Inventories are Chronically Low as New Listings Trail 2016 Levels

Arroyo Grande, CA – November  15, 2017

With the opening of the fall season, home prices sales cooled off in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties for the second month in a row. Prices continued to rise as the three-year drought of listings continued.    Higher prices and fewer homes to choose discouraged buyers and percent lower than they were a year ago, according to the October Market Report from Century 21 Hometown Realty.

The change in seasons did not help home sales, which melted in the record heat of September and remained flat or even lower in October.   Sales fell 32 percent from September in San Luis Obispo County.  They rose 3.2 percent in Santa Barbara County but were still 89.5 percent below sales at this time last year.

In both counties prices ended the month higher than they were a year ago, approaching five-year peak prices reached earlier in the year.   Demand remained strong in San  Obispo County where houses sold 16.2 percent faster then they did in September, but not in Santa Barbara County, where median time on market is now 46 days, 130 percent longer than in September.

Higher prices did not motivate enough owners to make a dent in the inventory drought.  Both counties reported fewer active listings than a year ago and fewer new listings.  Despite higher prices, fewer owners listed their homes for sale

“The chronic shortage of homes for sale the Central Coastal region is limiting choices for buyers and pushing prices higher. With the arrival of the fall season, housing markets are changing, but we are still in a sellers’ market.  Tight inventories will probably continue through the fourth quarter, and prices should remain strong,  It’s  a great time for owners to list their homes and take advantage of the appreciation before conditions change,” said Amy Gallagher, corporate broker of record for CENTURY 21 Hometown Realty.  In September, CENTURY 21 Hometown Realty closed on 95 homes totaling $41,885,639.

Century 21 Hometown Realty is supporting a ballot initiative by the California Association of REALTORS® to amend California Tax code to enable more homeowners to “cary” their Prop 13 tax benefit with them when they switch houses. This initiative is expected to hit the ballot in about a year. For now, the ballot initiative is being drafted and signatures are being collected. According to Gallagher, “people who have lived in their homes a long time are frequently paying half of the property taxes relative to the value of their home. This creates a disincentive to moving that may be lessened by the new legislation.” The California Association of REALTORS® has passed a special assessment to all REALTORS® in the amount of $100 each to cover the expected $30 Million to $50 Million that it will take to fund the ballot initiative. Century 21 Hometown is in favor of assessment and is hopeful that headway can be made quickly in Sacramento.

 San Luis Obispo County

Home sales in San Luis Obispo County in October rose 3.2 percent from the previous month and were only 1.2 percent lower than they were a  year ago.    Total sold dollar volume reached $199,259,006, 5.2 percent lower than October.    The county’s median sale price of $535,000 was 8 percent higher than it was a year ago and only 3 percent below the county’s all-time high.

Demand was high in October and homes in San Luis Obispo County sold in 31 days, one day fewer than in September.  Supplies of homes for sale fell for the fifth straight month and were 5 percent lower than September and 15  percent below October 2016.  New listings fell 62 percent from last year and were  12 percent higher than they were in from September.

In the city of San Luis Obispo, home sales rose 20.9 percent from August bit were 10.3 percent lower than in October 2016.  At $634,354, the city’s median sale price rose by 3.2 percent and was 12.9 percent higher than a year ago.   Total sold dollar volume rose to  $37,093,201up 33.5 percent from September and 12.9 percent above the median price a year ago. Homes sold in 21 days, 34.7 percent faster than in September.    Active listings were 10.8  percent lower in October than they were a year ago.

In Atascadero, sales fell 14.5  percent from August but were 12.2  percent lower than a year ago.  The median sold price reached $482,500, up 7.7 percent from September   Homes sold in 14 days, 58.8 percent faster than the previous month.

Local market data and listings for San Luis Obispo County communities are available at  . , Atascadero, Avila Beach, Cambria, Cayucos, Creston, Grover Beach, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Oceano, Paso de Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Santa Margarita, San Miguel, San Simeon, Santa Ynez, Shandon, and Templeton.

Santa Barbara County

October sales in Santa Barbara County rose 3.2 percent over September but were 69.5 percent below last year.   Prices rose 3.1 percent in October and 15.1 percent over a year ago to reach a median price of $40,909.   Total sold volume in the county fell to $59,816,258.

Total active listings in Santa Barbara County fell 52 percent below levels in  2016, and new listings declined 62 percent from last year.  Homes sold in 46 days, 27.5 percent slower than a year ago.

In Santa Barbara city, sales rose 40 percent over September, and the total sold volume fell to $13,242,260.  The median sales price fell 46.1 percent from September to a median of  $1,691, 751. Prices fell 32,9 percent from last year to a median price of $673,500.  Houses sold in 100  days.

The city of Santa Maria saw sales fall 62.4 percent from September  Prices rose 18.1 percent to a median of $400,000.   Homes sold in 48 days, 71.4 percent slower than in September.

Local market data and listings for Santa Barbara County communities are available at  Ballard, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, and Solvang.


 October Home Sales

San Luis Obispo County (red) and Santa Barbara County (blue)




October Home Prices

San Luis Obispo County (red) and Santa Barbara County (blue)




 About Century 21 Hometown Realty

CENTURY 21 Hometown Realty is the leading real estate firm on the central coast. Since 1947, it has supported the needs of home sellers and buyers throughout California’s Central Coast region with 19 branch locations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Our offices cover the California Coast from Paso Robles in the north to Ventura County in the south.

We offer specialty services including Luxury Real Estate, Agricultural and Ranch Real Estate, Vineyards, Ocean Front Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate, and Residential Real Estate.  Our agents have a keen focus on these areas and multilingual and generational expertise. Visit our website at  to see our California listings and our office locations.

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