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Most Expensive Cities

Folks had something to say about Washington D.C. being the most expensive – Susie wanted to make sure Honolulu was considered, and so did the

SD still expensive

As it happens, the Department of Commerce directly measures price levels for different regions. These price levels are the average prices paid by consumers for the things they consume. That’s probably what most people mean when they say a place is expensive.

These data show that the most expensive region in the U.S. is Honolulu, followed by New York. The D.C. area is seventh.

The Council for Community and Economic Research produces an index measuring the cost of housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and goods and services. This is pretty close to the concept people are curious about when they want to know how expensive different cities are. It scores Manhattan as 117% more expensive than most cities (more than double) and Brooklyn 67% more expensive. D.C. is only 38% more expensive, according to their rankings.


Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Market Conditions | 3 comments

Zillow Domination

zillow on the move

Zillow is having a two-day bash in Las Vegas for its Premier Agents, and 1,000 of the 60,000 PAs are attending.  It will take a miracle for to get back in the game now – look at how Zillow is pulling away:

Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky reiterated Zillow’s commitment to mass-market advertising, particularly TV advertising, stating that they’re on track to spend $75 million this year to build an “enduring brand that resonates with consumers, their children and their grandchildren for years to come.”

Before their TV campaign started 18 months ago, Bohutinsky said that one-third of visits to a real estate website started with Zillow. Today, that number is 50 percent, largely as a result of their TV exposure.

Is News Corp and going to spend $100,000,000 per year on TV advertising to get back in the fight? If so, they better start spending it today!

zillow for the kill

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 0 comments

2015 California Housing Forecast

2015 forecast

C.A.R. released their 2015 forecast:

The California median home price is forecast to increase 5.2 percent to $478,700 in 2015, following a projected 11.8 percent increase in 2014 to $455,000.  This is the slowest rate of price appreciation in four years.

“With the U.S. economy expected to grow more robustly than it has in the past five years and housing inventory continuing to improve, California housing sales and prices will see a modest upward trend in 2015,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “While the Fed will likely end its quantitative easing program by the end of this year, it has had minimal impact on interest rates, which should only inch up slightly and remain low throughout 2015.  This should help moderate the decline in housing affordability we saw occur over the past two years.”

“Additionally, the state will continue to see a bifurcated market, with the San Francisco Bay Area outperforming other regions, thanks to a more vigorous job market and tighter housing supply.”

They are projecting an 8.2% decline in sales this year – and they think sales AND prices will rise next year in spite of their expectations of higher rates and less affordability?

Their own graph shows pendings on a YoY downward trend for two years:

pending home sales

An improving economy next year – if it improves – probably won’t change the momentum of flatline pricing we have experienced over the last few months.   The only thing that could directly and positively impact sales and pricing will be mortgage rates in the 3s – hope they stick!

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Forecasts | 5 comments

The James Harman Band

James Harman and Those Dangerous Gentlemen were red hot in the early 1980s when Hollywood Fats and Kid Ramos were playing guitar. Unfortunately, Fats died of a heroin overdose in 1986, but the band carries on! (he starts around the 1:50-min. mark):

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Wednesday Rock Blogging | 0 comments

No Shills…..Almost

Just had to hedge it a little….from CAR:

This law, on and after July 1, 2015, with respect to an auction that includes the sale of real property, prohibits a person from causing or allowing any person to bid at a sale for the sole purpose of increasing the bid on any real property being sold by the auctioneer.

The law, however, does allow an auctioneer or another person to place a bid on the seller’s behalf during an auction of real property if notice, as specified, is given that liberty for that bidding is reserved. The law also requires in this regard that the person placing that bid contemporaneously disclose to all auction participants that the particular bid has been placed on behalf of the seller.

The law exempts a credit bid made by a creditor with a security interest in the property that is the subject of auction when the credit bid can result in the transfer of title to property to the creditor.

Finally, this law prohibits a lender or an auction company that is retained to control aspects of a residential real property transaction from requiring, as a condition of receiving a lender’s approval of the transaction, a homeowner or listing agent to defend or indemnify the lender or auction company from any liability alleged to result from the actions of the lender or auction company and declares a clause, provision, covenant, or agreement in violation of this prohibition to be against public policy, void, and unenforceable.

Assembly Bill 2039 (codified as Civil Code §§ 2079.23 and 1812.610) (effective July 1, 2015).

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Auctions | 6 comments

September Sales

Sept 2014 sales

Here’s an excerpt from the Dataquick sales release for September:

Irvine, CA—Southern California home sales hit a five-year high for a September, rising slightly above a year earlier for the first time in 12 months amid gains for mid- to high-end deals. The median sale price fell below an 80-month high reached in August and for the first time in more than two years none of the Southland counties posted a double-digit year-over-year price gain, CoreLogic DataQuick reported.

A total of 19,348 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 2.9 percent from 18,796 sales in August, and up 1.2 percent from 19,112 sales in September 2013, according to CoreLogic DataQuick data.

On average, sales have fallen 9.4 percent between August and September since 1988, when CoreLogic DataQuick statistics begin. Last month marked the first time sales have risen on a year-over-year basis since September last year, when sales rose 7.0 percent from September 2012.

September home sales have ranged from a low of 12,455 in 2007 to a high of 37,771 in 2003. Last month’s sales were 18.3 percent below the September average of 23,695 sales.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county region last month was $413,000, down 1.7 percent from $420,000 in August and up 8.1 percent from $382,000 in September 2013. The August 2014 median was the highest for any month since December 2007, when it was $425,000.

Southland sales were 2.9% higher in September than August, when on average there is a 9.4% decline?  Considering how high prices are, that’s good.  We didn’t do as well locally.  Here are the stats for NSDCC detached-home sales:

# of Sales
Avg. $/sf
Avg. DOM
Sept. ’13
Aug. ’14
Sept ’14

Sales were down 12% year-over-year, and 6% lower than August.

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check | 6 comments