Happy Anniversary Bubbleinfo.com!

This blog started on September 24, 2005.  It was a Saturday morning, and literally I thought I better get into this blogging thing before every other realtor started doing it. This was my first blog post that talked about 20% to 25% appreciation per year:


I am very grateful for you being here. At the height of the notoriety in 2009-2010 when all we talked about was foreclosures and short-sales, the monthly unique users was around 11,000.  To still have 6,421 over the last 30 days is fantastic, given that the market turned 180 degrees in the opposite direction since 2009, and I figure that once readers buy or sell a house, they are likely to quit reading and go on with their life:

The new-visitor count has to be loaded with bots.

Where are you from?

Ashburn must be where the bots live?

What devices are you using?

Do bots have a mobile device?

Beats me, but if they don’t, then the audience of real people is into the thousands – yay!

How about age and gender?

I love seeing the younger people – about one-third of you are age 34 and under:

About 60% of readers go straight to the home page, and the others are either searching for a specific real estate topic and find a bubbleinfo article, or readers are sharing links to articles with their friends and family, which I really appreciate – thank you:

Thank you for being here!

High-End Slump?

Here we go again with the click bait on the front page of the local birdcage liner.  They also used a photo of the most prime real estate in the county, insinuating that a slump is underway there?

Link here for the full article, and this is an excerpt:

San Diego luxury home sales are down by more than half as the high-end market sees its biggest drop in at least a decade. Out of the 50 most-populated metro areas, San Diego had the fourth-highest drop in luxury sales from June to August, said a report from Redfin released Thursday. The number of sales was down 55.3 percent from the same time last year.

The markets with the biggest drops were Oakland (down 63.9 percent), San Jose (down 59.6 percent) and Miami (down 55.5 percent). The lowest drops were in Kansas City (down 10.4 percent) and Indianapolis (down 7.5 percent).

Redfin defined luxury housing as the top 5 percent of the highest-priced homes for sale. So, what is considered luxury differed greatly across metro areas. For example, the median price of a luxury home in Cleveland was $629,000, compared to $3.3 million in San Diego metro (which includes all of San Diego County).

Rising mortgage rates are cited as the main reason for the entire housing market slowing down. Redfin also said economic uncertainty and a tepid stock market also were dampening sales.

Sales are down by more than half?

High-end market sees its biggest drop in at least a decade?

Maybe the higher-end sales in the rest of the county aren’t as boisterous as they used to be, but sales and pricing between La Jolla and Carlsbad looks pretty good to me. These are the stats from the last 2.5 months which should reflect the worst period of the summer slump they measured:

NSDCC Sales Between July 1st and Sept. 15

# of Sales $3M-$4M
Median SP
# of Sales $4M+
Median SP

When I search the MLS for detached-home sales over $3,000,000 for the whole county between June and August, this is the result:

2021: 260

2022: 213

It doesn’t look like 55% off to me.

I have requested that Compass get into the real estate reporting business so media types have access to what’s really happening, instead of using Redfin’s stories which sensationalize the data to draw more attention to themselves, rather than help consumers properly interpret the market conditions.

Headscratcher Of The Day

No surprise that our new listing found a buyer already. The one-story homes with all the extras are probably the most attractive buys in the marketplace, and anyone can sell these – it’s just a matter of who can get what price.

I had 200+ people attend the open houses last weekend – and at least 90% of the people were seniors.  Yet, NONE of them submitted an offer.

Think about that!

I thought this home would be a perfect match for those who are getting older and want to get out of their two-story home. Those looking to retire here and want a pool for the grandkids. Anyone fitting the typical downsizer profile.

While there were plenty of lookers, none of the seniors made an offer. Why?

  • Are there hundreds of seniors just beginning their search?
  • Are there seniors who thought they were legitimate buyers but couldn’t pull the trigger fast enough?
  • Are there hundreds of seniors passing on the third one-story offering in this tract this year because of price? Anyone who lives nearby can sell theirs for a similar price and take their property-tax basis with them, so it’s just a swap of equity so why would price be a mental barrier?
  • Is it the perceived difficulty of selling one and buying another?
  • Are they just happy enough in their two-story home, but have a natural curiosity about living in a one-story? Is moving to a single-level just a nice idea?

Most of the attendees were getting around fine – there were just a couple of old guys limping around. My theory is that living in a two-story will be tolerated until the very end, and if it gets bad enough, you can always sleep on the couch downstairs!

What do you think?

Fed Hike and Mortgage Rates

The Fed raises their rate by 0.75%, and what happens?

That’s right, the conforming 30-year fixed rate went down this afternoon.

Chairman Powell said again that intends to cause a reset in the real estate market, but our rates really shouldn’t go up much the rest of the year because at least 1% is already built into the current rates.  If it weren’t for Powell’s threats, the 30-year fixed would be around 5.25% today (10-yr T-bill index + 1.75%).

Rob Dawg and Garry might have to wait until next year before we have a chance of seeing a 7% mortgage rate, and those of us in the higher-priced areas should keep our focus on the 30-year jumbo rate.  It will be what most financed buyers around the coast will be getting.

Over List, August

The over-bidding is winding down to more manageable levels as just 24% of August buyers were willing to pay over the list price.  As usual, the $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 range was the most active, where inventory is low and the number of quality homes for sale even lower:

The number of sales in August were higher than they were in July, but still well under recent history:

NSDCC August Sales

2018: 275

2019: 263

2020: 351

2021: 268

2020: 161


NSDCC Average and Median Prices by Month

# of Sales
Avg. LP
Avg. SP
Median LP
Median SP

This is much more normal – the average and median sales prices are under their list prices!

Frenzy Monitor By Area

The reason for breaking down the active and pending listings by zip code is to give the readers a closer look at their neighborhood stats. We’ve considered a 2:1 ratio of actives-to-pendings to be a healthy market.

While other areas in America are reporting a surge of inventory, it’s not happening here, at least not yet.  Comparing the current stats to the last few months, there really isn’t any reason to be overly concerned:

Taking out La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe, the actives-to-pendings is 2.4-to-1 (249:103), which isn’t bad, all considered, and it’s the same ratio as it was last month.

The holiday season is less than a month away…..and the NFL season is already two weeks old. The Super Bowl is right around the corner, and so is the 2023 Selling Season!

To Those Who Are Waiting

Here’s more click bait on the front page of the local paper, and most people won’t read any further – it’s too easy to decide to do nothing, which is fine. Wait as long as you want, and we will see where it goes.

It’s a great plan if you’re a buyer and don’t care much about what you are buying.  But if you are picky and want to wait until the headlines ease, then you can expect there will be others acting quicker than you, and probably with more horsepower.  The affluent aren’t as concerned about timing the exact bottom of the market when they just want a nice house.

Take my Aviara listing. It’s priced at 12% under the last model-match sale in June, and even the buyer of the comparable sale around the corner said mine was better than hers. In the story above, the San Diego County median price came down 6%, so I’m lower than that, and it’s got all the extras.

Yet, as I’m talking to open-house attendees, there was a steady flow of the usual soft stuff:

‘I don’t want to get into a bidding war’.

‘I want to wait-and-see where this goes’.

‘Prices are going down’.

Ok, no problem. But given what we’ve been through, you can’t expect that buying a quality home is going to get easier.  Even if the price was lower, there will be competition for the good buys – and when you think about it, there always has been in recent years. We had plenty of bidding wars and people paying over list prior to the pandemic – it isn’t a new thing.

Besides, if the market became so desolate that you could walk into an open house that you thought was a quality buy and nobody else wanted it, wouldn’t that scare you off too?

I have multiple offers on my listing and we’ll sell it for a decent price, so don’t worry about me.  I just want buyers to keep looking, and when you see something you like, don’t let the headlines written by ivory-tower guys talk you out of it.

Open House Report 2

I had another 80+ people attend my open house on Sunday, and a total of more than 200 people for the weekend.  Virtually everyone who came was older, and the overwhelming message was that the buyer pool for one-story homes is large and they are hungry for product.

We have received one full-price cash offer so far, and there should be 2-3 more coming in today.

This smaller tract was built by Davidson in 1996, and sold in the $300,000s originally.  Only 12 of the 82 homes are the one-story floor plan – which is typical (some newer tracts don’t have ANY one-story plans).  Of the 82 homes, 57 of them, or 70% were purchased for less than $1,000,000.

I sure get the feeling that there are boomers occupying most of the newer tract homes in North San Diego County’s coastal region, and they aren’t going anywhere – unless they can buy a single-story home.

The most interesting part is that my listing will be the third sale of this floor plan in 2022, in a neighborhood where there hasn’t been a sale of this model since June, 2018. It could be another few years before the next one sells, because those who have a single-story home tend to hang onto them.

The doomers want to blame higher rates for the slowdown in sales, but unless we get a flood of one-story homes for sale, the inventory will probably keep shrinking – and be mostly made up of the two-story homes where boomers have gotten lucky and snagged one of the few single-story homes coming to market, or where they gave up and left town. It makes it tough on those buyers who are coming here to retire!

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