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Zillow vs The Rest

This week we heard the the news that homes.com was acquired:

Homes.com has a similar business model to massive real estate website Zillow, at least as far as Zillow’s core business goes. Homes.com is a property listing portal that helps agents and brokers market properties. The platform supports more than a half-million agents and brokers, and the website receives about 5 million unique visitors each month in the form of buyers searching listings.

For the time being, Homes.com is a much smaller business. Zillow’s real estate platform received more than 200 million unique monthly users in the fourth quarter of 2020 and was visited 2.2 billion times altogether. And Zillow has a rapidly growing business of directly buying and selling homes, while Homes.com is solely a home search platform. What’s more, keep in mind that CoStar is buying Homes.com for $156 million — Zillow’s market cap is about $34 billion.

However, it’s not just Homes.com anymore. Once it’s brought under CoStar’s umbrella, it will join forces with brands like the LoopNet commercial real estate marketplace (an area where Zillow doesn’t operate), Apartments.com, Apartment Finder, and most importantly, the Homesnap real estate agent workflow software business.

Homesnap is another recent acquisition, purchased by CoStar in December 2020. The Homesnap platform offers a marketing platform for agents, and CoStar plans to take advantage of the combination with Homes.com. As CEO Andrew Florance said in the press release announcing the acquisition, “Our plan in bringing Homesnap and Homes.com together is to help agents market their listings in support of the ‘your listing, your lead’ philosophy — which stands in contrast to most players in the industry.”

Can any home-search portal keep up with Zillow?  They would need to spend the big bucks on advertising like Zillow does, just to be in the running.  Zillow already has the name-brand recognition, a huge lead in monthly visitors, and they have the killer instinct and willingness to spend big on advertising – including key product placement. Displaying their for-sale signs in their ads will further establish them as a national brokerage in the mind of the consumer:

Active Listings & Sales History


It is unusual to have so few active listings for sale.  Yet, we are having more sales than ever, with the quality homes all selling in the first week – leaving very few active listings.

Casual observers don’t find any decent homes just lying around, making it difficult to stay engaged.  You gotta really want to buy a house these days, which should help keep the demand in check – it’s just for serious players only.

But there are plenty of those, and we should hit October levels of sales in each of the next few months:

Upzoning Carlsbad

Above is the map produced by the City of Carlsbad to help identify the areas where they can increase production of multi-family units, and try to reach their low-income housing goals.

I circled in red the larger developments:

  • The owners of the Mall have proposed rezoning their parking lots and adding 993 homes there, plus the neighboring Verizon/Michael’s shopping center has proposed redeveloping it into 242 residential units – a total of 1,235 homes.
  • The #4 site in the middle was once going to be a WalMart (who owns it), but it never gained traction.  A developer from Phoenix has proposed building 474 homes on the 39 acres there.
  • There are six parcels totaling 21 acres on both sides of Poinsettia at Brigantine.  Under the current zoning, 50 homes could be built there, but the developer as applied for upzoning so they can build 327 multi-family units.

If re-zoned, these projects will include NO single-family houses. Because the city is pressed to hit their goals, it looks like most of these units will be restricted to low-to-moderate income residents.

Read the full report here:

Link to City of Carlsbad report

NSDCC 1Q Sales By Area

Here’s the first quarter breakdown so you can see how your area compares with others:

NSDCC First Quarter Sales By Area

Town or Area
Zip Code
New Listings, 1Q
Closed Sales
Median SP
Active Listings Today
Cardiff
92007
34
27
$2,050,000
13
NW Carlsbad
92008
62
39
$1,430,000
17
SE Carlsbad
92009
149
98
$1,367,500
15
NE Carlsbad
92010
31
24
$1,018,500
3
SW Carlsbad
92011
50
43
$1,339,000
4
Carmel Valley
92130
131
108
$1,757,500
23
Del Mar
92014
60
25
$2,200,000
29
Encinitas
92024
144
99
$1,775,000
34
La Jolla
92037
130
88
$2,580,000
90
RSF
92067
100
70
$2,925,000
84
Solana Beach
92075
27
18
$2,300,000
12
NSDCC
All Above
918
639
$1,787,000
324

In yesterday’s 1Q history, there wasn’t any year that got down to a ratio of 2:1 new-listings-to-sales.

All of these except Del Mar are much stronger than 2:1!

The number of active listings is bleak, if you are a buyer, and glorious if you are a seller!

If we do get our regular seasonal increase in inventory over the next two months, it should goose sales even higher. The buyers who have been in the hunt but haven’t won a bidding war yet are highly motivated to get it done!

Easy Sleazy

Compared to all the other 77-year old rockers putting out pandemic music, this is pretty good:

He’s long been known as the nicest man in rock, but we think Dave Grohl is also the busiest. In the last week, Grohl has announced plans for his book The Storyteller, a new star-studded TV series entitled What Drives Us, and now, a collaboration with Mick Jagger where he plays guitar, bass and drums.

The slightly punk-tinged song, titled Easy Sleazy, is a celebration of the end of lockdown, with Jagger saying “I wanted to share this song that I wrote about eventually coming out of lockdown, with some much needed optimism – thank you to Dave Grohl for jumping on drums, bass and guitar, it was a lot of fun working with you on this – hope you all enjoy Eazy Sleazy!”

Grohl added on social media, “It’s hard to put into words what recording this song with Sir Mick Jagger means to me. It’s beyond a dream come true. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any crazier……and it’s the song of the summer, without a doubt!!”

Dave’s new series, “What Drives Us”, featuring Ringo Starr, St. Vincent, Lars Ulrich and more will air on April 30 via The Coda Collection in the US and Amazon Prime worldwide (Exene is in it too!):

NSDCC 1Q Sales

While it feels like the inventory-less frenzy, there have been enough houses coming to market to set a new record for the number of 1Q sales:

NSDCC Sales, First Quarter

Year
New Listings
Closed Sales, 1Q
Median Sales Price
Median DOM
2012
479
230
$811,750
76
2013
1,290
422
$842,950
39
2014
1,234
576
$1,008,750
54
2015
1,318
634
$1,160,400
54
2016
1,448
572
$1,124,500
56
2017
1,296
604
$1,175,000
52
2018
1,230
569
$1,323,000
19
2019
1,278
535
$1,290,000
27
2020
1,081
572
$1,420,500
24
2021
939
661
$1,800,000
14

The MEDIAN SALES PRICE HAS GONE UP 27% during the covid era!

Home Auctions

We should sell homes via auctions. They are open, fair, and effective.

In Australia, home auctions are the primary vehicle.

Here’s an example of dozens of people standing around in the street to auction a $2,000,000+ home:

Retirees Are Upsizing?

The multi-gen home will be a very popular choice for many.  From cnbc.com – an excerpt:

Things have changed in the last few years, however, and a new trend has emerged. Rather than downsizing or right-sizing, retirees are starting to upsize. They are moving to bigger homes in their golden years.

According to a recent Merrill Lynch/Age Wave study of more than 3,600 respondents, 49% of retirees didn’t downsize in their last move, and 30% actually ended up moving into larger homes.

And they are doing it for all sorts of reasons — from finding a home that better suits them to buying a home with room for a live-in parent or visiting family members.

According to a recent Del Webb survey conducted among 50- to 60-year-olds, 22% are looking to move to bigger homes. The study also found that 43% want to remain in their existing home or move to a new location with comparable space.

This change marks the first time such a significant majority of retirees have gone against real estate norms.

Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this culture shift and the financial considerations that come into play if you intend to upsize your home.

Read full article here:

Link to CNBC Article

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