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Category Archive: ‘Market Buzz’

Zillow: “Is The Party Over?”

zzzz

Zillow is the latest to suggest that the ‘market’ might be slowing.

But looking at their own graph, it looks like the monthly percent change begins to decline every year at the end of summer. The second graph also shows that sales are at a new peak – if it fell off a bit we should still be fine.

But all that matters is what readers glean from the headlines and a quick scan.

Maybe it’s just a seasonal thing. This guy was spewing doomer talk in 2014!

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-house-market-is-falling-apart-2014-08-26

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From Zillow:

http://www.zillow.com/research/2016-july-home-sales-forecast-13087/

z july 2016

  • Zillow expects existing home sales to fall 1.9 percent in July from June, to 5.46 million units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), ending a string of four consecutive monthly gains.
  • New home sales should fall 6.65 percent to 553,000 units (SAAR) after a stronger than expected June.
  • Given the recent string of home sales beating forecasts, we view risks to the upside and would not be surprised if results are slightly stronger than we expect.

Thus far, it has been a pretty sweet ‘16 for home sales. But according to our July home sales forecast, the party looks like it could be coming to an end, at least temporarily and especially for sales of existing homes that must eventually face the harsh reality of tight inventory and rising prices.

Despite tight inventory, existing home sales have been surprisingly buoyant lately, beating or meeting expectations in each of the four months from March to June. We expect that streak to end in July. If nothing else, the odds that home sales continue to rise are increasingly dim. Since the series began in February 1999, runs of five months or more of consecutive monthly gains have only occurred five times – and only one of those streaks lasted six consecutive months or more.[1]

Shifting seasonal patterns may be behind some of this apparent resiliency. By some reports, the height of the home shopping season – historically most concentrated during the summer months – shifted earlier this year as buyers sought to get ahead of the competition. But sooner or later, tight supply and rising prices should take their toll.

Our forecast for existing home sales points to a 1.9 percent decline from June to 5.46 million units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) (figure 1). This would place existing home sales down 0.3 percent compared to a year earlier.

Read full report here:

http://www.zillow.com/research/2016-july-home-sales-forecast-13087/

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Zillow | 2 comments

SD Middle-Class Housing Crisis

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The building industry is selling more new homes, but their focus is on the higher-end markets, and not much is happening for the middle class.

KPBS found a guy to whine about it on camera; but it’s a free market, and rich people are winning. It’s not going to change – what can government do?

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this in!

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/aug/08/housing-crisis-squeezes-middle-class/

Homeowners in San Diego County may not feel it, but a housing crisis is underway in the region, and the middle class is especially hard squeezed.

Longtime Escondido resident Guy Chandler faced a situation that may be all too familiar to many San Diego families. He described what happened at a recent San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

“Probably the worst day of my life was in June 2015,” Chandler said. “My daughter, Jenelle, 37 years old, came to me and told me, ‘Dad, sit down. There’s something you’re not going to like. We have to move out of San Diego County.’”

Chandler’s daughter told him she was planning to take her family and move to another state because she couldn’t find a house in San Diego where she could afford to raise her kids.

“The next two days a lot of hand-wringing and crying went on,” Chandler said.

He now communicates with his grandchildren on the web via FaceTime.

“What’s my point?” he asked the board. “My point is, droves of young families are leaving the state of California because they can’t afford to live here.”

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Boomers, Builders, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, The Future | 5 comments

Steel PreFab

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In the best way possible, Stanford professor Mark Jacobson‘s new house is like a giant Erector Set, snapped together in less than a week on an irregular, pie-shaped lot near the university. It’s a 3,200 square foot modular home, and the frame is made entirely of steel.

Dr. Jacobson, head of Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, says he didn’t want to build a new house, but nothing on the market right now was quite up to his standards insofar as green building goes. So he called BONE Structure, a Canadian prefab homes company that opened a San Francisco office last year, to see if they could do better.

The house, reportedly costing an estimated $1.5 million, is designed with zero emissions, operating off of solar panels on the roof and storing juice in an enormous lithium battery designed by Tesla Motors. If it works right, it will use no consumer electricity at all, making it a passive house.

The steel frame is made from 89 percent recycled material. BONE’s sales pitch is that, although the parts are all manufactured in Canada (delivery takes five or six weeks), the clip-together design means that you can customize the size and layout of the house, rather than picking from prefabricated rooms.

Read full article here:

http://sf.curbed.com/2016/6/17/11966070/prefab-house-stanford-bone-palo-alto

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Thinking of Building? | 0 comments

“The Market Is Not What It Was”

not

All that matters is what home buyers take away from stories like this.  The gist here is the same as what we’ve been seeing – the unique, well-located properties are holding up, but in areas where there are several regular homes for sale, the first one out wins.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-end-real-estate-is-at-a-tipping-point-from-sellers-market-to-buyers-market-2016-07-30

It’s essential for real estate agents to understand the current marketplace so they can get the best deal for their clients. And after years of watching the market favor sellers, many agents say they’ve seen a recent shift that has affected luxury property sales across the globe: We’ve entered a buyer’s market.

Jed Garfield, president of Leslie J. Garfield & Co., a New York–based brokerage that focuses on town houses, said he saw signs of this trend in late 2015, when properties that were listed at a fair market price didn’t sell. But recently, the impact has been dramatic. For example, a town house on East 70th Street between Park and Lexington avenues that was bought for $31 million in 2013, re-listed for $32.5 million a year and a half ago—and then dropped down to $22 million three months ago.

“The market is not what it was,” Garfield said. There’s an expectation that real estate prices will rise 3% to 5% each year, he added, but buyers won’t stand for that anymore. “You’d be very hard-pressed to find anybody who would pay more than 2015 prices today,” he added.

In Brooklyn, Compass agent Jay Heiselmann said he’s seen this shift play out as buyers looking for a $3 million-to-$5 million multifamily home have become pickier and more interested in negotiating than in years past. “People used to go and see everything that was on the market,” he said, but that’s no longer the case.

Dolly Lenz, of Manhattan-based Dolly Lenz Real Estate, said she has seen this shift affect the way agents are treated. As recently as a year ago, new agents who tried to get clients an appointment to see a top-tier new development in Midtown would be turned away, Lenz said. But now, not only is everyone getting appointments, they’re also being enticed to bring clients in with promises of extra commissions, “Hamilton” tickets, trips or cars if they make the sale.

“That is a sure sign of a very big shift to a buyer’s market,” she said.

In these cases, interested buyers should negotiate hard, according to Lenz. And that advice holds not just for luxury real estate in the New York market but also for those also in other U.S. cities like Miami and San Francisco, where there’s an excess of high-end, new and often similar inventory.

When it comes to the global market, Dubai has definitely converted to a buyer’s market, despite having “gorgeous architecture and beautiful properties,” because developers built too much too quickly, according to Lenz.

In the U.K. and Europe, the situation also largely benefits buyers, though the landscape is a bit more complicated. While buyers—specifically dollar-based buyers—automatically get a post-Brexit currency advantage in prime London, many still expect an additional 8% to 12% discount, said Gary Hersham, principal at London-based Beauchamp Estates. In this case, many sellers are opting to wait rather than make a deal.

“They think the pound is going to strengthen,” Hersham said. “They’re waiting for their values.”

Amid this shift, “there are still pockets everywhere that are holding firm,” Lenz said.

Manhattan’s West Village is an example—a mini-market where inventory is scarce and there aren’t many new developments or conversion projects, according to Lenz. This has kept competition stiff and prices high.

Prime Beverly Hills has also been immune to big price cuts, Lenz added, as have cities like Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, where Chinese purchasers have been known to buy up an entire building in a day.

“It all comes down to this being a supply-and-demand story,” Lenz said. “If you have a prime property in a great location—something that’s irreplaceable or a trophy property—it is still a very strong market.”

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 2 comments

Buying with Friends

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I have bought with friends before, and I’ll never do it again – you have to reach full agreement on everything! 

And don’t do anything quickly! (bottom paragraph)

For some New Yorkers who have been priced out of New York City’s real estate game, pooling resources with friends and siblings has become the quickest path to homeownership. And while sharing a front door can put even the best relationships to the test, some are finding it’s worth the risk.

For Laurie Savage, a writer and restaurant server, and her husband, Garette Henson, a filmmaker, both 36, the arrival of their son, Fox Henson, almost 2, sparked the idea of buying real estate with a friend. That friend was Alix Frey, 37, whom they had met when they were all students at Sarah Lawrence College.

The group recently moved into a three-story two-family townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Ms. Frey, the director of the Blum & Poe gallery in Manhattan, occupies the top level while the couple have the lower level, including the basement and the backyard. The parlor level is divided between the Savage/Hensons and Ms. Frey.

For assistance in their search for a place to buy, the three, who had rented apartments in the same brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for eight years, turned to Marina T. Schindler, a saleswoman at Compass real estate and one of Ms. Frey’s close friends.

“It’s a really good way for people to work the system,” Ms. Schindler said. “Not everybody has that money for a down payment. They realize if they team up, they get more bang for the buck.”

It’s a complicated process, she added, “because they’ve got to have an agreement between each other, they have to trust each other, but it’s a great way for young families to make a bigger, better investment.”

The friends had originally looked at properties separately, almost immediately concluding that they were priced out of Fort Greene. As they expanded their searches to Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, the numbers still seemed shocking. “Alix was looking at a one-bedroom for $750,000. She wanted a two-bedroom for less than that,” Ms. Savage said.

“We realized we can get a better space if we buy together,” she said. “The apartments priced at what we’re each getting our units for were like tiny boxes. It was startling, the difference in the quality of what we could get. So very quickly we said we’re open to it.”

Read full article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/realestate/when-friends-buy-a-home-together.html?_r=0

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Thinking of Buying? | 3 comments

More Granny Flats!

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We know there are millions of people thinking about downsizing, due to costs, maintenance, and their health. But the real estate market provides few quality turn-key solutions.  It makes sense to encourage homeowners to add a granny flat!  From the latimes.com:

To help ease California’s housing crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are turning to people’s backyards.

Multiple bills with the endorsement of Brown are moving through the Legislature to make it easier for homeowners to build small units on their properties, whether in their garages, as additions to existing homes or as new, freestanding structures.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other supporters hope the relaxed rules will spur backyard home building to combat a housing shortage that, by one estimate, leaves the state annually more than 100,000 new units behind what’s needed to keep pace with soaring home prices.

“These bills enhance homeowners’ ability to provide needed housing,” Garcetti and Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo wrote in a letter supporting measures from Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont).

Together, the Bloom and Wieckowski bills would force cities to permit the backyard homes — also known as “secondary units” or “granny flats” — eliminate cities’ ability to require additional parking spaces for units near transit, and limit fees charged to connect to local water and sewer systems.

Homeowners such as Rochelle D. Ventura could stand to benefit if the bills pass.  The retiree, who once worked in city government, said she spent around $5,000 several years ago in an attempt to build a secondary unit in her Beverly Grove backyard.

But after the design was submitted to the city, Ventura said she was denied: The driveway that led to the backyard wasn’t wide enough, and a portion of it was covered.

“I couldn’t do it, and that is a shame,” said Ventura, 78. “I have a beautiful granddaughter who was going to live there.”

Read full article here:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-fi-small-houses-solution-20160725-snap-story.html

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We have seen several pre-built alternatives – here is another that sells for around $70,000 plus shipping and installation:

small
http://www.contemporist.com/2016/07/25/this-small-house-is-filled-with-design-ideas-to-maximize-living/

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Boomer Liquidations, Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, The Future | 3 comments

Chinese Bank Files Lawsuit

ccb

The PC paranoia about foreign investors could get run over by determined bankers.  Once they get momentum from a couple of successful cases, it could temper future investment. From the G&M (H/T SM):

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/chinas-citic-bank-tries-to-seize-real-estate-assets-in-canada/article30637786/

China CITIC Bank Corp Ltd has launched a Canadian lawsuit to try to seize the assets of a Chinese citizen the bank claims took out a multimillion-dollar loan in China then fled to Canada, the lender’s Vancouver-based lawyer said on Monday.

The bank is looking to seize numerous Vancouver-area homes, valued at some $7.3-million, along with other assets, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Friday.

The defendant, Shibiao Yan, owns three multimillion-dollar properties in a Vancouver suburb and lives in a $3-million Vancouver home owned by his wife, according to court documents.

China is in the midst of a massive corruption crackdown and has stepped up efforts to find fugitives it says are hiding stolen assets abroad. The lawsuit comes amid a debate about the role foreign money, particularly from China, has played in Vancouver’s property boom.

“The person involved left China with a large debt owed,” said Christine Duhaime, a lawyer who represents China CITIC Bank in the case, adding that she was not aware of any criminal charges against the man.

Yan could not immediately be reached for comment. He has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit and the claims have not been proven in court.

China has been working with Canada for years to finalize a deal on the return of ill-gotten assets seized from those suspected of economic crimes. The agreement was originally announced in July 2013 and has not yet been ratified.

But it is rare for Chinese banks to use Canadian courts to pursue those who have left the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the bank was protecting its rights in accordance with the law.

“This is a normal thing to do internationally,” Hong told reporters in Beijing.

According to the lawsuit, China CITIC Bank is seeking repayment for a line of credit worth 50 million yuan, or roughly $7.5-million, taken out by a Chinese lumber company and personally guaranteed by Yan, who was the company’s majority shareholder at the time.

Vancouver residents have questioned the legitimacy of foreign funds invested in the city’s real estate market and have urged authorities to do more to scrutinize their origin.

Housing prices in the west coast city have jumped 30 per cent in the last year.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/chinas-citic-bank-tries-to-seize-real-estate-assets-in-canada/article30637786/

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Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz | 0 comments

Pokemon Go and Real Estate

Good grief:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/14/how-pokemon-go-could-help-you-sell-your-house.html

On a steamy summer night near Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, real estate agent Jay Glazer hoped a redesigned roof deck might help draw potential buyers to the open house at his $1.5 million listing but, just in case, he added this to the ad:

“I’m fairly certain there is a PIKACHU at this open house, don’t miss it.”

Of the dozen or so people who showed up, only one knew exactly what “Pokemon Go” was, but Glazer said it was still worth adding the app as something of an appetizer to the ad.

“I think at the end of the day the goal is to get as many people through the door and interested in the apartment, and ultimately, if there’s a ‘Pokemon’ obsessed person out there who also likes this home, then we want them here, and this is the best way to attract them,” said Glazer, 32, a “Pokemon Go” player himself.

The ads are popping up on real estate listings as fast as Pikachu’s are on teenagers’ screens. OK, that’s a complete overstatement, but real estate agents are starting to play the game of using the game.

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz | 0 comments

ASG and KK

kayla klinge 25

We’re wrapping up the celebration of Kayla’s 25th birthday! (yesterday)

She was born on the day of the 1991 All-Star Game.  I got to hold her in my arms and watch baseball on TV from Day One!  The game was in Toronto, and Benito Santiago and Tony Gwynn both started for the National League!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Major_League_Baseball_All-Star_Game

We had some random thoughts:

  1. How many people have lived in their current residence longer than any other house in their life?  I’ll say most.  The novelty of moving has worn off, and appreciating what you have is the new orange.  Shall we say an equal impact on supply and demand – and drying up both?
  2. Every house on the market for more than 7 days is probably a fixer – sellers should do improvements in advance. Buyers are schooled by HGTV, and want perfection. If you have a superior home in a terrific location, you’ll get offers right away as long as your price is within reason.
  3.  The Joys of Homeownership.  Whether the home is owner-occupied or a rental, let’s expect to spend $1,000 per month, on average, for repairs and improvements. You can cruise for a few years, but eventually you can expect to replace the furnace, air conditioning, water-heater, dishwasher, and refrigerator every ten years.  Carpet, paint, and landscaping every five years.  Sure, if you or your tenants don’t mind living in squalor, it’s not a problem. But if you want to sell for top dollar, you need top-dollar improvements.
  4.  You can judge the listing agent’s experience by the MLS comments.  The market isn’t hot enough that you can bluff me into thinking that your listing is so great that you’ll have multiple offers by tomorrow. Just make it easy to show, would you?
  5. We are overdue for a media onslaught. Any disruption in the positive housing trends are sure to be exploited by national media types. Don’t listen to anybody who doesn’t have on-the-ground examples to back them up.
  6.  The ‘Sold before Processing’ listings are of great convenience. There is fantastic efficiency for a listing agent to quickly shuffle a deal into escrow and move on to the next sale, and avoid having to deal with those messy bidding wars.
  7.  It seems like Zillow is enthusiastically supporting their big-spending realtors.  Zillow needs to go next-level and just openly promote their favorite agents.  There will be more lines in the sand to be drawn.
  8.  The unstable current events should make you conscious of your home’s security.  Do you feel secure at home?  Make your home defensible, or consider moving!
  9.  Revolution is going to come, so we should take charge. Take the gun issue.  Both sides should submit their solution, and a compromise hammered out.  Something has to change.
  10.  If unrest continues, it is probably good for real estate.  More people will buy a house to hunker down – to “cocoon”, and drive demand.

Wondering what to do?  Either you can settle at today’s prices, or take your chances during the next spring selling season with the new president!

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Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in About Kayla, Jim's Take on the Market, Kayla Training, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 0 comments

San Diego’s Pending Index Rises

pending index

Work with an agent who is well-versed in handling multiple offers!

http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2016releases/may2016pending

Pending home sales in Southern California as a whole rose 5.6 percent from May 2015 and 2.4 percent from April, thanks to year-over-year gains of 6.9 percent in Los Angeles County and 6.2 percent in San Diego County. Orange County experienced a 1.8 percent decrease from the previous year.

In a separate study, California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s May Market Pulse Survey reported slower growth in floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic, reflecting slowing market activity. Despite the lagging indicators, the percentage of properties selling above asking price reached an all-time high and the number of offers per property rose.

• The share of homes selling above asking price in May increased to 38 percent, the highest level since the survey began, rising from 32 percent in April. Conversely, the share of properties selling below asking price dropped to 34 percent. The remainder (27 percent) sold at asking price.

• For the homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price declined for the third straight month to an average of 9.4 percent, down from April’s 9.6 percent and up from 8 percent in May 2015.

• The 34 percent of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 10 percent below asking price in May, down from 12 percent in April and up from 7 percent a year ago.

• Nearly seven of 10 properties for sale received multiple offers in May, indicating the market remains competitive. Sixty-five percent of properties received multiple offers in May 2015.

• The average number of offers per property increased to 3.1 in May, up from 2.9 in April and 2.8 in May 2015. The increase in the number of offers was driven by a greater share of transactions that received three or more offers. Moreover, homes priced between $200,000- $399,000 and $750,000-$999,000 saw the greatest increases in three or more offers compared to a year ago.

• About one in four (23 percent) properties had price reductions in May, indicating sellers are pricing their homes more realistically. One-fourth of properties had price reductions in May 2015.

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments