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Category Archive: ‘Market Conditions’

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

Market Pulse

multiple offers steady

From C.A.R.

California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s March Market Pulse Survey saw slightly more multiple offers than the previous month and an increase in floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic.  The Market Pulse Survey is a new monthly online survey of more than 300 California REALTORS® to measure data about their last closed transaction and sentiment about business activity in their market area for the previous month and the last year.

  • In a sign of sellers pricing their homes more in line with market conditions, the percentage of properties selling above asking price dropped from its peak in March 2014 at 40 percent to 25 percent a year later. However, the share was up from the lowest point of 16 percent in February.  Nearly half of homes (48 percent) closed below asking price.
  • The premium paid over asking price declined in March, indicating sellers’ and buyers’ expectations are more in line. In March, homes that sold above asking price sold for 7.5 percent above asking price, down from 10 percent in February, and essentially flat from 7.6 percent in March 2014.
  • Homes that sold below asking price sold for 11 percent below asking price in March, unchanged from February. The number of homes that had listing price reductions dropped from 31 percent in February to 22 percent in March.
  • Sixty-three percent of properties received multiple offers in March, up from 61 percent in February but down from 74 percent a year ago.
  • The average number of offers per property in March was 2.6, unchanged from February but down from 3.2 a year ago.
  • Floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic were all up in March, compared to both the previous month and year, suggesting the market will continue its upswing in closed escrow sales.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Market Conditions | 0 comments

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

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

Monthly Housing Survey

another survey.

Fannie interviews 1,000 people every month, and then leaves it up to their ivory-tower guy to explain it to the masses.  Here’s my conclusion from my own personal survey: buyers are being cautious due to prices going up so fast.

http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/housing-survey.html

Consumer attitudes toward housing appear to have stalled somewhat amid a recent dip in confidence regarding personal finances and income growth, according to results from Fannie Mae’s March 2015 National Housing Survey.

Among those surveyed, the share who expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next year fell to 41 percent last month, while those who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell to 22 percent.

Additionally, the share of respondents who said they would buy a home if they were to move decreased 5 percentage points to 60 percent – a new all-time survey low.

On the bright side, the share of consumers who believe now is a good time to sell a home reached a new survey high of 46 percent, narrowing the gap with those reporting it is a good time to buy, perhaps signaling a more balanced housing market.

“Consumers are being patient prior to entering the housing market. Our March survey results emphasize how critical attitudes about income growth are to consumers’ outlook on housing,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “We’ve seen modest improvement in total compensation resulting from a strengthened labor market. However, income growth perceptions and personal financial expectations both eased off of recent highs, consistent with Friday’s weak jobs report. Simultaneously, the share of consumers expecting to buy on their next move has declined. We believe the recent setback in consumer sentiment should be short lived if early signs of income growth bear out and occur in proportion to expected interest rate increases. Meanwhile, the wait for housing expansion continues.”

http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/housing-survey.html

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Spring Kick, Survey | 0 comments

Fannie’s 20-Day First Look

fannie

Fannie Mae has been over-pricing their REOs by at least 10% since 2012, and have been getting away with it because buyers think that because it’s a foreclosure, they are getting a deal, and because Fannie provided ‘HomePath’ financing where no appraisal was required.

They instituted a seven-day First Look Program, where only the owner-occupying buyers were allowed to purchase, which helped to whip up the excitement in unsuspecting buyers, many of whom were purchasing their first home.

But in October, 2014, the HomePath financing was terminated, and apparently the REO portfolio needs to be goosed again.

Here the ‘new’ 20-day First Look Program is rolled out by our N.A.R. goons, and presented as a great new idea to help buyers and preserve neighborhoods.  But in reality, it’s extending the period that Fannie can take advantage of unsuspecting buyers:

Posted by on Apr 3, 2015 in Ethics, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Mortgage News, No-Foreclosure as Banking Policy | 0 comments

More on the Haves

rolls

More on the ultra-rich and deals being made around L.A. – thanks daytrip:

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-otherhalf-20150322-column.html#page=1

It’s not uncommon on the Westside of Los Angeles for people to shell out $20 million or more for a house.

And then take a wrecking ball to it.

Jeff Hyland, of the high-end Beverly Hills real estate agency Hilton & Hyland, had a recent tear-down sale of $35 million in the Trousdale section.

“It was in absolutely magnificent condition,” noted Hyland, who would not reveal the owner’s name but said his client was happy to pay all that money “just for the dirt,” with plans to erect a dream house.

Tearing down a $35-million house in a region where the middle class is disappearing, affordable housing is scarce and multiple families are crammed into homes or apartments — not to mention the tens of thousands living on the streets — is the kind of thing that makes you think the world is about to end.

But that’s the way things are in the Westside hills, where there’s no shortage of buyers from around the world snapping up estates. Longtime residents, suffering in cramped 10,000-square-foot quarters, are squawking about new and rebuilt estates the size of aircraft carriers.

One house just sold for north of $80 million, right around the time the Economic Policy Institute published a study concluding that “more than half” the residents of metro Los Angeles “are struggling to achieve economic security.”

The year 2014 was the biggest on record for his agency, said Hyland, with $2.9 billion in sales across Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, through Brentwood and out to Malibu. But that mark could be topped in 2015, with Hilton & Hyland’s 100 agents chasing a target of between $3 billion and $3.2 billion.

“We’ve sold, I think, 10 houses this year for over $20 million,” Hyland told me while we toured some of the most expensive homes on the U.S. market in his Rolls-Royce Ghost.

“The Chevrolet of Beverly Hills,” Hyland said of his car, which rides like a dream. The base price for a new Ghost is about $300,000, or roughly the median price of a new house in the United States.

See the great video in this full article:

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-otherhalf-20150322-column.html#page=1

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions | 6 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

Kids and Real Estate

kids

Are your kids involved with your real estate decisions? Many love it!

(Hat tip to daytrip)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/realestate/when-new-york-kids-help-find-the-family-home.html?_r=0

A year and a half ago, Skye van Merkensteijn was shooting hoops with a friend who lives at the Aldyn, a condominium-rental hybrid on Riverside Boulevard with its own indoor basketball court, climbing wall and bowling alley.

Thirteen-year-old Skye was impressed — and envious. Well, his worldly pal told him, he just happened to know of an apartment for sale on the 21st floor.

Skye went home, jumped online and called up a video of the property in question — a 12-room spread with a hot tub and private 37-by-15-foot outdoor pool.

“When my husband, John, came home,” said Skye’s mother, Elizabeth van Merkensteijn, “Skye announced: ‘We’re moving and this is the place we’re moving to.’ ”

Read full article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/realestate/when-new-york-kids-help-find-the-family-home.html?_r=0

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions | 6 comments