Today’s Realtor Caravan

We had a good Realtors Caravan today, with a nice selection of homes – four.

Inside the Covenant the home of choice was on Treeside Lane, one of my favorite cul-de-sac streets. Nice house, nice street, nice views.

Then outside the Covenant, there was a great buy on Engleman Oaks. Beautiful house, great price.  One of the problems on Burned Oak is the entry…it is a bit more rural than you would expect for a part of the community that has some terrific homes further on.

Let’s just say that some of the original homes out of the Covenant have not been “gentrified” at the same rate as some of the newer homes.

There are parts of the community – Cervexa Baja, High Vista, Lotus Pond come immediately to mind – where the homes are all upscale. Then there are parts of the community – Happy Lilac Trail, and Quiet Hollow jump to mind – where gentrification has lagged.

Many areas outside the Covenant are a mixed bag. You cab see a million-dollar home across the street from someone who came up in the 60s to grow….well, something, and with the eventual advent of Prop. 13 providing cover, property taxes never forced a sale.

Burned Oak area is not that bad, but it is difficult to sell a million dollar house next to a home that has not kept up with the times, or in the case of Burned Oak is horse property – not bad horse property, but not really upscale horse property.

The Burned Oak street, BTW was named because there was a center island on the road with an old oak that had been struck by lightening, and had burned. It must have been about 10 years ago that the old oak fell – right on the rented moving van of a client of the real estate office I was managing at the time.

There is no little traffic on that road, and the bad luck of having that tree finally fall on a truck…well, just plain bad luck.

The Bad News Continues…

The North County Times headlines today, front page above the fold, continues the littany of bad news about housing in North San Diego County and elsewhere:

“All segments of San Diego’s house market lost value in February, the index showed. Houses prices below $307,801, which had been pushing up the overall index through much of 2009 and 2010, declined 2.7 percent from January and 1.5 percent from February of last year in the index. Houses priced between  $307,801 and $407,869 dipped 4.2 percent in February compared to last year, and 1.4 percent from January. Houses priced above $407,869, which includes over half of North County houses, dropped 0.5 percent from January and 1.7 percent from February of last year.

In North County, the median house price was $417,500, it’s lowest since 2009, according to the North San Diego County Association of Realtors.“

Realtors are supposed to put a smiley face on the situation, but I am reality based and do not own a pair of rose-colored glasses.

Bloomberg News interviewed an analyst from Morgan-Stanley, who opined that it would be more than several years before the market even stabilizes, and we could see as much as an 11% decline in prices this year.

“U.S. home prices will fall 6 percent to 11 percent this year, more than previously forecast, as mortgages become harder to obtain and distressed sales drive down values, according to Morgan Stanley.

Prices will have lost as much as 39 percent from their 2006 peak through the first half of 2012, according to measures such as the S&P/Case-Shiller index, analysts Oliver Chang in San Francisco and Vishwanath Tirupattur and James Egan in New York said today in a report. Morgan Stanley previously estimated values would drop 35 percent from the peak.”

While the headline featured the scare 11% figure, the 6% figure is more likely in Hidden Meadows.

Version 1.X is Available

The latest version of the Hidden Meadows slide show is available at:

I have added real estate information.

Initially, I envisioned something that would be an overvirew of The Meadows, but then I decided that a video would be better for that because it is less easy to change.

The slide show lets me change the changable information. Like real estate, easily – whereas the video requires mush more work to make a change, and so the video will be the Meadows overview while the slide show is not the real estate medium.

Initially, the homes shown for sale are my listings – but I will solicit listings from my cooperating Meadows Realtors. They are more my friends than my competitors – certainly, friendly competitors.

Most of them, and all of them whose houses I will also feature, will sell anyone’s home, equally.

I start working on the video this week, having gained some experience videotaping and editing the capture and release (elesewhere) of four raccoons in the past month.

Now, what I need is some crisp weather so I can demonstrate the terrific views available.

Version 1.1 is already here…

As a result of constructive comments from this blog, Version 1.1 of the Hidden Meadows real estate related slide show is available at:

and Version 1.2 is being worked upon. Appreciation to those who have provided comments, and more comments are elicited.

After publishing more than 2,000 newspaper columns over more than 30 years in San Diego’s North County, I have long appreciated the work of my Editors. Columns, and slide show media are internally generated, and as I once told an Editor, “If I had known it was wrong, I would not have written it that way.”

An outside view is always useful, because, as I have long known, what I write is not necessarily what someone else reads. It is their perception that counts, and I appreciate your critical comments.

Basic Slide Show of The Meadows, Version 1.0

While it is by no means a finished product, still it is not bad for Version 1.0.

I am talking about the slide show of Hidden Meadows I have placed on my iDISK at:

and if you click on the link, it should take you to the short slide show in Adobe Acrobat.

I plan to supplement it with a video shortly. Many of the shots in this existing slideshow are of my house and pond, or commercial buildings, or of my listings, so they were fairly easy to get and display without the usual problem of getting signed releases.

This slide show is a short description of the community. Over time I will add to it, and produce video as well, but this is a start.

Your comments, criticisms, recommendations are invited. Creating things in one’s own mind without outside help is seldom sufficient.

April 23 Update

There are several new listings in the Meadows last wee: 26536 Mountain Meadow Rd, a 3/3 of 2,993 s.f. for $725,000; and a home at 27509 Mountain Meadow Rd., a 4/3 of 2,296 s.f. offered at $775,000.

One home went into Pending: 10279 Spruce Woodlands Way. A 5/3 of 2,601 s.f. which had been listed at $399,000 – $449,888.

One home closed escrow this past week: 10111 Circle P Lane, a 3/3 of 3,168 s.f. was listed as “SOLD” for $750,000.

This cool weather is starting to wear thin, and again this weekend the weather is not cooperating – Easter Sunday will start of with drizzle and cool, and the weather will go to 80 by Tuesday. Perhaps we should try to hold Open Houses on Tuesdays.

Still, the general activity is more than one would expect, and the media says that about 30% of the offers are for cash – indicating that investors are still active in the market. The media also reports that another one-third of the market are first-time home buyers. That leaves us with another one-third as move-up (or down) buyers.

And, week after week we have a sale or two in the Meadows, an activity level that would be considered “normal” if it were not for the low prices. What is not factored into the market is the number of homes in the “shadow market” – homes that would be listed if the market was more active – in effect homes that the owners would like to sell but feel there is not much use until hot times come again.

Unfortunately, that appears to be years away.

Did You Know…

Maintaining a nice car in The Meadows is difficult because we are a long way from a car wash. The main problem is not the cost, it is the inconvenience, and waiting for a car wash is a long process.

I’ll bet your car is detailed at the dealership — for $199, (BTW, if you have not been to the Escondido Lexus, you have really missed something special!)

“Tony” does just as good a job for $65 — and he comes to your Hidden Meadows home!  (He has a Green Card, a drivers license, car insurance and pays federal taxes – he has applied for US Citizenship.)

I trained Tony for several years before I bought him his first materials and put out an ad for him in the Meadows. Many people use him in the Meadows, now, including my main competitor, who is, by the way, a friend. All of the Realtors In the community are more friends than competitors! Our cooperation is not grudging, we really like each other