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Journal

Gord Downie, RIP

We lost another all-timer today, Gord Downie, 53, lead singer of The Tragically Hip.  He started the band with high-school friends from Kingston, Canada, made great music for 34 years, and died yesterday of brain cancer in his hometown, which is the way it should be.

He went on tour last year – it had to be incredible for all involved to play this last show after 34 years, knowing that your lead singer was on his way out:

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Wednesday Rock Blogging | 0 comments

This Week’s Disrupter

This start-up has the right ingredients, but their auctions do have a reserve amount and no buyer-agent commissions, which cuts out other agents.  They say  “No Double Ending’, but when the buyers are unrepresented it puts the listing agent in an agency position – if the buyers ask a question, and the agent replies, an agency relationship has been created. 

Every start-up wants to beat out realtors, and think that the consumers will trust their faceless, unproven venture instead:

LINK

TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2017 — There is a new way to buy and sell real estate in Ontario. With today’s official launch of On The Block Realty, the uncertain and often frustrating process of trying to navigate the home market has taken an innovative step forward. This brand new real estate brokerage based in Toronto, has opened its doors to the public, offering new unique approaches to the industry.

Chief among these advancements is the development of a cutting edge online auction platform that is aimed at bringing much needed transparency to buyers and sellers. The home buying process has been protected by silent bids in many situations, leaving buyers confused about what price to pay, and sellers concerned that some buyers may not have offered their best price. Inspired by the successful practice of real estate auctions in countries like Australia and the UK, this new system offers an exciting alternative for sellers who want to be certain they have maximized every bid from prospective buyers. It also ensures that every buyer has an equal opportunity to buy without any secrecy guarding the process.

“This isn’t about changing or fixing anything, it’s about evolving,” says CEO Daniel Steinfeld. He adds, “People deserve a choice when they make the biggest financial decision of their life. They also deserve clarity about every aspect of the transaction. We provide that.”

While the auction platform is the most distinguishing feature of this premium brokerage, there are several other features that the company believes will set it apart from the traditional brokerages in Ontario.

There is a ‘No Double Ending’ policy that ensures both sides of a transaction are never represented by the same Realtor. President and Broker of Record Katie Steinfeld says, “It is impossible to fathom that people with perfectly opposite financial objectives could have their best interest adequately represented by the same person.” She continues, “This is especially so when that individual stands to make more money by being on both sides of the transaction.” While the Ontario government and real estate industry have diverted from the point of protecting the consumer’s best interest, On The Block has done what makes the most sense – disallow the concept from their business model.

Prospective buyers without representation can still fully participate in a purchase or bidding process, but will not have a client relationship with On The Block – and if they choose to purchase without representation, there is no additional commission payable by either the buyer or the seller. “Buyers are entitled to an understanding of how commissions work. Just because it is widely positioned that the sellers ‘pay’ commissions, that cost is directly coming out of the sale proceeds, and ultimately a cost to the buyer,” Mrs. Steinfeld explains. On The Block’s Transparent Commission Policy explains that buyers should only pay for the service they receive, and so purchasing without representation shouldn’t cost them the extra 2.5% that often get baked into the purchase price.

Beyond the increase in transparency, the company provides a first of its kind ‘all inclusive’ approach to selling a home. One of the most unique included features is that homeowners are given a week in a partner hotel during the selling process to take away the stresses of cleaning and constant vacating that come with showings of the property. This is in addition to perks including professional photography, home inspections, and one of a kind custom signage for every property. “We are trying to sell a home, not ourselves,” Mr. Steinfeld says. “The high end signage is the largest legally allowed, and it is completely focused on the property it is trying to sell, not the brokerage or the name of the sales representative.”

Interested sellers are invited to use the platform at an introductory rate that includes all the bells and whistles, but costs less than half of what traditional Realtors charge.

It has been well documented that the real estate market could use a new approach. Perhaps this is the big change everyone has been waiting for.

About On The Block

On The Block is a premium real estate brokerage and auction house offering prospective home sellers the option to sell by auction or traditionally. As platforms like Uber and Airbnb have disrupted their spaces, On The Block is positioned to challenge a real estate process that for too long hasn’t seen significant change. With home prices continuing to fluctuate widely, and affordability diminishing, it’s more important than ever to give people some choice and power in the biggest selling and purchasing decisions of their lives.

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Auctions, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Cliffhanger

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this in – the price is now down to $699,000:

Homes near this Chapel Drive neighborhood fetch about $1.5 million, and Crowell priced this property as such. She figures it will cost $300,000 to stabilize the hill that got washed away during February’s rains, $250,000 to fully upgrade the 2,385-square-foot home and leave $100,000 left over for profit. “That’s the going price in this neighborhood,” she said. “The house is still near the best schools.”

The couple selling the house is in their 90s and were forced to move out of the home they’ve lived in since 1968 this winter. While the property underneath the home is shaky, Crowell said the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is in really good shape.”

As of Monday, Crowell said she had at least 10 inquiries on the home. She said she felt supremely confident she’d sell it — and soon. But she fully recognized that anywhere else in the country, a Realtor who asked for nearly $1 million for a home sitting precariously on a landslide and “you’d be nuts.”

http://www.ktvu.com/news/red-tagged-lafayette-home-teetering-on-landslide-sparks-bidding-war-starting-at-850k

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/21-Chapel-Dr-Lafayette-CA-94549/18468498_zpid/

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing | 2 comments

Gap Between Median List and Sale Prices

Reader hema-mendo wondered about the mega-gap between the NSDCC median list price, and median sales price for the last 30 days:

I don’t get it. Why is the spread so wide?

It is a bit alarming to see more than a million-dollar gap between the two:

NSDCC median list price: $2,300,000

NSDCC median sales price, last 30 days: $1,245,300

Half of the current listings – and 83% of the sales – are under $2,300,000!  None of the supply-and-demand economics seem to apply to the high-end sellers and their agents – they are happy to sit and wait……for something.

Most probably think it just takes time before the right young couple with 2.2 kids comes along some day.  But the numbers are daunting.

A median list price means we have 402 houses listed over $2,300,000, and there were 41 sales of the same over the last 30 days – let’s call it a 10-month supply.  But it’s been this way for years, and no one seems to mind.

This is what happens when virtually everyone on the market is an elective seller, and is loaded with equity.  Once a house hits the open market, the ego takes over because now the sellers’ family and friends know the price.  Unless the reason for selling is one of the Big Three (death, divorce, or job transfer), the seller’s ego insists on defending that price, even though nobody has looked at their home for weeks or months.

Waiting is much easier on the ego than having to dump on price.

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check | 3 comments

Boom-Bust Comparison

Good to see the California crash of the early 1990s get a mention here. It was a hum-dinger for its time – but they note below that the full recovery only took eight years too.

http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/10122017_home_prices.asp

With home prices nearly back to where they were when the housing crisis began, CoreLogic’s principal economist Molly Boesel compares the duration of the recent cycle to those of other downturns.  While there hasn’t been a comparable period of performance nationwide, she looks at several regional ones.

After hitting peak in 2006, the national price level fell for five years, finally reaching bottom in March 2011.  Most other sources set the date for the bottom of the market to exactly a year later which may indicate they are using inflation adjusted numbers.  From peak to trough, prices fell 33 percent nationally. As of July 2017, CoreLogic data shows prices were approximating the 2006 level.

Boesel compares these numbers to those of the Texas oil bust in the mid-1980’s which resulted in a 16 percent decline over 3.5 years. The peak to recovery cycle in that downturn took nearly nine years.  In the early 1990s in California, defense and manufacturing job losses led to home price declines in that state. After falling by 15 percent over five and a half years, home prices in California fully recovered after eight years.  The U.S. home price decreases that started in 2006 were twice as severe as these two regional declines.

While national home price numbers are nearly back to their peak, the recovery is far from even. Nevada, where prices dropped the farthest of any state, 60 percent, the 11-year period that has elapsed has left the state 27 percent short of its March 2006 peak.

In Colorado, on the other hand, prices fell 14 percent from an August 2007 peak but have now surpassed that peak by 42 percent.  Boesel calls Colorado “an extreme case” of rapidly rising prices, but says 34 states are now above their pre-crisis home price levels.

Boesel says inflation should also be factored into the pace of recovery.  From the peak in housing prices through this past July, the inflation has totaled just under 18 percent. When home prices are adjusted for that, the trough was deeper, down 40 percent from the beginning of the cycle, and the recovery shallower; prices remain 17 percent off the peak.

http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/10122017_home_prices.asp

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Sales and Price Check | 1 comment

2018 Forecast

The 2018 forecast from the California Association of Realtors is out, and they are towing the company line as usual.  They expect the statewide sales to increase 1% and the California median sales price to rise 4.2% next year.

How is San Diego County doing this year?

Here are the detached-home sales and median price for the first nine months of the year in San Diego County:

SD County Detached-Home Sales, January through September

Year
Number of Sales
YoY Change
Median SP
YoY Change
2012
18,648
$375,000
2013
19,385
+4%
$450,804
+20%
2014
16,858
-13%
$497,250
+10%
2015
18,389
+9%
$527,000
+6%
2016
18,192
-1%
$555,000
+5%
2017
18,068
-1%
$600,000
+8%

My guess is for the San Diego County detached-home sales to drop 5% next year, and the median sales price to rise 5%.  The drop in sales to be on the high-end.

What’s your guess?

The C.A.R. 2018 Forecast:

Read More

Posted by on Oct 16, 2017 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market | 14 comments

Inventory Watch

A quieter week but still plenty of new pendings:

Week
New Listings
New Pendings
Aug 7
99
71
Aug 14
76
65
Aug 21
83
62
Aug 28
96
60
Sept 4
74
71
Sept 11
81
42
Sept 18
77
47
Sept 25
67
59
Oct 2
71
61
Oct 9
96
63
Oct 16
72
51

Today’s NSDCC median list price: $2,300,000

NSDCC median sales price, last 30 days: $1,245,300

A spread of more than a million dollars!

Read More

Posted by on Oct 16, 2017 in Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market | 1 comment

Update on Boomer Liquidations

Coming to a neighborhood near you….some day!  From cnbc.com:

LINK

Jeff Swaney is worried about selling his 5,600-square-foot home one day.

In his neighborhood south of Atlanta, demand and prices for large ranch houses like his have declined over the last decade, as more young professionals move to smaller abodes in hipper areas. He doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.

The 51-year-old real estate investor and owner of Swaney Consulting Group has personal reasons to hold on, at least for now. He may eventually move to a condo at the beach, but wants his future grandchildren to enjoy his pool, yard and basement. For these amenities, he spends about $18,000 annually in lawn maintenance, taxes, insurance and utilities alone.

The housing market, on the rebound since the Great Recession, is increasingly being driven by millennials and first-time homebuyers who “are hungry for starter homes and efficient layouts,” said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for realtor.com.

The trend may leave some older homeowners in a lurch if they want to retire, downsize and cash in their nest egg.

Large single family homes — defined as the largest 25 percent of all listings on realtor.com and about 2,900 square feet to 4,000 square feet — receive 12 percent to 45 percent less views on realtor.com than the typical home in each market.

This year so far, large, single family homes are selling up to 73 percent (or 50 days) slower on average than the typical home in each market.

The often hefty price tags for bigger homes contribute to their lengthier sale times because there is a smaller pool of buyers who can afford them, said Artur Miller, founder and CEO of Miami-based AMLUXE Realty.

Even Swaney, whose 1994 home appraised for $350,000, thinks he may have a tough time selling.

“The McMansions that soon-to-retire people purchased in the 80s and 90s are a very difficult sell right now,” said Melissa Rubenstein, a former real estate attorney who now sells luxury properties with Re/Max HomeTowne Realty in Bergen County, New Jersey. Many are outdated and may not include a first floor bedroom and bath suite for aging in place or in-laws.

Listings of large homes are also up two percent from last year, suggesting owners are dumping them faster, while listings of all homes are down 10 percent from last year, according to the realtor.com data.

“We’re finding these homes are an albatross for clients,” said Michael E. Chadwick, a financial planner and owner of Chadwick Financial Advisors in Unionville, Connecticut.

“We’ve got several right now who have been trying to sell them and move south, and they’ve cut the asking price by over 30 percent each and they’re still not going anywhere fast,” he said.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 14, 2017 in Boomer Liquidations, Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling? | 5 comments