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Category Archive: ‘Market Buzz’

More Market Pulse

From cnbc:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102614420

The biggest barrier to a more robust spring housing market is simply a lack of listings, and there may be even fewer than we think, at least fewer homes people want to buy.

Nearly three-quarters of the homes on the market are “stale,” which is to say that they have sat on the market for more than a month with little to no interest from buyers, according to a new report from Redfin.

The number of homes for sale rose 2 percent in March from a year ago, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors released Wednesday. That, however, includes both new listings and homes that have languished on the market for months. With demand and sales increasing, there is just a 4.6-month supply of listings; a six-month supply is considered to be a healthy market balance between buyers and sellers.

There is something else at play as well: information. With so many websites and apps pushing moment-to-moment market movement, today’s buyers are increasingly data driven. Especially after the epic housing crash that gave birth to all this data, buyer psychology and suspicion are in full swing.

“The trust is broken among buyers. In Denver and Silicon Valley, if the house has been on the market for two weeks, there is something wrong with it,” noted Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist. “Everyone is afraid to overpay, and the herd behavior in the stock market is something we’re now seeing in the housing market.”

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 1 comment

NSDCC Could Be Hotter

With all the recent action mentioned in the previous post, it makes you wonder how much the market is fueled by frustration over the selection of homes for sale.  Yes, it is the “season”, but is the lack of inventory causing buyers to grab anything, at any price?

More inventory would help satisfy the demand, and help us discover if there is a ceiling to these prices. But adding just a few more houses for sale would only fire up the frenzy.

Here are the number of NSDCC houses listed between Jan. 1 and April 15th:

Year
Number of New NSDCC Listings, Jan 1 to Apr 15
2012
1,466
2013
1,565
2014
1,486
2015
1,483

Note how the hot frenzy in 2013 was fueled by having more homes for sale.  If we just had an extra 100-200 decent houses for sale now (especially under $2,000,000), they would likely get gobbled up.

Potential sellers, now is the time!

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, North County Coastal, Spring Kick | 2 comments

Go Time

Usually around tax day, the real estate market goes into a bit of a funk, and this year it was compounded by the disconnect between our MLS and Zillow – any new listings have to be manually inputted to Zillow, which isn’t obvious to most agents.

In spite of all that, there have been some remarkable new pendings in the last week.  A few examples:

1.  The neighbor down the street had a smaller lot and no guest apartment but had a more wide open view looking south – yet they struggled for 124 days before finding a buyer who paid $1,349,000 (closed on April 2nd).  Then this house lists for $1,599,000 and goes pending the first week:

http://www.zillow.com/homes/2313-mica,-carlsbad_rb/

2.  Granted, this is across the street from what is probably the nicest house in Carlsbad, but $1,980,000 is a boatload for the neighborhood.  Yet this only took 13 days to find a buyer:

https://www.redfin.com/CA/Carlsbad/3665-Maria-Ln-92008/home/3425217

3.  This house has been listed since September, with no price changes this year – the sellers just hung on and waited, and they went pending this week:

https://www.redfin.com/CA/Carlsbad/7671-Sitio-Manana-92009/home/7486694

4.  This is a teardown on a 9,771 sf lot with some ocean view in Leucadia listed for $1,299,000.  You could buy a brand new house down the street for the same money (or less), yet it only took 26 days for this to go pending:

http://www.zillow.com/homes/380-Hillcrest-Encinitas-CA-92024_rb/

5.  The seller of this house paid $1,575,000 two years ago, which was $80,000 over the list price then.  Two weeks ago, they listed it on the range $1,629,000 – $1,699,000, and received eight offers at or above the high end of the range.  My clients offered $1,760,000 cash and lost – rumor has it that the sales price is around $1,800,000:

http://www.zillow.com/homes/1309-Caudor-St-Encinitas-CA-92024_rb/

6.  They couldn’t find a taker during the first two months of this year, so they went off the market for 30 days and came back on at the same price, $1,399,000.  Boom, went pending the first week:

http://www.zillow.com/homes/1041-Saint-Albans,-Encinitas_rb/

7.  This has the big ocean view in Cardiff, but it also has a vacant lot in between which provides some uncertainty.  But it only took a week for this to find a buyer, listed for $2,915,000:

http://www.zillow.com/homes/1464-summit,-cardiff,-ca-92007_rb/

8.  In Del Mar, Solana Beach, RSF, and La Jolla there were 17 new pendings, and almost all were lower-enders.  The auction happened on Friday night and I didn’t see any last-minute advertising like there was on the other auctions.  But it’s pending too:


Casa de Los Morros — from Concierge Auctions

Not only does there seem to be no drop-off in demand, but buyers are willing to pay whatever it takes to get the creampuffs – and most are above previous-peak pricing.

With the end of school/summertime within sight, expect the next four weeks to be very active before the graduation season commences.

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, North County Coastal, Spring Kick | 6 comments

Seller Demands

This article lays out the basic 12 tips for homebuyers to use when preparing to buy a home:

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/04/13/12-tips-for-spring-homebuying-in-a-sellers-market

The local market has been very competitive lately, with multiple offers on every quality offering.  Here are other things for home buyers to expect from sellers once you start making offers.

These aren’t thought out clearly by listing agents; instead, they are things done to them on previous deals so they will want to impose them on you whether they make sense or not:

1.  They will want you to shorten your contingency periods.

The common belief is that shorter periods will make you move faster, and then blow you out quicker if you aren’t a player.  But in reality, buyers get irritated and want to pay less or cancel as the manipulations start mounting.

2.  No appraisal contingency.

Buyers are prone to think, “But this is your price, and you want me to risk the appraisal coming in low?”

3.  Seller rentback.

Sellers want you to fund their retirement account, and have you let them live in your house for free for weeks or months.  Make sure the rent is retail-plus with heavy penalties if they don’t leave on time to ensure they move as agreed. Consider that the seller could declare bankruptcy the day after closing and make your life miserable for six months.

4.  Ernest-money deposit.

Even though it is refundable until you sign off all contingencies, the sellers will want you to increase it, just to make sure you know who the boss is.

 5. Buying ‘as-is’.

It already says in the contract boilerplate that the property is sold “as-is”, but the listing agents will mention it again just so you don’t get any ideas about asking for seller repairs.  Once you complete your inspection, the sellers and agent will expect you to live with any defects – regardless of how much you paid.

6.  Seller disclosures.

The confidence is already running high, so if there are any borderline disclosure issues, they might get left out by the sellers.  Make sure you thoroughly inspect the property, neighborhood, and HOA!

7.  Escrow and title companies.

Don’t even think about selecting your escrow and title companies, and expect that the seller choices on both will include some ‘co-ownership’ fine print later (i.e. kickbacks).

8.  Removing attached items.

Items attached to the home are part of the real estate, and are included in the sale by definition.  But don’t be surprised if the sellers strip out all the good stuff (TVs, lights, window coverings, etc.), and leave you with holes.

9.  Termite clearance.

Ha ha, very funny.  The sellers will expect you to live happily ever after with their termites, just like they have.

10.  Listing agent dominates the home inspection.

Buyers deserve to have a good look around during the home inspection, and get comfortable with what they are buying – chances are they have only seen it for a few minutes before then. Yet the listing agent wants to be there to “answer any questions”, and use that as a guise for snooping on the inspector to see if the problems and defects are really that bad.  Kudos for being concerned, but uncomfortable buyers are less likely to close escrow.

Because a bidding war feels like hitting the lottery, sellers and their agents get giddy and don’t consider how their demands can turn off buyers, and make them want to pay less, not more. 

If you want to sell for top dollar, hire a listing agent who can tactfully include safeguards that don’t cause buyers to go backwards.

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Bidding Wars, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 2 comments

Designer-Brand Condos

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this along:

http://tinyurl.com/lkswwop

Excerpts:

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Florida (AP) — The wow factor for Miami’s skyscraper condos no longer comes from a dazzling Atlantic Ocean view.

It takes something more audacious to sell beachfront property these days to the global ultra-wealthy who arrive in Miami with millions to spend on second or third homes. It takes words invested with meaning in the language of the international jet set:

Porsche. Giorgio Armani. Fendi.

With a slew of residential and hotel developments, Miami is embracing the notion that homes, like cars, handbags and jewelry, should carry luxe designer labels. The trend has spread from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, where developers discovered a few years ago that luxury-branded hotels and homes could command huge premiums that the moneyed set would happily pay.

The pull is so powerful that developer Gil Dezer’s Porsche Design Tower is mostly sold-out, even though construction won’t wrap until early 2016, meaning that most buyers committed millions based on blueprints.

Shaped like a piston driven into sand, the concrete-and-glass Porsche Design Tower will contain three car elevators. Each can whisk a convertible up 60 stories and then slide it into the owner’s personal steel-reinforced garage. (The owner can stay in the driver’s seat.) Inside the apartments, curved windows capture a vista of waves billowing from a midnight blue into a pale green along the shore.

“People look at these apartments as bank accounts,” Dezer said.

Read full article here:

http://tinyurl.com/lkswwop

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Builders, Market Buzz, The Future | 6 comments

Flipper Crowdfunding

crowd

Remember last time? When you don’t have mortgage underwriters being strict with the money, you are entering bubble territory:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102537364

Chicago-based Ben Walhood used to sell brain surgery equipment; on the side, he flipped a few houses.

“When I had the W2 and a good income, getting a mortgage was relatively straightforward,” he said.

But when the flipping profits grew, Walhood, 33, decided to go into it full time. Without the sales job, though, he had no W2, and that’s when the money dried up.  “At that point it was essentially impossible to get funding from the big banks,” he said.

Walhood turned to San-Francisco-based RealtyShares, one of a growing breed of crowdfunding platforms. Essentially, it is an online marketplace for real estate investing, where individual investors can open a free account and access investments in properties across the country. They need a minimum of $5,000 to invest and must be accredited, which includes either an annual income exceeding $200,000 or a net worth of over $1 million.

Walhood would get his property purchases funded by this “crowd” of investors, who would lend him the money. As with a mortgage, he pays interest on the loan, and the investors get about a 9 percent return. Once each property is sold, the loan and the investors are paid off.

“This gap has been left by banks that now crowdfunding platforms, like RealtyShares, are able to fill,” said Nav Athwal, CEO of RealtyShares. “They are able to provide quicker, more efficient capital that helps meet the needs of these investors who are looking for speed of execution and the ability to be flexible with their terms as well as with the underwriting standards. Banks just aren’t meeting that need.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102537364

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Flips, Market Buzz | 2 comments

Mortgage for Self-Employed

2015-03-22 19.08.47

We haven’t been hearing much lately about how tight credit is choking off the housing recovery.  Once it was announced that the GSEs were going to purchase 97% loans for the first time is five years (which starts today), the tight-credit talk started to subside.

But you still have to qualify for a mortgage, which has always been difficult for self-employed folks who write off their expenses to lower their taxable income.  The obvious solution is to lower the write-offs and pay more taxes – but that goes over like a lead balloon with those who are used to creative accounting.

The common belief is that you need two years’ worth of tax returns to qualify.

But did you know that Freddie Mac will accept only one years’ tax return?

That’s right, and I just saw it happen.  I just had a self-employed buyer with excellent credit and a 20% down payment close escrow after qualifying by using their 2014 tax return only.  The Freddie Mac Loan Prospector (their automated-underwriting service) determines whether you need 1 or 2 tax returns – so as long as the computer approves, you’re in!

For the self-employed who had a strong 2014, you may want to bite the bullet and pay more tax now so you can qualify for a bigger loan.  The Freddie Mac maximum loan amount in San Diego is $563,350, which puts your payment around $2,700 per month, plus taxes and insurance.

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Mortgage Qualifying | 4 comments

Home Buyers from Tech Industry

tech

One segment fueling the market – thanks daytrip!

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-0321-tech-real-estate-20150321-story.html

Although he primarily lives in San Francisco, entrepreneur and investor Justin Yoshimura focused on Southern California when it came time to buy property, with the aim of making it his home away from home.

In December, he paid $2.04 million for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home in Santa Monica for $250,000 below listing. Every few days, the 25-year-old flies north for the workweek, returning to Santa Monica on weekends.

“Compared to San Francisco in particular, it’s very cheap,” said Yoshimura, who founded and later sold a loyalty platform for retailers called 500friends. “Santa Monica is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in L.A. and I have a yard with a pool and a beautiful home for less than what I would pay for an equivalent-sized condo in San Francisco.”

Tami Pardee, a real estate agent specializing in West L.A., is representing several tech buyers from up north. She estimated that 10% of current clients live in Silicon Valley, including engineers from Facebook and several venture capitalists. The budgets are high: anywhere from $2 million to $5 million for a home.

“They’re buying second homes — or third or fourth homes,” she said. “We’re seeing it a lot.”

In general, Pardee said, the potential buyers are more savvy than usual, having done extensive research online before traveling down to view properties. They have specific requirements: A lot of people don’t want to be north of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, preferring to live further south, closer to the hub of tech activity. Many say they’d like a walkable neighborhood and a home with a “refined, finished” design.

“They don’t want a modern box,” she said.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-0321-tech-real-estate-20150321-story.html

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 7 comments

Millennials

saxy

The hubbub about Millennials and home-buying keeps coming.  When you see the big boys getting involved, you can’t help but think that another generation should hold on to their wallet:

http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/millennials/index.html?cid=tw-or-mil-3

Propaganda about millennials will probably help shape the outcome. My question: are millennials ready, willing, and able to live where they can afford?

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in Market Buzz, The Future | 5 comments