With 30-year fixed interest rates ranging to below 4 percent, excellent inventory of lower priced homes and condos, and the seasonal slowdown in full effect this year, now may be one of the best times in the past six months to make a home purchase.

Ed Fuller

Ed Fuller

While waiting until the beginning of next year may seem like a more convenient course of action, my experience with our seasonal trends notes that many buyers step into the market in January, meaning more competition.

Typically, buyers will drive prices up in the new year as they buy the cheapest home that’s available, and when that one is gone, they buy the next most expensive home. By June, a sizable appreciation has taken place.

Buying now not only secures a long-term future of lower payments but secures an asset whose value will rise with the market.

While the national median home price increased 5.6 percent year over year in September, California’s median home price in September was 7.6 percent higher than a year ago. In the Santa Barbara metro area, September’s median single family home price was 30 percent above the September 2013 median price.

The point is that Santa Barbara tends to experience a much higher rate of appreciation than the rest of the country or even California. That makes this buying opportunity, with the prospect of the economy continuing to expand and add jobs, a potentially significant one when viewed in light of potential future price appreciation and today’s low interest rates.

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@sanroquerealty.com or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.