Watch the 2018 California Housing Forecast Video Also available in audio-only format on the Bay to Bay Podcast Last October, I was fortunate enough to attend the California Association of Realtors Conference and Expo in San Diego. One of the highlights of the multi-day event was the presentation given by Leslie Appleton-Young, the Chief Economist […]
You really need to look at the year before to see how the market performed – and from the statistics, we can see the median home price, county-wide, is actually down 33.5% in April of 2009 compared to a year ago. … Honestly, I am mystified how people can take a few anecdotes, completely ignore the state of the economy and the housing market as a whole, and now herald, with strident authority, that we are now at the bottom of the market and THIS, TODAY is the time to buy, or you will miss out on the chance of a lifetime. … Well, that’s not true – short sales can also occur at those prices, and some people who have had their homes a long, long time may have enough equity in them to compete with all the REOs and short sales. … Personally, I think it’s going to put increased pressure on the bottom of the market, as many people who were looking at buying a lower-priced “starter” home may now be thinking of stretching to go for one of these “premium” foreclosures which I expect we’ll be seeing.
Fact is, we have been seeing multiple offers for well over a year now on these bargain-basement properties in Watsonville – and pretty much anywhere in California where bank-owned foreclosures are sold several percent cheaper than competing properties – these properties attract multiple offers and sell quickly. … Pretty much – I didn’t go into 87 Arista when it was on the market, but from what I can tell on the MLS from the pictures, the choice of paint colors and level of amenities in this home was about on par with my listing. … And then, a scant two months later, my own listing comes on with an asking price of $250,000 – that’s 3.8% less than the sale price of a very very comparable property which closed just two months earlier…and I’m on the market eight days, and I’m standing in a field of chirping crickets . … But not too far below – if in fact you were able to buy a home for 10% below true market value, you could not do a thing to the property, then turn around and sell that property to someone else the next day for 10% more than you paid for it.
One biggie is that I am completely and utterly swamped with work, and while my blog is actually very important to me, it falls into the “important but not urgent” quadrant of McCovey’s “first things first.” Another reason I haven’t written anything is that I don’t know quite what to say! Every day, I read the newspapers and the blogs and e-zines and and I watch TV and listen to podcasts, absorbing all the real estate news that there is, and I try to make sense of it all, I try to wrap my head around it and come to some kind of conclusion that I feel certain enough about to write up a blog entry, sharing my thoughts with you all… … The optimists in the crowd will also point to months of falling inventory – this time last year, there were 989 single-family residences for sale in the county, and now we’re down to 803. … I think an important thing to consider in all of this is that the inventory is not shrinking so much because of the high sales volume, but rather it is shrinking also because many sellers are letting their listings expire, or just outright canceling them, taking their homes off the market.
As has been the case for several months, there is a bit of good news – the sales volume (number of houses, condos, etc., which have sold) has increased for the seventh month in a row, year-over-year. Unfortunately, sales were not up month-over-month; in December of 2008, there had been 112 sales of single-family residences in Santa Cruz county; in January ’09, that number had sunk back down to 79. … The important thing to look at, I feel, is the year-over-year gain or loss, and this year, sales were up a whopping 21.5% from January 2008. … If you watch TV or listen to the radio, you may have heard a commercial or two from the National or California Association of Realtors telling you this is a great time to buy , that there are a lot of homes for sale. … There are not many homes for sale at all – the amount of inventory is down 21.6% from January a year ago, and inventory has been declining for nine straight months.
The Housing Crash guy says: A landlords’ rule of thumb is that a house price should be a maximum of 15 times the annual rent for that place, yet in coastal areas, houses are still selling for 30 times annual rent I think he’s got a good point there – which goes to underscore my belief that prices in Watsonville are actually very reasonable at the moment. … Looking over the ads on Craig’s List, it’s safe to say that a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house would rent for about $2,400 a month in Santa Cruz, assuming it was in a not-so-great location. … Let’s look at the payment for a $500,000 house – but let’s assume you’re putting down a reasonable 10% instead of the FHA minimum of 3.5% – so you’d have a $450,000 loan, again at about 5.75% because with only 10% down, you’d still need to pay mortgage insurance. … Let’s say you’re in a tax bracket of 25%, and you can figure you’d save about $640/month in federal and state taxes, bringing your effective monthly after-tax payment to about $2,519 per month, or just about $120 more than renting.
In December 2008, the median price crashed down to $452,500 – that is a year-over-year drop of a bit more than 38%. When you look at the entire year (2008 vs. 2007), you see that the median price drop was only 22% – however the fact that it was down 38% in December indicates that prices sank much faster in December than the year as a whole. … However, in December particularly, sales surged compared to the figure from a year ago, up 47.4% – that is, 76 units were sold in December ’07 and a whopping 112 in December ’08. And remember, my web site has a page just for Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Data – you can check it out any time.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and sane New Year’s Eve, and I hope that as I type this on January 2nd, most of you are taking the day off to spend on vacation, or with friends and family. We’ll all get back to the grindstone soon enough, but I think that […]