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San Diego Case-Shiller Index, Sept.

These must be the seasonally-adjusted numbers.

How the mainstream media is reporting today’s Case-Shiller numbers:

  • U.S. single-family home prices slowed further in September as higher mortgage rates eroded demand.
  • Monthly house prices fell in July for the first time since late 2018.
  • The housing market has been hammered by aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes that are aimed at curbing high inflation by dampening demand in the economy.

How it could/should be reported:

  • Higher rates are causing buyers AND sellers to wait-and-see.
  • Inventory is expected to be lower than ever in 2023.
  • Realtors aren’t offering viable solutions.

A guy on twitter said that the real story is that YoY appreciation is still positive, which should make the vast majority of American homeowners happy.  But I commented on how the NAR is publishing articles now that ignore/omit the downturn. I think that those of us who are in the business of assisting consumers with their real estate decisions should give accurate advice on how to cope with the current market conditions.

San Diego Non-Seasonally-Adjusted CSI changes

Observation Month
SD CSI
M-o-M chg
Y-o-Y chg
Jan ’21
301.72
+1.4%
+14.3%
Feb
310.62
+2.9%
+17.1%
Mar
320.81
+3.3%
+19.1%
Apr
331.47
+3.3%
+21.6%
May
341.05
+2.9%
+24.7%
Jun
349.78
+2.6%
+27.2%
Jul
355.33
+1.6%
+27.8%
Aug
357.11
+0.5%
+26.2%
Sep
359.88
+0.8%
+24.9%
Oct
363.80
+1.1%
+24.2%
Nov
367.62
+1.1%
+24.3%
Dec
374.48
+1.8%
+25.9%
Jan ’22
383.92
+2.5%
+27.2%
Feb
401.45
+4.6%
+29.2%
Mar
416.64
+3.8%
+29.9%
Apr
426.08
+2.3%
+28.5%
May
428.32
+0.5%
+25.6%
Jun
425.26
-0.7%
+21.6%
Jul
414.03
-2.6%
+16.5%
Aug
402.62
-2.8%
+12.7%
Sep
394.18
-2.1%
+9.5%

While current homeowners might be relieved to see the big pop in appreciation over time, if they are thinking of moving, they should recalibrate everything they think they know about selling homes.

More Than 10% Off

I said on the Frenzy Cruise that I’d also recognize the NSDCC sales that closed well under their list price.  It’s good for potential sellers to see how buyers will lowball homes that have been on the market for a while – and encouraging for buyers to know that they might be able to get a deal if they play the game wisely.

These are sales from November, with percentages off their original list price:

-17%

-14%

-23%

-19%

-15%

-10%

-23%

-10%

-16%

-32%

-16%

-20%

-11%

-15%

-15%

-13%

-26%

-17%

-23%

-12%

-20%

-14%

-13%

-29%

-19%

-16%

-22%

-12%

-14%

-14%

-18%

-28%

There have been 94 NSDCC closings in November (so far), and 34% have been discounted by a double-digit percentage off the original list price – which isn’t too bad, given the negativity everywhere.  It happens at all price points too.

Two conclusions from the clusters in graph below:

  1. Once a home has been on the market for 30-40 days, sellers are ready to deal.
  2. Sellers who go beyond 100 days on the market are really taking a chance.

 

There were 13 of the 32 sales who ‘refreshed’ their listing, or had it on the market this year with a different agent – those DOM are not reflected here. There were quite a few at the -8% and -9% too.

Five of the 32 were round-tripped.

Because it is unethical to deliberately list a home for sale at an unrealistic price, it means that in a third of the cases, the listing agents just flat-out got the price wrong by a double-digit percentage.  Can you imagine if doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, plumbers, or burger-flippers were wrong a third of the time?

Get Good Help!

Notice to Buyer to Perform

Buyers have become more reluctant about executing the terms of the contract – and the NBPs are back!

Here is the explanation on how they work:

Q. My buyer was sent an NBP on Wednesday. My question is does the NBP expire 48 hours from delivery/reception, or at 11:59:59 Thursday night?

A. The Notice to Buyer to Perform (“NBP”) provides for a two-day notice to performance (it is not calculated as forty-eight hours – there is a difference).  For example, if the NBP was issued on Wednesday, day one is Thursday, and the deadline for performance would be Friday at 11:59pm. The seller may issue a Cancellation of Contract (“CC”) at 12:01am Saturday.

Conversely, if the NBP was issued Thursday, then day one is Friday and day two would end at 11:59pm on Saturday BUT the last day for performance cannot land on a weekend or holiday.  In this example, the buyer would have until 11:59pm on Monday (assuming Monday does not land on a legal holiday)  to perform (except under the  the San Francisco Purchase Agreement).

Remember the NBP can be issued no earlier than two days prior to the Scheduled Performance Day in order for the NBP to be served in accordance with the purchase agreement. If the NBP is served improperly it would have to be sent again thereby extending the timeline for performance.

Expired Listings

If you are on the fence about how to sell your house, and you don’t really need to sell anyway, here’s one reason to go all in and sell on the first try.

You sure don’t want to fail, and be an expired listing.

You remember our sellers who decided to rent their house, rather than be victimized by the blunder up the street.  I warned them that on the day my listing shows up as expired on the MLS, there would be 100s of realtors descending upon them.

Their phone number was unlisted, and it was never mentioned in the MLS, but it doesn’t matter – any phone number can be found.  Around 7am that morning, the calls started, and as you can see above, he was getting one about every five minutes.

Check the agent who called him three times in one minute!

You don’t ever want to be an expired listing. Your phone will melt down, and you will seriously consider getting a new phone number.  The mail you’ll receive killed several trees, and the in-person hounding at your door will be offensive too.

I apologize on behalf of the realtor industry in advance.

Another reason to make sure you sell the first time around!

Reverse Offer

The local market conditions appear to be getting worse every day, mostly because the headline writers and social-media experts are piling on now.  What can listing agents do?

When most agents are content to show their listings and then go wait by the phone, there are alternatives. Hat tip to our manager Steve Salinas for bringing up the Reverse Offer technique in our sales meeting!

For two years, the buyer-agents have just been telling their clients to bid hundreds of thousands of dollars OVER the list price, so now they may need some help with advising their buyer on how to proceed in this market.  When a buyer shows some interest in the home, the listing agent can reach out to the buyer’s agent with more than just a casual request for feedback.

The Reverse Offer is where the listing agent suggests price and terms to the buyer-agent that might be the foundation of a potential deal. It needs to be handled tactfully, and with the seller’s knowledge so it’s not a breach of fiduciary or a waste of time.

It can be as casual as mentioning any needs the seller might have in their exit plan, or for terms that would be advantageous to the buyer like seller financing or rate buydowns.  But it can also be as formal as issuing written offers signed by the seller for the waiting buyers to consider – here’s more:

https://www.alexwang.com/blog/considering-the-reverse-offer

It’s worth considering because what’s the alternative? To just sit by the phone and hope it rings, and when it doesn’t, go tell the seller to dump on price?

This is the Wait-and-See period when buyers are so comfortable on the fence that it’s going to take something different to get them to buy a home.  Dumping on price during the Wait-and-See period only makes the home buyers think that if they just wait longer, the prices will go down more.

Agents should offer their sellers some alternatives to that!

Contingent-Offer Season?

Over the last few years there are two groups of buyers who have been left behind; the self-employed who have a tough time qualifying for a mortgage, and the contingent buyers because there have been enough non-contingent buyers that sellers would prefer.

There hasn’t been any relief for either group, and probably none forthcoming.

Those who want to use the equity in their home to purchase their next house can usually find a solution if they want to move bad enough. You can always do the double move, where you sell first, then rent and wait patiently to buy the next one.  You can get a bridge loan, though expensive and qualifying isn’t easy.  You can leverage yourself to the hilt and buy the next home before selling.

But for some, those options don’t fit.  Just the ease of having the next purchase be simply tied to the sale of the last home might be a relief for some sellers to get comfortable with moving.  But will listing agents consider an offer that is contingent upon the sale of another?

They just might – especially over the next four months. Those who should consider it are the listing agents of the 171 homes for sale between La Jolla and Carlsbad that have been on the market for more than 60 days (41% of the total number of active listings).

The CAR just revised the COP form in June:

I’m sure all of these paragraphs are necessary, but they leave out the most important ingredient and the fact that would make a difference – the listed price of the contingent property!

If I had a listing that had been on the market for 60+ days and was heading into the 2022 off-season (otherwise known as the Post-Frenzy Apocalypse), I’d consider an offer contingent upon the buyer’s home selling – and I’d give them the 17 days in paragraph 7C2 checked in red above.  But I’d want to know what your list price is!

If I thought the buyer’s home was priced aggressively, then what do I have to lose? Seventeen days of market time, during which I can still be looking for back-up buyers……in an era when I might not get another showing, let alone an offer?

Heck yeah, I’d consider a contingent offer – if I just knew what the list price was!

If I was representing the buyer, I’d include my signed listing of the buyer’s home to show – and sell – the listing agent on how our contingent offer would be a viable solution. Let’s do it!

Fewer Agents

With the number of sales taking a dive for the next few months – which could turn out to be a few years – we really don’t need as many realtors. Older agents who have been looking for a reason to retire sure have one now, especially if they believe all the gloom-and-doom:

In 2000, about 5 million homes changed hands — about the same number as 2022 is shaping up to be.

But in 2000, there were 766,000 realtors in America; in July of 2022, there were 1.6 million realtors!

Zillow Opendoor

Whoever advertises the most, wins the game. I know agents who spend $25,000 to $50,000 per month!

Aug. 4, 2022- Zillow, Inc. and Opendoor Technologies Inc. have announced a multi-year partnership that combines two category leaders to transform how people start their move. The partnership will allow home sellers on the Zillow platform to seamlessly request an Opendoor offer to sell their home.

Selling a home can be full of uncertainty for many consumers who would rather focus on their next chapter than on the stresses of moving. Potential sellers on Zillow apps and sites may request and view an offer directly from Opendoor and easily compare it to an open-market sale using a real estate agent. Opendoor offers will be available on Zillow, and customers will be able to use the service as a standalone offering or package it with other Zillow home shopping services such as financing, closing and agent selection. Additionally, Zillow customers will be able to work with a licensed Zillow advisor who will serve as a helpful guide in understanding these options.

“Zillow is the most visited brand in online real estate. As we bring the housing super app to life, we’re empowering our millions of visitors to understand all their options and transact in the way that best meets their housing needs,” said Zillow Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Wacksman. “We know choice is important for customers and they can make the best decision when they see all of their selling options up front — including selling on the open market with a Zillow Premier Agent partner and getting a cash offer from Opendoor. This exclusive partnership will pair Zillow’s audience and brand power with Opendoor’s selling solution in one easy place, so customers can evaluate their selling options and easily package it with other Zillow services to buy and finance their next home.”

“At Opendoor, we’re working to turn what is often viewed as one of life’s most stressful moments — the home move — into an e-commerce experience that’s simple, certain and fast. By bringing together Zillow’s market-leading audience and Opendoor’s e-commerce platform, more consumers will have the option to sell to Opendoor and save themselves the stress and uncertainty of a traditional sale process,” said Opendoor President Andrew Low Ah Kee. “For parents looking to upsize, a young professional moving for a new job, and millions of others who regularly use Zillow to explore their home selling options, we will provide them with the ability to move with a tap of a button.”

Zillow and Opendoor are working together to launch this new product experience with the goal of serving shared customers nationwide in the coming months and years.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/zillow-opendoor-announce-multi-year-partnership-301600329.html

Buyer-Agents’ Pay

The MLS company in Washington state is looking to help with the transition of how buyer-agents get paid.  I’m not sure the agents appreciate it though!  Could this help sellers see that paying a bounty to buyer-agents would incentivize a sale?

The NWMLS, with its 32,000 subscribers, is changing “its rules and its transaction forms in a bid to boost transparency regarding agent compensation, offer buyers and sellers more options regarding compensation, and encourage innovation in brokerage models.”

That means that “when offered, compensation to the buyer broker will come from the seller directly” rather than the longstanding policy of the listing broker sharing a portion of the commission back with the buyer broker. The changes go into effect on October 3rd.

After that date, NWMLS’s new residential purchase and sale agreement will specify “that the seller may offer no compensation to the buyer brokerage firm, may offer additional compensation in order to meet the buyer’s obligation per a buyer representation agreement, may offer a credit to the buyer, may reduce the compensation offered in the listing, or may offer an alternative to either of those options.”

The Squeeze on Buyer-Agents

We are witnessing the demise of buyer-agents.

The squeeze is coming from several directions, and all are rooted in the fact that there isn’t enough business to go around. Thankfully, half of the realtors are of retirement age, and will drift away naturally.

The pending class-action lawsuits will likely de-couple the commissions, and sellers won’t be paying a bounty to buyer-agents like they have since the beginning of time. Agents who can justify their value and services can always contract with buyers, and we’ll see where that goes. But it won’t go very far.

There are also forces within the industry that are deliberately putting the squeeze on.  Opendoor has developed a nice little package of exclusive listings presented to buyers at a 2% savings if they don’t mind just placing their order online:

https://datadoor.io/articles/game-of-homes-opendoor-exclusives

Because the people who put this together have never been realtors, it never occurs to them that paying a buyer’s agent has value. Homebuyers who get good help are going to feel more comfortable paying more the home, and conversely, with no help, they will want to pay less to compensate.

Is the tease of a 2% discount enough? We will see.  But it’s another example of the pressure to squeeze out the buyer-agents, and Opendoor thinks they are passing the savings along to the buyers.  But does any seller want to have buyers floating around, hoping to figure out the buying details on their own and cope with buyer’s remorse? No! It’s why the I-Pay-One companies never last because they don’t get it – buyers need and want help.

Instead, what has developed during a raging seller’s market is the thought that eliminating buyer-agents is a good thing.  The message is clear – we don’t respect what you do, we don’t think we need you, and we don’t care what you think about it.

Redfin has no respect either.

On homes that they own – and can pay any rate – they are down to 1.75%:

They are giving buyer-agents the double middle-finger salute, and they don’t care what you think about it. Another option would be for them to pay a healthy commission and earn some respect for themselves, but that doesn’t occur to them either.

It would be worth it to champion the value that buyer-agents bring to the table, but nobody appears interested in that angle.  Instead, they think the cost-cutting somehow justifies it, without considering – if it results in buyers paying less, then did you get anywhere?

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