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Category Archive: ‘Market Buzz’

San Diego is #1

Of the top 25 metro areas in America, San Diego is the least affordable, according to this report from Zach Fox at SNL (and formerly of the North County Times):

http://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/Article.aspx?cdid=A-27562902-13864

An excerpt:

sandiego1Housing prices have enjoyed substantial, double-digit growth over the past year, leading to affordability issues in some major metro markets that could cap prospects for future growth.

From a renter’s perspective, San Diego might be even less affordable than San Francisco, which famously boasts the nation’s most expensive real estate.

Prices in San Diego shot up 19.4% year over year in January, according to the latest data available from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indexes. With prices so high, real estate agents said first-time homebuyers need to adjust their expectations.

Young renters can only make the leap to homeownership in San Diego with help from a government down-payment assistance program or their families, said Leslie Kilpatrick, president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.

“I think we’re seeing more and more of that,” Kilpatrick told SNL. “This generation of parents is realizing the difficulties their children are facing in buying a home.”

A recent study by HSH, a provider of mortgage interest rate data, details how much income a household needs to afford the typical home in a given market. HSH calculated the minimum income needed to purchase a median-priced home in a given market. The study assumed a 28% front-end debt-to-income ratio and a 20% down payment and only covered principal and interest.

The results of this study raise an interesting question: How many renters in each market could afford to buy the typical home?

While it may not be possible to come up with a definitive answer, SNL explored the question using the HSH study, recently released U.S. Census Bureau data detailing renter incomes and corresponding Census data on housing units.

By one measure, San Diego had the lowest ratio of income-eligible renters — meaning they earned enough to buy a median-priced home — to housing units among 25 major metropolitan areas.

In San Diego, real estate agents think the market might be stabilizing, but prices are so high that first-time buyers are struggling to find entry. But that does not necessarily mean the market is in a bubble again.

Rich Toscano, a financial adviser with Pacific Capital Associates in San Diego, launched a blog in 2004 presciently predicting a housing crash based on overvaluation. He maintains a graph that compares home prices to a blended value of rent and per capita income. The index is now at the peaks seen in 1979 and 1990, but it is still well-below the most recent bubble.

“People say to me, ‘Are you worried about it?’ And I think, ‘It’s expensive, but it’s always been that way,’” Toscano told SNL. At the same time, he does not think there is much more room for prices to sustainably rise.

“I wouldn’t say there couldn’t be more upside, but what I would say is that whatever upside there is, I would expect to be given back eventually, at least in relative terms,” he said.

Real estate agents in the San Diego metro area seem to agree with Toscano that prices are starting to stabilize and that the days of double-digit annual growth have likely passed. Still, for buyers interested in the lower end of the market where homes are more affordable, bidding wars remain fairly common.

“Most people miss a few before they understand that when they see something they like, they have to act boldly and put in a strong offer,” said Kilpatrick, president of the local association.

Jim Klinge, a real estate broker in the metro area, similarly told SNL via email that the most recent low-end buyers he represented lost several bidding wars before nabbing a home. On Klinge’s blog, which gained national fame during the housing crisis for its candor and brash style, the agent reports hyper-local statistics on supply and demand. For now, the fundamentals suggest San Diego’s housing market is strong.

“What really matters is wondering if/when we will run out of rich people,” Klinge wrote.

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in About the author, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 10 comments

Incessant Bubble Talk

bubble talkWe keep seeing more bubble-bursting articles being published – and the perception may be more important than the reality if consumers are addicted to soundbites and read no further.

This article promises proof that the bubble is about to burst:

http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/29669-heres-proof-the-housing-bubble-is-about-to-burst

But there is no proof in the article, just more speculation from an ivory-tower type who rattles off the same tired speculations, including lagging incomes, unaffordability, FHA, blah, blah, blah.

Regurgitating the same old beliefs ignores the reality – the market is driven by the affluent. Because listing agents give preference to cash buyers, the rich folks have a distinct advantage, and they have been gobbling up investment properties and most of the quality homes in which to live.

I am really sick of this old adage – from the article:

Without housing affordability there cannot be a rise in first-time buyer participation.

Without the entrance of first-time buyers, those wishing (or hoping) to move up to a larger home or relocate into other neighborhoods will not be able to so, at least not readily. This can produce a cascade effect on housing prices, starting to drive them downward to reflect a decrease in demand.

There are many first-timers buying homes – they pay cash, or have a big down payment so they can compete.  Besides, first-timers aren’t the only buyers interested in the cheaper stock – BlackRock and other investors are happy to buy up all of the cheaper homes so those sellers can move up.

Here’s another from the same article:

If housing prices begin to fall, wouldn’t one expect the investors to at least consider dumping homes onto the market to minimize potential losses? If they did so, the aforementioned cascade-effect would drive prices down even further.

This is the new normal, where we have learned that unless sellers can get top dollar, they aren’t interested in selling.  Investors have already gained 10% to 30% appreciation, if they lost some or all of that, they wouldn’t dump at any cost – they’d wait until next time.

The new lesson has been learned right before our eyes – don’t dump properties; instead let’s resort to any other means necessary, including bending the foreclosure and accounting rules.  Ben Bernanke said as much here:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2014/03/03/bernanke-stopped-the-flood/

The general public needs to become wise to these gyrations.  The fix is in, and the new normal is unlike anything we have ever seen or imagined.  Wall Street will conspire with BigGov to ensure that there is a floor – and you might as well get your share while you can.

The media insists on scary headlines, rather than exploring the truth - and they wouldn’t mind if we did pop another bubble, whether we need to or not.

Don’t believe anything you read, and only half of what you see!

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz | 19 comments

Escalation Clause

escalationIn the spirit of fair play, this isn’t right.  But in a market where buyers get tired of losing, you can’t blame them for trying alternatives.  Agents should have a standard policy/strategy on how to handle the escalation clause – get good help!

From the Boston Globe:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/04/13/buyers-turn-new-bidding-tactic-hot-home-market/7fWqb00kcwY9Zaq0NgE3TK/story.html

Katrine and Stephen Campbell were up against stiff competition from 10 other bidders for the Reading home they wanted to buy. So the couple tried an aggressive strategy to give them an edge: Instead of making a specific offer, they promised to top whatever turned out to be the high bid by an additional $5,000.

The increasingly popular tactic, known as an escalation clause, worked. The Campbells bought the four-bedroom house late last year for $597,000 — or $18,000 above the original list price, including the extra $5,000.

“We must have looked at 50 places before making a bid on a house,” said Katrine Campbell. “We made only one offer — and we got it. The escalation clause gave us an edge.”

In a sign of how competitive the Boston-area housing market has become, the maneuver is becoming part of the area’s bidding war landscape, brokers and other real estate executives say. Some report there hasn’t been this much escalation clause activity since the last house-buying frenzy 10 years ago.

There are several kinds of escalation clauses, but all involve an agreement to top the high bid on a home by a set amount of money — often $5,000, and sometimes more.

Potential buyers who offer such arrangements usually insist on a brief amount of time, an hour or less, to follow through or to back out once a top bid has been established.

Skeptics say the clauses are potentially risky and a needless ploy that could backfire by alienating some sellers. It can also lead to disputes about whether buyers or sellers have complied with escalation clause terms, they say.

“It’s a tactic that’s not going to appeal to everyone,” said Peter Ruffini, a regional vice president at Jack Conway Realty in Norwell and president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

“It sounds a little risky to me. It sounds sort of like issuing a blank check to sellers.”

Read More

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Ethics, Frenzy, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 4 comments

Research Your Realtor

biFrom 10 Things Before Opening Bell yesterday:

Below is a Q&A with Jim Klinge, the head of San Diego-based Klinge Realty and the creator of BubbleInfo.com, a realty blog.

***

BUSINESS INSIDER: What is the most underreported story in housing?

JIM KLINGE: The health of the real estate market. We’re back to peak pricing – and higher – around coastal San Diego during the toughest mortgage underwriting in the history of the world.

BI: What is the biggest change you’ve seen since the bust in terms of the typical buyers’ profile?

JK: No change – almost all are owner-occupants.  Surprisingly, having direct access to recent sales via the internet hasn’t made buyers more critical about price.  Over the last 12 months, it’s been the opposite – people are paying prices that are 5% to 10% higher than recent sales.  Because they are so familiar with the values, you’d think they would be more discerning, but the fear of loss supersedes all – they just want to buy a house, and are tired of losing.

BI: What is the biggest mistake buyers are making these days?

JK: Not researching realtors.  They think we are all the same, so they just grab one.

BI: What is the biggest mistake sellers are making these days?

JK: Not researching realtors.  Many just grab the one who mails them the most propaganda.

BI: How much higher can the Sun Belt markets climb?

JK: The prime markets could easily rise another 10% to 20%, price-wise, in the next 2-3 years.  But it will be on very thin trading, which makes you question how legit it is, and whether it will sustain.

http://e.businessinsider.com/public/2537853

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How/where do you research realtors?

Sellers:

  • Check the agent’s online presence - specifically, how do they present their other listings?  Are there vivid photos and actual video tours?
  • Search under ‘Find A Pro’ on Zillow, and check their number of sales, and client testimonials.
  • See if they are a Zillow Premier Agent – if they aren’t, then Zillow will advertise other agents on your house’s listing.
  • Does the agent use open houses to maximize the exposure?
  • If they have sold a few listings this year, then they have had multiple offers.  What are their specific bidding-war strategies to ensure top dollar?
  • Does your office expose and sell listings at the office meetings? (trick question here because most will answer yes, when ethically the answer should be no).
  • Who answers the phone? Excellent phone service is still preferred.

One question to ask: Can you tell me about your last bidding-war experience?

Buyers:

  • How many buyers have they represented in the last 12 months?  Getting buyers to the finish line in this hotly-competitive environment takes real skill, and the number of buyer sales demonstrates their ability.
  • Are there other agents involved – do you get passed around? If they answer yes, it isn’t a bad thing – you’d just like to know who the others are and what their skill set is.
  • Are they available 7 days a week? The market is cooking 24/7.
  • How do they position their buyers to win a bidding war?

One question to ask: “Based on my wants and needs, do you know of a couple of listings that would match?”  Not imperative, but if they can talk about actual homes for sale off the top of their head, you know you are dealing with somebody who is very active in your marketplace.

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in About the author, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Market Buzz, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Lost 10 In A Row


MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — According to real-estate website Trulia’s first-quarter “Bubble Watch,” the top two overvalued housing markets in the country are Orange and L.A. counties.

Climbing prices, combined with low inventory, is causing worry for some would-be home buyers, concerned about the possibility of another bubble.

Danielle and Robert Merrill told CBS2?s Serene Branson they have put in offers on 10 homes in the past five months, from Mar Vista to Santa Monica, but lost out on them all.

“It feels like it’s climbing at an unbelievable rate and it seems that prices have really jumped way up,” Danielle said. “It’s emotional. Every time a property comes on, and with this market you jump on the day it comes on the market.”

“It’s been a difficult process because the inventory is so low prices are just going up and up and up,” Robert said.

According to the California Association of Realtors, the median home price in L.A. County was $390,000 for February 2014 – up 15.2 percent from the same period last year.

In Orange County, the median home price last month was $677,000, up 11.6 percent.

The numbers show affordability has also dropped.

Only 30 percent of L.A. County residents can afford a median price home, down from 44 percent last year. In Orange County, it’s down to 20 percent from 34.

Real-estate agent Jeremy Shelton, of Shorewood Realtors, pointed to a three-bedroom Manhattan Beach home that sold over the asking price.

“Inventory is tragically low,” he said. “This came on a week-and-a-half ago. We had three offers right off the bat.”

Shelton said it’s a seller’s market, and he predicts modest increases before prices level off.

“Much like 2006, 2007, we have limited inventory. Prices are therefore going higher. There are a lot of qualified buyers, which is the key in the market now – unlike we had in 2007. So yeah, we are seeing a frenzy,” he said.

It’s a tough reality for buyers like the Merrills, who have been beat by so many all-cash, no contingency offers they’re taking a break before jumping back in.

“We’ve been through such an emotional ride with the market not knowing where it’s going to go from here,” Danielle said.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/04/01/socal-residents-worry-about-possible-housing-bubble-as-prices-climb-inventory-drops/

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Frenzy, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 11 comments

Sales As The Leading Indicator

Livinincali left this comment Thursday:

If history is any guide you’d expect sales volume to start dropping before seeing any movement down on price. The sales volume numbers back in winter of late 2012, 2013 were seasonally higher than they have been and that marked the beginning of the price appreciation.  Now it seems as the sales volume have fallen off a bit and price appreciation has moderated.  If sales volume continues to be soft expect appreciation to be minimal this year.  It seems like some segments of the market are still hot but it doesn’t feel like the frenzy of last year around this time where everything in the county was hot.

Historically, sales are the leading indicator, and prices have always followed.

Many are very committed to the fundamentals, and that in itself could help propel the actual market activity – a self-fulfilling prophecy.  A loan rep in the OC named Logan has sparred with me about it on Twitter, and he has included the Trulia economist in the conversation – which is fine by me because they share the same view that history will repeat itself, regardless.

twitterwar

Logan is entitled to one man’s opinion.  But Trulia stories get published everywhere now, and could carry considerable influence with home buyers.  They are a mainstream-media source for market data, and have a responsibility to dig for the truth.

The Twitter war above got started over this article, which is now being published by media outlets everywhere:

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-home-prices-20140326,0,4729002.story#axzz2xIS4jHJV

Suggesting that bubbles are forming in areas where prices rising faster than those incomes is shallow and incomplete.  Let’s consider additional facts.

Do reports of fewer sales have to be contributed to stagnant incomes, un-affordability, employment, economics, DTI, etc., that will drive prices down, or are there other explanations?

1.  It was predicted here six months ago that people would be comparing 2014 sales to the ultra-hot frenzy months of 2013, and claim the sky is falling.  You could say that the low rates of 2013 alone were driving people to buy; now that higher-and-steady rates aren’t driving the market, sales look pretty similar to recent years – IN SPITE OF HIGHER PRICES.

Detached-Home Sales Between Jan. 1 – March 15:

Year
NSDCC Sales
Avg $/sf
SD Co. Sales
Avg $/sf
2010
360
$377/sf
3,428
$237/sf
2011
412
$376/sf
3,476
$234/sf
2012
450
$367/sf
3,987
$226/sf
2013
518
$389/sf
4,423
$255/sf
2014
459
$500/sf
3,518
$312/sf

Take out the 2013 frenzy-driven era, and sales look similar, or better, than previous years, even though pricing is substantially higher.

2. A preliminary sign of a market top would be more homes not selling, and inventory rising. If inventory was rising steadily, AND sales were flat or declining, then a call for lower prices would be obvious.  But the inventory is about the same as last year:

SD inventory

A big difference that is critical to the equation is that 2013 sellers were caught off-guard at rapid rebound in pricing.  But the word is out now, and the 2014 sellers are VERY WELL AWARE of the improved market/higher pricing.  Yet sales are strong.

3.  This year’s sellers are more elective.  They didn’t have to sell last year, and waited until they could get even more money this year – and they are only selling if they get their price.  Yet sales are strong.

4.  Every seller wants more, not less.  It is the sellers’ creed – tack on a little extra to what the last guy got.  Yet sales are strong.

5.  If prices did falter, sellers just wouldn’t sell.  The ego of a seller is powerful, and selling for any less than ‘their price’ is ‘giving it away’.  Sellers will avoid that at all costs, and just cancel their listing instead.  You’ll know that pricing is heading downward when you see inventory dry up further.  Yet sales are strong.

6.  There is absolutely NO threat of distressed sales undermining the market.  Of the 1,180 NSDCC listings this year, 12 have been short-sales, and one has been an REO.  Yet sales are strong – stronger than when buyers could have gotten a deal.

7.  Multiple offers are everywhere. I can only speak about the north-coastal region of San Diego County, but everywhere I go, there are multiple offers – even on houses that aren’t that great.  You will see bidding wars dry up before sales start to drop.  Yet sales are strong.

8.  We have never seen the inventory sustain at levels this low.  There is an awareness and appreciation about one’s home that is superseding price – people aren’t interested in moving, no matter what they could get for it. The Z-man said yesterday that the low inventory is due to 20% of the country being underwater.  Did he interview each one of those people?  They could have short-sold anytime over the last few years if they wanted to move – but they didn’t.

In summary, buyers are ready, willing, and able to buy homes today – at these prices, and these mortgage rates.  There would be as many – if not more – sales this year, than in 2013, if there were just more decent homes to sell at today’s prices.

Homes that aren’t selling today are the ones priced outrageously – anything close to the right price is selling. Hopefully it means there is a price ceiling - and we have arrived at the unaffordable plateau for now.

Sellers are insisting that we stay at these prices, or higher – they aren’t backing down. For now, buyers are agreeing.  I haven’t seen any house sell for less than the comps this year – have you?

Until the bidding wars dry up, and then sales start to falter when compared to non-frenzy months, then prices should hang around these levels.

Posted by on Mar 29, 2014 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check | 13 comments

Pre-Listing Websites

pre-MLS saleFrank has a local SD page in his Facebook network, but it has been among the slower to attract new members.

He allowed me to join, but then wondered if I was the enemy.  I just want to see if it gains any traction – but so far, not much.  There are 254 realtors in the group, but only five properties have been imputed since November.

But if NAR continues to implode, and agents get more desperate, the whole basis of the multiple-listing system – sharing listings among agents – could die.

There are many market forces pushing towards single agency, and there may be more than one solution.  In the meantime, we will see many alternatives:

From the wapo:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/where-we-live/wp/2014/03/24/in-tight-market-pre-listing-sites-becoming-popular/

Excerpts:

Some agents believe that as members of MRIS they are required to list properties on the service. The issue has spurred heated discussions at local brokers offices in the region.

“We call them the old boy or old girls networks, where the small group of people that belong get the first opportunity,” said Tony Duncanson, chairman of the D.C. Real Estate Commission. “When we get into tight markets, like in the last two to three years, you start hearing about these type of networks more and more,” Duncanson said.

The close-knit networks Duncanson was referring to include brokers that only market properties to agents affiliated within the same brokerage firm. Some refer to this as a pocket listing.

“The main concern in these situations is that those properties were not given the maximum exposure to the marketplace, particularly in the good market that we have now where the seller may be able to get a better price,” Duncanson said.

“There may also be a fair housing issue,” Duncanson added. “It doesn’t seem to be fair because many people are totally excluded. There are those in the fair housing arena that consider it discriminatory because the listing is not marketed to every licensed agent.”

LLosa said he opposes pocket listings. “How is that best for the seller?” LLosa said. “I am against brokers trying to snag both sides of the deal at their clients’ expense.”

Roger Carp, managing broker of the Long & Foster office in Georgetown, agreed. “Who does it benefit not to put the house on the MLS?” he asked. “ It doesn’t benefit a seller. The MLS was created to give homes the maximum exposure possible. Anyone that is buying real estate searches the MLS. With all these different types of exclusive clubs, many Realtors are not hearing about properties that could be beneficial for their clients. In the end, the seller could be missing out.”

Some agents believe that as members of MRIS they are required to list properties on the service. The issue has spurred heated discussions at local brokers offices in the region.

“If there is permission from the consumer, then the agent does not have to list the property on MRIS,” Strauch of MRIS said.

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 2 comments

Chinese Boost Sales

Excerpts from this article in the latimes.com:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-chinese-homebuyers-20140324,0,2832012,full.story#axzz2wnzTJbz1

The overflow from China’s economic high tide is transforming the housing  markets of suburban Los Angeles.

lennarAffluent Chinese home buyers are driving prices past boom-era peaks, spawning  a subset of property brokers and mortgage lenders that cater to their distinct  needs — and even dictate design details in new subdivisions.

Chinese buyers bought 12% of all U.S. homes purchased by foreign citizens  last year, up from 5% in 2007, according to the National Assn. of Realtors. More  than half their home purchases were in California. And more than two-thirds of  them paid cash, the trade group said.

The trend appears unlikely to unwind soon. More than 60% of China’s wealthy  have left or plan to leave the country, at least part time, and their No. 1  destination is the United States, according to the Hurun Report, a Shanghai  publishing firm focused on recently minted millionaires and billionaires.

Despite dizzying ups and downs in U.S. home prices, the market can seem more  stable than in China, where fears of a property bubble have added to the  economic and political worries of the burgeoning middle and upper classes.

Eva Chen and her husband travel between their homes in Shanghai and Arcadia,  where they purchased a property near Santa Anita Park in October. They scooped  up the second home as an escape from pollution and a shot at better schools for  their two infants.

Compared with housing prices in China, the $1.27-million Arcadia property  didn’t seem expensive.

“The Arcadia house is cheaper,” Chen said.

Others want the prestige of a San Marino or Pasadena mansion, even if paying  for it means working in China and rarely visiting. One of Ng’s neighbors bought  a Pasadena estate, then lived there for just two days out of the two years that  followed.

“He was not renting it out,” Ng said. “People have so much money, they just  say, ‘What the heck. It’s a nice neighborhood. I might as well just buy  one.’”

It’s a story echoed by Patti Hahn of Arcadia, gesturing to the house next  door, which sold for $2.45 million last year, up from $1.55 million in 2006, the  last time it changed hands.

“No one lives there,” Hahn said.

In Las Vegas, which has a long-established community of ethnic Chinese  residents, as well as the allure of gambling and inexpensive housing, Lennar  went a step further when it developed a 40-acre housing tract, Lantern Gardens,  on the outskirts of town.

In addition to applying feng shui design principles and interior apartments  for relatives, Lennar designed a central park that is round instead of square  and aligned most of the homes on a north-south axis, reflecting the preferences  of many Chinese.

“The traffic coming through was principally Asian, and mostly Chinese,” said  Jeremy Parness, the company’s division president for the area.

The company has even taken care to avoid putting the number four in any  address, because it rhymes with the Chinese word for death, Parness said.

Read the whole story here, with great comments too:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-chinese-homebuyers-20140324,0,2832012,full.story#axzz2wnzTJbz1

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Local Flavor, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 1 comment

Feb. Sales – Glass Half Full

jim at last year's frenzyIt was noted in the media this week that February homes sales were the at the lowest count in 18 months – yes, a frenzy will do that to you!

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101511116

Sales are going to be ‘sputtery’, and struggle to keep up with previous frenzied months when prices rise sharply.  When prices and rates both rise substantially, you’d think it would put a real damper on sales – but around NSDCC they have held up remarkably well:

NSDCC Detached-Home Sales

Year
Jan. Sales
Feb. Sales
Jan. Avg $/sf
Feb. Avg $/sf
2005
206
184
$500/sf
$480/sf
2006
169
189
$559/sf
$519/sf
2007
157
155
$489/sf
$482/sf
2008
115
131
$474/sf
$485/sf
2009
114
105
$419/sf
$370/sf
2010
137
143
$368/sf
$376/sf
2011
149
166
$366/sf
$377/sf
2012
155
184
$374/sf
$358/sf
2013
185
187
$379/sf
$400/sf
2014
181
176
$498/sf
$483/sf

Let’s remember that these are completely different sets of buyers and houses.  The recent consistency, and resiliency, is remarkable!

P.S. The preliminary numbers for this month look much lower than last year (we had 298 sales in March, 2013, which was 25% higher than in 2012).

This will probably continue for the next few months – any comparison to the max-frenzy months of 2013 is going to look dismal.  But the sky isn’t falling, and price will fix anything.  Get good help!

Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Market Buzz, Market Conditions, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check | 1 comment

Frenzy – It’s Baaaack

Can you feel it?  The frenzy, creeping in on you?

Those watching closely may have noticed how the market has ’picked up’ over the last week or two.

We’ve had more buyers than sellers for a while now, so that alone doesn’t constitute a frenzy.  In a low-inventory environment, you should have multiple offers on every quality property.

It’s the velocity.

Here are signs of frenzy-building:

1.  It’s been hot.  A year ago, the frenzy was just becoming obvious – but at this point, the market has been hot for the 18 months.

Both buyers and sellers are expecting a frenzy now.

NSDCC Feb.
#Sales
Median SP
Median DOM
2011
166
$844,000
60
2012
184
$795,000
69
2013
184
$900,000
25
2014
172
$906,500
24

All three indicators from last month are pointing to more frenzy.

2.  How fast listings go pending.  With listing agents riding high on their horse, you typically see them play around for 7-10 days before a new listing gets marked pending.  It seems like more listings are going pending faster – and it’s about the same as last year (though this year’s haven’t all closed):

NSDCC 2/22 to 3/7
# Pendings with DOM<6
# New Pendings
%
2013
42
136
31%
2014
35
119
29%

3.  The percentage-paid-over-list-price.  It’s been standard to see homes sell for 5% to 10% over list price, but it can get crazier.

This was a fascinating – though extreme – example.  A great-looking house with fantastic view, but it is right on La Costa Ave. and located in an area with terrible soil quality:

http://www.sdlookup.com/MLS-140009811-2662_Galicia_Way_Carlsbad_CA_92009

Look how steep the hill is – it looks like it could slide down the hill any day:gal

From the remarks: This property is for cash buyer, builder, or investor. Home has compaction and soil issues. Only shown to qualified buyers.

The soils problem must be serious, given their initial list price of $500,000.  Yet it sold for $685,000 cash, or 37% over list price and closed in ten days.

It must have been worth it to someone, and probably worth close to that for many, but it is the percentage that gets me.  With the problems, wouldn’t you try to buy it for 10% or 20% over list?

4.  It’s March.  The wait-and-see buyers haven’t had any indications of inventory flooding the street – in fact, we’ve had fewer new listings this year than last (between Jan. 1 and March 5th):

Year
# New Listings
LP Avg $/sf
2013
886
$494/sf
2014
858
$541/sf

Buyers are getting antsy – for them, there aren’t any signs of relief.

It is a great time to sell – contact Jim the Realtor to get started today!

(858) 997-3801 cell or jim@jimklinge.com.

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, North County Coastal | 8 comments