Starter homes in San Diego

George Lorimer
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Starter homes in San Diego
San Diego County Housing Report: Starter Home Squeezez: April 15, 2024
First-time homebuyers are getting squeezed by higher mortgage rates; fewer homes are coming on the market in the entry-level price ranges.

The Tale of Two Markets - A definitive difference exists between starter homes and the rest of the San Diego County housing market.


For several years, there has been a wave of millennials turning 32, the prime first-time home buyer age. They have been getting married and having babies and now want to own a home. Unfortunately, with higher mortgage rates and higher home prices, many have been unable or unwilling to purchase. For nearly two years, since rates spiked, they have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for either home values to plunge or mortgage rates to drop. Yet, neither has occurred. Instead, there has been a standoff between buyers and sellers, and with a limited inventory of available homes, sellers have had the edge.

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In taking a careful look under the hood, the upper ranges, anything above $1 million, has had a lot more activity than last year. There are more homes coming on the market and more closed sales. Yet, for starter homes, anything below $1 million, it is an entirely different story. There are not as many homes coming on the market, and there are far fewer closings. There is a noticeable squeeze on the starter home market.
The data illustrates the stark differences between starter homes and the rest of the market. In 2024, through March, an extra 997 homes were placed on the market, 14% more compared to 2023. Yet, there were 4% fewer, or 188 missing FOR-SALE signs below $750,000. On the other hand, 26% more homes were placed on the market above $750,000, or an extra 1,098 signs. The entry-level market is already suffering from a chronically low supply. There is plenty of buyer competition due to the scarcity of available homes. As a result of the limited inventory of starter homes, the Expected Market Time (the number of days to sell all San Diego County listings at the current buying pace) for all homes below $750,000 is a scorching 43 days. From Reports on Housing. 

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George Lorimer, ProWest Properties, DRE# 01146839, *Conditions apply. Not all properties qualify. 

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