Today’s local Case-Shiller reading for November is the fifth in a row that reflects the much-higher mortgage rates. The index has dropped 9% since May – don’t be surprised if in the future we see a similar trend of enthusiasm in springtime, and doldrums in the off-season:
San Diego Non-Seasonally-Adjusted CSI changes
If the index keeps dropping over the next few months (likely), it should mean that it will get down to the late-2021 numbers. Will that be enough to impress buyers that prices are reasonable now? Or will they just go out and buy because it’s springtime?
First of all, the calendar was perfectly set up for an extended holiday vacation and for everyone to not come back to work until this week. Mortgage rates are double what they were a year ago so nobody can afford a house, plus it’s been raining cats and dogs.
It would be natural to assume that the real estate market is ‘frozen’, and at best we will have a sluggish start.
Yet the early action between La Jolla and Carlsbad has been sizzling:
NSDCC Listings Marked Pending Since Jan. 1st:
What is impressive is how long these listings have been on the market – the median DOM is 55 days! Wouldn’t buyers lay off those for a few weeks to see where this is going?
Did the sellers dump on price?
Why would they dump on price with the selling season is right around the corner? Surely they would let it run at least 2-3 weeks into January before giving it away, wouldn’t they?
The doomers are hoping to drive the real estate market into hysterics, just for fun. It’s easy for buyers and sellers to get caught up in it too, and think the sky is falling.
Let’s identify the terms, what doomers want you to believe, and the truth:
Doomers: Sellers are hitting the panic button.
Truth: If we are taking about a surge in active listings, it is because the list of aspirational sellers (those who will only move if they get their price) is growing longer. They aren’t the market makers; they are only helping those that are.
Doomers – Home prices are falling.
Truth: Sellers mis-priced their home from the beginning, and now they are hoping that if they knock off a couple of bucks, it will make a difference.
Affordability/Revert to Mean
Doomers – Home prices must come down so regular people can afford to buy.
Truth – Around here, homes haven’t been affordable for the common man in years, yet home prices have accelerated. The NSDCC market is only for the affluent now.
Higher Rates Will Crush the Market
Doomers – Home prices and rates go hand in hand. When rates go up, prices must come down.
Truth – The bumps in rates are only giving the affluent a reason to pause, in hopes of a price correction.
More Open Houses
Doomers – Realtors are panicking.
Truth – More realtor trainees are trying their luck.
Home Sales Dropping
Doomers – Market is being crushed.
Truth – More sellers are holding out for their price.
Doomers – Zero
Truth – If the NSDCC monthly sales stay in the 100-200 range, we will be fine. Those are January counts, and the usual market seasons have been topsy-turvy since March 2020 so it will give the demand more time to get pent-up.
Doomers – 50% off
Truth – Sellers determine what they can live with, and their ego plays a bigger role than you might imagine. Nobody has to sell any more, so expect resistance to selling for lower than the last sale. Only the extremely-motivated sellers will sell for a big discount today – it will take years for that to become commonplace.
There are many who insist that real estate will follow its historical trend, and I like to say ‘it’s different now’ just to irritate them.
What are the things that are different?
Every buyer has had to qualify for their mortgage and use a sizable down payment, the vast majority have been buying their forever home (even if they didn’t know it at the time), and homeowners at the coast will likely be paying six figures in capital-gains taxes if they sell – which means that they need to leave San Diego to really make it worth moving. As a result, the number of people who are willing to sell has plummeted, which has kept the pressure on pricing.
The demand is different too. Back in the old days, it used to be loosely tied to incomes, but that flew out the window decades ago around here. The influx of affluent people has helped, but there is also a big difference that these researchers have explored – working from home:
It’s no secret that Americans’ newfound remote work lifestyles drove demand for larger homes with more comfortable workspaces.
What’s new: That demand may be responsible for more than half of the surge in real estate prices during the pandemic, according to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
It’s one of the first papers that aims to quantify how remote work reshaped the housing market.
Why it matters: If the research holds up, it signals a fundamental shift in the housing market — that it wasn’t just low-interest rates and fiscal stimulus that drove up housing prices.
By the numbers: It found that remote work led to about 15 percentage points of the 24% average increase in house prices between December 2019 and November 2021.
Details: The paper’s authors are John A. Mondragon, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Johannes Wieland, of the University of California, San Diego’s economics department.
The researchers found that after controlling for COVID migration, regions with the highest rates of remote work experienced much higher home price growth during the period.
They also observed a similar effect on residential rents — along with declines in commercial rents — in these areas.
What they’re saying: This implies a shift in demand, as many pandemic homebuyers and renters sought to upgrade to larger, and more expensive homes to support their telework lifestyles, said Mondragon.
The bottom line: Policymakers like those at the Fed would be wise to pay close attention to the evolution of remote work because it will help determine the future of home prices — and of overall inflation, the economists wrote.
The bump over the list price is so customary in the local area that the zestimate was raised by $763,480 about the time it was marked pending – the algorithms already had the expected increase baked in!
They are enjoying The 2022 Lucky Windfall of the First Quarter, and we’ll see how well it holds up. But as long as home sales in the Bay Area keep selling for much-higher pricing than in San Diego, one of our main feeder areas will keep sending happy buyers our way!
The list prices mentioned here all say that they sold for 100% of the LP, but it’s a typo – they all sold for well over. For example, Patrick Way sold for $1.1 million over, and William Henry sold for $800,000 over list:
Paying ~$2,000/sf for modest homes in Los Altos has been fairly routine lately!
Hopefully, those sellers keep coming our way. Even if their market were to dip 10% to 20% from these dizzy heights, they will still love what they can buy here for the money.
The new listings of 2022 are only trickling out, but we know that there can be spurts.
We’re seeing one underway in Encinitas Ranch, where five listings are hitting the market this week! The three Coming-Soons will all change to active listings on Saturday.
Buyers – there is hope!
Whenever there are two or more homes for sale in a neighborhood, there is one fact of life:
Either yours is selling mine, or mine is selling yours.
The chances of EVERY house being perfectly priced to reflect their condition AND compare favorably to all other choices is about the same as the Padres chances of winning the World Series. It’s possible every year, but come on.
There are times when NONE are perfectly priced, causing a stalemate and no sales.
The market is hot enough that at least one of these listings will compare more favorably than the rest, and will sell this weekend. With few or no other choices for sale currently, the ultra-hot frenzy conditions could pick up two of more of these listings.
Let’s see how many go pending in the next seven days!