Editor’s note: This is one in an ongoing series on what the median home price will buy in various San Luis Obispo County communities.
If you’re house-hunting in San Luis Obispo County, looking at properties north of the Cuesta Grade will give you more bang for your buck.
Homes in the North County tend to be slightly less expensive than those in San Luis Obispo — or at least come with more square footage and property. Paso Robles, the biggest town in the northern inland region, is no exception.
Although first-time Paso Robles buyers may face cash offers and investors looking to snap up potential vacation rentals, they’ll likely have an easier time finding a home within their price range than they would in San Luis Obispo or South County beach towns.
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What you’ll get for your money in Paso Robles
The county’s median home price was $543,000 as of May, according to real estate tracking firm CoreLogic. But that price was high for Paso Robles, where the median was $453,500, according to the same report.
“The further away you go from San Luis Obispo, the more affordable the homes become,” said April Smith, a broker associate for Century 21 Hometown Realty in Paso Robles.
Homes priced close to or higher than the median income — especially those inching up toward $600,000 — typically stay on the market longer, she said.
Even lower-priced homes have a decent amount of square footage, according to Peter Dakin, owner of Re/Max Parkside Real Estate in Paso Robles. A Paso Robles house in the $400,000 price range will likely come with around 800 square feet, he said.
A $500,000-range house will come with closer to 2,000 square feet, while a $600,000 home will have about 2,100 square feet of space.
“The price point is significantly different in the North County,” Dakin said.
The houses are also likely to be newer, with some even built in the early 2000s.
For example, a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house on Oak Ridge Way that’s selling for $568,000 was built in 2003 and has 2,279 square feet of space, although it’s a 10-minute drive from Downtown City Park.
Both Dakin and Smith said homes on the east side of Paso Robles are likely to be cheaper than those on the west side, which they attributed to downtown proximity. Those living on the east side must cross over Highway 101 to get to the downtown core, Smith said.
“It’s the walkability factor,” she said.
Less-frenzied home buying
Paso Robles homes tend to stay on the market longer than San Luis Obispo homes, and there aren’t quite as many bidding wars, Smith and Dakin said.
“It’s not a frenzied market,” Dakin said. “It’s as strong a market as you’re going to see without things being crazy.”
Most homes sell near their asking prices, with some staying on the market for 30 to 60 days, he said.
Smith said she’ll frequently have multiple buyers looking at homes, and hers usually stay on the market for 14 to 21 days.
Although Cal Poly students’ parents don’t typically buy investment properties in Paso Robles, soon-to-be-retirees and those looking to rent out vacation homes still provide first-time buyers with competition. And investors and those toward the end of their careers are more likely to pay with cash than buyers looking for their first homes.
“There’s still a good appetite for vacation rentals,” Dakin said.
Jake Rodriguez, a Re/Max Parkside Realtor, said buyers should all be evaluated and pre-qualified for financing before they even start looking at homes. He said he advises buyers not to rush and to take the time they need to find the right house.
“Give it the best you can,” he said. “That’s all you can do.”