LONG BEACH — A robust real estate market in Pacific County has some feeling optimistic amid changing tastes and election-year uncertainly among potential buyers.

“It’s been really good. We’re seeing less time on market overall. We’re seeing a much better trend than we were a couple years ago,” said Leslie Brophy, owner/managing broker at Pacific Realty in Long Beach. Brophy has been in the real estate business 26 years and has seen the ebb and flow of a strong market and recession.

“It’s incredibly better than five years ago, about the same as it was 10 years ago,” Brophy said, “Ten years ago we were in the middle of the boom and everything was going fantastic.” Because of the coincidence, Brophy is cautiously optimistic.

“I’m kind of wondering, ‘how long is this going to last?’, she said. “You worry, especially during an election year.”

Election-related uncertainty can cause consumers to scale back on large-scale purchases and the unease sometimes permeates into housing markets.

“Normally it’s slower, but we haven’t seen the that slow down yet,” Brophy said regarding the election-year effect on the housing market.

“It’s been interesting. The leads seemed to really go down during the Republican Convention (held July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio). There were very few inquires and I was like ‘uh oh, it’s happened,’ then the minute the convention was over they picked right back up again. It’s doing well but I’m still concerned.”

Price trends

Homes in the $200,000 range are selling the most readily.

“Lower prices still seem to be moving faster than upper prices. The majority of the properties seem to be in the $200,000 to $279,000 range.” Finding a non-manufactured home for less than $200,000 is becoming more elusive, and simply finding an affordable home on a single income can be exceedingly hard for many.

“I had a gentleman who was qualified for $130,000. We did find him a home, but it was really tough finding anything that would qualify for a bank loan in that price range that wasn’t manufactured. There are a few that are $169,000 to $199,000, but there aren’t that many houses available at that price point anymore,” Brophy said.

“Some are selling incredibly fast. It just depends on who is looking,” she added.

Price, condition and location are the primary factors for influencing a home price according to Brophy.

“If a house is really cute and clean, doesn’t need a lot or anything obvious, those homes seem to go fastest. If a home is dated, a lot of people aren’t into fixing up,” she said.

Homes with dated features including faux counter finishes, shag carpet and cottage cheese ceilings are harder to sell according to Brophy, who says homebuyers are increasingly more interested in fancier, more contemporary styles.

“Twenty years ago, when I would list an ‘old’ home, there would be a frenzy over it. Everybody now seems to want bling. They want stainless steel, granite, sheetrock walls — They want fancy. In the old days, if it had character people were all about it and now it’s less character more bling,” Brophy said.

Sandy beaches that stretch for miles, a comfortable climate and light traffic are just some of the selling points.

“It’s just a great place to live,” Brophy said summing up the specific reasons that make the Pacific Northwest a desirable destination for so many. Customers on the East Coast have been calling Brophy lamenting about the heat and congestion looking for an escape.

“Very few people have to be here, most people choose to be here,” Brophy summed up.

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