“Rising Prices” and Reality

From HW:

Home prices have found their floor for the most part and are even trending upward in certain markets, said Paul Diggle, property economist for Capital Economics.

Diggle said seasonal adjustments along with a high level of distressed home sales could be giving the misleading impression that home prices are strengthening in recent months. But he says even when accounting for these market distortions, “it appears that home prices have found a floor and, on some measures at least, are rising modestly.”

Diggle points out that both the Case-Shiller and CoreLogic home price indices reported gains in February, March and April. “Indeed annualized growth over that period was 6.2% and 10.9%, respectively, on the two indices—higher than our already above-consensus forecast for house prices to increase by 2% this year,” Diggle said.



From JtR:

The psycho-babble on rising home prices is starting to ramp up. It is unfortunate that those in the media insist on publishing the tasty soundbites, without any investigation.

None of the forms of measurement are very accurate – because they are measuring different houses/people/locations/conditions during each period. At best, we might identify a trend, but those are only good for a very localized area.

Now that June, 2012 is almost in the books, let’s compare detached sales in San Diego’s North County Coastal region, year-over-year:

Data June, 2011 June, 2012 Chg.
# of Sales
Avg. $/sf
Median SP
Average SP
Average SF
Average DOM

Are prices going up?  It depends how you look at it. The average cost-per-sf is virtually flat, and the median SP may be 5% higher – but the average size of the houses sold this June was bigger too.

I think the environment has changed from buyers-licking-their-chops-while-waiting-patiently to let’s-try-to-get-a-decent-buy-while-rates-are-low.

A subtle change, but enough to move some product.

The whole “prices-rising” phenomenon is mostly psychological, being pushed on unsuspecting buyers and sellers through the media and by realtors with an agenda.  Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see!

Prices Up 32.4%?

From HW:

Real estate activity in Phoenix is one giant contradiction with home prices growing at a time when new foreclosures are entering the market, the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University said in a report.

Home prices in Phoenix rose 32.4% over last year in May with the median single-family home price growing from $111,000 in May 2011 to $147,000 in the most recent ASU report.

Real estate valuation firm Pro Teck Valuation Services claims Phoenix exemplifies a market that has overshot its bottom. Pro Teck CEO Tom O’Grady suggests Phoenix-area homes are selling below their replacement costs, giving investors large yields.

Buying activity is picking up and generating new activity, and it’s occurring even as new foreclosures trickle into the market.

Generally, new foreclosures push prices downward, but foreclosures in Phoenix grew 18% in May having little to no impact on rising values.

The ASU study suggests that while new foreclosures are worrisome, they are having little effect on housing demand, especially with supply levels remaining low and prices causing competitive bids on desirable properties.

Single-family listings in the Phoenix-area inventory fell to 8,550, ASU said.

“The amount of overall sales activity is down, due to the short supply,” the ASU report explained.”The number of single-family home sales fell 5.8% compared to last May.”

Pro Tech describes the contradiction in Phoenix as one in which multiple factors are playing off each other at once. In other words, home prices eventually plummeted low enough to spark new buying activity. That factor combined with falling inventory levels led to year-over-year price increases. While new foreclosures are coming back online, ASU researchers do not expect prices to plummet.

“The Phoenix market recovery shows many positive leading indicators including the number of active listings in Maricopa County down 39.4% from a year ago, months of remaining housing inventory down to 2.5 months and foreclosure sales down 50.4%,” said O’Grady with Pro Teck. “In many areas of the Phoenix market, we are seeing nearly every ZIP code classified as strong or good, according to our most recent Market Condition scoring system.”

San Marcos Gem

For those looking for a good investment property, how about my new listing of this newer 2,259sf low-maintenance house that is walking distance to Cal State San Marcos?

It should rent for $2,300 to $2,500 per month – a smaller house that backs to the hillside is being offered for $2,850/month.

The HOA is $130/month (for a gated community!), and the Mello-Roos is $42/month. Redfin link.

Simple math:
$400,000 purchase price with 20% down payment.
$320,000 loan amount at 3.75% = $1,482 per month.

$1,482 P&I
$363 property taxes
$215 HOA+MR
$2,060 Total

$2,500 per month potential rent.

$440 per month positive cash flow potential with 20% down.

Meth Labs

From foxnews.com:

Soon after John Bates and his wife moved into their first home, the euphoria  of realizing the American Dream gave way to a nightmare of foul odors,  unexplained illnesses and spiraling costs.

A standard home inspection had revealed no problems with the home, in  Suquamish, Wash., near Seattle. Bates, a Navy veteran and pipe fitter, and wife  Jessie were thrilled to get the home on a 2-acre lot for $235,000, and they  moved in with their then-7-year old son, Tyler, in March 2007. But soon after,  the boy developed breathing problems, John Bates became “perpetually sick” and  Jessie Bates developed strange skin rashes. It was a mystery until a year and a  half later, when a neighbor casually mentioned what the previous occupant did  for a living.

The Bates family was living in a former meth lab, soaked to the studs with  dangerous chemicals. After tearing up walls and flooring, the Bates’ worst fears  were confirmed.

“It came to us when we were tearing up the master bathroom, after the floor  starting sinking and got spongy,” Jessie Bates told FoxNews.com. “That’s when we  found the iodine-like staining on the walls and human feces under the  floor.”

There was no meth lab disclosure law in Washington in 2008, when the Bates’  bought their home. Faced with an estimate of $90,000 for repairs, they instead  chose to demolish the house and build anew — at a cost of $184,000.

“It’s an insane amount of money,” Jessie Bates told FoxNews.com.

More than two years after rebuilding on the property, Jessie Bates says the  family has put the meth nightmare behind them. Tyler, now 11, is healthy and  getting good grades.

“But really, we were very, very lucky,” she said. “We know that we’re the  exception.”

Jaimee Alkinani and her husband were not as fortunate. They learned in 2007 — also from a neighbor — that their three-bedroom home in a Salt Lake City suburb  had been used as a meth lab. The contamination was later found to be 63 times  higher than the levels deemed safe by the state Department of Health. The  Alkinanis moved out and nearly went into bankruptcy before reaching a settlement  with their mortgage company.


Name The Bosa

From utsandiego.com:

Nat Bosa, the Vancouver developer responsible for many of San Diego’s downtown condo towers, says his next project will top all those.

He’s planning  a 41-story, 232-unit tower at the southeast corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway.

Estimated to cost $250 million and projected for completion in 2016, this would not be the tallest, by floor count, in the city. Its neighbor to the east, Electra, also built by Bosa,  holds that distinction:  43 stories.

But it will be the most expensive with a starting price of $750,000. And that’s as it should be, in Bosa’s view, given its front-door location at the intersection of downtown’s two main streets.

The projected size of the units range from 954 to 2,503 square feet with most in the 1,300- to 1,750-square-foot range.  Bosa’s most recent project, Bayside opened in 2009 at a price range of $569,000 to $3.4 million.

Designed by the New York offices of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the new building would feature a sleek, modern, glass-faced tower resembling a spiral shell.

CCDC staff praised the look as “well composed and exceptional.”

“The tower’s clean, straight-forward aesthetic creates a distinctive and elegant architectural statement that terminates in a unique and graceful roofline,” the staff report says.

Bosa, who has completed seven downtown condo towers so far and has at least five other sites to come, said he plans to start construction on this newest one next year because it is what he considers his most dramatic to date.

“Why leave great wine in the cellar for someone else to drink?” he asked. “I want to drink it.”

Bosa said his building schedule has fallen back three or four years because of the recession.

“We want to rev this little puppy up,” he said. “This will be marketed nationally. It’s an icon. We want to bring the San Diego condo market out with a big bang right off the bat.”


Frenzy Report

From Bloomberg.com:

NEW YORK — Home prices are beginning to rise after a six-year slump in cities from San Francisco and Seattle to Miami with jobs and lifestyles that appeal to younger and affluent buyers.

“A number of the cities that have done the best have been glamour cities,” Robert Shiller, an economics professor at Yale University and co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller property-value indexes, said Wednesday. “People have this speculative fervor. It comes back.”

A tight supply of homes and an increase in affordability fueled by record low mortgage rates are helping shore up some regional markets where values plunged during the recession.

San Francisco’s home prices surged at a 16 percent annual rate in the three months ended in April, while Phoenix gained at a 26 percent rate, according to Case-Shiller.

“Glamour cities where people want to move to and reside have always been on the East Coast and West Coast,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

“The drop in mortgage rates closer to 3.5 percent helped stimulate demand,” while sellers holding homes off the market caused “not a lot of supply, and what was out there got bid up.”

An index of pending home resales in the U.S. climbed 5.9 percent in May, figures from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed Wednesday.

Multiple bids

Brian Adamski, a Phoenix-based real estate agent, said that buyers he represents have put in bids on houses that have received as many as 40 offers.

Inventory is especially slim for properties priced below $200,000, which are popular with cash buyers, he said.

“If you have a good product, priced reasonably well, it will go quick,” he said.

Prices rose at annual rates of 12 percent over the past three months in Seattle; 11 percent in Tampa, Fla.; 8.3 percent in San Diego; and 8.2 percent in Miami, according to the Case-Shiller indexes.

Some former housing-bubble markets haven’t fared as well. Prices rose at a 2.6 percent rate in Las Vegas, and fell at a 4.3 percent rate in Atlanta and 7.3 percent rate in New York.


Morphine – Buena

Another one who died on the job – from wiki:

Morphine’s instrumentation was unusual for a rock band: Mark Sandman’s primary instrument was a two-string bass guitar (with both strings usually tuned to a 5th or octave interval) played with a slide; however, on the group’s records he added touches of guitar, piano, electronic organ, and other self invented guitar instruments such as the tritar, featuring two guitar strings and one bass string. Colley played primarily baritone saxophone, along with soprano or tenor saxes, and the rare bass saxophone, and he sometimes played two saxes at once, a la Roland Kirk; he also played occasional percussion, and Dobro on a B-side.

On July 3, 1999, Sandman collapsed on the stage of the Nel Nome del Rock festival at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, Italy (near Rome). He was soon pronounced dead of a heart attack and Morphine immediately disbanded.

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