Rob Dawg said to keep an eye on seasonality, and I think we can all concur that the real estate market around the holidays is “different” than other months.

I took out RSF and La Jolla, and ran stats on Carlsbad-to-Carmel Valley detached.

Let’s compare 3Q to 4Q:

Year 3Q/4Q Sales diff 3Q/4Q $/sf diff
1997
458/343
-25%
$171/$184
+8%
2001
561/414
-26%
$242/$241
0
2002
619/593
-4%
$272/$270
-1%
2003
800/589
-26%
$313/$335
+7%
2004
584/410
-23%
$401/$410
+2%
2005
532/414
-22%
$436/$413
-5%
2006
400/402
+1%
$409/$400
-2%
2007
415/275
-34%
$415/$398
-4%
2008
416/295
-29%
$383/$339
-11%
2009
268 so far
$340/

If you take out 2002 and 2006, the average decline in sales is -26% between 3Q and 4Q.

Last year was the only year where there were double-digit declines in both sales and average cost-per-square foot. What does that mean?

It was my experience that there was a lousy selection of homes for sale (accounting for lower pricing), and/or terrible pricing that left most sellers waiting.

The numbers for July and August of 2008/2009:

Sales: 292/268
$/sf: $388/$340

After the late-reporters we should see that we’re on the same track for sales this quarter as 3Q08, but running around -12% on pricing. Assuming that a trickle of REOs are coming to keep sales about ‘normal’ (-20% or so for 3Q-to-4Q), and we should see them keep pricing 10% to 15% under 4Q08.

If it goes like that, it’ll be setting up a boisterous first half of 2010, with buyers hearing about more people “stealing one from the bank”.

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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, bubbleinfo.com which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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