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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

Year
# of Sales
Median Sales Price
2011
158
$810,500
2012
153
$749,000
2013
197
$845,000
2014
261
$1,007,500
2015
252
$1,200,000
2016
253
$1,125,000
2017
260
$1,200,000
2018
231
$1,300,000
2019
242
$1,288,000
2020
254
$1,394,775
2021
299
$1,695,000
% Change, YoY
+18%
+22%

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.

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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
Active
352
$3,950,000
Pending
353
$1,925,000

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!

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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

Year
Total Number of Listings
Median List Price
Number Under $2M
Total Sold
% Sold
2019
207
$1,650,000
135
132
64%
2020
208
$1,731,500
126
121
58%
2021
140
$1,776,500
85
?
?

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.

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.

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More Frenzy Fuel

San Diego didn’t make the NAR list of vacation-home areas (counties where 20% of the housing stock is for seasonal use), but our market should be enjoying some additional second-home purchases:

Vacation home sales are outperforming total existing-home sales. Sales of homes intended for vacation use rose to 109,100 in the past three months of July-September, a 44% gain from the level of 75,600 sales during the same period last year, according to NAR estimates based on information gathered from the monthly REATORS® Confidence Index Survey and NAR’s existing-home sales estimates. In comparison, total existing-home sales during July-September rose 13% year-over-year (1.72 million in July-Sept 2020 vs. 1.52 million in July-Sept 2019).

The pandemic and low mortgage rates have increased the desirability and affordability of owning a vacation home. Buyers may be desiring a vacation home as a weekend getaway as urban-based leisure activities are still constrained by social distancing. The ability to work from home also means buyers who can work from home can spend more time at and enjoy their vacation home. Historically low mortgage rates have also made a home purchase more affordable, while rising prices in past years have yielded larger home equity gains that can be tapped (through say a home equity loan) to use for a down payment.

Link to Full Article

Covid-19 Sales Predictions

In April, I thought we would see a big cooldown in October fueled by uncertainty leading into Election Day.  Instead, we had the most NSDCC closings as we’ve had in any month this year (374 so far), and we have almost as many pending listings as active (541/470)!

The post-election relief should add to the momentum, and with Covid-19 putting a damper on holiday plans, we might see sales plow right through into 2021 – and start the selling season early!  If we just had more homes to sell!

2021 Moving Survey Results

The results are in!

We reached 1,692 people, of which 89 participated in the survey, which is about right.

Let’s go through each question.

Q1. Most of the participants (2/3) already live in San Diego County.  The question was passive in nature, but it was interesting that 10 out of 86 people have thought about moving here!

Q2. No surprise that 2/3s aren’t moving, but stunning that the next highest category was those who are selling and leaving California!  Of those who are moving, 37% are leaving the state!

Q3. (No chart) Their results chart was poorly formatted, but 10 out of 70 rated their likelihood of moving as an 8,9 or 10.

Q4. Of those who plan to move, 27% are jumping right on it in the first quarter of 2021!

Q5. Covid-19 only caused 5 people to change their plans about moving?

It’s still 7% of those surveyed, which is enough to change the outcome, especially if we had that much more inventory to sell. The tipping point is probably more like 15% to 20% additional inventory to sell – then buyers might take a step back to see where this is going.

Q6. A bit of a shocker here: Getting My Price was the least concern!  It may look easy, but getting your price in 2021 will require skill and some luck. Finding the Next Home is by far the biggest concern, and if we have more inventory it could grease the wheels a bit.

Q7. Those who aren’t moving would have selected the #4 answer, but glad to see the majority believe in good help!

Others left warm thoughts appreciating the blog and the effort. It’s my pleasure – thanks for participating!

Frenzy or Glut…Or Frut?

The 2021 market is shaping up to be a humdinger!

Will ultra-low rates and more inventory cause it to be the Frenzy of All-Time?  Or will a surge of home sellers – namely the baby-boomers – bring about a flood of homes for sale that swamp the market?

Frenzy, or Glut?

Or as the market transitions from one to the other, shall we call the combo a Frut?

We know pricing will be higher than it is today.  It is inevitable that the 2021 sellers will add a little mustard to the comps; after all, this is their opportunity to hit the jackpot.

It will look like a frenzy, right up to the point where buyers back off because they see a few too many homes not selling.  It won’t happen in February or March because it will be too early. But by April and May the unsold listings could start stacking up, and what looked like a frenzy could turn into a glut in a matter of a few days.

If sellers don’t flood the market in April and May, we should experience a full-blown frenzy straight through to summer….as long as pricing seems reasonable to buyers. But some areas, and maybe only a few, won’t have enough demand to soak up the April/May supply.

Buyers AND sellers will struggle to identify which is which.

Here’s a way to know.

It will be different for every neighborhood, but let’s say in a neighborhood of 100 homes, the current average length of ownership is 12 years. It means the number of sales should average around 8 homes per year, with them bunched up around the spring selling season.  Let’s say 4-6 of those sales would happen between March and June.

You can also calculate how many homes sold in your neighborhood this year, and compare.

In either case, if you saw new listings hitting the market in early spring that would double the number of sales in either of the two measurements above, then you’ll know that something unusual is happening.

The demand has overwhelmed the supply this year, at least in the NSDCC Under-$2,000,000 category.  We should survive, and probably thrive with additional supply.  So it would take about double the number of homes for sale to make it obvious, and cause concern.

Buyers are known to stop on a dime, so the impact will likely be immediate.

For a precursor, track the number of new listings hitting the market, and whether they go pending in the critical first 7-10 days they are for sale.

Vaccine to Supercharge 2021 Market

Did you hear Dr. Fauci last night?

It’s likely US health officials will know whether a Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective as early as next month, Fauci said Monday. “I think comfortably around November or December, we’ll know whether or not the vaccine is safe and effective,” he said.

There are currently 10 Covid-19 vaccine candidates in late-stage, large clinical trials around the world, according to the World Health Organization. Several of those are in the US and at least two have been in Phase 3 trials since late July.

Once a vaccine is deemed safe and effective, it’s likely companies will already have doses to begin distributing, Fauci said.

“There will be vaccines available, likely, for some people, limited amount, by the end of this calendar year, the beginning of 2021,” Fauci predicted.  Experts including Fauci say health care workers and people with underlying health conditions will likely take priority for vaccinations.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/06/health/us-coronavirus-tuesday/index.html

It didn’t make this article, but he also said that vaccines are already being manufactured, and they should be available for the masses by the middle of next year.

Just the thought of the pandemic coming to an end should be enough to goose the Spring Selling Season!

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