Profiling the Pod People

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Continuing the conversation…Who’s selling homes these days and where are they going? And who’s buying homes and where are they coming from? This thread started a few weeks back when we were musing about increasing concerns around more Buyers immigrating into the County from elsewhere.

More than a few locals are worried that the unique character of Santa Cruz is changing. And that somehow, some way, we are getting close to a tipping point where whatever it is that makes our Santa Cruz-ness unique is in danger of being lost.

For some, it almost feels like a remake of the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. Every night after they go to sleep a few more of their longtime friends and neighbors seem to disappear and get mysteriously replaced by alien “pod” people who look like them, but don’t quite act like them.

We’ve already talked about the people selling their homes and where most are going. Typically they’re aging baby-boomers or the aging parents of aging baby-boomers moving to gray-er pastures outside of California. But what about those Buyers?

It’s tempting, but is it fair to lump all those recent arrivals under the heading of “carpetbaggers”. Can we simply assume that all our Buyers are all rich, Silicon Valley techie- types (because who else can afford a house here) who are intent on buying up all of the real estate in Santa Cruz to use as privileged second homes?

There’s a disconnect of course… When it comes time to Sell, many of those same locals who’ve been worried about Santa Cruz’ changing character seem to flip and start fantasizing about the rich Silicon Valley techie- types who are going to plunk down all-cash offers on their homes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Seller significantly discount their price so that more deserving locals could afford to buy their home.

And in all likelihood, people already living in some of those other States where our Sellers are going, see them as rich carpetbaggers from California coming to wreak havoc on the local vibe and drive up real estate prices. That’s an old story from a number of different migrations out of California in decades past.

So what is the profile of people buying in Santa Cruz these days? They tend to be younger
than people who are selling. Most are between 35-65 years old. And it’s true that the majority are coming from over-the-hill – mostly Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and San Francisco and Marin. But they aren’t all or even mostly wealthy techi- types intent on buying second homes where they can come on weekends and make the line-ups more crowded for local surfers..

Next week we’ll break down the typical Buyer.

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