Where Have all the Houses Gone in Santa Maria – Orcutt?

Santa Maria City Hall

Santa Maria City Hall

When I searched the MLS for active properties this morning, I came up with 158 single family homes or condos for sale in the Santa Maria and Orcutt areas. 29 of those listings are short sales, and 35 are active REO listings. There are 234 contingent listings, and 222 of them are short sales. In the last 30 days, 131 homes have sold, with an average price of about $250,000, average price per square foot of $150, and averaging about 75 days on market. 28 of those sold homes were closed short sales, and 61 were REO (bank owned property) sales. Average days on market for short sales was about 120 days (this reflects the time period to obtain bank approval), and average days on market for REO listings was about 53 (this includes the time it takes to get the contract finalized by the bank). So, all in all, this market is light on houses and full of a bunch of hurry up and wait for buyers.

Due to the lack of inventory, I’m seeing a willingness from buyers to bid up REO listings so that they can get in a home now. However, even short sale listings are being bid up competitively. It is a very difficult market overall for buyers. I spend a lot of time telling buyers that the inventory they see online isn’t truly available. Or, many times after I describe market conditions to potential buyers, they decide to stay on the sidelines. Shopping for contingent short sales doesn’t pay off the way it used to because buyers are staying put with their short sale offers as there are not many other options for them. It is a great market for sellers because of buyer demand, except that this market has been declared as declining and appraisers are reflecting that in their reports.

I have heard the theory that the banks are waiting to dump a bunch of inventory on the market and that this will happen in August or September. I have heard this theory about every month beginning in March of this year. I don’t know if it is true, but I would welcome the inventory and right now I feel like I could sell it all myself! If true, this would mean that the window for sellers to sell easily is closing, and buyers should wait for more bargains and selection. However, I don’t understand why the banks would do this after we (and many other markets) have basically had a drought of inventory for months. Why then dump a bunch of inventory when the market naturally slows in September? Makes no sense — but I am pretty far from believing that banks will do what makes sense!

If you are looking for a home in this market, it is moving so fast that the only way to keep up is to receive automatic email alerts. If you would like to sign up for them, send me an email request at tni@MintProp.com You can also search for properties on my websites: www.iLoveSantaMaria.com, www.SantaMariaRealEstateSearch.com, & www.BuySantaMariaForeclosures.com (map based search). If you have questions about a specific property, or would like to set up an appointment to consult about a possible short sale of your property, I can be reached at (805) 878-9879.

tniright_logo1Tni LeBlanc, JD, M.A., e-PRO
Broker/Owner, Mint Properties
(805) 878-9879, tni@MintProp.com

  • Based on the information from the Central Coast Regional MLS. Neither the Association, the Multiple Listing Service, or Mint Properties guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.


  1. Nice informative blog you have going here. I agree that there are plenty of good deals around right now, especially in Santa Maria



  2. they do it to make it look like people are buying homes and so when they put homes on the market people will flock for them.

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