Commentary: Report on first quarter of North County real estate

The actual number of home sales dropped 16% in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the first quarter of 2018.

The first quarter of 2018 was a good quarter and actually, 2019 was pretty good as well. The average sales price dropped 2% in 2019 to $478,000. In June of 2018, our market started to level off in pricing and velocity. About 2 weeks ago, we had a drop in rates to 4% which kicked off Spring nicely.

Over the last couple of weeks, we are seeing action. Lots of deals happening and big deals happening. The visuals are beautiful outside, money is super cheap and our pricing is favorable on a cost value relationship to high-quality communities throughout the world. Yes, it is that good.

Buyers are aggressive if the property is quality, turnkey and well-priced. This is true for almost all categories. Homes are coming on the market. Deals are being made.

For many years, the interest rates were dropping with no takers for the money. People were nervous about 2008 and our economy was tepid at best for quite a while. Now we have a vibrant economy across America and people are jumping when rates drop. That tells me that people of America are confident in the economy.

The market for most wine grapes is selective to soft. Many growers are using this lull in demand to replant. Quality wineries are looking for growers to plant quality vineyards for a consistent supply of fruit. Our wine industry is just coming into our own space. There are big things happening in the wine industry.

Commercially, apartments are still very popular with investors and other small industrial, office and retail properties are selling with tenants in place. There is some softness in smaller retail tenants. The Amazon effect.

Traffic is quickly becoming a bigger issue than downtown parking in Paso Robles. Gridlock creates quality-of-life situations that are problematic on many levels. These traffic things creep up on at the city and new development. Paso Robles has great leadership at this city level. Traffic is a challenge.

Water has calmed down a bit from crisis stage but the Eastside of our Basin is still shut down for new irrigation uses.

I want to thank Fred Bruen for the Statistics in this report. Fred is a great Agent in our office and I respect his work. North County is blossoming into a real destination which creates opportunity and responsibility for maintaining our quality of life.

Pete Dakin is owner/broker of RE/MAX Parkside Real Estate in Paso Robles.


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