Here in California, buying a home or other property is a factor of loan affordability. Today, we see a lot of “cash buyers” in the market – but that simply means that they have already arranged financing. In this borrowing home ownership economy, the interest rates play a very significant role in the value of homes. The national economic recovery in America has reached every part of the economy except for jobs and housing. The good news for Californians is that home prices in Bakersfield and on the Central Coast have stabilized or began to rise again. Every listing on has a handy mortgage calculator which will allow you to estimate how much you can afford. Be sure to take advantage of low home loan interest rates while they last. It is a great time to lock in a low rate for a 30 year mortgage. There is a chart below that shows you why.

Century 21 Hometown Realty CEO Jack Hardy shared a story yesterday. Jack and Shelia Hardy were at a listing presentation in Grover Beach where the homeowner felt like their home was valued in the low $600’s. It is common for homeowners to think that their homes are worth more than buyers are willing to pay today. Each homeowner has recent memory of an even higher home value 5 or 6 years ago. But the fact remains that we have seen 20% to 40% drops in some home values over the past few years. It is a heartfelt loss. But things are looking up. Homes that were selling in the low $500,000 range in Berry Gardens are now fetching prices in the mid to upper $5s. “We are seeing a lift in home prices in many areas of the Central Coast and Bakersfield,” says Hardy.

Grover Beach Home Values
Grover Beach Home Values, look at neighborhood details on any listing for market stats


The housing market is an uncertain place unless you take a long term view. In the long run, buying a home is not like buying a car. If you own your home long enough, population growth and housing demand will increase its value. If you are both buying and selling a home, you always have a balanced transaction. The buying and selling power are equal. If you sell high, you buy high. If you sell low, you buy low.

Here are a few tips that can help you prepare to buy or sell your home.

1. Look into financing options first. Century 21 Hometown Realty offers mortgage support through Prime Lending. They have local loan officers who will be happy to walk you through the financing process. If you choose Prime Lending or other mortgage company, there should be no application or consulting fees to see where you stand.

2. Keep a close watch on interest rates. The risk associated with your loan is what determines your interest rate. There are many factors including the bank’s cost of funds (Federal Bank Interest Rates), your credit rating, and the loan to value ratio on the property you purchase. Even a small difference in interest rate can make the difference in thousands of dollars in purchasing power. Here is a chart to help you understand this.


Buying power and interest rates


Here are the current interest rate trends as published by the National Associaton of REALTORS

interest rate trends