How about moving to the High Desert? It’s close enough to San Diego that you could re-visit when necessary, and once we get self-driving cars, you could commute! Here’s a link to the 67 homes for sale in Joshua Tree today:
THE GREAT CALIFORNIA MIGRATION
Trading big city for high desert
YUCCA VALLEY, Calif. — Tyler Gaul strode across the sprawling backyard of his Yucca Valley home and surveyed the rocky hillside a few steps away from the pool and basketball court that sit atop his 2-acre property.
When he first moved to the desert from Los Angeles last fall, this jagged landscape granted him a sense of serenity as the crowded city he left behind grappled with a pandemic.
Gaul, who runs his own skin care company, knew it was time to move when he could no longer exercise outside his Echo Park apartment — his respite from stay-at-home orders — because of wildfire smoke polluting the air. Constant and worsening wildfires, paired with a public health crisis, proved to be too much.
“I have a lung condition, and I was like, ‘No, I can’t do this anymore,’ ” he recalled.
So he set out for the desert.
Like many other city dwellers who have fled urban sprawl over the last year and a half, Gaul sought shelter in a more isolated desert community in hopes of finding more space and clean air, and limiting his exposure to the coronavirus. Local real estate agents say that the migration is driven by a desire for affordable housing and large plots of land, a move further propelled by the nation’s sudden shift toward teleworking.
Until last year, Gaul hadn’t seen himself as the desert type or thought of making an escape from the city. But since moving, he and his girlfriend have hosted pool parties for their friends living in the city; they’ve learned how to tackle home repairs, like the time there was an irrigation leak; they stood in stillness during their first desert winter and listened as the sound of snow falling off trees pelted the craggy ground below.
“One day, we were in the pool and there was this huge owl, and it just like swept down and looked like a huge, silent airplane. It was just, like, so majestic,” Gaul, 35, said as he lifted a plastic cover to check for a tarantula that had recently been roaming the side of his home.
The high desert communities of Yucca Valley, Pioneertown and Joshua Tree about 130 miles east of Los Angeles have been inundated not only with new home buyers but also renters and city folk who come to work remotely at one of the many Airbnbs that have cropped up in recent years — sometimes to the chagrin of locals who could live without hearing the loud parties, or driving through the dust kicked up by Teslas plowing through dirt roads in a rush that those used to a slower pace of life have trouble understanding.
“It feels like the zeitgeist of the desert,” said Tom Murtagh, a Realtor in Twentynine Palms. “It’s a time of change. A lot of people here are having a tough time with it and I am very sympathetic. It’s a tough situation — gentrification reached the desert and it’s good and bad. There’s money to fix things, but it’s a double-edged sword.”
Although the pandemic accelerated migration to the high desert, the shift was gaining steam in the years before.
Jean Michel Alperin moved to Yucca Valley with his family in 2018. He and his wife, Sarah Scott Alperin, were disappointed with the lack of options in their price range in L.A. despite looking at homes in neighborhoods across the city. Jean Michel was on the brink of helping to revitalize and reopen Pioneertown’s Red Dog Saloon and had pondered making the commute to the desert a few days a week for work.
“While I was doing business here for a couple days I decided to see Realtors. We saw four places, and the fourth was the home that we bought. It was one of those dream homes. It seduced me in this very intimate way. Kind of like when you meet somebody, it was a romance,” Alperin, 40, said. “It was a total about-face. And it was tough, for sure. There’s a lot of differences moving from Echo Park to Yucca.”
Alperin said that he doesn’t necessarily miss the people he could meet in L.A. — he’s bonded with other transplants from Echo Park here in the desert — but he does miss the wealth of cafes filled with people poring over books.
“That’s kind of the feeling, that there’s just one place. You don’t have options,” he said. “But that’s part of coming out here. We’re all kind of frontier people.”
The developer sold these last five lots separately so buyers could build their dream home. Here’s a custom 2,143sf one-story house overlooking the lagoon that’s priced at $2,388,000. It fell out of escrow once, and went right back in – currently pending:
The post-frenzy headlines will revert back to their usual negative slant.
Will home buyers read the entire article? Or jump to their own conclusions?
Here are the actual numbers mentioned:
States with the largest number of new foreclosures were:
New York: 1,363
“Despite the increased level of foreclosure activity in September, we’re still far below historically normal numbers,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM company.
September foreclosure actions were almost 70% lower than they were pre-pandemic. Total foreclosure activity is also still 60% lower than it was a year ago.
“I think the ‘forbearance cliff’ will be minimal,” said David Stevens, former CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association and former FHA commissioner in the Obama administration.
“Unlike the Great Recession where home prices dropped approximately 20% from peak to trough, this recession saw home values rise by roughly the same amount. So while we should see some foreclosures, the likelihood is that there will be far fewer from a percentage basis due to the ability to sell a home versus default, or stay in the home due to far better workout options and higher re-employment.”
In a state of 40 million people, I don’t think anyone in California should get nervous over an additional 3,434 foreclosures filed (not completed). It’s different now that the Homeowners Bill of Rights was made law in this state, and anyone who gets foreclosed must want to lose their house, and their equity.
The San Diego housing market is a popular choice for those who are leaving the Bay Area (population of 6,404,512 in the five counties). It’s looks like more are coming – a report from sfgate:
Joint Venture Silicon Valley, in partnership with the Bay Area News Group, polled 1,610 registered voters across five Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara.
A shocking 71% of respondents said the quality of life in the greater Bay Area is worse now compared to five years ago. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they are considering leaving in the next five years — including 53% of respondents who work in the tech sector.
“It’s the cost of living, high housing costs. I think that is the dominant thing. It’s housing housing housing,” said Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, in a press briefing. “…That is driving almost all of the results.”
Hancock said the 53% figure is the highest percentage of people who have said they want to leave the Bay Area compared to previous polls conducted outside of Joint Venture.
Indeed, an overwhelming majority of respondents said it’s high housing costs (77%) and cost of living (84%) spurring their desire to seek out greener pastures. Homelessness, wildfires and drought were also issues respondents considered when mulling the decision to leave the Bay Area.
“We’ve long been a high-stress region. Staggering housing prices, rising homelessness, a stark income divide and a host of sustainability challenges have had us on edge for some time,” Hancock writes in the introduction to the poll. “But when you toss a highly infectious disease into the mix you get a smothering amount of anxiety.”
But as Hancock noted, these feelings go beyond the pandemic and its challenges.
“We’re split (48% to 52%) on whether the Bay Area is headed in the right direction,” he said.
The poll paints a disturbing picture of life in the Bay Area, but it’s not all doom and gloom. About 65% of respondents said “they feel a strong sense of belonging to the Bay Area” — even more so than they feel connected to their neighborhood and city. Many (66%) applauded their employers’ response to the pandemic and now feel differently about their work-life balance.
As Hancock pointed out in the briefing, polls “tell us how people are thinking. And that’s worth knowing.”
“Perception,” he added, “is also a form of reality.”
If there were 56% of their population who left, it would equal 3,586,526 people – which would create a whole new experience for those who stay! But we know that talk is cheap, and once all the other variables are considered, most people don’t move.
But we’ll probably get a steady flow for the foreseeable future.
For those who are thinking of selling next year and plan to do some improvements, don’t wait to begin.
In fact, start today!
Yesterday, I contacted three different flooring contractors, and all were booked into December. Our GC is currently booked for two months, our pool-repair guy has work scheduled for the next FIVE MONTHS, and our plumber gave up and suggested that we find someone else.
If you want us to provide an initial consultation and give opinions of what repairs/improvements would be smart to complete prior to selling, feel free to contact us – now. We can call in favors if needed – the pool guy got started within two weeks!
It made me wonder how many homeowners were in the hunt for a new house over the last 1-2 years, and have since given up on moving and decided to remodel instead.
No matter how small the percentage, it means the demand for homes for sale will be increasingly more dependent upon the out-of-towners who don’t have a house here yet. Their desperation level is higher than our current homeowners here who are comparing to what they already own……and who are finding it more difficult every day to justify a move.
More slides from the C.A.R. forecast:
They are forecasting a 5.2% YoY drop in sales in 2022, after we will likely set the all-time record for sales here in 2021. They are probably considering the slowdown in pending sales:
They also showed how 70% of the business is done by 30% of the realtors….and the rest of the agents are barely in business with less than two sales per year:
The association is predicting that home sales in California will drop next year, but has a typical guess for the statewide median sales price – expecting a 5.2% rise in 2022:
Their predictions for this year were terrible – they thought pricing would go nearly flat in 2021 (in red box), and instead we had the biggest gain ever (p is projected):
These were my guesses for this year:
MY 2021 PREDICTIONS:
We will have 10% more NSDCC listings than we had in 2020.
We will have 10% more sales.
We will have a 10% increase in the NSDCC median sales price.
Here’s how this year looks through the first three quarters of 2021:
# of Listings (%YoY)
# of Sales (%YoY)
Median Sales Price (%YoY)
NSDCC inventory DROPPED 16%, yet sales ROSE 15% this year! Pricing is +32%!
A graph showing how more people need to leave town to make it worth moving:
A CAR consumer survey showed, for example, that 35% of home sellers are moving out of state and fewer than 15% were moving to a home in the same county as their last residence. “I think that pressure to migrate out of the state is going to be just as strong, if not stronger, as housing, affordability gets worse,” CAR Chief Economist Jordan Levine said. “I think that this is a housing-driven phenomenon, and we don’t have a lot of relief in terms of housing affordability.”
Jim the Realtor is legit - I interviewed three brokers; he said list price should be $100,000 higher than the other two brokers; listed it with him and had all cash (no financing) offer in two days, five day contingency period, closing in two weeks - and it closed at his recommended list price. I could not recommend anyone more than I recommend Jim the Realtor.
When we moved to San Diego in 2005 we rented a big house on Mt. Soledad (La Jolla) with 180 degree ocean views for the same payment as a mortgage on a dump in Chula Vista. Clearly something was wrong. Yet, the media was full of the usual happy-talk nonsense, so I was glad to find Jim's blog. I've followed his honest assessments and data since.
We decided to sell and move to AZ at Thanksgiving. Dec. 1st we met with Jim to sell our home. We closed today (29 days later). Jim orchestrated a feeding frenzy -- we had 25 showings in 2-1/2 days, multiple offers, and sold for well over asking price. I'd say he earned his commission! We have owned and sold homes in 5 different States always using experienced, productive, full-time realtors. Jim outshines them all.
You don't decide to sell and close 29 days later over Christmas (with COVID lockdown) without some miracles. Donna was amazing at performing lots of those miracles and ensuring that everything was done right and on time. They are a terrific team with a very responsive and professional network.
Where do we begin..2020 has been a year for everyone. When COVID hit and shut down both my husband and my businesses, we were left with a mortgage and very little income coming in. We were stressed, scared and felt stuck. We made the hard decision to sell our home and move out of state. We contacted the Klinges' and spent a good hour going over what we hoped we could accomplish. Jim and Donna came over with comps in hand and suggestions on improvements to get our house ready for the market. It was overwhelming to think about, but Donna was there and one step ahead in every scenario. Basically we just approved what they suggested and Donna handled literally everything. We placed our house on the market and within the first day we had multiple offers well above asking price! We couldn't believe it. We were overjoyed! Jim countered the offers to weed through them, and everyone came back with way more. It was amazing, and we are ?? sure it was because of the staging and repairs the Klinges suggested we do.
Due to unforeseen dishonesty from the buyers lender, we hit a big hurdle when trying to close. We had already moved out of state and were shocked when three days before closing the lender dropped a bombshell on the buyers and us. However, Jim and Donna handled it like veterans, not afraid to play hard ball and represent their clients. After a few phone calls with us, and several between Donna and the lender, they had a plan B-Z to make sure we were taken care of. In the end we closed with even more money than we ever thought possible and with very little work from us. The Klinges handled this entire "2020" worthy event with the utmost professionalism and did everything in their power to not only make this as smooth as possible for us, but we also walked away with more money from the sale of the house than we ever hoped for. After working with Jim and Donna, you don't ever use anyone else. They are hands down the best team to represent you in any scenario.
Working with Klinge Realty Group was a great experience! They are very responsive, professional and knowledgable about the real estate market! I would definitely recommend Klinge Realty Group.
Jim and Donna Klinge made the sale of our condo extraordinarily easy. They know the market and gave us sound advice backed by details and very considerable experience, reflected both in the initial pricing and subsequent negotiations. They work together as a team and are always available to talk. We had a few challenges with our property and they were able to coordinate the resolution to everything, including items that I would not think would ordinarily be their responsibility to handle. They made the whole process effortless on our part. They are folks with high integrity and we cannot recommend them highly enough.
Review for Member: Donna Klinge
I cannot believe there are no reviews of Donna yet, ugh!! She is the secret sauce of the Jim Klinge/Donna Klinge combo! I will touch on Jim here, but Donna is why I'm so totally loyal to these two (no offense to Jim :)).
I consider myself a rather savvy buyer/seller. I've bought/sold 7 times in about 15 years. On the buy side, Jim is the PERFECT combo of: completely digitally savvy (he will pull data all day long until you feel comfortable with your chosen house, area, school district, anticipated appreciation rate...anything!), he's super well respected and known in the area by other agents, an amazingly cool but strategic negotiator, is totally devoid of desperation for a sale/commission, and more.
Then once you get into contract phase, Donna literally handles every last and final detail in a concierge-like manner -- totally shielding you from the daily back and forth, noodling and annoyances of the buyer's requests. She solves it ALL; it's miraculous what that woman accomplishes over and above what is even expected in a buy/sell transaction.
On the sell side, Jim and Donna do the same, but even moreso. Donna in particular truly takes everything off your plate: she'll manage getting the house painted, the carpets replaced, she'll go on site (as she Jim both did for me when selling our rental properties) to work with the renters and make sure the house is ready to show -- freeing me to have to take time off of work to do so. They work with A+ integrity, too, so you know you are serving all parties fairly and lawfully throughout.
A home purchase/sale is the most considered you'll ever make. HIRE A SAVVY AGENT, not a friend!, and get what you need out of the transaction. Jim and Donna are our agents for life.
Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community. Jim's vast experience means he has worked with several realtors and knows the market all over north county. Donna is AMAZING in processing everything in the transaction. She scheduled trades people to work on the house in preparation for the sale as well as the repairs needed before closing. She communicated clearly every step of the way about what would be happening. She took the weight off my shoulders for the whole process. I will always use Jim and Donna for my future real estate needs and I whole heartedly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a home.
Jim and the team at Klinge Reality are without a doubt the best in the business! Not only was Jim helpful and extremely knowledgeable, he was patient and determined to help me find my first home. Jim and his team have been in the business for many years, and it shows. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and was my biggest proponent despite the temperature of the competitive market. I ended up getting the perfect property in my dream neighborhood all thanks to Jim. From the day my offer was accepted, Donna was a real lifesaver. She was extremely helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable when it came to every minute detail, and held my hand through the process. As a first time home buyer I had no idea what the process would entail, but Donna curtailed every concern I came across and made the escrow process feel seamless. Jim and Donna provided me the best home buying experience, and I am very grateful for all they did for me. It was truly a pleasure to work with Jim and Donna and I am already looking forward to the next time we work together!
Review for Member: Richard Morgan
Richard is an amazing realtor! He has high integrity and genuinely cares about his clients and their needs. Richard paid close attention to what I was seeking in a home and was very patient in our search to find it. I would highly recommend Richard and will use him for future transactions. Truly a different kind of realtor experience!
Could not be happier with my experience with Jim and his team. He helped me sell a very unique and challenging property. Throughout the entire process he was always available, honest, transparent, trustworthy, and always put my interests as a seller first. A (rare) true professional! During close of escrow Jim went above and beyond to complete the deal. It would not have been possible without his experience, fantastic team, and pure dedication. Highly recommended!
Thanks Jim and Donna Klinge!