Low Inventory, More Sales

The NYT has another article lamenting the drop in the number of homes for sale, and offered some reasons, like covid reluctance, sellers skittish about finding their next home, forbearance relief, the lack of building new homes, and people keeping their old home as an investment property when they buy a new one.

But who cares about inventory when we’re having MORE SALES THAN EVER.

It’s true that the number of new listings this year is about 23% behind where it was last year at this time.

The other day I compared just to 2020, but here’s a look at the last ten years:

NSDCC Closed Sales Jan 1 – Feb 15

# of Sales
Median Sales Price
% Change, YoY

We haven’t had this big of a jump in number of sales AND median sales price to start the year since the Frenzy of 2013 bled into early 2014 when we had a 32% increase in sales and +19% in median sales price. Back in 2004, we had a 26% increase in the median sales price (from $635,000 to $799,000), but the number of sales dropped from 253 to 209.

This is the new reality – more people chasing fewer homes for sale.

Buyers who might think we’re going to get a pullback because rates have gone up are going to get a good lesson on who’s in charge here. Sellers don’t care about rate hikes, lack of inventory, or your lease expiring. They just want their money, and if they don’t get it today, they will wait until they do.


NSDCC Pendings Overtake Actives

This morning we have more homes in escrow than we have for sale!

NSDCC Detached-Home Listings

Listing Status
# of Listings
Median List Price

Once upon a time I was discussing the actives/pendings relationship with local agent Peter B.  He agreed that a 2:1 ratio of actives to pendings was a sign of a healthy market.  If 2:1 was healthy, what is 1:1?

One thing that’s happening is that the action is rising into the upper price ranges. Today we have 94 homes in escrow that are priced over $3,000,000, which I doubt we’ve ever had before.

If we don’t see a surge of more listings, the pendings could extend its lead in the coming days/weeks!


NSDCC Listings, February 1-15

Are we getting any more inventory? Are more homes coming to market?

There have been a few more good listings, which gives hope. The Super Bowl being on February 7th was later than usual, but the overall numbers are still very light:

NSDCC New Listings Between Feb 1 – Feb 15

Total Number of Listings
Median List Price
Number Under $2M
Total Sold
% Sold

The 2021 count will climb a bit higher, but it’s safe to say that we are still well behind where we usually are.

If we end up around 165 listings, and the percentage sold improves to 70%, it would equal 116 sales which is close to the 2020 total.

If all we are missing are the casual sellers that wouldn’t have sold anyway, are we any worse off?

Not really – and the market would be more efficient if we’re just left with the serious players all around.

NSDCC January Performance

When you look at the general data, the 25% dip year-over-year of January listings doesn’t look so bad – especially on a graph.  Heck, we’re in the middle of a pandemic!

But look how it is playing out:

NSDCC Detached-Home New Listings

Price Range New Listings in January # of Those Pend/Sold Pend/Sold Median DOM
Under $1.5M
Over $1.5M

The lower-end is smoking hot where virtually all listings have found a buyer (88%), and for the higher-end to have most of the January listings go pending already is astonishing!

This has to be the best performing market of all-time!


Average % Paid of Last List Price

Nobody is giving them away!

I think we can agree that list prices today are at or above the all-time highs, yet with demand overwhelming the few listings that are trickling out, buyers are forced to consider going even higher. It’s working too:

We usually get some anxious buyers who pay closer to the list price in Jan-Feb, but the average has stayed under 100% in recent years.

With January already pushing 101%, it’s going to get crazier – and this is the Over-$815,000 market!

If you’re the type of buyer that refuses to get into a bidding war, you might have to sit this one out.


January Inventory By Area

Monday’s breeze

We are only able to sell what’s for sale, so the direction of the frenzy depends on inventory.

If we get a surge of inventory, then sales will increase.

If we don’t get a surge of inventory, then bidding wars and prices go crazy.

We saw the differences here where the inventory shortage under $1,500,000 is particularly acute.

When looking at inventory by area, it’s the same thing.  We are comparing to non-Covid years and this month isn’t done yet, but you can see below that the number of houses coming on the market is well under what it’s been in the past:

January Total SFR Listings By Area

Carmel Valley
2021 MTD

We have 123 listings so far this month and we might get up to 150 by Sunday – but even that will be 25% under last year’s count at a time when we probably have twice as many buyers in the hunt.


Chasing The Market

The term ‘chasing the market’ usually applies to sellers in a down market when they don’t lower their price fast enough to get ahead of the new listings coming on that are under-cutting them.

The reverse is also true about home buyers in a hot market.

Those in the hunt for weeks or months who have lost several bidding wars are watching each new listing get priced higher and higher, and their frustration mounts as they struggle to get ahead of the trend.  Some buyers can get priced out altogether, and others buck up and pay an exorbitant price just to end their misery and get on with life.

It just happened like that in La Costa Oaks.

I had two great comps nearby when when we priced our 7168 Sitio Corazon listing at $1,379,000, with the latest being right across the street.  Ours had the master suite downstairs, which isn’t as popular with families with young kids – and the 3,563sf plan has the master upstairs with the rest of the kids’ bedrooms.

It’s very unusual in the low-inventory era to have four sales within five months – especially this close together.  You can see what happens – they feed on each other, with the intensity building with each sale.

After my efficient and timely bidding war where I gave all contenders the chance to submit their highest-and-best offers, we ended up with three.  Two were $1,450,000, and the winner was a decisive $1,470,000 with no appraisal contingency and a 30-day rentback for my sellers.

Many of the buyers who saw my listing went across the street when 7177 Sitio Corazon hit the market a week later. I told the listing agent and the seven buyer-agents who contacted me that our sales price was $1,470,000, which helped feed the frenzy.  With it being the more desirable floor plan and full transparency about how hot the market is, buyers went crazy – and there were eight offers.

The buyers who won with an offer of $1,600,000 were one of my $1,450,000 offers.

They were tired of losing, apparently, and added enough mustard to clinch it – about 10% over list price, and more than 23% above a nearby model-match sale in August!

Get Good Help!


San Diego #1 in USA

Either we are undervalued, or we’re getting more popular….and maybe both!

The price of a San Diego home could increase by more than 8 percent this year, more than anywhere else in the nation, according to a forecast released Tuesday.

Real estate analysts CoreLogic said the price of a single-family home in San Diego County will increase 8.3 percent from November 2020 to November 2021. That means the median price of house in San Diego could be around $776,000 by the end of the year.

CoreLogic said main reason is a lack of homes for sale that will push up prices as buyers fight it out. A secondary factor is income growth for highly skilled positions in San Diego County.

It isn’t out of the ordinary for San Diego homes to increase a lot in a year — in fact, single-family homes here were up 9.5 percent last year — but the forecast is noteworthy because CoreLogic predicts most markets will see price appreciation slow in most markets.

The only regions that the real estate analysts say will come close to climbing as much as San Diego will be: Miami, predicted to increase 3.2 percent; Los Angeles, up 3.2 percent; and Washington, D.C., up 2.9 percent. CoreLogic said the total national increase should be around 2.5 percent.

“San Diego is just one of those markets that has had a lot of income growth and not enough supply to meet demand,” said Selma Hepp, CoreLogic deputy chief economist.

She said San Diego is an example of what has been seen a lot across the nation: High-wage workers who have been able to work from home have seen fortunes increase during the pandemic while low-wage workers lost income because their jobs were among the first shuttered during shutdowns.

“Income inequality is being exacerbated by all of this,” Hepp said.

Link to full U-T Article

Predicting 2021 Frenzy With Numbers

Yesterday, Rob Dawg got started on his prediction on next year’s market:

Is this the official JtR 2021 prediction thread?  If so I will post again but for now…

The huge demographic groundswell of house-ready millennials will drive prices much higher.  The municipal imposition of covering costs plus will make new supply rare.  Money printing drives investment into tangible assets.

Double digit appreciation in the recorded sales.  Stagnation in the houses that don’t sell.

The demand is in place between millennials, downsizers, move-uppers, and out-of-towners to easily increase sales by 10% over this year’s record count.

The only hurdle is supply.  Will there be enough people willing to sell?

Let’s break it down to a specific number, because we’ll see that achieving 10% more sales isn’t that far out of the question.  How many more people need to sell? Here is the breakdown of 2020 listings and sales:

NSDCC 2020 Listings and Sales by Area (as of Dec 30th)

Town or Area
# of 2020 Listings
# of 2020 Sales
Median SP
Carmel Valley
Del Mar/Solana Bch
La Jolla

Does my guess of +10% in all categories look and sound crazy?

It looks feasible that we could have an additional 319 sales next year, and get us to 3,500 total. If we pick up an extra 200 sales in Carlsbad, we only need another 119 in the pricier parts of town.

The median price going up to $1,626,900? We know that sellers will be tacking on their habitual extra mustard to their list prices, so $1.6-ish for the year is definitely within range.

Could we have 4,969 listings next year?

This is the big question, but it’s not some crazy number we’ve never seen before – in 2016 we had 5,182 listings and 3,104 sales when mortgage rates averaged 3.65%.

Having an extra 452 houses to sell means 1-2 more listings per day – I wouldn’t call that a flood – and it’s about the right number to whip buyers into a feeding frenzy without creating a glut.


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