From Eric at nctimes.com:
In a new sign that the local housing market may be pulling up from its nose dive, home sales in North County jumped in May, and they rose slightly in Southwest Riverside County, data from Realtors said.
Last year, homebuyers generally stayed out of the housing market as the economy sputtered. But homebuyers seem ready to jump back in the market this year, even as sellers bail out, creating a situation in which homebuyers have to bid for the few remaining properties in North County. Inventory is down in Southwest Riverside County as well, but home sales have been flat there.
“People want to buy,” said Maggie Rogan, a Fallbrook real estate broker. “The buyers are out there looking.”
In North County, buyers picked up 957 houses in May, up 27.4 percent from 12 months earlier and up 7.9 percent from April, according to the North San Diego County Association of Realtors. That’s more houses than they bought in the autumn of 2009 or spring of 2010, when a government tax credit goosed sales for a while.
The number of listings in May was down 27 percent from last May, which meant some houses attracted multiple bids.
“The inventory is low. I don’t have as many homes to show people that I’m used to,” said Dusty Brazil, a Carlsbad real estate agent.
Despite the bidding wars in some places, median home prices keep falling. The median home price in San Diego County fell 2.4 percent on an annual basis to $420,000, though that was up 6.9 percent from April.
Reasons why the recent surge will look seasonal as summer plods along:
1. The good news in the media will cause sellers to become giddy, and tack on an extra 5% to 10% to their list price in an attempt to capitalize.
2. There aren’t enough good buys coming on the market, which means buyers will be forced to consider paying more. I think there is great reluctance – buyers would rather wait, than over-pay.
3. The election cycle will become more distracting, and boredom will set in.
If sales slow down through the rest of summer, it will be tempting to wait a little longer as we bounce around. But you won’t see the good deals lying around – you have to dig them out!