Young Woodland residents struggle to buy homes amid high interest rates – Daily Democrat
Buying a home in Woodland is becoming less and less accessible for young adults and other potential homeowners as mortgage rates hit their highest levels in decades.
According to Zillow, the median home price in the town of Woodland has increased by around $120,000 to $570,000 since the start of 2021.
Although Woodland is still less expensive than many Northern California towns, high interest rates have increased monthly payments significantly. The interest rate for loans to buy a house jumped from 3% to 7% in 2022.
“It just stopped being affordable,” said Joseph Lynch, a Woodland real estate appraiser. “At the beginning of the year, you could get a loan at 3% and your payment would be $1,500. Now it’s almost $3,000 for the same loan. That’s all in a nutshell.
Lynch added that these increases have put a damper on young people’s dreams of being able to buy their first home.
“Right now it’s tough if you’re looking to buy your first home,” Lynch said. “It doesn’t matter where you are. The cost of money right now is so high. It’s very difficult to buy your first home, especially if you don’t have any equity.
Young Woodland residents say they have little hope of affording a home at current prices and mortgage rates.
“It’s not just inside people here anymore,” said Celeste Fregoso, 23, a Woodland resident. “It’s a lot of people from Davis who have moved here for new housing.”
Fregoso moved to Sonoma for college in 2017 and returned after graduating to a much more developed Woodland.
“I would love to own a house,” Fregoso said. “I live with my parents because the rent is insane.”
According to Fregoso, people started calling Davis “Wavis” after many students decided to move to Woodland for cheaper options.
Hunter Hoffman, a 20-year-old Woodland resident who cannot afford a home, said the north side of town has been taken over by residents with Davis ties. The newcomers are people going to college in Davis or families who want their children to go to schools in Davis but choose to live here because the houses are cheaper.
“It’s a bit like that [northern] corner of Woodland is its own little ecosystem,” Hoffman said. “They have their own parks, their own little schools inside the housing communities.”
Efforts to preserve the Davis cityscape are now affecting Woodland, according to Fregoso. The people of Davis want to keep this town as it is.
“I don’t think they should try to turn a different city into a carbon copy,” Fregoso said. “Davis is a college town, and Woodland is not.”
Grandfathered Woodland residents feel locked into the city. Moving elsewhere in the city may be an unfeasible option.
“We got the house we have because it was given to us,” Fregoso said. “If we ever wanted to move somewhere else, it would be a bit impossible because we can’t afford it.”
Ryan Lundquist, who runs a Sacramento review blog, agrees that Woodland is much more affordable than Davis.
The median home price in Woodland is around $570,000. This same-size median-priced home in Davis is around $890,000, according to Realtor.com.
“It’s a much more expensive market,” Lundquist said. “For some people, [Woodland] is a sort of Davis haven…all over the region the market is reacting and saying we can’t afford these prices when they have more than doubled.
But there is reason for optimism, according to Lynch. He said home prices in the woods have peaked and market prices may decline.
Lundquist also agrees. He said the market started to see a sea change last spring.
“Honeymoon Market – which ended in April,” Lundquist said. “We are in a different arena right now where prices have come down. The market is starting to falter in a lot of places in the Sacramento area… It was almost like when mortgage rates were dropping below 3%. It was like a steroid for the market. Buyer demand has gone crazy.
By Tony Rodriguez and Cameron Salerno
This story is part of a collaborative project between the Woodland Daily Democrat and the seniors of the Sacramento State Journalism Program. For more information, visit facebook.com/sacstatejournalism.