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Faster and Higher

Realtors including myself say that we have “low inventory”, but it’s not because fewer sellers are listing – it’s because the heavy demand is gobbling them up faster, and at higher prices:

NSDCC Listings and Sales between Jan 1 and May 15

Year
Total Listings
Sales
Avg $$/sf
Avg DOM
2009
2,163
596
$399/sf
71
2010
2,167
837
$380/sf
73
2011
2,266
891
$374/sf
82
2012
1,910
991
$374/sf
84
2013
2,057
1,118
$405/sf
49

The sales amounted to only a quarter of the total listings in 2009, and this year they are half!

We know that the higher-end market is sluggish at best (there are 713 active listings over $1M). Here’s a look at the UNDER-$1,000,000 markets:

NSDCC UNDER-$1,000,000 – Actives and Pendings/Contingents

City or Area
#Actives
#Pend/Cont
Carlsbad
115
186
Carmel Vly
28
51
Del Mar/SB
6
11
Encinitas
19
59
La Jolla
10
9
RSF
1
3
Totals
179
319

On the street, it feels like the frenzy is slowing.  But until the ACT/PEND ratios get closer to a more normal 2:1 (or at least 1:1), the UNDER-$1,000,000 market will continue to be very competitive.

The lowball season usually starts in June, but there are only 23 active listings under $1,000,000 that have been listed for more than 60 days (out of 184)!

More Foreclosure Delays

Another fishy can-kicking device being employed here – hat tip to SD Squatter for sending this in from the latimes.com:

foreclosureSales of homes in foreclosure by Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. ground nearly to a halt after regulators revised their orders on treatment of troubled borrowers during the 60 days before they lose their homes.

The banks said they paused the sales on May 6 to make sure that their late-stage foreclosure procedures were in accordance with the guidelines. The banks wouldn’t say exactly which issues had been under scrutiny.

Bank of America Corp., by contrast, continued foreclosure sales at a normal pace, apparently confident its procedures met the revised restrictions.

“We manage our mortgage servicing operations in compliance with all laws, regulations and standards for sound business practices,” BofA said Friday in a statement.

The halted foreclosures are the latest complication stemming from a settlement between 13 large mortgage servicers and their federal overseers. Banks and regulators also have struggled to distribute billions of dollars in aid to borrowers equitably as required under the settlement.

Chase resumed a normal volume of foreclosure sales last week, saying its practices complied with the latest bulletin from the Treasury Department agency that regulates national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-banks-foreclosure-halt-20130517,0,4350791.story

More on Prop 13

From Richard Rider, a local pot-stirrer – HT to DOB:

When it comes to gathering sufficient property taxes, Prop 13 is no problem at all – except for profligate spenders.

Look at the history of my San Diego County – a history which pretty much reflects the history of property taxes in the urban/suburban counties that hold over 85% of California’s population.

According to the SD County Tax Assessor, in 1977 – the year BEFORE Prop 13 took effect (when everything was working great, according to Prop 13 critics) – our countywide property tax revenue was about $639 million.

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, our county assessor reported real estate property tax revenues of $4.550 BILLION.

For every property tax dollar collected in 1977, the county in 2011-12 collected $7.12.

And BTW, according to the County Assessor, since Prop 13 passed, 97% of the pre-Prop 13 county owner-occupied homes has changed hands (and been reassessed) at least once.

During that time frame, our county population has grown about 85%, and inflation has gone up about 253%. Hence property tax revenues today are substantially higher than the bloated PRE-Prop 13 year, even after adjusting for inflation and population growth.

Read more here:

Inventory Watch – Growth

The intensity of the frenzy is determined by inventory – which grew this week, signaling some slow down in the market:

The UNDER-$1,200,000 Market:

Date NSDCC Active Listings Avg. LP/sf DOM Avg SF
April 29
201
$384/sf
36
2,599sf
May 5
195
$381/sf
36
2,633sf
May 9
207
$387/sf
35
2,624sf
May 18
241
$397/sf
33
2,566sf

The OVER-$1,200,000 Market:

Date NSDCC Active Listings Avg. LP/sf DOM Avg SF
April 29
620
$806/sf
94
5,183sf
May 5
606
$806/sf
93
5,223sf
May 9
628
$808/sf
93
5,150sf
May 18
653
$807/sf
92
5,161sf

You can feel it on the street, but a slight slow down only means fewer offers in the bidding wars. We would need a few weeks of reversal before the momentum takes a hit.

Short-Sale Fraud by Realtors

scam alertThese are the short-sale scams mentioned in yesterday’s comments that deserve their own post as a resource for people to use to protect themselves.  If you have seen other tricks, include them in the comments so we stay aware!

The most common packages:

1. The listing agent spoons his lowball short-sale listing to an investor to start the lender-approval process. Agent then finds the retail buyer, and once the investor closes at the lowball price, they sell it to retail buyer and pocket the difference. 

Once a SS investor chimed in here that this is legit because he discloses to the lender that he is buying for the purpose of immediate re-sale for profit. I’m not sure why a bank would agree to that, but we do know that some banks’ short-sale departments are so busy that they will approve sales just to move product, and may not care as much about getting top dollar.

2. The listing agent can’t close the lowball deal so he tacks on a five-figure processing fee or lien-release charge instead. The short-sale processor is complicit though usually paid by buyer so fiduciary conflict there too, though they will claim to be a neutral 3rd party.

3. The investor approcahes the listing agent and agrees to have the LA represent them on the purchase so agent makes 6%. But the investor gets to negotiate the deal with the bank, and they go in ultra-low with or without the agent’s knowledge. If the investor gets it approved, hooray, they put in the standard $15,000 flipper package and make $100,000+ by selling it to the retail buyer they find later. If not, the seller has to start over on a short-sale process before he gets foreclosed.

4. Listing agent appears to expose property to the open market, and fields several offers. Short-sale closes months later for far-under your offer price, and an insider represented the eventual buyer – usually an agent in the same office.

Tell-tale evidence, usually left all over the MLS:

A. The five-second listing, where once the listing is inputted, it is immediately marked pending or contingent.

B. List-price reductions after marked pending/contingent, usually several smaller reductions over months of time.

C. Listing office represents both buyer and seller (listing agent gets a buddy in the office to help diffuse the obvious).

D. None or one photo, or a few terrible photos meant to throw people off the trail.

E. We saw in the news the idea of ‘negative staging’ where they beat up the house prior to appraisal.

F. Widespread abuse of fiduciary duty being inflicted by new and experienced agents, many of whom work at big-name legitimate firms whose managers look the other way.

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