Inventory Watch

Tomorrow is March! How did the inventory do in the first two months of 2022?

NSDCC Number of New Listings, Jan 1 to Feb 28 (% priced over $2M):

2019: 779 (34%)

2020: 706 (40%)

2021: 602 (47%)

2022: 389 (67%)

There will be a few more added to this year’s count to get it into the low-400s. But for the buyers who want/need to move this spring, the ultra-low supply is demoralizing.

In the same period in the 2009-2011 (when nobody wanted to sell because the market was in the tank), the counts were 900+ each year!



Maybe this could free up some homes for sale. Move in with your friend or neighbor!

Excerpts from the wapo:

Faced with escalating home prices and rents in tight housing markets, as well as careers or earnings curtailed by age or the pandemic, some boomers are looking to share their homes. Enter the boommates.

“With the boomers aging, you see higher and higher numbers in shared housing,” said Rodney Harrell, vice president of family, home and community at AARP, pointing out that boomers are more open than previous generations to trying alternative solutions to the traditional aging trajectory.

In an 1987 interview with NPR, the late Betty White noted that the four women who lived together in “The Golden Girls” did so for social reasons rather than financial necessity. “All that I think we have accomplished is to show that there is an alternative lifestyle,” White told “Fresh Air” about the success of the show. “If you notice, ‘The Golden Girls’ are not together for economic reasons. They’re together for sociological reasons. It combats the loneliness.”

Four decades later, the idea of housemates late into adulthood is experiencing a revival, but with financial factors front and center. As boomers live longer and retire without the financial safety net of employer-sponsored pensions, covering the rising costs of food, housing and insurance become major considerations. Linda Hoffman, president and CEO of the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, which runs a home-sharing program, noted an increasing number of applications as finances become more of a stressor.

“When we started the home-sharing program in 1981, relieving feelings of isolation and loneliness was the primary need,” Hoffman said. “Now, an affordable place to live is the number one need. Hosts need help in meeting their housing expenses.” Even for housemates who entered into the arrangement for social reasons, the extra money has become more important as their financial picture changed with the pandemic.

“The majority of people considering home sharing with a friend or family member tells me that there’s an opportunity there for more people to take advantage of that excess housing stock that we already have within our own homes, and that perhaps meet your needs, and those of a friend or neighbor,” Harrell said. “Or maybe companionship that may help with costs, such as caregiving. There’s just so much advantage there. And we’re just not necessarily taking advantage of it. It’s nowhere near its potential.”

Read full article here:

Link to Article

Realtor Pay

This week, the Wall Street Journal ran a story entitled, ‘How Should Realtors Get Paid’.

The author is a general freelance writer who describes herself as ‘a versatile writer with experience covering a wide range of topics. As a freelancer I contribute regularly to the Wall Street Journal, writing about personal finance, healthcare, aging and technological innovation’.  Because she isn’t a real estate expert, she relied on three college professors for content:

They went off on some crazy tangents and no realistic conclusions were found, other than to note that there are discount brokers if you want to pay less.

My thought:

Would you do your job for the same pay if these were part of your job description:

  1. You invest your own time and money along the way.
  2. You don’t know when/if you will get paid, and….
  3. You don’t control the final decisions – the clients do.

There should be a hefty bonus for those factors.

That being said, I would agree that the majority of realtors are grossly overpaid, relative to the services provided.

I see it every day, and if you go to open houses, you’ll see it too. The standard agent knows how to identify each room (this is the kitchen, this is the family room, etc.) and then ask you if you have any questions. Most can complete the fill-in-the-blank contracts too.

But they aren’t professional salespeople who can deliver expert advice on the fly, recognize good and bad features and assign costs/values on the fly, and put the correct price on a home based on the complete package of home’s condition and location, market conditions, and buyer pool….on the fly.  Those are the realtors that deserve full compensation because the piece of mind delivered is worth extra.  It is a service that is more than just taking an order.

Unfortunately, the order-takers are prevailing though, because consumers don’t know the difference and we all get paid the same.  The industry isn’t motivated to disclose this to consumers because they get paid more on the lousy/inexperienced agents, so it will be up to consumers to seek out the experts in a quickie, push-button world.

Eventually, companies like Zillow will determine the values, and consumers will decide if they can live with that.  Most will – it is what they are being fed by the new-age disrupters who are advertising the most. It should be just a matter of time before they prevail, and the old guard packs it up.

There will be lower costs eventually, and virtually no good help.

Reset Your Tax Basis

When thinking about selling, homeowners (especially the long-timers) complain about paying the capital-gains tax on their net profit above the $250,000 exemption per person.  With the rapid escalation in values lately, it has turned into a six-figure tax for many!

Here’s something to think about and I’ll give credit to Doug because it’s been one of the main reasons he has wanted to move. The problem is that people don’t move enough.

Want to avoid paying capital-gains tax?

You should move every time your equity approaches the exemption amount!

The last big frenzy in the early-2000s was fueled by people taking advantage of their tax-free profits by moving repeatedly, and getting rich in the process.

It’s when I came up with my favorite motto:

Don’t Unpack, I’ll Be Back!

Of course, I think everyone should move every 6-12 months – it’s exciting! {#Dancingbanana}

War and The Frenzy

Will the Ukraine war have an impact the real estate frenzy?

It’s likely to have the same effect as rising mortgage rates – it will make buyers want to hurry up and buy something so they can hunker down.

But the less-motivated buyers have to be getting to the point where they are looking for any reason not to buy, so the number of lookers should thin out.  But it shouldn’t change the outcome for sellers of well-located, well-conditioned, and well-priced homes.

Unless one of two things happens:

  1. America gets in the fight.
  2. There is a cyber-attack on us.

A cyber-attack would be devastating to the local real estate market.

Home buyers are utilizing the internet tools to help them with their decision-making.  Without them, the buyers’ comfort levels will drop quickly. An extended cyber-attack would likely to bring the frenzy to a halt.

This isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan – Russia could create havoc around the world.

Hopefully, the peaceful solutions will prevail, and we won’t have to worry about it for long.

More Automated Valuations!

It is amazing how much faith the consumers put into their zestimates and Redfin estimates.  In spite of them obviously being ginned up, people just want to believe!

As long as automated valuations are carrying so much weight, let’s include a few more!

There are three more estimates at the bottom of listings.

Take the Average? Median? Highest? Lowest?

Sellers will find out what their home is worth when they put it on the open market, so any pricing error will be temporary, and easy to fix.

It’s the buyers who should be concerned about putting too much faith and confidence into the accuracy.  Look how it turned out for Zillow’s ibuying venture – they lost between $500M and $800M!

Get Good Help!

January Inventory

In spite of all-time record prices, homeowners are losing interest in moving.

Let’s take it back a little further to show the magnitude of the change in inventory:

San Diego County Attached and Detached-Home Listings in January

2019: 4,718

2020: 3,908

2021: 3,359

2022: 2,828

Last month’s count is 40% lower than in 2019!

Forget the pandemic, we have a homedemic!

Pin It on Pinterest