Local News

San Diego’s surging real estate prices lead some buyers to pump the brakes

SAN DIEGO — It’s happened to Carlsbad resident Bob Patterson dozens of times. He finds the right house in his search only to soon learn it’s already gone.

As home prices in California continue to soar, there’s plenty of competition for a limited supply of single-family homes on the market. Buyers say they’re feeling the pressure in their housing search, including in San Diego County where the median housing price in April was $825,120, according to the California Association of Realtors.

It’s created an environment where potential buyers need to move faster than ever before, and in many cases it’s still not enough, Patterson said.

“One instance we did place an offer and it was significantly above list price,” he said. “We thought it was going to be the winning offer, but apparently we were still third in line in terms of the offer.”

At least for now, Patterson has decided to pump the brakes on buying. He’s far from the only one making that decision, real estate agent Austin Torres said.

“The market is very intense and that’s something I always try to tell my clients up front so that they don’t suffer from buyer’s fatigue,” Torres said. “You’ll have some buyers submit five, 10, 15 offers and none of them get accepted.”

Despite the higher-than-usual asking prices in the county, Torres says homes still are selling in a matter of days at figures well above the asking price.

“Oftentimes it’s going to be 40, 50 sometimes even $100,000 over the list price,” he said, “so that’s something buyers need to prepare for because it says a certain price you want to allocate in budget to be much higher than that to be competitive.”

Because the process moves so quickly, it’s also becoming more standard for buyers to pay premium prices to secure properties regardless of any outstanding issues these homes might have.

“You are removing the inspection up front,” Torres said. “You are removing the appraisal up front. Pretty much anything that a buyer could be protected from is being removed.”