Winter temperatures may be cooling off San Diego’s comfortable climate, but the real estate market scorched through the holiday season. Southern California housing prices are notoriously steep compared to national standards, but 2016 proved to be a particularly successful year for San Diego home sellers who capitalized on elevated demand and climbing property values.
Despite the overarching trends, not every San Diego neighborhood felt sticker shock. While some of San Diego’s most expensive submarkets cost buyers millions, several ZIPs maintained affordability or even plummeted in price to satisfy tighter home buying budgets.
To better understand San Diego real estate conditions in 2016, consider the following data, courtesy of Trulia.
What Did San Diego Home Buyers Pay in 2016?
At the start of year, the median sales price in San Diego reached $490,000 – a substantial increase compared to the month prior when the median sales price was $475,000. Despite the traditionally bustling Spring home buying season, median prices in April fell back to $475,000. However, reduced price tags didn’t last for long.
Fast forward to August, and home sales reached an annual median peak price of $515,000. Overall, San Diego house hunters in the latter part of 2016 faced a higher barrier of entry compared to the tail end of 2015. Between September 29 to December 28, the median sales price in San Diego mirrored the August median at $515,000 based on nearly 3,000 home sales. Trulia’s housing market trends confirms a 6 percent year-over-year rise in median sales price.
Unlike median prices, which saw ebbs and flows throughout the course of the year, price-per-square-foot ascended consistently. In January of 2016, the average price-per-square-foot in San Diego was $361. At the end of the year, San Diego sold homes collectively averaged $386-per-square-foot.
The Costliest and Cheapest San Diego Neighborhoods, Compared
La Jolla Shores ($2.01 million), Sunset Cliffs ($1.91 million) and La Jolla Mesa ($1.9 million) excelled as the most expensive San Diego neighborhoods based on median sales prices between September and December. These costly neighborhoods also demonstrated massive year-over-year growth. Sales prices in La Jolla Shores jumped 100.5 percent, while selling prices in Sunset Cliffs and La Jolla Mesa increased 40.6 percent and 58.3 percent, respectively. In Hidden Valley, the northeast side of La Jolla, the median sales price grew an impressive 168 percent year-over-year to $1.581 million.
Meanwhile, in Teralta East, a City Heights neighborhood, home buyers had their pick of affordable properties at a median sales price of $193,500 – down 4.1 percent from the year prior. While Colina Del Sol, directly east of Teralta East, and College East illustrated similar affordability at $218,000 and $292,500, these submarkets encountered vastly different pricing shifts. The median sales price in Colina Del Sol skyrocketed 43.4 percent year-over-year, while College East sales prices plunged 32 percent during the same period. Keep in mind, median price fluctuations could be caused by factors such as property type, square footage, interior upgrades and amenities.
Based on the past 12 months, San Diego qualified as a classic seller’s market in 2016. Looking ahead to 2017, buyers and sellers should consider San Diego neighborhood data and nearby comparable homes before placing an offer or alternatively, setting a list price for maximum returns. Buyers should remain cognizant of overpaying when sellers have the advantage of dramatic inventory shortages.