Inventory Watch

There are 631 houses for sale between La Jolla and Carlsbad today, which has to be an all-time low (in an area of 300,000+ people).  The median list price is $2,550,000, which is probably an all-time high!

The new offerings are barely trickling in too.

Of the 76 new listings this week, 54% were on the market last year.

But we’re due for liftoff!  It was about this time last year that the number of pendings start to increase, and rates are much more favorable in 2020!


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Where to Move

Would more people leave California if they just knew where to go?

Here are my favorite links to get your research started:

Best Places to Retire – 2020:

https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-retire

Best Places to Live 2020:

https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-live

Money Magazine, Best Places to Live in the U.S., 2019:

https://money.com/collection/best-places-to-live-2019/

Best 100 Places to Live, 2019:

https://livability.com/best-places/top-100-best-places-to-live/2019

Sunset Magazine, Best Small Towns – 2018:

https://www.sunset.com/travel/travel-tips/best-small-towns-to-live-in

 Charming Small Towns Across America:

http://www.countryliving.com/life/travel/g2294/must-visit-small-towns-across-america/

15 Best Small Towns in California

http://101usa.com/top-15-small-cities-in-california/

Best Towns in California to Raise a Family:

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-families-in-california/15993/

What The ‘Experts’ Think

This is a price survey that ranks the over/under for each metro to the 2.8% value growth expected nationwide.  I’ll take the over for San Diego!

The Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey sponsored by Zillow and conducted quarterly by Pulsenomics LLC, asks more than 100 economists, investment strategists and real estate experts for their predictions about the U.S. housing market. The Q4 survey also asked panelists to rate their 2020 expectations for home value growth compared to the nation in 25 large markets.

On average, panelists said they expected U.S. home values to grow by 2.8% in 2020. The share of panelists saying they expected a market to outperform that average was weighed against the share saying they expected it to underperform to create a net score.

Of the 14 markets with positive scores, 11 come from Texas or elsewhere in the Southeast or Southwest. The exceptions are DenverMinneapolis and PortlandSeattle was the most polarizing market, with an even 40% of panelists each expecting it to overperform and underperform.

Of the 10 markets that earned negative scores, meaning more panelists expected them to underperform than overperform, six were in California. A group of expensive markets in the state — San FranciscoSan Jose and Los Angeles — are expected to perform the worst. Cincinnati and Sacramento round out the bottom five.

“Having subjected buyers to a crucible of fierce competition for multiple years, many West Coast markets hit an affordability ceiling that set off declining home values in the most expensive of these,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research. “Indeed, this price correction — a clap back from having appreciated with too much exuberance in the recent past — pushes many previously hot markets to the bottom of our experts’ list. At the top of the list are metros still providing relative affordability and thriving, amenity-rich communities that appeal to younger adults willing to make a move. These features, plus the ability to grow and add housing in the future, are attractive propositions for employers and employees alike.”

Many panelists expect home values in San Jose and San Francisco to continue falling in 2020, and some expect more markets in California to join them. Sixteen panelists out of the 42 that selected at least one metro said home values will fall in Los Angeles, and twelve said the same about San Diego and Riverside.

Happy Birthday Starman

“Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable of being in. Go a bit out of your depth. When you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” DB

‘Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.’ DB

Trivia question: At Live Aid, what band had to follow Queen, who by all accounts stole the show?

That’s right, it was Bowie:

NSDCC December Sales

Mortgage rates were the best they’ve been in December since 2012. How were sales?

We had a nice pop in sales compared to 2018, but that’s about it:

NSDCC December Sales

Year
# of Sales
Median SP
Avg. Cost-per-sf
2015
258
$1,094,500
$477/sf
2016
240
$1,150,000
$502/sf
2017
225
$1,215,000
$573/sf
2018
199
$1,460,000
$560/sf
2019
224
$1,405,000
$586/sf

How much momentum are we carrying into the new year from the last couple of months?

The market has felt very active, but looking at the stats, we’ve only beat last year’s count by 13%…..which isn’t saying much, given how much lower rates have been (-20% YoY):

NSDCC November + December Sales

Year
# of Sales
Median SP
Avg. Cost-per-sf
2015
454
$1,107,500
$495/sf
2016
484
$1,199,995
$517/sf
2017
445
$1,215,000
$549/sf
2018
397
$1,375,000
$563/sf
2019
429
$1,350,000
$577/sf

Hopefully, the 2020 sellers are noticing that there haven’t been the big gains in pricing recently – but those who are willing to sell for about the same as what the last guy got should do fine!

The Invisible Market

Let’s touch on this topic one more time as a new season opens up.

While our 2020 market should be promising, the actual results won’t be as obvious.

Reasons to be optimistic about this year:

  1. Rates are really low, though we expect that now and it won’t set off a frenzy.
  2. Prices have been moderating, which gives the buyers some confidence.
  3. We are overdue for more boomer inventory.

But don’t expect to see a bunch of hot buys hitting the MLS.

Now that the N.A.R. has laid down specific rules for off-market sales, agents are going to take advantage.

While every brokerage will have an internal network to promote new listings within the company prior to MLS-input (which is allowed), the individual realtor teams will run their latest hot listings through their stable of buyers first, before giving the rest of their company a crack at it. Only when those attempts have been exhausted will a listing find its way to the MLS.

It may only be 5% to 10% of the market, but it will be the very best 5% to 10% – those listings that every buyer wants.  Without seeing those hot buys flying off the MLS within days, there will be less urgency and a false malaise setting in with those who are judging the market just based on the MLS activity.

The public won’t have a clue, either.  They will be forming their own opinions about the market based on what they see on Zillow, never knowing there is a secret pre-marketing – and selling – of the best listings.  It will only be those who attend open houses who will get pitched to leave their contact info to receive their off-market buys (it will be the most-heard pitch of the year at open houses).

Don’t sellers object?  Not really, not when it is presented as a better alternative to having strangers traipsing through their house at all hours with little or no notice.  It also becomes the happy option in between selling to Zillow for less and taking a chance on the open market.

Are the off-market sales valid comps?  Everyone is going to assume they are, so let’s include them and figure they may have fetched a little more on the open market.

The rest of what happens in 2020 should look similar to what we had in 2019 – with the amount of inventory dictating the outcome.  Even though buyers may be more active early on, as Diana claimed today for a second time, the higher-end areas should find the buyers being more deliberate, especially if they can’t get their hands on those prime listings.

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