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: ‘Frenzy’

8,000,000 Millionaires in U.S.


Here’s how we got here, and why it will probably continue – H/T daytrip!

The U.S. is home to a working class suffering from stagnant incomes and declining job prospects—widespread struggles that helped elect Republican Donald Trump. The relative wealth of Americans in all age groups keeps falling, compared with previous decades.

At the same time, the country is also home to an unprecedented amount of wealth, a divergence that has made income inequality a household phrase. America has $55.6 trillion in private financial assets and more millionaires than any other nation in the world by far. Today, more than 8 million households have financial assets of $1 million or more, not including homes or luxury goods, according to Boston Consulting Group. From 2010 to 2015, the number of millionaires jumped by 2.4 million. Another 3.1 million will be created by 2020, BCG estimates, at the pace of 1,700 new American millionaires every day.

But before your faith in upward mobility is restored, realize this: The very oldest Americans hold a disproportionate chunk of all those trillions, and they’re handing it off to their already well-off kids in what is the largest generational transfer of wealth in history.

Inheritance is an increasingly significant driver of wealth in America. Wide swaths of the country live from month to month with virtually no savings safety net. About three-quarters of the country are “strugglers,” unable to save anything from year to year, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis concluded in a study last year. The other quarter of the country, however, are “thrivers,” the St. Louis Fed said—people who successfully save money and accumulate wealth over the years. These include the top 1 percent, who have steadily taken more and more of the nation’s economic output.

Being a millionaire isn’t what it used to be. A net worth of $1 million has the same buying power today that $341,000 did in 1980 and that $45,000 did 100 years ago, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. If you’re making six figures and saving regularly, you should eventually end up with a million dollars or more in your investment accounts. (You’d better, since you’ll need to save that much to have any hope of maintaining your lifestyle in retirement.


Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, The Future | 4 comments

Bidding-War Report


We received 16 written offers on the Bluff Ct. property – here are notes:

Five agents were from the LA/OC area.  Because their MLS (CRMLS) covers most of the rest of Southern California, they were used to traveling to sell a house.  San Diego home sellers want these LA/OC buyers to come here, because our prices look cheap to them.

The first three offers were all below list price. When it came time for the highest-and-best round, all three withdrew.  I would have thought that the first offers submitted would be from the most motivated buyers?

The average down payment was 33%.  There was one cash offer, and four that had less than a 20% down payment.

Five of the financed offers didn’t include a pre-qual letter.

Five buyers increased their offer during the highest-and-best round, by an average of $21,000.

List price was $749,000 – three H&B offers came in at $799,000 and higher.

My youtube video of the home’s defects is up to 335 views!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Bidding Wars, Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

Trump and Housing


Well, now what?

Will there be a flood of new inventory from those who leave the country?

No way – the mega-rich celebrities might hit the road, but normal people will stay put.  We have it too good here, and moving to another country is everything its cracked up to be:

Without a flood of inventory, our market conditions should stay the same – the demand for buying houses far out-stripping the supply, with the only thing in the way of sellers selling is their own price reluctance.

The demand could get stronger too.  We had hundreds of open-house visitors to the listing on Bluff Ct., and 16 offers – the weekend before the election!  There had to be a segment of buyers who have been on hold until the election concluded.  If they get back in, the demand could grow further.

If Trump gets the same chance that Obama got to prove himself, and Trump gets off to a decent start, we could see the housing frenzy fire up again early next year around North San Diego County’s coastal region.

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, North County Coastal | 7 comments

Inventory Watch


This is the chart first displayed on November 1st, with this version showing the updated count for last month’s closings per day. As you can see, we are coming off a scorching October around NSDCC – almost as hot as 2012, which led to the Frenzy of 2013:

October Closings Per Day
November Closings Per Day

It sure felt frenzy-like over on Bluff Ct., this weekend, with hundreds of visitors.  We’re up to nine offers currently, and the price is over $800,000 (list was $749,000).

Click on the ‘Read More’ link below for the NSDCC active-inventory data:

Read More

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Frenzy, Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

Happy November!


It would be natural to assume that sales start dropping off once we get into November.  But do they?

Not really.

November has the most holidays of the year (three) when the county recorder’s office is closed.  Let’s compare the number of NSDCC closings per business day:

October Closings Per Day
November Closings Per Day

You can see that November usually keeps up with October as far as number of closings per day – and November exceeded October sales per day last year!

In spite of the election, we are coming off a hot October.

Last month’s 11.3 is based on this morning’s count.  There will be late-reporters that will drive the number close to 12 – like it was during the 2012 election, which was also the beginning of the Real Estate Frenzy of 2013.

I don’t think we are heading for a frenzy next year, but with rates up slightly, it looks like this month is going to be sizzling!  There are 398 pendings today!

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Sales and Price Check | 0 comments

Handling Multiple Offers



Our listing on Cherokee closed yesterday.

It was the 2,527sf three-story house that backed to the I-15 freeway – the one where we had 200+ people attend the open house.

The final tally at the Zillow page was 3,745 views, and 77 people had saved it as a favorite home, which are both extremely-high counts. (Josh was the seller)


Yesterday, we marveled at how the bidding war ended up.  The listing had hit the MLS on a Saturday, we had the open house on Sunday, and by Monday we had six offers.

Because not every bidder knew there was competition, we gave everyone the chance to submit their highest and best offer by Tuesday at noon.  I like to keep a tight timeline and promise buyers that we’ll select a winner promptly in order to retain as much urgency as possible.

The list price was $549,000.

At the end of the highest-and-best round, we had a $565,000 financed offer, a $570,000 cash offer, and a verbal $571,000 cash offer (the other three stuck with their $549,000 or $550,000 original offers).

The agent who wrote the $570,000 offer was 80 years old, and was using forms from five years ago.  I actually had to hand-write his original offer for him, but thankfully he was able to scratch out a one-sentence H&B.

Because I had concerns whether he could make it to the finish line, I pressed the $571,000 agent to get his deal in writing.  But he called back with bad news – his buyer, a savvy, multiple-property owner, decided it was too rich.

I called back the $570,000 agent, knowing that I’d be carrying his luggage for the next three weeks.  But he had more bad news – he took his buyer’s family to the house, and they vetoed the sale.

With the other three bidders unwilling to budge, we signed the $565,000 financed offer…..before they changed their mind!

Most people would have been tempted to hold out.  Yes, it would have been sexier to close escrow in 2-3 weeks with a cash buyer. But after 200+ open-house attendees and 50+ showings, are there two in the bush?

Though my phone hasn’t rang like this since back in the REO days, there was no disputing the facts – most people didn’t make any offer, and those that did weren’t in love enough to go crazy.  It was a trend that was likely to continue.

In spite of casual observers telling me we were giving it away, or it was too cheap, the actual results were telling.  The duty of the listing agent is to check the ego at the door, and focus on the facts.

We made the deal at $565,000, and it stuck.

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in About the author, Bidding Wars, Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Market Conditions, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 3 comments

More Vancouver


Seen at Mish’s blog:

A Point Grey house with a stunning view has sold for more than $9 million — $1,172,000 over the property’s list price. The 1928 house on Bellevue Drive was offered for sale for $7.888 million.

Realtor Bo Park said the seller received 11 offers on the property after the first open house weekend. They were all cash offers with no subjects and most were for more than $8 million.

All but one of the offers were from Chinese buyers, she said.

“It was fast. I was surprised by the number of offers and the price it sold for,” said Park, a realtor with Sutton West Coast Realty.

“It was the view. It is spectacular.”

She said the house was an estate sale and the buyer plans to rent out the place then rebuild within a couple of years.

“The house needs a lot of work — at that price it makes sense to rebuild,” Park said.

Last week, a Kitsilano house on a standard city lot sold for $735,000 more the asking price.

“I’ve been doing this for close to 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Park said.

“There is not much product out there — that’s why things are so crazy. How long will this last? I have no idea.”


Posted by on Apr 10, 2016 in Bidding Wars, Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

NSDCC Higher-End Stalling?


There has always been some sort of relationship between inventory and sales.

When inventory is tight, sellers have the advantage because buyers get frenzied up and just pay the price to win one.

With a smaller increase in inventory, the frenzy can soak up the supply – sales can increase too because more demand gets satisfied.

But there comes a point when a larger increase in the inventory causes the buyers to back off, and sales stall.

It is a delicate balance because buyers want more choices, but when it feels like not much is actually selling, buyers regain control of the market.  They adopt the wait-and-see approach – even with homes that appear to be well-priced.  They want someone else to go first!

Let’s examine the local data to see how we’re doing.  There isn’t a direct relationship between new listings and sales in the same time period, because many if not most of the sales were listings from the previous quarter or quarters.  But we can use the ratios to compare the velocities:

San Diego County Detached-Homes, 1st Quarter

1Q – Year
1Q New Listings
1Q Solds
1QNL/1QSolds Ratio

So far, so good. When we look at the whole county year-over-year, there has been a very similar relationship between new listings and sales in the first quarter.  Let’s check around the northern coast:

North San Diego County Coastal Region, 1st Quarter

1Q – Year
1Q New Listings
1Q Solds
1QNL/1QSolds Ratio

We are getting a little queasy now – there were 8% more new listings to consider, and sales dropped off 13% but we know that 2015 was a strong year so tough to keep up.

Let’s break down the NSDCC stats by price to find the trouble:

North SD County Coastal Region, 1st Quarter, UNDER $1,400,000

1Q – Year
1Q New Listings
1Q Solds
1QNL/1QSolds Ratio

No big problems there – the Under-$1.4M sales declined, but so did the number of new listings so the ratio was about the same as the previous two years.

But that means the higher-end market isn’t enjoying the same benefits:

North SD County Coastal Region, 1st Quarter, OVER $1,400,000

1Q – Year
1Q New Listings
1Q Solds
1QNL/1QSolds Ratio

Yikes, the number of new listings over $1,400,000 zoomed 30% higher than last year, and sales dropped 18% – an example of how too many choices are causing buyers to pause (the identical 178 sales in 2014 and 2016 was a fluke).

The higher-end market could be stalling just because of the additional choices.  If there were only 5% or 10% more listings (like last year), it probably wouldn’t be that noticeable – but the +30% is leaving a mark.

The extra listings may not even be ‘over-priced’ on paper (or by zestimate), but with so many active listings stacking up, the buyer’s confidence in the wait-and-see program is rewarded – and also causing their ‘picky-ness’ to increase rapidly.

There are 186 pendings listed over $1,400,000, so the market isn’t dead.

But last year at this time we had 564 active listings priced over $1,400,000, and today there are 695 listings – a 23% increase.

Having 30% more new listings overall this year but only 23% more active listings today means we were able to soak up some of the extra supply.  But the rest are lingering.

How should these sellers proceed?  Be sharper on price, and if you’re not getting offers in the first 2-3 weeks on the market, then do bigger price reductions faster.

You don’t want to look up in July and wonder what happened.  You know now.

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Apr 9, 2016 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

Is It a Good Time to Buy A Home?

A twitter guy wants a yes or no answer to whether it’s a good time to buy.

He claimed that I said Yes, because of my post about it being a great time to buy if you’re selling a cheaper home and buying a more-expensive home. It’s because the higher you go price-wise, the colder the market gets.  Fred said it is a good time to buy as long as you don’t plan to move in the next five years.

It’s a question that deserves a full answer, not just yes or no.

The most common blog chatter is that history always repeats itself, and it will just be a matter of time before this cycle runs out.

The economic cycle will sputter again, but the housing market is different now.


Because distressed sales are well-managed. 

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights mandates that loan modifications be dangled in front of anyone in trouble.  The foreclosure process gets drawn out for months and years so we’ll never see a flood of trustee sales again.

As a result, making your mortgage payments has become optional.

If we have another economic downturn where homeowners can’t pay, then the government will insist that lenders give them a break.  The cast was set in the last crisis – the government will create bailout programs that allow everyone to kick the can down the road.

With distressed sales few and far between, the vast majority of home sales will be elective.  Sellers with the mantra – “I don’t have to sell, I’m in no hurry, and I’m not going to give it away!”

Prices will maintain a tight range of +/-5%, because the minute a seller thinks he is being forced to ‘give it away’, he will object.  Different neighborhoods will have periods of stall-out, where few or no buyers will pay what sellers want, and real estate loitering will be common.

But days of drastic price dips are gone.

The other buffers to a housing downturn include reverse mortgages, rampant flipper business, and baby-boomer estate distributions.

If today’s buyers have assurances of pricing protection, is it a good time to buy? Well, yes, if that’s all that matters.


But for most, it is a terrible time to be a buyer, which is different.

If you are on the low-end of your market, you can forget about buying your “dream house”.  The competition is fierce, and compromise required – if you can even get your hands on something.


My listing at 2022 Cherokee in Escondido – the one priced at $549,000?  We had six offers, and four of them were all-cash.  All were at list price or higher.

It was viewed 3,198 times on Zillow since Friday, and I received 100+ phone calls and texts from agents.  I had over 200 people visit the open house on Sunday, and it was probably shown at least 50 times between Monday and Wednesday.,-escondido_rb/

Almost all of the lookers didn’t offer, so they will be competing against each other on the next one – literally hundreds of buyers floating from new listing to new listing, hoping for a miracle.

Was it a giveaway?  Agent comments included, “Price was fair and reasonable’, and ‘The defects were properly discounted’ (defects included no direct access from house to backyard, master suite downstairs and kids’ bedrooms up, and it backs to the I-15 freeway – the rear fence was the CalTrans chainlink).

Buyers have to endure bidding wars on anything decent, no rules about how to win, and shady realtor tricks that seem to favor insiders.  Buyers are quick to jump to that conclusion, but it is more due to a realtor’s incompetence that bidding wars are vague and hard to win.

If you can get a house into escrow, it almost always happens that it’s condition is worse than imagined.  But sellers are in the driver’s seat, and do little or nothing to assist. Buyers usually end up feeling like they are buying an over-priced turd.

But it will probably be your turd forever!

Posted by on Apr 7, 2016 in Bidding Wars, Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, No-Foreclosure as Banking Policy, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should List With Jim | 5 comments

FHA to the Rescue


Do you buy anything that’s cheap(er), figuring that the demand will become unglued and prices continue racing towards the sky – or sit this one out? P.S. Three offers are in on Cherokee, and more expected.

The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.

President Obama’s economic advisers and outside experts say the nation’s much-celebrated housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals with credit records weakened by the recession.

In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs — including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration — that insure home loans against default.

Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.

Officials are also encouraging lenders to use more subjective judgment in determining whether to offer a loan and are seeking to make it easier for people who owe more than their properties are worth to refinance at today’s low interest rates, among other steps.

Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to do more to make sure more Americans can enjoy the benefits of the housing recovery, but critics say encouraging banks to lend as broadly as the administration hopes will sow the seeds of another housing disaster and endanger taxpayer dollars.

“If that were to come to pass, that would open the floodgates to highly excessive risk and would send us right back on the same path we were just trying to recover from,” said Ed Pinto, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former top executive at mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Mortgage News, Mortgage Qualifying | 3 comments