Discussing the state of real estate in the Ojai Valley with broker Erik Wilde
Erik Wilde, the broker of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty’s Ojai office, presented on the state of real estate in the Ojai Valley at the Rotary Club this past February 2022. He spoke on the leading topics that are shaping the current climate of real estate and the effects of this market in this small hometown of Ojai, CA.
As a local native of Ojai, Erik is the former president of the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation, with 20+ years of real estate experience. Erik has forged a strong reputation in the Ojai Valley as a leading expert in the market, and a proud family man himself who stands as a resource for those lucky enough to be in his sphere.
Throughout the past two years, the market has proven to be the biggest seller’s market in history with inventory at an all-time low. Home prices have continued to rise, although now at a slower rate; and with rates trending up we are anticipating a possible change to the market.
The increase in the average sales price has not only affected the process of buying and selling real estate but continues to change affordability for buyers, making it more difficult to purchase a home in this market. We asked LIV broker, Erik Wilde, to elaborate on his viewpoints of the market and the future forecast from a real estate expert and Ojai native below:
As a broker and Realtor in Ojai, California, how has the current market impacted your business directly?
This market is unprecedented. Because of Covid, buyers have been searching for lifestyle areas to live, generally outside metropolitan cities. There has been a tremendous demand throughout the country, with inventory not being able to keep up, which has driven prices and benefited home sellers. It has been challenging for buyers and agents alike, as it’s contentious and difficult to compete with multiple offers and prices going well above the asking price.
Do you feel as though the values of properties will continue to rise in Ojai, and if so, how do you think that will impact the locals and their buying power in the area?
In my opinion, prices will plateau in 2022, especially as we approach the 3rd quarter. Interest rates have already climbed in the first quarter, about 1% more than they were in the end of 2021. This changes affordability for buyers and will likely ease some demand thus keeping prices more stagnant. Ojai is a little insulated from the macro markets across the US, but it will follow suit with market trends.
Has the increase in the average sales price increased the number of local buyers or increased the number of outside buyers in Ojai from your perspective? Has this created a positive effect on the community?
We have noticed a large increase of families moving from LA and San Francisco area, mostly to provide a safe place to raise their kids outside the cities. Many locals have capitalized on the market and moved out of state, so there has been a bit of a demographic shift these last couple years. Overall, I believe that’s positive for the community, as the local school’s benefit, and it’s brought some new business’ to Ojai including restaurants. Most people coming to Ojai are not trying to change it, they would prefer to blend in and keep Ojai special the way it is. But with a large influx of new people also brings additional development ideas and entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of a “hot spot”, this isn’t necessarily always good or bad, but we hope and trust the locals to actively participate and voice their opinions if a proposed development is not in the best interest of Ojai.
How has the process of buying and selling real estate changed for consumers in this community since COVID-19?
Buyers have had to have a lot of patience and persistence to get the right house. In some cases, a buyer may write offers on 5-10 properties before they win the best bid. This has given the sellers all the leverage to dictate terms and their own best interest. Many buyers have had to take a bit of a leap of faith if they really want a property, by risking some “normal” contingencies to make their offers more appealing and less risky to a seller. I haven’t nearly seen such a seller’s market in my 19 years in the business, if ever.
Has the increase in families moving to Ojai impacted the School District?
The Ojai school situation is a large issue, and one I’m not educated to say with certainty but it’s my opinion. We have noticed that most families coming to Ojai as of late have been putting their kids in private schools here, which I’m hearing are all thriving. But the public school system has not benefited with the influx of families like the private ones have. Being the public schools receive most of their funding based on number of kids attending, they haven’t been afforded the opportunity to improve facilities and resources for the kids. I believe the Ojai Unified School District has done their absolute best to navigate through the challenging Covid era, as we all have had to pioneer new territory with no road map. My hope is the public school system here can also benefit with new kids attending, all of which will only allow them to make it that much better.