Work-from-home helps drive San Diego real estate despite rocky economy

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego real estate market has been a bit of a mystery over the past year, as prices continued to rise while unemployment and COVID-19 lockdowns have been in place for over a year.

Experts say at the beginning of the pandemic there was a real fear the market was going to fall, but as the months ran on those fears did not come to pass. “As soon as I got the first call, I must’ve gotten 10 calls. For the first few months of COVID, I didn’t recognize an area code, because they were all people who were looking to move to San Diego,” said Dane Soderberg, a longtime real estate broker from the La Jolla area.

Watch more from our series “COVID: 1 Year Later

Soderberg believes San Diego is fast becoming the destination for remote workers to find some space and distance from their former lives in big cities such as Boston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. With interests rates still at record lows, inventory tight and prices rising between 8 and 14% last year, upward pressure on the market is expected.

“If you think about it, 3,500 homes for sale sounds kind of like a lot, but we have 3.1 million people living in San Diego County. And despite what you might have read about people leaving California, our population is increasing at least 1% every year annually — for the past 20 years,” said Phillip Molnar from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Now with the $1.9 trillion relief package passed by the Biden administration, there are hopes that unemployment will fall and the local economy will stabilize.  

“I do expect to see single-digit appreciation through 2021. I don’t see things changing with interest rates. I also don’t see things changing with the demand,” Soderberg told FOX 5.  

The real estate analysis company Core Logic is predicting that San Diego’s home prices are likely going to see the most upward movement in the United States.

“I haven’t talked to a single analyst at CES who sees home prices going down. It is possible you might see home prices stay about where they’re at right now. I mean, I hope I’m wrong. I’m praying that I’m wrong. I can buy a house!” Molnar said, with a smile.  

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