The “Five Cities” regional real estate overview includes data about the following markets through the first quarter (January – March) of 2014:

  • Arroyo Grande
  • Avila Beach
  • Grover Beach
  • Oceano
  • Pismo Beach

All data as compiled from the Scenic Coast Multiple Listing Service and published by Keith Byrd at

For more feature overviews of SLO County real estate through 2014:

Median Home Price

Grover Beach ($365,000) narrowly topped Oceano ($376,750) as the most affordable Five Cities municipality through the first quarter. Avila beach was the most expensive.

2014 Q1 Five Cities Median

Price Per Square Foot

A more equitable way to compare home pricing is the price per square foot of each property sold.

Through this lens, Oceano is actually the most affordable area in the Five Cities. Buyers get more bang for their back in Oceano given the price per square foot of $248.81, which compares favorably to $294.70 for Grover Beach.

2014 Q1 Five Cities Price : Square Foot

Home Sales

As the largest market in the area, Arroyo Grande had the most single-family residential sales with 56.

Compared to previous years, sales volume fell through the first quarter, but “normal” properties (i.e. not foreclosures or short sales) had their best year since 2009. This is a sign that the housing market is achieving a more healthy balance.

  • Arroyo Grande: 56 sales
  • Avila Beach: 5 sales
  • Grover Beach: 20 sales
  • Oceano: 12 sales
  • Pismo Beach: 20 sales

Distressed Property Mix

During the worst years of the post-housing bubble recession and real estate collapse, cheap foreclosure (REO) and short sale properties flooded the market.

As the market filled up with cheap distressed properties, home values suffered and sales prices dropped sharply. For example, for all San Luis Obispo County properties in 2011, normal homes had a median listing of $425,000. REOs were listed at a 35% discount ($275,000) and short sales were listed at a 23% discount ($329,000).

Today, one important reason why the market is healthier is because the supply of distressed properties has evaporated.

The Grover Beach market had the worst year of any in the Five Cities region during the recession. In 2009, just 37% of listings were normal homes, compared to 54% REO, and 9% short sale.

Through the first three months of 2014, the foreclosure mix is much different:

  • Arroyo Grande: 95% Normal
  • Avila Beach: 100% Normal
  • Grover Beach: 94% Normal
  • Oceano: 92% Normal
  • Pismo Beach: 95% Normal

Compared to their worst years in the post-housing bubble market:

  • Arroyo Grande: 67% Normal (2009)
  • Avila Beach: 75% Normal (2010)
  • Grover Beach: 55% Normal (2011)
  • Oceano: 37% Normal (2009)
  • Pismo Beach: 73% Normal (2011)

Median Home Price Change

The chart below shows how home prices have compared year-over-year through the first three months of the past 10 years. Volatility has been the norm. See the swift, steady dive after the real estate bubble popped, and the quick recovery between 2012 and 2014.

2014 Q1 Five Cities Median Price Change


Central Coast Lending is a mortgage broker and direct lender based on the Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo County. Call 805.543.LOAN or email us here to set up a free pre qualification.