The anomaly within the Zillow amounts within this particular neighborhood not gaining value, relative to other surrounding neighborhoods, is surprising. As an overview for the longest time Zillow was very frustrating in Santa Cruz. Being a county built up over 10 decades, we have homes of widely varying degrees of care and maintenance. A 1940’s bungalow, ignored for 70 years, is worth far less than a 1940’s bungalow remade to its true origins. Zillow can’t recognize that difference, even if it’s door to door. Another easy to see example is a restored Craftsman home next to a 1965 ranch home that was built as the UC arrived. One is made from carefully chosen materials, the other from low cost materials.
Zillow is excellent at looking at towns and cities that were built as developments, each street with a specific builder built during a short time span. Then you can see the selling prices as true comparable sales to your like-kind home. The differences would be minor; a new hardwood floor, or a remodeled bathroom. Here it’s 20-30 years of care, or 20-30 years of neglect. With student rentals on nearly every street in town there will always be a house or two less cared-for, and that pulls down the comparable sales numbers. In the past 10 years we have seen gentrification of most Westside neighborhoods, and many of the houses that were rentals have been bought by a new generation of professionals who have worked on their homes. Zillow has gotten better here lately, and we are not sure why. They seem to be closer with trends in our markets than they were when they first came on the scene. But they will always be less effective a measure in a diverse place like Santa Cruz, and I count us lucky for that, though I understand it makes it confusing.
If you are interested in selling, be sure to call me. It would be great to talk over the phone, or to meet you in person to discuss your real estate plans.