In an article published in the Wall Street Journal today it was reported that home prices across the U.S. continued their steady upward march in 2016, despite higher interest rates during the last half of the year.

The hottest market was the Pacific Northwest with Seattle and Portland both seeing double digit price increases. The rest of the West also saw increasing prices with the Silicon Valley and the Bay area leading the way in California.

Here on the Central Coast, prices dropped slightly from their peak in June yet were still up over the same period last year by 8.8%. Interestingly enough, that trend did not hold in Santa Maria where home prices, on average, declined 5.7% from $300,000 in December 2015 to $283,000 in December 2016.

Because of a mid year change in our MLS data is not available for Orcutt as a distinct area until March. Since March prices in Orcutt also declined until December when we saw a sharp spike in prices.with the average price of a home in Orcutt selling for $443,000. This spike in prices could just be an outlier and we won’t know for a couple of months if the trend continues.

Declining inventory was a factor both nationally and here on the Central Coast. Santa Maria saw a peak in available homes in April with a 148 homes on the market vs. December with a low for the year of only 82 homes for sale.