Health, unemployment, stairs, taxes, finances, politics…….selling your home is becoming the answer for everything!
More than 2.5 million American homeowners have stopped paying their mortgages, taking advantage of penalty-free forbearance periods offered by lenders.
What happens when the free pass fades away next year?
Not much, and certainly nothing approaching the flood of foreclosures that defined the Great Recession, according to the emerging consensus among economists. While some homeowners are sure to feel the pain of forced sales, housing experts increasingly expect the end of forbearance to be a non-event for the gravity-defying housing market.
That’s largely because home prices have risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, homeowners who find themselves unable to pay their mortgages when their forbearance periods end likely will be able to sell for a profit, rather than going into foreclosure.
“If they have equity, they can always sell off the house and pay the mortgage,” says Ralph DeFranco, global chief economist at mortgage insurance company Arch Capital Services. “It’s not a great outcome, but it’s less terrible than letting the bank take it and sell it.”
The U-T asked their twelve real estate experts about the effects of Prop 19:
Q: Will Prop. 19 substantially increase home inventory in California?
Of the local experts, 11 out of 12 said NO, and the justification for the one YES answer could have been just as easily been reasons to say NO. Gary’s answer above was the best and most-accurate. See the rest here:
Anyone surprised to hear there are agents soliciting consumers based on their political beliefs?
At first, Stephanie Morris was nervous about leaving Modesto. She’d lived in the Central Valley her whole life, but her family couldn’t keep paying $850-a-month for her sons to share a living room while she, her husband and the baby slept in their apartment’s only bedroom.
The anxiety faded by the time her family pulled out in a U-Haul bound for Salt Lake City on a smoky September night. Morris, 31, had still never been to Utah — her husband liked it when he worked there as a truck driver — but she had discovered a whole world of people planning similar escapes online. They posted faraway landscapes on Pinterest, smiling family photos on Instagram and memes about leaving “Commiefornia” in Facebook groups like “Conservatives Leaving California.”
“I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not moving out of California to a third-world country,” Morris said. “I’m leaving a third-world country to join America.”
Unaffordable housing. High taxes. A Democratic stranglehold on state politics. The concerns driving transplants like Morris out of the country’s richest state during the COVID-19 era are not new. What is changing quickly is how disillusioned California residents are coming together by the tens of thousands on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere online, fueling a cottage industry of real estate agents, mortgage lenders and political advocates stoking social division to compete for a piece of the much–discussed California Exodus.
Facebook groups like “Life After California” are full of stories about $4,000 U-Haul bills and home bidding wars in Texas, but it’s too early to tell if more people are leaving during the pandemic. People move for all kinds of reasons — a new job, to be near family, to buy their first house — and while many online moving groups target conservatives, a parallel migration of more liberal transplants has also scrambled the politics of some red states.
Early polls show that up to 40%of Bay Area tech workers will consider leaving if remote work continues. Recent tax proposals have alsotriggered familiar warnings about wealthy residents fleeing the state.
Even before COVID-19, California’s population growth had slowed considerably. Since 2015, the state has lost at least 100,000 more people than it gained each year from other U.S. states, including growing numbers of working class and Black residents. But California is still a top U.S. destination for people moving from other countries, plus affluent transplants from other states. From July 2018 to July 2019, California saw a net loss of 197,594 people to other states.
Scott Shepard has watched these forces collide from his new home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The California-bred realtor started relocation website ExitCalifornia.org and a namesake Facebook page early last year, when he saw a business opportunity in the endless stories of friends and neighbors moving out of state. Now, during the pandemic, the site is so busy he doesn’t have to pay for online ads.
“It’s starting to kind of take on a life of its own,” Shepard said. “I would be straight and say that it is primarily political. Then it really does come down to the cost and taxes.”
The anti-California Dream
Exit California is emblematic of a growing number of online relocation companies marketed heavily on social media. They target prospective transplants who skew white, right and over age 30, though renters post alongside members in the market for million-dollar houses. Between photos of tidy brick facades, crystal-clear pools and recommended moving truck routes, the Facebook pages revolve around ominous articles about Black Lives Matter protests, crime, immigration and, of late, pandemic shutdowns.
Prospective movers who click through to the website can pick a state — Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas — and see financial incentives to use selected realtors, mortgage lenders or other service providers. Beyond the mechanics of buying a house, the online groups are a platform for places to pitch fed-up Californians who don’t know where to start.
“There’s a fair percentage of them that don’t know where they wanna go,” said Scott Fuller, an Arizona transplant and real estate investor who started LeavingTheBayArea.com and LeavingSoCal.com three years ago. “They just know they want to go somewhere else.”
That’s not surprising to Bill Bishop, author of “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.” He’s studied how over the past several decades, neighborhoods across the country have become increasingly politically homogeneous. Where people choose to live has become “a stage,” he said, to flaunt their values as old anchors like a one-company career fade into a blur of unstable jobs, anxiety and dwindling time with family and friends.
“What they’re doing is selling a way of life that then corresponds to political choice,” Bishop said. “It’s kind of pathetic, actually, but what the hell?”
It’s not just real estate agents using social media to reach jaded Californians. Sometimes, the California Exodus content is bankrolled by people in high places.
Take the YouTube video “Fleeing California,” which has racked up 2 million views since it was posted in March. It starts with sweeping L.A. views of palm trees and Spanish-tile roofs, then fades to a grainy montage of sidewalk tent cities and a person being pushed in front of an oncoming truck. A moment later, in Texas, viewers see happy kids getting off a school bus and a golden retriever bounding down a jungle gym while Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talks in the background.
The video was made by PragerU, a conservative digital media nonprofit that produces other titles like “Make Men Masculine Again” and “Dangerous People Are Teaching Your Kids.” The California video was commissioned by a donor, producer Will Witt said: Texas ranching and oil scion Windi Grimes, a board director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and member of Trumpettes USA, a women’s group formed in Beverly Hills five years ago to boost President Trump as the country’s “savior.”
How many people are persuaded to pack up and move by similar videos, social media content or Joe Rogan’s recent podcasts on moving to Texas could help shuffle the country’s electoral map at a pivotal moment. Some of California’s last Republican strongholds, like Orange County, are seeing their residents decamp for other states — a net loss of nearly 25,000 people last year alone — along with notoriously liberal urban areas like L.A., which posted a net loss of more than 97,800 people.
The anti-California political spectacle playing out online has become a hobby for 30-year-old Texas country singer Charley Austin, who started the “Conservatives Leaving California” Facebook group last year. Some members post memes warning newcomers “Don’t California My Texas.” But Austin, who says he has campaigned for Trump, sees an opportunity to keep the state red as cities like Austin (“the San Francisco of Texas,” he said) go farther left.
“There’s nothing really we can do to stop people moving here,” Austin said. “The best thing you can do is help people that move here get acclimated to the state.”
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!
Even though the market is blazing, many soon-to-be home sellers are going to wait until the Spring Selling Season of 2021….and take their time getting their house ready. Because it will be hard to tell if it will be a frenzy or a glut until April or May, it won’t be a bad idea to prepare now, and be ready to go early in the season, just in case.
October would be a good time to clear out some stuff!
In the first edition of The Last Move, these were the two companies mentioned to help you:
If you need to donate your belongings to a good cause, then Rancho Coastal Humane Society is a good option because they will bring a big truck to your house and carry out most everything:
Hauling the remainder, including mattresses, can be done by Junk King in Carlsbad.
Here are a few others:
The San Diego Habitat for Humanity ReStores are home improvement discount stores with a simple premise: by selling new and gently used donated goods, we can fund the construction of new Habitat homes in San Diego County. Here is my article about their Carlsbad store:
We have had good luck with Facebook Marketplace too. You can either go onto the general page and take your chances, or get into one of the closed local groups where you can probably count on having a large audience of bargain shoppers nearby.
We have a seller who has had great luck with the mobile app OfferUp, especially when giving away stuff for free. People respond within minutes, and come to your house to pick up stuff from your driveway:
The pandemic is being blamed for people leaving town.
I think it’s more that Covid-19 is the last straw that is causing people to take the action they would have taken at some point anyway. The ‘rona will be gone in 1-18 months – moving is a major life-changing event.
But these two conflicting articles probably demonstrate who is being impacted.
On one hand, we have people – probably those who want/need to be economical – who are moving themselves and are being ripped off by the rental-truck agencies (hat tip SM):
But a survey of full-service moving companies describe a different scenario:
Are people in the U.S. migrating during the coronavirus crisis in different ways than pre-pandemic? Are they leaving cities? Moving to the suburbs? These are popular questions without definitive answers — yet. But there is some data emerging that can paint a better picture of Americans’ geographic response to the pandemic.
One thing’s for certain: So far, there is little support for the dramatic claims that people are fleeingcities writ large. In fact, available data indicates that overall, fewer people moved at all since the beginning of stay-at-home orders and through June — even with interest in moving on the rise again.
Among those who have moved, it’s unclear how many of those moves will be only temporary. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting migration takeaways worth following. A select few cities including New York City and San Francisco do seem to be seeing more out-migration than most. But guess where many of those people are going? Other very large metropolitan areas, like Seattle and Los Angeles.
If there is a perception that the pandemic has ushered in a mass migration, it is not supported by the data. According to figures from two national moving companies, Americans moved less during the pandemic than they normally would have, not more.
Several surveys have found that the great majority of people who did move duringthe first months of the pandemic did so for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus. In one such survey of 1,300 individuals conducted by Hire A Helper, just 15% said they had relocated because of Covid-19.Out of these pandemic-induced migrations, 37% of respondents said they moved because they could not afford current housingdue to a Covid-related income loss. Thirty-three percent of the respondents said that they moved to shelter in place with friends or family, and 24% that they didn’t feel safe where they were.
A Pew Research Center survey in June looked more closely at Americans who said they did make pandemic-induced moves. It found that overall, young people between the ages of 18 and 29 were moving because of Covid-19 in higher numbers, whether permanently or temporarily (college closing for in-person education might be to blame, at least partially.) Only 3% of the respondents said they had moved because of Covid-19, and 6% said someone else had moved in with them because of it.
What the pandemic is exposing is the gap between the haves and have-nots.
Those who are moving are seeking financial relief – either homeowners cashing in their home-equity lottery ticket and moving down, or those who flee so they can afford to start their American dream in a cheaper area.
The affluent don’t have to worry about that stuff. But they’ll move closer to the grandkids!
Are you of the age (40+) where you might move one more time? Here are my resources to assist you.
Reasons to move again:
Be closer to family (primarily to be near the grandkids).
Change from two-story to one-story home.
Better neighborhood for you.
Being closer to family, and especially to be near the grandkids, is high up the list of reasons for seniors to move. Not only will it be easier for you to get some help from them as you grow older, but they will appreciate the free babysitting and help around the house!
If that means you will be leaving San Diego County, then Donna is the best at finding a quality agent in your new neighborhood. We are part of two different agent networks, and she will screen agents from those and make a recommendation. Cut & paste her email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you thinking about buying a single-level home around here?
I input the best one-story homes from the MLS into my public collection here – it might ask you to sign-in but I promise I won’t call you every day until you buy or die:
If you want to buy and wouldn’t mind getting a reverse mortgage with no monthly payments, then Dean Jones is your guy. There are other private lenders that can do larger amounts but they cost more and the lenders want a piece of the equity – Dean only does government-backed FHA reverse mortgages:
You may already be in a terrific neighborhood, but it may not be the best for you at this age. There are several active communities for those who are 55 and older – both for sale and for rent. Some examples:
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