Bubbleinfo Decade Wrap-Up

I just had the best decade of my life!

It didn’t start out that way, though.  We trudged into 2010 trying to survive a dreary, depressed real estate market.  But thanks to Ben Bernanke, who engineered the greatest soft landing in history, the rules were changed and the market responded – quickly turning into a wicked sellers’ market.

Reader LM commented on what Ben Bernanke said towards the end of a live press conference:

“We have told the banks to handle their REOs…..long pause....in an economy-supportive way”.

Oops.  What he was GOING to say – ‘we have told the banks not to flood the market with REOs’.

(Link to Ben’s quote: https://youtu.be/SC2wYdZjh1E?t=2982)

Bernanke’s remarks are from June, 2011, and you can see that foreclosures were already declining:

The housing market started to recover, and in 2012, the north-county coastal sales took off:

Here at the blog, we were left to figure out a real estate market without foreclosures. I appreciate those of you who have endured the investigation here!  The conclusion?

The FED learned that it’s better to change the rules, rather than endure the natural market forces.

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How we sell real estate has changed too.  The physical hand-writing (and explaining) of contracts has morphed into a slick bunch of clicks on an electronic form that the buyers will never read while committing themselves to being hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in debt. The realtor teams have emerged to usher clients to the finish line, which means most buyers are rushed through a home inspection, then beg for a few bucks from the seller instead of repairs, and pick up their keys usually within 30 days – all so you can leave 5-star reviews!

It looks so easy that just about anyone can make it in real estate sales now – and it’s become the career of last resort for many.  The best example is the blogger Casey Serin, who became famous for losing five properties to foreclosure that he had he bought on ninja loans.  He got divorced, changed his name, went offline, and then resurfaced as a realtor. He now has his own brokerage in the Sacramento area, and he made about $60,000 this year – which is a decent living for a guy like him:

Heck, if he can do it, anyone can!

Biggest surprises of the decade?  The no-doc mortgages haven’t returned (yet), Google & Amazon haven’t entered the fray (yet), and the district attorney hasn’t prosecuted more than a handful of realtors for doing shady deals (I could name hundreds).  I did have two encounters with the FBI where I laid out the evidence, but they weren’t interested, so I guess it’s ok.

Our move to Compass in 2018 was a result of it becoming obvious that outsiders would disrupt our industry without a fight, and being on the right team was going to be critical to success.  In-house sales are the future of the residential resale market, and who you know will make all the difference (just like in commercial real estate sales).

Over the last ten years, I’ve had 7,711 blog posts, Donna and I helped 300+ families buy and/or sell a property, we got two kids though college, and we appeared in a documentary film – wow, what a decade!

I appreciate you being here – let’s make the next one, the best one!



Seller Instruction to Exclude

The new C.A.R. forms for 2020 are available, and the most interesting is the MLS-exclusion form in light of the NAR Clear Cooperation policy that begins on May 1st.

Last year I asked the C.A.R. lead attorney about their stand on Coming-Soon and off-market listings, and Gov said it is up to the brokerages.  Their new form reflects it too – they have left it optional for agents sellers to choose to comply:


The form does a better job disclosing the listing-agent shenanigans, and makes them a choice for the seller.  But will the listing agent discuss the choices?  Or just write it up and send for sigs?  The sellers just want their money – they assume their agent will be implementing the best ideas to achieve top dollar.

On May 1st, the Clear Cooperation policy will be in effect, which was intended to discourage off-market sales.  But in paragraph 9A you will see that office exclusives are permitted, which will legitimize selling properties in-house.  The realtor shops with the most listings will prosper if they pitch them hard to their fellow agents – and most already have an internal marketing system to facilitate.

There is an argument that off-MLS sales are good for the seller because the buyers are pressured to pay all the money before the property goes on the open market.

But off-MLS sales add some uncertainties:

  1. Did the buyers steal it, or did they over-pay?
  2. Were there other buyers that would have paid more?
  3. Are the off-MLS sales legitimate comps for the next guy (seller or buyer)?
  4. Are we still committed to sharing our listings with other agents?

The MLS will still exist, and be the market of last resort because the best properties with the best prices will be sold in-house, or to the aggressive, professional salespeople.

Richard just procured a new sale for his investor client by calling agents who had sold similar properties recently. One told him that he did have a Coming-Soon that was a 6-cap, and gave him the address. Richard hustled his buyer over to the property and promptly submitted an offer, which got accepted yesterday!

Why are Coming-Soon/off-market sales attractive to listing agents?  Because they can save time and money on marketing, and hurry up to the next deal.  But that selfishness will change the landscape for buyers and buyer-agents, and both will need to be well-connected to succeed.

NAR Top 10 Outperforming Markets

Whether you move there or just buy rental properties, these are NAR’s hotspots:

In offering its list, NAR tracked ongoing data including domestic migration, housing affordability for new residents, consistent job growth relative to the national average, population age structure, attractiveness for retirees and home price appreciation.

The 10 markets that made the cut were, in alphabetical order: Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth; Fort Collins, Colo.; Las Vegas; Ogden, Utah; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

“Some markets are clearly positioned for exceptional longer term performance due to their relative housing affordability combined with solid local economic expansion,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Drawing new residents from other states will also further stimulate housing demand in these markets, but this will create upward price pressures as well, especially if demand is not met by increasing supply.”

“Potential buyers in these 10 markets will find conditions especially favorable to purchase a home going into the next decade,” added NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co. Inc. in San Francisco. “The dream of owning a home appears even more attainable for those who move to or are currently living in these markets.”

Link to Article

Compass and 8.0

Compass intends to comply with NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy MLS 8.0. In addition, the corporate staff will work the MLS to see if we can create a Coming Soon section, like many other areas are doing.

The 8.0 policy legitimizes the Coming Soon marketing, and allows for the Office Exclusives, which is already set up on our internal website.  This is why we went to Compass, because it was clear that the game was changing, and the biggest brokerages with the best listing agents would be the most successful – while the little guys get squished.

After less than two years in business, here’s how Compass is doing in Encinitas. Year-to-date sales:

Click to enlarge

How Agents Will Game the MLS 8.0

The MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy is ‘a lightweight, middle-of-the-road policy that will just make the problem worse’ because it doesn’t go far enough.  It’s so full of holes that it will only exacerbate the problem, and by the time they figure it out, it will be too late to fix it.  It might be too late already.

The new policy just helps to define the ways that agents can avoid putting their listings on MLS:

  1. Office Exclusives Are Allowed. Agents will shop around their new listings for days or weeks among their fellow agents in the office. Only once that avenue is totally exhausted will listings find their way to the MLS.
  2. Submitted to MLS Within One Business Day.  From now on, all listings will be signed on Fridays (or postdated).
  3. Sellers Can Market Publicly. The listing agent isn’t supposed to publicly advertise the home, but……..
  4. Showings Aren’t Required. Just because a listing is in the MLS doesn’t mean agents can show it. This is the oldest trick in the book.  When an outside agents calls to arrange a showing, he/she is told that the property can be seen any time….as long as it’s between 5:00-5:05pm next Thursday.
  5. No Penalties Mentioned. There has never been a MLS police, so any enforcement will be sketchy at best. But realtors love to rat out their fellow agents so complaints will be flying – but what will be the penalty?  Most likely it will be the usual, which is a letter in the offender’s file for six months. Will it be that much?
  6. Stop Using the MLS. If it gets too complicated to navigate the rules, agents will just stop using the MLS.  This is why being on the right team is so critical now – if all the hot deals are sold in-house, then working at a small brokerage or being an independent broker will be detrimental. Those agents will only see the leftovers as the MLS becomes an afterthought.

Local compliance was first scheduled for March 1, 2020, but they pushed it back to May 1, 2020 so agents have six months to contemplate.  Will we be sitting around discussing how important it is that we share our listings with each other via the MLS?

What’s missing is that no one in the industry is demanding that we share our listings with one another because that is what’s right for consumers and agents alike. Instead, our leaders come up with a lukewarm policy full of holes and no teeth. The spotlight will cause more people to find ways around the 8.0, and proudly conduct off-MLS sales because now they are the even-sexier option.

MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy

Yesterday, we entered into the final phase of the MLS implosion, with the latest blow being delivered by the National Association of Realtors themselves.  Instead of strictly forbidding Off-MLS sales, they have tried to appease everyone by concocting a lightweight, middle-of-the-road policy that will just make the problem worse:

The National Association of REALTORS®’ Board of Directors approved MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy, at its meeting Monday. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board proposed the policy as a way to address the growing use of off-MLS listings. The advisory board concluded that leaving listings outside of the broader marketplace excludes consumers, undermining REALTORS®’ commitment to provide equal opportunity to all. The policy doesn’t prohibit brokers from taking office-exclusive listings, nor does it impede brokers’ ability to meet their clients’ privacy needs.

Here’s the full text of MLS Statement 8.0:

Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

MLSs have until May 1, 2020, to adopt the policy.

Rationale: Distribution of listing information and cooperation among MLS participants is pro-competitive and pro-consumer. By joining an MLS, participants agree to cooperate with other MLS participants except when such cooperation is not in their client’s interests. This policy is intended to bolster cooperation and advance the positive, procompetitive impacts that cooperation fosters for consumers. The public marketing of a listing indicates that the MLS Participant has concluded that cooperation with other MLS participants is in their client’s interests.

https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/11/11/nar-passes-mls-proposal-to-strengthen-cooperation

Inventory Watch

The inventory ‘shortage’ is limited to the lower-end.  If you can spend more than a million, there are 785 choices today, which accounts for 92% of the houses for sale between La Jolla and Carlsbad.

How the mix has changed:

NSDCC Total Number of Listings Between Jan 1 – Sept 30:

Year
# of Listings Under $1M
# of Listings Over $1M
% over $1M
2015
1,543
2,689
64%
2016
1,247
3,100
71%
2017
1,004
2,928
74%
2018
805
3,198
80%
2019
734
3,237
82%

As rates head back towards 4% and more and more homes list for more than a million, expect increased sluggishness next year as affordability continues to diminish. Unless, or course, you are Lawrence Yun:

(more…)

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