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Initial View Count

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The new listing went active on the MLS at 4:30pm yesterday, and by this morning there have already been 1,700+ views – less than a week before Thanksgiving!  You can’t tell me that the market is dead!

Price War!

Here we go again.

Just as I’m ready to hit the go button on a new listing, I check the realtor hotsheet and THREE other listings provide new market data.  Look at how these two dumped on price:

Do sellers wonder if there were any other buyers before dumping 10% and 11% off their price?  Beats me, but if they did, lowering the list price in 5% increments promptly would have caused others to surface earlier. Once a listing has been not selling for a couple of months, they are going to get lowballed.

There is an active listing that has been listed at $1,750,000 for the last six weeks on the same street as my new listing.  Even though they listed for $2,150,000 on June 24th, they dropped another $100,000 today and are now $1,650,000. It is located close to Carmel Valley Road:

If we would have listed for the $1,675,000 like we planned to do , it would have only caused a standoff.  In a market where prices have dropped so precipitously, we want to be the clear front-runner.

We changed our list price to $1,599,000, and will go head-to-head this weekend!

Jumbos in the 5s

The jumbo rate above is 6.1% at no points, which means you can get into the mid-to-high 5s with the buyers – or sellers – paying a point or two.

I’m going to mention it in the description of the new listing.

With the discounts already in place in some areas, and last week’s drop in the mortgage rates, this might be the best combination of discounts/declines that we will see in the next 1-2 years.

The Fed is going to keep raising their fed funds rate. Powell, Bullard and others have said that the FFR needs to be at least 1% higher, and they intend to get there next year.  They don’t determine the mortgage rates, but you can imagine the impact on the bond/MBS markets.

What they won’t consider is where potential home sellers are going to draw the line.

Today, we might find sellers who are willing to consider a price that is 10% below peak, with an occasional 15% or 20% off.  But you can bet that when it comes to selling for 20% to 30% below peak prices, most sellers will become highly resistant.

How many will quit instead? Or not even bother with trying to sell? Plenty.

I think the higher rates go, the lower the inventory will be.

The difficulty of finding the right house, at the right price, will keep getting harder and harder.

If you can find something close to the perfect home today, consider it strongly!

Carmel Valley Pacific Highlands Ranch

Our new listing in Carmel Valley! Open 12-3 this weekend.

Check out this attractively-priced Portico home with fully remodeled kitchen, hardwood floors, 3 bedrooms + loft and downstairs den, sumptuous primary suite with two walk-in closets, and upstairs laundry room. New paint and carpet, private yard, and cool front porch to watch the balloons go by! Live here and send your kids to Solana Ranch Elementary School – verified with the school district on Nov. 16th. The community pool/clubhouse is like a 5-star resort! It’s a good distance away from Carmel Valley Road too. This model sold for $2,086,000 on May 9th. Look at the savings – our list price is 20% off, and the 30-yr jumbo rate is back down in the 5s! Fed governor Bullard said today that the Fed Funds rate might have to go 1% to 3% higher. This home is the best discounted price/low rate combo you’ll see in the next 1-2 years! Only $1,675,000.

Motivated Sellers Only

There are three types of sellers:

  1. Sure I’m motivated….if I get my price.
  2. I’ll sell for what the market will bear.
  3. Desperate.

Unless the home is a real trophy property, this isn’t the market that tolerates aspirational sellers.  For those who will only sell if they get their price – you should wait this out….and it could take a while.

The high-priced listings might get showings, but mostly to buyers who are considering the better-priced home down the street. It will take another six months and some boost from a strong spring selling season before the listings priced at retail-plus will start selling again. And that’s probably optimistic.

I still think the 2023 Spring Selling Season will be boisterous, and the sales volume will pick up – but generally-speaking, I agree with Zillow that pricing won’t be rising. Here are Z’s latest predictions:

SE Carlsbad 92009

Del Mar – 92014

La Jolla – 92037

Rancho Santa Fe – 92067

Carmel Valley 92130

Less than 1% annual increases in prime neighborhoods? Yikes!

There is nothing wrong with being in Plateau City.  Sellers just need to recalibrate and be smart about what it takes to sell a home in this environment:

  • Hire a great agent.
  • Spruce up the home.
  • Utilize effective staging.
  • Price attractively (be the best-priced active listing).
  • Make it easy to show.

That’s all – and if you don’t do all five, it’s ok because there’s nothing that price won’t fix!

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An example of #1 is the now-famous property for sale in Del Mar on Border. A buyer thought they could get approvals to build a high-end resort there, but it was put to a vote, and the citizens turned it down. A new buyer is now hoping to turn it into apartments.

It’s been for sale since 2007, or 5,573 days!

https://www.compass.com/app/listing/929-border-avenue-solana-beach-ca-92075/25353758691121345

P.S. If there is anyone who wonders why their Over-$4,000,000 stats don’t match up with mine, it’s because I take this listing out every week so it doesn’t skew the averages.

Did Home Prices Go Up?

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NSDCC Average and Median Prices by Month

Month
# of Sales
Avg. LP
Avg. SP
Median LP
Median SP
Feb
224
$2,298,797
$2,257,334
$1,719,500
$1,758,000
March
252
$2,295,629
$2,260,524
$1,800,000
$1,825,000
April
357
$2,396,667
$2,403,962
$1,799,900
$1,828,000
May
300
$2,596,992
$2,581,715
$1,900,000
$1,994,500
June
348
$2,509,175
$2,537,953
$1,900,000
$1,967,500
July
311
$2,421,326
$2,442,738
$1,795,000
$1,855,000
Aug
268
$2,415,075
$2,438,934
$1,897,000
$1,950,000
Sept
278
$2,479,440
$2,445,817
$1,899,000
$1,987,500
Oct
248
$2,754,470
$2,705,071
$1,899,000
$1,899,500
Nov
199
$2,713,693
$2,707,359
$1,999,000
$2,100,000
Dec
189
$2,686,126
$2,664,391
$1,985,000
$2,157,500
Jan
140
$2,828,988
$2,855,213
$2,234,944
$2,240,000
Feb
158
$3,063,331
$3,108,907
$2,149,500
$2,386,500
Mar
207
$3,247,251
$3,337,348
$2,400,000
$2,625,000
Apr
227
$3,190,161
$3,251,604
$2,350,000
$2,550,000
May
215
$2,943,657
$3,032,977
$2,350,000
$2,500,000
Jun
190
$2,864,089
$2,872,690
$2,297,500
$2,350,000
Jul
155
$2,889,612
$2,832,080
$2,299,900
$2,300,000
Aug
164
$2,933,243
$2,830,855
$2,200,000
$2,150,000
Sep
135
$2,650,642
$2,560,314
$2,149,000
$2,040,000
Oct
124
$3,090,320
$2,971,211
$2,272,500
$2,212,500

OMG – the average & median sales prices went up!

Does that mean home prices went up?

NONONONO!

It means the set of homes that closed escrow in October happen to produce higher numbers because they were larger (October median sf was +12%) and more attractive than the group in September.

Inventory Watch

In the graph above, the active inventory hasn’t been decreasing like I thought it would be, given that Thanksgiving is a week and a half away. You can’t say that nothing is selling, because there have been 50 closings between La Jolla and Carlsbad in November so far, which should keep the final monthly-sales count around the 100 as expected.

So I checked the Actives counts during pre-holiday season from the last few years, and in particular, the drop in active listings between the first week of October and mid-November:

The percentage of decline between the first week of October and mid-November:

2018: -3%

2019: -11%

2020: -12%

2021: -18%

2022:  -0-

Comparing to last year, the hottest market in history with the lowest rates ever, will look wildly negative.  In 2021, the market was still cooking in the fourth quarter, so the drop in actives had as much to do with everything selling, as it did with sellers packing it in for the holidays.

But compare today’s inventory to previous years.  The pandemic count in 2020 was 547 actives in mid-November, and we’re 28% lower than that today!

The number of actives may not be dropping this year, and it means only one thing.

The sellers who are on the open market today have to be motivated to sell now, otherwise they would have given up and waited for the 2023 Spring Selling Season.  Future sellers will probably be similarly motivated, because it should be obvious to everyone that selling for your aspirational price is much more difficult than it used to be – and the casual sellers will decide to wait for a ‘better market’.

(more…)

iBuyer Loses $600,000

This ibuyer was new in the game and was hoping to make a splash.  Somebody there should have known in June of this year that the frenzy was wrapping up before investing $2.5 million cash into a 20-year old basic tract house on a busier street on the fringe of La Costa Valley.

My advice has been clear all along: Spruce ’em up nicely, stage it, price it attractively, and hire me to be your agent. If they would have just done some of those things, this would have turned out better.

Instead, they did no improvements, priced it for what they paid, put it on the MLS as a coming-soon listing before they actually owned it, and then did SEVEN price reductions and THREE listing refreshes before closing escrow today for $1,900,000.

About 1-2 months ago I asked the listing agent if they would take $2,000,000 cash, and he said that the offers were coming in higher than that so….no.  And then they close for $1,900,000. This is where the jimjamalama really pays off for sellers!

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