San Diego home prices will maintain their meteoric rise in the next 12 months, a new study says, with a hefty increase of 24.7 percent to a median home price nearing $1 million.
Home improvement site Porch, which provides research on housing market trends, said the San Diego metropolitan area will experience the third-highest price increases in the nation — led by current data showing how much homes are selling for over asking and wage growth. It said Austin, Texas, will have the biggest increase at 37.1 percent, followed by Phoenix at 26.2 percent.
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The San Diego metropolitan area (which includes all of San Diego County) had seen prices rise 15.2 percent in a year as of July. Analysts have said low mortgage rates, scarcity, improved fortunes of stay-at-home workers and millennials aging into homeownership are the biggest reasons why prices continue to surge.
Porch predicts home prices will rise across the United States in the next year for the same factors and will be led by Western states. It used a variety of sources for its predictions — Zillow, Redfin, U.S. Census, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices — to show where homes were selling over asking prices, how much they had already increased and strong median household incomes.
If Porch’s prediction comes true, the median home price in San Diego County will be $940,933 at this time next year.
“The U.S. real estate market is reaching unprecedented heights,” Porch researchers said in the report.
Nathan Moeder, principal with San Diego real estate analysts London Moeder Advisors, said the Porch forecast was plausible but said a countywide 24.7 percent increase is probably high. However, he said if you look at specific housing types and location, it’s not that hard to imagine.
Moeder said North County single-family homes could easily be up 25 percent in a year because that is where there is the most high-wage growth is and single-family home construction is considerably down. The Porch study took all home types — townhouses, condos, single-family — for its prediction, but Moeder said the single-family market is where we will probably see the most eye-popping results.
“You can never be 100 percent correct in a forecast,” he said. “If someone asked me if single-family homes increase 25 percent, I could see that being a plausible scenario because we aren’t building any more.”
San Diego County single-family home construction has still not recovered since The Great Recession, with most regional planners favoring multi-family construction to fit more people in rapidly decreasing available land. Moeder said the problem with that scenario is the majority of the demand is for single-family properties, which means they will continue to go to the highest bidder for the reasonable future.
There were 3,160 single-family homes constructed in 2020, 3,043 in 2019 and 3,389 in 2018, said the Real Estate Research Council of Southern California. Compare that with 9,555 in 2004 and 7,904 in 2005.
Alan Nevin, Xpera housing analyst, also felt the Porch forecast was high, with a 12 to 15 percent increase in the next year more likely. He said things that could slow the growth are a rise in mortgage rates, or a change in loan-to-value terms. He said mortgages that only require 3 percent down for ever-increasing home prices might be seen as increasingly risky. However, Nevin said neither scenario has shown signs of happening yet.
In his latest report for the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, Nevin wrote there were just 1,373 single-family homes sold for under $500,000 in July 2021 (using a 12-month rolling average). That compares with 3,445 at the same time last year. There were 7,130 condos sold under $500,000, using the same formula, compared with 7,226 at the same time in 2020.
Porch forecast the nationwide home price will increase 15 percent at the same time San Diego metro will jump by 24.7 percent. California metros are all expected to make big strides in the next year. Porch said San Jose would increase 24.5 percent, Riverside by 21.8 percent, San Francisco by 21.2 percent, Sacramento by 18.7 percent and Los Angeles by 18.5 percent.
Predictions for home prices are typically seen as tricky business because changes in mortgage rates, unexpected events (such as COVID-19) and natural disasters can shift the market considerably. The San Diego Union-Tribune’s 12-person panel of business leaders and economists predicted in December 2019 the median home price at the end of 2020 would be $570,000 at the lowest to $624,500 at the highest. It ended the year at $715,500.
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Forecast annual price growth by Porch
Austin, TX: 37.1 percent
Phoenix, AZ: 26.2 percent
San Diego, CA: 24.7 percent
San Jose, CA: 24.5 percent
Salt Lake City, UT: 23.5 percent
Las Vegas, NV: 23.3 percent
Riverside, CA: 21.8 percent
San Francisco, CA: 21.2 percent
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX: 21.1 percent
Denver, CO: 20.8 percent
Fresno, CA: 19.8 percent
Pittsburgh, PA: 19.8 percent
Tampa, FL: 18.8 percent
Sacramento, CA: 18.7 percent
Tucson, AZ: 18.6 percent