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Ed Fuller: Lower Interest Rates Rev Up Local Lower-End Home Sales

As home interest rates dropped to below 4 percent, pending single-family home sales in the lower price ranges revived.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

Pending (under contract) sales of single-family homes in the Santa Barbara metro area increased from 87 in September to 101 in October, or 16 percent, and the median list price of pending homes decreased from $1,195,000 to $949,000, reflecting the surge in lower-priced homes going into escrow; 21 homes under $700,000 went pending in October.

Even with new listings coming on the market, the total number of single-family homes for sale in the Santa Barbara metro area under $700,000 was just 19 at the end of October, less than a month's worth of inventory at the current pending sales rate.

Closed single-family escrows continued the previous seasonal trend, decreasing from 101 in September to 76 in October with the median price decreasing from $1.2 million to $1.09 million.

Also showing a seasonal slowdown are new listings coming on the market as the inventory of single-family homes for sale dropped from 355 at the end of September to 331 at the end of October.

Update: Property Tax Postponement, California Assembly Bill 2231, has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, but it appears applications will not be accepted before Sept. 1, 2016. This benefit is targeted to senior and disabled citizens whose household incomes is less than $35,000. Since this is a loan secured by the applicant's residence, this will allow many low-income seniors to stay in the homes they own while eventually repaying the state with interest.

Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at ed[email protected] or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.

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