The 2021 selling season should be the craziest market in the history of the world.
My theory: The covid-19 pandemic has jumbled the usual timing of the elective movers, and we are experiencing a not-natural compression of reasons to move.
We will have our Big Three (death, divorce, and job transfer) causing their usual sales. Making the difference will be the elective buyers and sellers who expedite their plans.
There are always a group of buyers and sellers who contemplate moving for 1-5 years before they get around to it. But the current environment (covid+ultra-low rates+unemployment+prices+politics) has captured their attention, and it will pull forward buyers AND sellers from 2022-2023.
Plus we will have some buyers AND sellers who ordinarily wouldn’t have even thought about moving until 2022-2023 who are realizing sooner that they should move in 2021.
Not all of them, but some of them.
It won’t take many.
We have been very fortunate to have a steady consistent flow of listings and sales over the last few years. The number of listings between January and August varied by less than 1% between 2017 and 2019.
The pandemic changed that though, and look at results. Listings dropped off significantly YoY (-11%) yet sales are only down 4%. Oh happy day, we’re surviving the covid – for now!
Number of Detached-Home Listings
Number of Detached-Home Sales
But we know that more than half of boomers delayed their plans of selling in 2020.
All we need is for the compression of moving motivations to cause 500-800 more listings in the 2021 selling season and it will be a whole new ball game – unlike anyone has seen recently!
Historically, buyers are known to freeze up quickly when they see more homes hitting the market. But all we need there is 300-400 more buyers to jump at the chance of securing their forever home at ultra-low rates, and ending their unsettling insanity of 2020.
With all the bidding wars, there are probably 300-400 unsatisfied buyers in the marketplace today.
Next year’s selling season could be the Frenzy of All-Time!
We know that covid, and it’s impact on schooling in particular, is causing some people to want more space around them. Bigger houses, with bigger yards, are becoming more desirable…..and buyers are scrambling to get situated and comfortable before school starts – or at least not get too far into the school year.
The Poway area offers such relief at a fairly affordable price.
My buyers and I finalized this list of homes on Monday, and picked yesterday as our tour date. By Wednesday night, this is how the list looked:
17307 St Andrews Dr., Poway. $1,399,000 Active listing
14260 Hacienda Ln., Poway. $1,150,000 Active listing
16105 Lakeview Rd. Poway. $1,350,000 Active listing
12612 Stoutwood St., Poway. $1,070,000 Pending
13615 Sunset View Rd., Poway. $1,100,000 Pending
11828 Clearwood Ct., San Diego. $1,290,000 Pending
12429 Damasco St., San Diego. $920,000 Pending
14473 Trailwind, Poway $1,465,000 Pending
14220 Primrose Ct., Poway $1,249,000 Pending
3428 Tony Dr., San Diego $1,329,000 Pending
12020 Blue Diamond Ct., San Diego $1,300,000 Pending
9972 Falcon Bluff, San Diego $1,389,000 Pending
14048 Old Station, Poway $999,000 Pending
12488 Caleta Way, San Diego $1,098,000 Pending
13427 Calle Colina, Poway $1,250,000 Active listing
Out of the 15 listings, eleven of them already went pending this week!
If the Big Three reasons why people move (death,divorce, & job transfers) start to increase, we’ll have more inventory next year – how much is too much?
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, what happens when you’re stuck at home all day with your spouse? Some California attorneys say they are seeing a rise in divorce cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joe Wolch, a family-law attorney based in Walnut Creek, says not only are more people calling to ask about divorce, many are ready to file – immediately.
“I would say the phone is ringing much more,” said Wolch. “Where they used to be able to get away from each other, during the days or in the evenings with their extracurriculars, but now they haven’t had the opportunity. So now people are more acutely aware that they just can’t stay together.”
In some cases, however, those attempts to divorce are complicated in additional ways by the pandemic.
OneSouthern California attorneynoted that more courts are closed or operating under reduced hours and with fewer staff, making it more difficult to resolve legal issues such as child custody. And if one parent fears the other estranged spouse has been exposed to COVID-19, they may take action without waiting for the court’s approval for a change in custody arrangements.
Some sites report online searches for divorce-related information have increased more than 30% since March.
Some California attorneys have also seen an increase in cases involving domestic violence.
“It’s much more serious when you’re dealing with potential child custody or visitation issues or safety issues, whether it’s the spouse or the spouse and the children,” explained Elaine Le, a family attorney with San Jose’s Hoover Krepelka LLP.
Another factor during this deepening coronavirus pandemic: People are becoming even more aware that life is short.
“Life might be too short to be too unhappy for too long,” said Wolch. “So they’re looking for options to make their life better, maybe their children’s lives better and overall move forward.”
That said, some unhappy couples may decide to stick together amid all the economic uncertainty, because getting a divorce doesn’t come cheap.
Divorce attorney fees can run from $400 to $600 per hour.
My video on Monday touched on the different groups of buyers and sellers that should be very active in the 2021 selling season. Let’s break it down further, shall we?
Boomer liquidations – When we first started talking about boomer liquidations, people in their 60s scoffed and shrugged it off. Now they are in their seventies, and the burdens of homeownership have never been so apparent. Stuff needs to be fixed regularly, and that dang property tax bill keeps coming twice a year. If you didn’t mind leaving town, a homeowner’s equity position has never been so solid, and you could go to most towns in America and buy a house for cash and live happily ever after. It’s a temptation that aging boomers will find harder to resist in 2021.
Health considerations – Covid isn’t going away, and for those who are physically challenged, selling their house here and moving to a healthier location will feel like a life-or-death decision – they need to do it. Cashing out their equity is a nice bonus too, and provides enough grease to make it easier to leave San Diego. Let’s note that there are good doctors everywhere, and while the transition may be uncomfortable for the first couple of months, you’ll adjust.
Grandkids – Obviously, it is harder for the kids to get a foothold here than the parents who came 10-30 years ago – home prices have doubled. If the kids pack it up and take the grandkids somewhere that is affordable, it is inevitable that the grandparents will follow. They don’t have much time left, and they want to spend it with family. The grandkids may be the #1 factor in real estate decisions for the next few years.
Move-Uppers – For those who want to stay local, the best time to move up is when you can sell your existing home for more money than ever, AND get a lower interest rate. My rule-of-thumb for move-uppers is that you have to spend 50% more on the next house to make it worth the move – if you only spend 10% more, you only get an extra bedroom, and it’s not worth moving. There aren’t many in this group who finance – you still need a big cash infusion to make it work. Here’s an example:
If you bought your home for $500,000, with a loan of $400,000 at 4%, the payment is $1,910 per month. If you sell now for $1,000,000, and use $600,000 for your down payment to purchase a $1,500,000 house, the payment is $3,794 per month at 3%.
Most who are used to paying $1,910 per month will want to inject more capital into the equation.
Last Movers – You are of the age where you have one more move left in you, and it’s probably due to hanging on to the 2-story family homestead for a little too long. The kids have been gone for a while, and you’ve been rattling around in a house that should be passed on to the next generation before you fall down those stairs.
First-timers or Out-of-Towners – If you don’t own a house here yet, your motivation is substantially higher than those who do own and are just trying to re-position. It’s why current homeowners struggle to understand why homes keep selling for record amounts – because heck, they’d never pay that much. But first-timers and out-of-towners are more desperate to get in, and will pay an extra few bucks to finally get something.
Downsizers – Rarely do locals downsize in the same town – keeping the old house makes to much sense, and why we have such low inventory. But San Diego County is well-positioned to be a landing ground for those selling for big bucks in L.A./O.C./Bay Area and coming here where our prices look like a bargain. This may be the largest group of buyers, judging by how fast prices go up.
Next year’s selling season won’t be as predictable as they’ve been recently.
We are overdue for a surge of sellers.
It may be disguised in the overall stats as a blip, but if you have three houses on your street go up for sale, and two others on the next street over, don’t be surprised if buyers freeze up and wait it out. If you live in a neighborhood where most of the residents have been there for 10, 20, or 30 years, there only needs to be one from each of my five seller categories above to cause a glut of homes for sale within a week or two. If any of them are desperate for money and undercut the pricing to get out, it will affect all.
Next year will be exciting because each seller and buyer group could grow 10%+ without notice. Remember the graph that said 57% of boomers are delaying the sale of their home? Add a possible covid bump in the usual number of deaths, divorces, & job transfers and we could experience a surge of inventory that nobody sees coming.
If you are thinking of selling……are you willing to get out in February or March will all-time record money, or are you going to wait until June or July and try to milk it for another 5% because you can? And risk not getting out at all because those ‘lowball’ offers based on 2020 comps are insulting and unacceptable?
With mortgage rates staying under 3% this past week, more people were out looking at homes – a whopping 66% more than last year! It should be a full-tilt boogie for the next few weeks. Hopefully buyers can get their hands on something suitable!
My calendar from April 15th (which was the approx. bottom) with the added red circle for June that came later:
The graph above shows the raw data – how the pendings started to increase as we got into April. It seemed like the action began to slow down just recently, and, sure enough, the rolling averages have been in decline over the last week or two in San Diego – and elsewhere.
If you just need some covid relief, then the graph below will make you feel better. For the last month, the pending sales in San Diego have been comfortably ahead of last year’s counts.
The New Listings graph (above) shows how the raw number of homes listed for sale in the coronavirus era compares to the same time frame in 2019.
It shows that 40-50 days after the initial shock, sellers started feeling more comfortable putting their home on the market, and for the last twenty days, San Diego has only been 5% to 21% behind last year.
The graph below helps to demonstrate the supply vs. demand relationship year-over-year, and it’s helpful to call these Unsold Listings because they are the net outcome (Supply – Demand = Unsold Listings).
If we were running at the same pace as in 2019, and the demand percentage had dropped the same as supply, then our Unsold Listings would simply be the same 5% to 21% lower than last year. But our number of Unsold Listings are now 37% below last year – the best in the southwest!
Lower inventory, record-low rates, and the insanity are causing demand to surge!
"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 more "
"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... more "
by Ann Romanello
"Jim educated us, helped us find the perfect house, and then negotiated us a great deal. I would hate to be sitting across the negotiating table from ... more "
"Jim is thorough and will be brutally honest about the homes he shows you. He provides great service and follows through until the very end and even ... more "
"I highly recommend Jim as a buyer’s agent. Working with Jim, we closed this week on a San Diego condo. Jim prepared a list of comparable sales to ... more "