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A Year of Transitions and Change


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It is both satisfying and bewildering to look back at how much my team and I have been able to pack into yet another lap around the sun, and this one seemed to go by faster than usual. As a strange epilogue to the year, we have recently seen multiple transactions interrupted by cyberattacks on two different title companies that shut one of them down for the better part of a week and is still impacting the second company with their IT department scrambling to correct the breach. Hopefully this rash of cyberattacks is not a growing trend, so we can continue to focus on the more productive aspects of the increasingly broad array of transactions we handle.


For residential sales it was a time of transition as interest rates surged, and we saw home sales in our county drop by 41.2% over the course of the first 4 months of the year, before rebounding to only be off by 12.7% over the following six months. November ended up being a wildcard as we saw the delta jump back up, to 20.7%. It remains to be seen what direction things take moving forward, but the types of residential properties we handle remains an eclectic bunch, ranging from mobile homes, condos and townhouses to a post-burn property from the CZU lightning fire, in addition to the usual assortment of houses both in town and out in the country. 


An upwardly-trending number of commercial and business opportunity sales added to our flow of home sales this year as we managed to facilitate the funding, purchase and sale of several properties slated for new subdivisions and mixed-use development. The first of these publicly kicked off in the Spring, bringing an award-winning 15 townhome community to market in Soquel. We were also able to help with the acquisitions of a Mid-County parcel being entitled for assisted living, plus the former Lighthouse Bank building Downtown slated for high-density mixed use, and a pair of properties positioned for high density development in the opportunity zones along the Midtown and Ocean Street corridors. 


The remainder of our activity remains spread over a wide variety of other listings in varying stages, including the large ranch in La Selva we now have under contract with a land trust who intend to create a nature preserve. Elsewhere, after a year of showings and several stalled escrows we are still seeking the right entity to take over the Pacific Cultural Center in Seabright. And we are equally curious to see who will be the right match for our two new commercial listings in Harvey West. The year also saw us handling a greater number of business opportunity sales and we had to upgrade our listing membership plan to accommodate the increased volume as more of our entrepreneurial clients decide to move on from their longtime businesses while others seek new opportunities.


Whatever direction things take in the coming year, it is clear that change is in the air, and it is exciting to participate in so many significant transitions which promise to have lasting impact on the direction and character of our community for years to come.

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