot one, with the median sale price up about 25% compared to the year prior. Going into 2022, there was a sense that the market may have reached something approaching a plateau, with perhaps a modest 5-10% increase in sale prices. That may sound like something more than “modest,” but historically that’s…

  • December 2021

    Home for the Holidays

    Home for the Holidays Why December is the Best Time to Buy a Home By Seb Frey That pain in my neck must be whiplash, because here we are, staring once again at the end of the year, with a new year beckoning right around the corner. It has been one bonkers year for the real estate market, characterized more than anything else by exceedingly strong home price appreciation. I’m not sure if we’re in record territory for a single year’s home price increases, but if not, we must be very close. The market was strong going into December 2020, unusually so for so late in the year, but the…

  • September 2021

    Santa Cruz Passenger Rail

    Santa Cruz Passenger Rail Show Me the Money By Sebastion “Seb” Frey Normally in this space I write about our local real estate market – but this month’s column focuses on what has become one of the most contentious pieces of real estate in Santa Cruz County: the Santa Cruz Branch Line Rail Corridor.Nine years ago, in October of 2012, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (the RTC) completed the purchase of the rail corridor from Union Pacific Railroad. The corridor had fallen into disuse after the rail line’s sole significant customer, the Cemex cement factory in Davenport, shut down in May of 2010. The tussle over the future…

  • August 2021

    Modern Realtor

    The Modern Realtor’s Value Proposition by seb frey Don’t tell anyone, but I watch a fair amount of Reality TV. Not sure how it began – but I think it was Survivor. Then before you know it, I was watching forgettable season after forgettable season of the Bachelor(ette), and I’ve seen all the housewives from coast to coast, humiliating themselves and each other with wild abandon, for more years than I care to count. Of course, my true love is Million Dollar Listing New York. I just love looking at that gleaming Manhattan real estate. Million Dollar Listing L.A. is another show I watch every episode of, but the agents…

  • July 2021

    Sales Slowing

    Are Real Estate Sales Slowing Down? By Sebastian Frey If you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, you may be paying particularly close attention to the headline news about real estate. If so, you may have seen some news stories about a cooling real estate market. Many of these stories were based off a report from Redfin, showing somewhat declining sales activity, coast to coast. But all real estate is local, so national trends aren’t necessarily reflected in our local real estate market.  But even locally, today we are seeing a modest decline in homes going under contract, and homes sold in June, compared to March, April,…

  • June 2021

    Santa Cruz is a Top Housing Market

    Santa Cruz is a Top Housing Market But That’s Not Necessarily Good News by Seb Frey …areas with strong housing demand and rising prices combined with robust economies, lots of good-paying jobs, and the amenities that make a place desirable. These markets have lots of restaurants, bars, and shops as well as reasonable commutes to work. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that the Santa Cruz real estate market has gone completely bonkers. Prices are skyrocketing, supply remains very constrained, and buyers are in a world of hurt. And it’s not just first-time buyers who are feeling the burn (although they do feel it most acutely).…

  • April 2021

    Santa Cruz Housing Market HOT

    Santa Cruz Housing Market: Hot, Hot, Hot! By Seb Frey It’s no secret that right now the real estate market in Santa Cruz is hot.  Actually, you could say it’s overheated!  There’s no shortage of stories of homes receiving dozens of offers and selling hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking price. But in a way, that’s yesterday’s news.  The thing to know about the real estate market is that it’s dynamic.  What’s true yesterday may not be true today, or what’s true today may not apply tomorrow.  For example, interest rates have risen substantially over the past several weeks – up about 0.75% give or take.  That might not…