More Links

Are you looking for an experienced agent to help you buy or sell a home? Contact Jim the Realtor!

(760) 434-5000

Carmel Valley
(858) 560-7700

Category Archive: ‘Forecasts’

Renting vs. Buying

They may be using an algorithm or math formula to calculate the above, but there is more to the discussion.  The attractiveness of renting is different for everyone, regardless of income.

P.S. Rates have settled down nicely, and are at 4.10% today.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Forecasts, Interest Rates/Loan Limits, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

More Topics for 2017

Happy New Year!  Other topics:

Pre-Listing Inspections – If you are buying and selling around the coast, chances are that you’re dealing with an older house.  Not many have been updated and remodeled enough to deserve today’s record-high prices – and at this point, buyers are going to be very demanding.  As an industry, we need to insist on sellers getting a pre-listing inspection so they know what’s coming, for two reasons;  1) It gives them a chance to fix stuff in advance, and 2) buyers aren’t penalized for being the messenger.

It happens regularly that the first glimpse of the true condition of a home is from the buyer’s home inspection.  The long-time owners can’t help but be offended that their pride and joy has been so verbally abused, and they want revenge – they want to stick it to the buyers instead. But these might be the only buyers that will pay this price – let’s not kick them to the curb!

Auctions – I think we are a long way from auctions being the home-selling technique of choice. The current version of inputting an ultra-low opening bid onto the MLS as the list price is misleading – one buyer told me it was a worse teaser than the value-range pricing.  Plus, they might sell it before the auction, which isn’t an auction.

Are you going to auction the house, or not?

I want a yes or no answer – and so do the buyers.

The option to sell early is a way to soft-sell the package to a homeowner, and assure them that they won’t be giving the house away.  But it is a turnoff for buyers, because all they know is that they can’t buy it for the listed price (the opening-bid price) – so what is the real price?  We’ve seen three houses in Rancho Santa Fe be auctioned off with no reserve that closed for more than $10,000,000.  Surely we can have the guts to conduct a no-reserve auction on a more modest home – a pure auction is what’s best for sellers and buyers.

Dual Agency – We dodged a bullet with the Malibu case this year that went to the California Supreme Court, but it won’t be the end of the discussion.  The worst offenders are the listing agents who lowball their own seller – they should lower the price first, to see if there are any other buyers out there.

For-Sale Signs – This is supposed to be the year that realtor signs have the name of their brokerage be at least the same size as the agent’s name.  It probably doesn’t mean more transparency ahead, but I like the intent. Agents who want to appear as their own entity should go get their broker’s license and run a brokerage like everyone else – or make it clear that you haven’t, which is the point of this new regulation.

Mulch is the new Booties – The craze over wearing booties hasn’t waned, but is being supplemented by the desire to throw mulch everywhere. Recently, an agent didn’t want to show her listing because her mulch hadn’t gone in yet.  I don’t mind mulch or booties, but they don’t sell houses – people sell houses – so let’s not get too transfixed on the mulch or booties. P.S. I do mind the red mulch.

Sandicor – Hopefully the judge will decide to sell the San Diego MLS company, Sandicor, to the only realtor association that wants it – GSDAR.  Then agents can join either GSDAR or CRMLS or both. But CRMLS makes it easier for out-of-county agents to bring buyers here so our sellers can take advantage of them.




Posted by on Jan 1, 2017 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market | 2 comments

More 2017 Predictions – Disrupters

It is assumed that the real estate industry is ripe for disruption.  We see a new whiz-bang website just about every week that was developed by two guys in a garage who think they have the answer – but then are never heard from again.

The reason is advertising.

Zillow got to the top because they were spending $100 million per year to advertise. Anybody who is willing to spend that type of money can dance their way into the hearts of consumers.

Bigger players will be looming in 2017.

1. We talked about Opendoor, the flipping company who buys your house for cash in 3-7 days at a below-market price based on algorithms.  Their fees range from 6% to 12%, which would only appeal to desperate sellers – which have been few and far between in San Diego.  Opendoor is only operating in Dallas and Phoenix, so expanding to the tony coastal regions might take a while.  But they just received $210 million in venture capital, and have 200 employees closing $60 million per month in transactions currently.  They are expanding to 10 unnamed cities, and hope their fast money can attract a homeowner’s first phone call.  But once sellers hear their (low) bottom-line, only a great salesman could convince them to not shop around.

2. Another big-money contender is Quicken Loans, the second-largest retail mortgage lender in the country.  They just announced that they are acquiring a ‘technology platform’ to appeal to more home buyers directly.  LINK

“Finding a reputable agent and a great home go hand-in-hand,” said Ron Frankel, OpenHouse Realty CEO. “I am confident that the work John Kvasnic, OpenHouse Realty’s Chief Product Officer, and his team have done in both arenas will help In-House Realty become the premier destination for those looking to work with the best agents in their community, while also helping them find the home of their dreams. It’s the perfect fit.”

They don’t mention that their recommended agents are paying Agent Ace a referral fee of 35% of their commission.  There is a big difference between the ‘best agents in their community’, and ‘best agents in their community who are willing to pay a 35% referral fee’.  The second group is much smaller, and typically they are the realtors who are getting outworked by the ‘best agents in the community’.  But consumers won’t figure that out until it is too late.

Quicken Loans spent $21.1 million on Google advertising alone in 2014, more than any other mortgage lender.  They could become a major player if they spend enough on advertising – they already spent it in the mortgage space, and are up to the #2 mortgage-lender nationwide (look for their Super Bowl ad).

3. The founder of Uber is another potential disrupter, but only because of their previous smashing success.  Their real estate package follows the course of most outside disrupters who think transparency is something the sellers want – but they don’t.

An excerpt:

When a seller receives a few good offers on a home, the sellers agent will ask for best and last offer by noon tomorrow, for example. If buyers were able to see the terms of all the other offers, as they would when using Haus, then this could drive the price of the home up as buyers enter into a bidding war. Not to mention, unethical sellers or agents could artificially inflate the price of a home through shill bidding, as an offer is not legally binding.

While Haus helps sellers measure the demand on their property, it might also drive away potential buyers who don’t want to get in a bidding war over an already-expensive purchase. Or, on the other side, this might short a seller who would have received a much higher best and final bid from a buyer, but saw that offer drop to barely beat the next-best offer.

Once sellers figure out that disruption/transparency may not be in their favor, selling the old-fashioned way where they hold all the cards will sound like a safer choice.

We already know that the industry is in retreat.  The old-school realtors who think they deserve a five-figure paycheck for completing fill-in-the-blank contracts will think retirement sounds better than ever.  Mid-range and better agents are scrambling to build teams and be Redfin-ish in their conveyor-belt approach, even though the pitfalls are obvious.  It wouldn’t take much to tip the whole thing over at this point.

Zillow feels like an old friend by now, but who knows what they might do?  Amazon or Google could jump in too, and if they did, look out.

Whoever spends the most advertising dollars, wins!


Posted by on Dec 31, 2016 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

2017 Predictions

Image result for 2017

Logically, it would make sense to expect that higher rates AND prices would raise the home-selling intensity to a whole new level.

Buyers will expect prices to re-trace somewhat, and will probably think, “Can’t we just go back to 2015 prices?” And sellers will think, “Not Me!”

First, let’s reflect on the 2016 stats – how did we do?

NSDCC Detached-Homes, Jan-Nov

Avg New Listings/Month
Avg Closed Sales/Month
Median SP

We have been striking a fine balance between listings and sales.

Because we only had a few more listings in 2017, the buyers didn’t flinch. Instead, they kept buying!

Every year we have a whole new set of buyers and sellers, yet we expect them to all behave the same as in the previous year. Will it happen again? Yes. Why?

Because that’s the other part of the fine balance. If you are a buyer, either you buck up and pay these prices, or you don’t buy. If you are a seller, you want/need to spruce up your house, get a good agent, and put an attractive price on it, or you will struggle to sell.  Buyers will be pickier than ever!

There will be a few on each side that get lucky and beat the odds, but for the most part, the market conditions are going to remain the same until we run out of rich people, or something catastrophic happens.

I’m not any better at guessing the actual stats than the next guy, but here goes.

JtR Predictions

On January 7, 2016, mortgage rates were 3.98%, and I guessed were would see 2016 sales drop 5%. For the Jan-Nov period, it has been a virtual dead heat – 2775 sales this year vs. 2771 in 2015.  But I might get lucky if our rapidly rising mortgage rates killed a bunch of deals this month, and the YoY sales dip under 2015 by a couple of points.

We have eight business days left, plus late-reporters, so I’ll say no luck for me and predict that the final total of 2016 will match the 3,011 sales from 2015.

NSDCC Annual Sales
Median Sales Price
2,893 (today)

The current momentum is so strong that I’m going to say the Trump mojo will cause sales to increase enough in the first half of the year that next year’s sales will top those in 2016.

My guess is for 3,100 sales in 2017, and median sales price of $1,200,000. A paltry 3% gain for each category, which is about as safe as it gets!

There will be winners and losers – here are examples:

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Bubbleinfo TV, Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market | 6 comments

NSDCC November Sales


Here’s the update on last month.  There were two fewer business days in 2014, and one less business day in 2013 and 2015 (same # in 2012).

With both sales AND pricing being this strong, the momentum should carry over to 2017…..and I think we’ll get off to a fast start too.  There has to be some motivated sellers scooting closer to the exits, and buyers who are anxious to lock in a rate and price before they get any worse.

We should be at full speed by March!

NSDCC November Sales

# of Sales
Sales Per B-Day
Median SP
Average $/sf

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check | 6 comments

C.A.R. Forecast 2017


They speak about the future as if they have the crystal ball, and can state what will happen next year. Of course, things only get better:

Following a dip in home sales in 2016, California’s housing market will post a nominal increase in 2017, as supply shortages and affordability constraints hamper market activity, according to the “2017 California Housing Market Forecast,” released today by the C.A.R.

The C.A.R. forecast sees a modest increase in existing home sales of 1.4 percent next year to reach 413,000 units, up slightly from the projected 2016 sales figure of 407,300 homes sold. Sales in 2016 also will be virtually flat at 407,300 existing, single-family home sales, compared with the 408,800 pace of homes sold in 2015.

“Next year, California’s housing market will be driven by tight housing supplies and the lowest housing affordability in six years,” said C.A.R. President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli. “The market will experience regional differences, with more affordable areas, such as the Inland Empire and Central Valley, outperforming the urban coastal centers, where high home prices and a limited availability of homes on the market will hamper sales. As a result, the Southern California and Central Valley regions will see moderate sales increases, while the San Francisco Bay Area will experience a decline as home buyers migrate to peripheral cities with more affordable options.”

C.A.R.’s forecast projects growth in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of 2.2 percent in 2017, after a projected gain of 1.5 percent in 2016. With California’s nonfarm job growth at 1.6 percent, down from a projected 2.3 percent in 2016, the state’s unemployment rate will reach 5.3 percent in 2017, compared with 5.5 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2015.

The average for 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates will rise only slightly to 4.0 percent in 2017, up from 3.6 percent in 2016, but will still remain at historically low levels.

The California median home price is forecast to increase 4.3 percent to $525,600 in 2017, following a projected 6.2 percent increase in 2016 to $503,900, representing the slowest rate of price appreciation in six years.

“With the California economy continuing to outperform the nation, the demand for housing will remain robust even with supply and affordability constraints still very much in evidence. The net result will be California’s housing market posting a modest increase in 2017,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The underlying fundamentals continue to support overall home sales growth, but headwinds, such as global economic uncertainty and deteriorating housing affordability, will temper stronger sales activity.”

Their guesses a year ago weren’t that close:



Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market | 1 comment

Zillow Predictions for 2017


It’s that time again – experts making predictions for next year!

We might as well start with the big kahuna, whose predictions are a tad vague:

Here is Zillow’s look ahead at the 2017 housing market:

Zillow’s 2017 Predictions

  1. Cities will focus on denser development of smaller homes close to public transit and urban centers.
  2. More millennials will become homeowners, driving up the homeownership rate. Millennials are also more racially diverse, so more homeowners will be people of color, reflecting the changing demographics of the United States.
  3. Rental affordability will improve as incomes rise and growth in rents slows.
  4. Buyers of new homes will have to spend more as builders cover the cost of rising construction wages, driven even higher in 2017 by continued labor shortages, which could be worsened by tougher immigration policies under President-elect Trump.
  5. The percentage of people who drive to work will rise for the first time in a decade as homeowners move further into the suburbs seeking affordable housing – putting them further from adequate public transit options.
  6. Home values will grow 3.6 percent in 2017, according to more than 100 economic and housing experts surveyed in the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. National home values have risen 4.8 percent so far in 2016.

Statement from Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell:

“There are pros and cons to both existing homes and new construction, and the choice for home buyers can often be difficult. For those considering new construction in 2017, it’s worth considering the added cost that may come amidst ongoing construction labor shortages that could get worse if President-elect Trump follows through on his hard-line stances on immigration and immigrant labor. A shortage of construction workers as a result may force builders to pay higher wages, costs which are likely to get passed on to buyers in the form of higher new home prices.

“Those looking for more affordable housing options will be pushed to areas farther away from good transit options, in turn leading more Americans to drive to work.

“Renters should have an easier time in 2017. Income growth and slowing rent appreciation will combine to make renting more affordable than it has been for the past two years.”

Here are their 2016 predictions from a year ago (+3.5% was the guess by the 100+ experts, and the actual was +4.8% according to the above):



Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 3 comments

San Diego #6


In spite of record pricing, our NSDCC new-listing count this month is going to come in under last November’s count. Remember when greed was good? Apparently, staying put is better!

While the nation is getting ready to digest massive amounts of turkey, the economic team at® has digested a ton of data from our site for November. And though we’re a few days from the end of the month, we can go out on a limb and say it’ll be yet another month of record-low levels of housing supply, strong demand, and (not coincidentally) record-high prices.

The median list price looks to remain at $250,000 for a fourth straight month. That’s 9% higher than last year at this time, and sets a new record for November.

“After an eventful election, demand for real estate appears to be carrying momentum going into the holiday season,” says Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for “We  expect that to be put to the test, as mortgage rates sky rocket to new highs. But the economic foundations remain strong and most forecasts expect growth as we enter the new year, which should keep waves of buyers intent on entering the market.”

Viewing activity on our site shows that there’s still plenty of demand from buyers on the prowl for a home. But inventory of homes for sale is down 5% from October, and 11% compared with November 2015. It’s that combo of low supply and high demand that’s keeping prices high. And with only 363,000 new listings entering the market in November, the pickings will be even slimmer next month.

Although homes are selling a wee bit slower these days, as is typical in fall, they’re still moving 1% faster than last November. We’re projecting that homes for sale will have spent a median 82 days on market for November, three days slower than last month.

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, North County Coastal | 0 comments

Zillow 2017 Forecasts



It’s that time of the year – the 2017 forecasts are starting to roll out!

Zillow has been conservative about our local markets.  For the most part, the actual appreciation of the Zillow Home Value Index has been higher than their forecasts over the last two years.

Their local forecasts for 2017 are all lower than their 2016 guesses, and what they are predicting could also be described as ‘Flatsville’.  If their local forecasts of +0.9% to +2.2% come true, it would mean that several sellers would end up selling for less than they could have gotten in 2016.

Are we ready for that yet?

Local ZHVI-Appreciation Forecasts

2015 Forecast/Actual
2016 Forecast/Actual
2017 Forecast
Carmel Valley
Del Mar
La Jolla
San Diego
Solana Beach

The Zillow data changes slightly, depending on where you look on their website, and whether you use town names or zip codes. Here is the LINK to find others.






Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Carlsbad, Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Encinitas, Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, Zillow | 0 comments