September 8 Weekly Update

Two new listings this past week in The Meadows, and they are displayed with yellow highlight on the list.

No homes went into Pending.

One home Closed Escrow: 10131 Sage Hill Way, a 4/3 of 3,321 s.f. Closed Escrow at $462,500 having been on the market for 32 days.

Partly the lack of activity has to do with the paucity of listings below $400,000, the primary market for investors and first-time home buyers, and part of the activity lack is the imminent closing of the main warm-weather selling season.

We continue to have good activity in all ranges of houses as measured by inquiries, MLS viewings, showings, and flyer activity, but actual offers are scarce in the upper levels of house prices. Houses at $500,000 and up are usually the “move-up” market, and that depends upon solid economic activity in the entrepreneurial and corporate markets. While stocks are high, and profits are up, there is still uncertainty in the jobs market and so executives are wary in buying executive and luxury level housing.

As soon as the political season ends, there will be some certainty in the economic markets – more with one candidate than another – but sufficient certainty to establish a business and housing market for the next year.

The wild cards are the European EURO mess, and the potential for war in the Middle East, either in Syria, or between Israel and Iran. Either will roil both the political arena and the economic arena. The world’s largest container shipping corporation is increasing both tonnage and rates between the US and Asia, while dropping tonnage and rates between the US and Europe – a vote of no-confidence in the European economic situation. Europe is 25% of our export market, so they matter.

All of this impacts the US housing market – less so in Southern California, but it sufficiently increases concern to impact confidence and ALL markets, but particularly high-value markets like real estate, are confidence driven.

We will know the housing market better in the March/April time frame. The Winter months last year were active, but turned hot in March. Absent unexpected Middle East or European problems, we can expect the same relatively quiet but continued active Winter months.

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September 1, Weekly Analysis

September 1, Weekly Analysis
Two new listings this past week in The Meadows, and they are displayed with yellow highlight on the list.
No homes went into Pending or Closed Escrow this past week.
This lack of activity was not just Hidden Meadows, but throughout the entire Zip Code of 92026. Partially, this can be attributed to the school year starting and all Buyers with school-age children want their children settled before school, and partially this can be the current lack of inventory in the “Hot” market of starter homes that attract first-time home buyers, and potential rentals that attract investors.
I checked my computer for the list I printed on September 3, 2011 and there were four listings in the $300-$400,000 range and one listing at $299,900!
Right now we only have one listing in the $300,000-$400,000 range, and I suspect it will sell before the listing gets to 20 days or so. It may even attract multiple offers and therefor take a few days longer, but only because of the activity around it. It is priced at a point to attract interest, and I have not even seen it to evaluate the condition of the property.
Local Realtors gathered last week for a Realtors Caravan, always held on Thursday at 9 a.m. – we gather at the Deli and tour a few homes. It must have been six or eight weeks since we had a Caravan, because many homes sold before we could arrange them on Caravan, or the Owner or Realtor (usually “outside Realtors”) didn’t want to bother to have Realtors view their homes. In some cases the homes were under renovation, and then sold before they could be viewed.
In “hot” markets, we have as many as 10-12 Realtors on a weekly Caravan. Many Realtors have dropped out of real estate, either temporarily or permanently, so we now expect perhaps six Realtors and seldom have more than one Caravan a month. Only professional Realtors remain in the market. Hidden Meadows has a core group of EXCELLENT Realtors.
National trends are reporting a slight increase in prices, about a half a percent. What that really means is that this is the bottom of the market. A half a percent is well below the inflation rate, so essentially homes are still losing value, although not price, but losing value at a lower rate.
All markets are based on confidence, and it will take sustained increases in confidence to move the housing market upward. Perhaps after the uncertainty of the national election is removed, we will see market conditions change.