How expensive are homes in SLO County? The median price just broke another record

Home prices in San Luis Obispo County hit a new high for the month of May — topping $600,000 for the second time in three years.

The county’s median home price was $640,000, up about $1,300 in May 2018, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). The median home also spent 19 days on the market.

The median price is generally seen as the best way to evaluate the housing market. It indicates that half of homebuyers paid more for their houses and half of homebuyers paid less.

The San Luis Obispo County median set a new record in July 2018, when the price hit $650,000. April’s median tied that price for the first time in 2019.

The statewide median price was $611,190 — a new all-time high. San Mateo County had the highest median in California with a price of $1.8 million. Lassen County had the lowest median at $205,000.

“The lowest interest rates in nearly a year and a half, no doubt, have elevated housing demand as monthly mortgage payments have become more manageable to home buyers in general,” CAR President Jared Martin said in a news release. “The state’s housing market remains soft, however, as home sales continue to lag behind last year’s level for more than a year now.”

Santa Cruz County had the highest median on the Central Coast at $935,000. Glenn County had the lowest median in the Central Valley at $245,000, followed by Tulare County at $248,000.

Jack Hardy, president of Century 21 Hometown Realty in Arroyo Grande, said he’s sold homes for San Luis Obispo County’s median price, although housing markets differ greatly based on location.

Homes in the North County are typically significantly cheaper than those in Pismo Beach or Arroyo Grande, he said.

The market is very good now, but price sensitive, Hardy said. Sellers must price their homes competitively if they don’t want them to languish without a buyer.

“If you price it correctly, it’ll sell pretty quickly,” he said.

The housing market is “all the way back, and then some” from the Great Recession, Hardy said. The recent uptick in home prices is spurred by a need for more houses, he said.

“Today, we just have a lack of inventory,” he said.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.