Lighthouse in Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Historically low home inventory and Santa Cruz’s declining population

Well, well, well. We meet again. It’s Friday, April 8, and Santa Cruz County will be a bit cooler than yesterday, with temps ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. And a very happy Opening Day to all who celebrate! Yes, I know the slightly delayed baseball season kicked off yesterday, but it’s not really official until the Giants and A’s take the field, right?

Like baseball, Lookout is all about the stats this morning. Grace Stetson crunched some numbers on local housing, finding that with just 130 single-family homes on the Santa Cruz County market, inventory is a fraction of what it was just a decade ago.

Meanwhile, Max Chun dug into census data, finding that Santa Cruz County has lost 1.1% of its population in the past year, in keeping with a downward statewide trend.

And with the end of the workweek in sight, there’s no better time to introduce you to Weekender, a new offering from Wallace Baine with tidbits on the local arts and entertainment scene, what events to check out, trivia and a bunch of other fun stuff.

That’s just a taste of what I’ve got for you this morning, so come along as we hit the headlines.

How many homes are for sale in Santa Cruz County?

An aerial view of the Westside.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

At just 130, it’s one of the lowest numbers in the past decade, and the pressure on would-be buyers is only increasing, with 33 to 50% of the homes on the market attracting all-cash offers. Grace Stetson runs the numbers.

THE MARKET’S HIGH END: What does $6 million-plus buy in Santa Cruz County? (Lookout)

Paradise with population decline

An aging population, limited immigration and COVID have combined to drive the U.S., California and Santa Cruz County to historically low growth rates. Here’s what Max Chun found in our local data.

MORE: Post-pandemic California: Comeback or decline? (CalMatters)

Watsonville council will decide Tuesday whether to hire new city manager from Gonzales

Watsonville plaza on Dec. 15, 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Watsonville City Council will consider Rene Mendez for its vacant city manager role, following a three-month search that began after new Santa Cruz City Manager Matt Huffaker vacated the role. More here from Grace.

HUFFAKER Q&A: Matt Huffaker is off to the races as Santa Cruz’s new boss, but can his feet move fast enough? (Lookout)

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Weekender is the cool new kid on the block

Our Best Bets newsletter is no more, but fear not! Wallace Baine still has you covered with things to do this weekend and beyond, and he’s bringing tidbits on the Santa Cruz arts and entertainment scene, trivia and more in his latest offering. Check it out here.

LOOKOUT’S FULL EVENTS CALENDAR: BOLO, your place to go for things to do

Sound mind, sound body

Sure, the weekend is a time to power down a bit, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge that powerful brain of yours. Our Santa Cruz Puzzle Center is here for it.


Dozens of civilians killed in Russian attack on train station, Ukraine says

Suitcases and a baby stroller on a train platform in Kramatorsk, Ukraine
(Via Volodymyr Zelensky / Telegram)

At least 39 people are reported killed and dozens more wounded in the strike in east Ukraine, where Russia is now concentrating its forces. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times have the latest.

LOCAL RELIEF EFFORTS: How you can help support Ukraine from here in Santa Cruz (Lookout)

The plan to release genetically engineered mosquitoes in California

A mosquito perched on skin
(Via Pixabay)

Oxitec says its genetically modified bugs could help control invasive populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can spread diseases. Some scientists worry releasing the creatures into the wild could have more risk than benefit. The Times investigates.

FALCONS WORTH FOLLOWING: The avian soap opera unfolding atop this Berkeley bell tower has humans riveted (Los Angeles Times)

Around the county ...

Fire contained in Santa Cruz wharf restaurant (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
After two children rescued from sand, Santa Cruz lifeguards issue warnings (KSBW-TV)
CHP: Man dies in crash on West Zayante Road (KION-TV)
Watsonville commission approves downtown performing arts studio (The Pajaronian)

Lots to chew over for a Friday morning, yes? And with today’s menu including the latest Eaters Digest from Lily Belli, bookmark our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss anything. You should also hit our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center to sign up for breaking news alerts and our other newsletters, including Lily’s on the Santa Cruz food and drink scene and the aforementioned Weekender from Wallace.

Our content isn’t possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Enjoy your Friday, and cheers to a safe, relaxing weekend! See you back here Monday morning.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz