If you’re looking for an affordable home in San Luis Obispo County, you might have a tough time finding one in Pismo Beach.
California coastal towns with beach access are known for being pricier, and this South County city is no exception.
While the county’s median home price hit $504,500 in June, Pismo Beach’s was $890,750 — a price difference of more than $350,000 — according to real estate tracking firm CoreLogic. The median home price indicates half of the homes in the area sold for more and half sold for less.
The city’s homes all have one major advantage over San Luis Obispo and cities north of the Cuesta Grade: proximity to the ocean. But you’ll have to fight investors, retirees and wealthy buyers looking for vacation homes to get your slice of paradise.
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What you’ll get for your money in Pismo Beach
“Views are worth a fortune,” said Erin Down, owner of Ocean West Properties and Coastal Vacation Rentals. “So is that walking proximity.”
The most affordable homes are located a bit farther from the beach in the hillsides southeast of downtown — Toucan Terrace is the best-known of these neighborhoods.
Homes for sale in that area range from $525,000 to more than $650,000 and come with 1,300 to 1,500 square feet. Most were built in the 1980s or 1990s, so unless a previous owner recently remodeled or updated appliances, new homeowners might have some work to do.
“People pay half a million in Pismo for a fixer-upper,” Down said.
For example, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on Marian Way that’s selling for $525,000 was built in 1985 and has 1,364 square feet. It hasn’t been updated much over the years, so its kitchen appliances, counters and flooring look a bit dated.
Shell Beach is once of the priciest areas in Pismo Beach. Homes there don’t cost much less than $800,000, according to Karen Andrews, owner of Andrews and Associates Real Estate. The area is quieter, less-touristy and most residents can walk to the beach.
“It all just depends on how great the location of that house is,” Andrews said.
The beachfront market
Depending on the price, homes in Pismo Beach can sell quickly or take a month or more to close, according to Down and Andrews.
Buyers can snap up well-priced homes in two weeks, or they can sit on the market for 30 days. Most homes sell for within 10 percent of their asking price, Andrews said, calling the area a “healthy seller’s market.”
“If it’s priced right, you can get multiple offers going,” she said.
Down called Pismo Beach’s housing market “cyclical” and said it may be hitting the point at which buyers won’t pay much more for homes.
“It’s kind of topped out,” she said.
When asked what advice they’d have for first-time homebuyers, Down and Andrews said they may have a tough time finding anything in their price range in Pismo Beach.
“I would say, ‘Let’s go look in Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande,’” Down said.
Andrews suggested buyers start with condos and then move on to better properties when the real estate market is down.
“You’ve got to have the money,” she said. “You’ve got to be able to get the loan.”