What does $6 million-plus buy in Santa Cruz County?

An English cottage-style home near Ocean View Park in Santa Cruz
An English cottage-style home next to Ocean View Park in Santa Cruz.
(Via Compass)

Four homes on the local housing market now top $6 million. Let’s take a look at them.

“Starter homes” — that modest first buy for younger people getting into home ownership — are a thing of the past. Would-be homebuyers instead endure the agony of multiple competing offers for even the most “reasonable” of homes, with bids going $300,000 or more above asking price.

Many would-be buyers might resort to HGTV to escape; locally, we can turn to the priciest listings in the red-hot Santa Cruz property market. What are the highest-priced properties on the market right now — and what does that listing price mean for the larger housing market?

Lookout checked out the highest-priced properties for sale across the county, building off our recent findings in the “super rental” category. In this search, we found four properties asking for at least $6 million, while also noticing acreages throughout the county asking for at least four times that amount. We’ve selected four homes to check out.

Let’s start with the costliest property on the market, listed just last week. The home — a four-bedroom, four-bathroom English cottage-style home — was posted for a cool $7,895,000. Located near Ocean View Park on the edge of Seabright, the property, originally built in 1898 and rebuilt in 1936, boasts 3,562 square feet of living space, a pool with adjacent gazebo and changing room, and an additional 0.26-acre lot with an art studio and two storage sheds.

A four-bedroom, four-bathroom English cottage-style property for sale near Ocean View Park
(Via Compass)

Listing agent Colleen Marchbank said the home has been in the same family since 1932, with the most recent owner inheriting the property from her mother just four years ago. She noted that, since listing the house March 24, she’s had three “very serious” in-person showings.

“It’s an iconic Santa Cruz property, very well known — but the interesting part is that it’s never switched hands,” she said. “This is a lot of property to maintain, especially for just two people.”

Further, Marchbank said, “The demand in Santa Cruz has never been greater, especially from Silicon Valley.”

Here are few of the other properties throughout the county asking for millions:

A modern home for sale near West Cliff Drive
(Via KW Coastal Estates)

$6,392,000 for a five-bedroom, five-bathroom just off West Cliff Drive

Steps from Monterey Bay, this single-family home provides an option for prospective buyers to share in the wealth (literally) with seven other buyers. Yes, this $6.4 million property is listed as a “co-ownership” opportunity, splitting the cost among eight buyers for merely $799,000 per party. Based on that listing option, the home could be purchased by eight separate buyers and used as a timeshare or a rotating property among all the buyers.

The property was listed two months ago — after selling for “just” $3.5 million in late March 2021. Currently, Zillow estimates the property value at $5,268,800 — giving the seller a minimum of a $1,123,300 bonus. Quite a lot to take in, especially if you’re moving to purchase the property with an additional seven buyers.

Listing agent Ben Beesley did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

A hilltop property in Soquel on the market for nearly $6.3 million
(Via Corcoran Global Living)

$6,289,000 for a four-bedroom, six-bathroom in Soquel

Listed in late February, this property is one of the few that Zillow valued at more than asking, saving buyers a potential $242,400.

Tucked away above Soquel Village, this 3.75-plus-acre property provides 270-degree views of the bay and surrounding area, alongside features including a newly outfitted kitchen, terraced patio and outside kitchen, and a wisteria-covered bocce court.

When the lot first sold in 1999 for $873,500, the seller is now asking for more than $6.2 million, a 620% increase over 23 years. (Inflation since then, by comparison, has run 70%.) The property was more recently sold in 2004, for $3,135,000 — still a 101% increase.

Listing agent Anina Van Alstine has been in business for 43 years, getting her license to help her artistic friends throughout Santa Cruz to find their own properties, she says. The Soquel home is one she believes has all the amenities that prospective buyers would want, and justifies the asking price.

“It’s just under 4 acres, it’s completely private, and it has 270-degree ocean views — it’s just an exquisite property,” she said. “There aren’t that many people who can afford it who are here … but I think the house will find its buyer.”

Yet as a longtime Santa Cruzan with two adult daughters, Van Alstine said she also sees how the larger issues with rising housing costs can make the area that much more unattainable for her family and others: “It’s painful — I want everyone to be able to own their house because when I bought my first home, it changed my life.”

The beach is just steps away from this modern property in Aptos
(Via Sotheby’s International Realty-Rancho)

$6,250,000 for a three-bedroom, five-bathroom in Aptos

No. 4 on our list is a beachfront-adjacent offering. It’s a 2,725-square-foot, single-family home located in a gated community along Beach Drive in Aptos. The property has 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean from virtually every room, views made all the better by the close proximity to the water itself.

Originally purchased for $1.35 million in 2007, the home most recently hit the market in mid-December 2021. If sold for its asking price, that would represent a 363% bump over its original purchase price. Will it get there? Nearby homes are valued at $2-3 million less, so the asking price could be ambitious, even in this market.

Zillow estimates the property value to be slightly lower — $6,136,363 — with the property’s 2021 tax assessment valuing it at $5,633,853.