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The spring selling season is wrapping up.

I think it’s already over, but there will likely be a flurry of activity during the next couple of weeks in the under-$800,000 market,  It will be impressive if we see a group of sellers who waited until now to list their homes for sale to catch peak urgency.  Any seller who thinks their house is worth $7-something should list today for $799,000 and see if they get tax-credit lucky.

But I think that most of the tax-credit buyers have already secured their purchase, and have closed or are in escrow – with many jockeying for a May closing and their double cheeseburger.

With much of the demand pulled forward, the next 60-90 days are likely to be a long flat spot – especially with so many sellers who insisted on packing that extra 5% to 10% of icing on top of their retail-priced cake.  They are being overly-optimistic about today’s buyers/frenzy, and slow to reduce their prices.  It will probably be like last year, where the total of September and October sales (205, 175) of North SD County Coastal detached homes was higher than May and June (167, 179), with sellers lowering their prices as summer winds down.

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Buyers came out firing the first of January, and 3+ months later the inventory is picked over.  In NSDCC there are 1,085 detached active listings, and 938 of them (86%) have been on the market more than two weeks – they should start lowering their price to get in the game.  But instead they will likely want to wait another month or two, thinking it’ll get better, later.

The inventory is so thin that buyers can see all the homes in their target area within a day or two, and then they just monitor the new listings.  This puts intense focus on every new listing, but sellers and listing agents mis-interpret all the early action as their price is too low – and they hold out.  A week or two later the visitors have dried up, and the listing gets stale, relative to how wrong the list price is.

A very aggravating practice that has been growing (besides the insane booties) are the agents who insist on throwing their new listing on the MLS, but then add that it can’t be seen for days or weeks.  They are burning all of their prime urgency, and buyers forget about them by the time they are available to be seen.  Anything a listing agent does to dissuade buyers is shooting themselves in the foot, but apparently few think about that, and just follow the herd.

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I think mortgage interest rates are a concern to buyers, but as long as rates stay under 6%, it’s likely that buyers will tolerate them.  Buyers who have been in the hunt for months or years aren’t going to give up, but they’ll probably be pickier, and expect better pricing.  Doubtful that sellers will listen, and another reason for the Big Stalemate to start right about now.

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No big surge of short sale detached listings in North SD County Coastal yet either.  There were 31 listed in March, and 5 the first week of April.  With HAFA being aimed at Fannie/Freddie loans only, any benefit is likely to miss SoCal.  Both WFB and Bank of America are offering webinars, conference calls, etc., but until they waive the right to pursue any deficiencies, the whole package will be a nothing-burger here.  More fuel for the Big Stalemate, with buyers hoping for more drama, and sellers burying head in sand. 

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