California home prices on the rise

Local real estate experts predict a busy summer

California home prices on the rise

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A new report released by Data Quick Thursday shows California home prices are up more than 25 percent from this time last year.

There are several reasons for the uptick.  First--those all time low interest rates.

"We're still at a historic low, but we've seen the bottom of a 6-year historical low," explained Randall Figgins, a home mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo.

Real estate experts say they won't last.

"We've seen a major increase in the last few weeks of mortgage rates," said Figgins.

Also, as the economy improves, home values will increase.

So is it a buyers or a sellers market?  Experts say both.  Buyers can still take advantage of the historic low interest rates.

"Values have gone up about 15 percent, with interest rates low it means you have more purchasing power," explained Figgins.

Sellers also have an advantage -- inventory is low.

"Fifteen months ago you got a deal, because you got a property under price.  The deal in today's market is if you beat out four other offers," said Keller Williams realtor Justin Etherton.

Homes that were foreclosed upon during the previous year accounted for 11 percent of existing home sales.  That's down from a peak of nearly 60 percent in early 2009.

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