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Of High Surf Advisories and Other Things

Sitting down to write this month’s column, I look out the window at Verve downtown and think how similar the scene outside looks to Seattle or Portland, but maybe that’s just the smell of the coffee carrying me to distant lands in the Northwest.

Then again, with the record levels of rainfall we have had, with our rivers and reservoirs overflowing and road and power outages dominating our daily routine, I find myself getting homesick in my own town for the Santa Cruz we used to live in, back when all the talk was about the drought.

The impact has been just as dramatic along the coast, with trees down along West Cliff Drive and waves covering the road at Moran Lake as the sand recedes into the ocean and our beaches are covered in driftwood and other debris from this constant onslaught of storms that have hit the area.

The normal seaside images where surfers, junior guards and tourists play amidst the scenic beauty of the central coast have given way to a stormy scene where a few hardy souls and their dogs pick their way through the flotsam and jetsam, while others make random forts out of the pieces of wood and seaweed that have washed up on the beach.

But as the saying goes, where there is disruption there is also opportunity, and amidst these images of coastal turmoil, an unusually high number of ocean front homes are available for the adventure-some few who might want to take a look.

A quick scan of the MLS reveals no less than 11 ocean front homes currently on the market, compared to only 1 in escrow, and just 2 sales in the last 3 months (both in the $2.2-$2.3 Million range), which indicates a higher supply of sellers than buyers in this segment.

The current selection of front-row homes ranges from a 3-bedroom condo in Pleasure Point for $1,925,000 to a 7-bedroom estate in La Selva Beach for $13,888,888, so you could certainly say that the surf advisory isn’t the only thing that is high around here.

Then again, with the shelf life for these listings averaging 170 days on the market and counting, I have to think there may finally be some room for negotiation in the average asking price of $4.9 Million (or $1,687 per SF) to live on the sand or on the bluff.

The latest weather reports are predicting 10 days without rain once this current front has passed, making now perhaps the ideal time for anyone who has been on the fence to brave the elements and check out a few of these listings before things return back to Santa Cruz normal. And if you’re willing to settle for something a block or two away from the water, prices get exponentially more accessible.

In the meantime, as I glance back out at a fresh downpour pelting the cars and pedestrians passing by, I could also be tempted to say “put a bird on it” and call it good.

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