Real estate agents forecast stabilization of local housing market by the end of the year
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County is facing a housing crisis.
With high interest rates and low housing inventory, the American dream of owning a home with a white picket fence is becoming more of a fantasy for many renters across the county.
“We believe that the pandemic market did a couple of things, but one of the major things it did was freeze people into staying where they were going to stay and alter their plans that they had to move,” said Berkshire Hathaway Agent Dan Johnson.
Johnson has decades of real estate experience under his belt and believes that things will start to stabilize by the end of the year.
“We do have hope that the inventory will pick up this fall as homeowners that we're a little reluctant to sell because of the pandemic are now feeling freer to go ahead and do that. So we expect a little bit of an increase in inventory and we should see a very active real estate market going into the end of the year,” said Johnson.
Low inventory isn’t the only thing standing in the way of people buying homes. Inflation and high interest rates have also been a major concern for people who can’t afford the high cost of living in Santa Barbara. Many who work in Santa Barbara have to commute from cities like Santa Maria, where housing is more affordable.
“The difference between Santa Barbara and Santa Maria has always been they [Santa Maria] have a lower price point than ours. Their average sales price has been lower than ours, so there is much more first time housing available there. So I would think that they're going to see their interest rates affect them more there for the first time homebuyers trying to get into the market,” said Johnson.
Johnson explained that people buying homes in Santa Barbara oftentimes are not affected by climbing interest rates since many are all-cash buyers who are buying a second home as a vacation property or rental property. He believes that overall the market will start to pick up, explaining that summer slowdowns are the norm.
“We were down 8% of sales versus last August this year. But we expect that the buyers that haven't bought yet are going to still be in the market pushing to buy and trying to find that right home,” said Johnson.
Johnson also has some advice for first time homebuyers:
“Save your money up because the American dream is owning your house and it will build wealth not only for you but your family and your heirs. So work hard to save it up. Maybe join in with some friends, get some roommates, and make it happen.”