Archive for the ‘housing reports’ Category

Home Values Remain Strong

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The latest CoreLogic report shows that home values rose 5.0% in December nationwide, compared to a year ago. This figure includes distressed sales. For the entire year of 2014 home prices increased 7.4%, which is down from the 11.1% increase in 2013.

This news is great for the housing market, and shows that the housing market was definitely on a healing path in 2014. Many wonder whether it will continue as we move through 2015, and there are many opposing views.

It is important to caution, as I always do, that to truly understand what is happening in the real estate market you need to study your own specific market, as of course the market will vary depending on area (for example, homes in the mid-west may not have the same trajectory as homes in San Diego, California). Looking at San Diego’s market as we head into February, it looks like the market remains strong and prices continue to either rise slightly or remain steady. Demand is definitely growing, and at least personally it seems listings are selling a lot quicker.

Below is a chart for the median price of homes sold in San Diego County up through January 1, 2015. You can see prices climbing back up after a (typical) seasonal dip during the holiday period.

Here is a chart showing San Diego County inventory since March of 2014. Again, after a typical seasonal dip over the holiday season, we can see inventory rates starting to climb back up as we head into February and toward the Spring season.

There are currently 5,373 active properties on the market today in San Diego County, and 3,634 pending properties. Since January 1, 1,595 properties have closed. During the same period last year (January 1 through February 3) 1,894 properties closed escrow. If you would like more data that is specifically tailored to where you live or would like to live, please contact me and I will be happy to send you detailed reports on your specific area.

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Home Prices Start to Return to the “New Normal”

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

For those who are regulars to my blog, I have predicted that home prices will soon stop escalating and will return to a “normal” growth, one that ascends slowly but steadily over time. I predicted we would start to see this by the end of this year, and especially heading into 2014. It appears that it is starting to happen right now, even in light of a new study that says that Americans believe housing prices will continue to rise despite rising interest rates.statistics

Clear Capital predicts that home prices across the country will “experience more moderate and sustainable increases” for the remainder of 2013, as we slowly transition into this “new normal” of slower and more consistent gains moving ahead into 2014 and beyond.

In the short term many areas will likely continue to see price increases  through the end of the year, despite the rise in interest rates. This could be due in part to rising inventories in many areas. Another explanation is that the rise in interest rates, along with the commonly held notion that these rates will continue to rise with time, may actually push buyers to make purchases in order to avoid higher rates. Likely, many sellers may see this as an opportune time to unload properties while the market is still rising and before rates climb higher, which will undoubtedly price some buyers out of the market.

As rates rise and inventories increase, we may also see a shift in the market, from a seller’s market (which we currently are experiencing in many areas, especially here in the western states), to a buyer’s market. Heading out of the summer buying season and into the Fall and beyond to the holidays, this is a realistic possibility. Demand will of course also continue to be fueled by the strength of local economies.

Interestingly, a study by Fannie Mae in July, the National Housing Survey, found that despite rising mortgage rates, consumers believe that prices will continue to rise. 53% of those polled thought that prices would rise in the next year. Those expecting prices to drop came to under 6%.

All in all, it is still a very interesting time in the housing market. I stand by my theory that prices may continue to rise through the end of the year, although possibly not as drastically. I believe we will continue to see inventory levels inch up in many areas, and that as we head into 2014 we will see prices stabilize somewhat, although I do believe tight lending standards could effect the state of the market as well (a topic for another blog). From there on out I believe we will see a more “normal” market moving forward, meaning one that grows slowly and consistently over time.

If you are thinking of buying or selling it is important to contact a knowledgeable Realtor and mortgage professional in your area to understand the makeup of your specific area.


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Finally: It is a Seller’s Market

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Sellers rejoice: it is finally a sellers’ market in many areas. For those homeowners who need or want to sell, this news has been a long time coming, after the last few years of the housing market collapse and bad news. There are some very positive market conditions that accompany this changeover:

Home price increases: If you follow the housing market in your area you may have noticed that prices are increasing in most areas (of course, you should check with your local real estate professional, as every area is different). The median national home price has increased 12.3% in San Diego county from this time last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The great news is that this will move many homeowners from being underwater, to being able to finally sell and move on. Many of these people were “stuck” in their homes because they owed more than their homes were worth. Zillow reported that over 2 million homeowners came out of the negative equity doldrums on their homes in 2012, and that is expected to continue this year. Over the next year we will see many of these underwater homeowners get out of negative equity situations, which will then increase the inventory levels and bring the market back into “normal,” aka healthy, status.

Increase in buyer demand: Also, according to NAR, buyer traffic has increased 40% from a year ago. There are many buyers out there ready to buy, and less inventory for them to see. This keeps prices climbing and leads to…

Multiple offers: Many listings are obtaining multiple offers, and many are also selling not only over comparable market value, but over appraised value. Lots of buyers are willing to pay cash out of pocket for homes where their appraisal has come in too low (they pay the difference between the appraisal and the sales price), thus driving neighborhood comparables upwards.

Market times have decreased: Due to all the above factors, market times have decreased and homes are selling more quickly. In San Diego county, average market times decreased for almost every city. The average days on market in North San Diego for detached homes was 36, down from 48 days in December 2012. Market time for attached homes similarly fell in the majority of San Diego county cities, some as much as 84%, with the median attached home market time all across the county at 48.  (Source: HomeDex)

The market is improving and all signs are pointing toward a healthy 2013 for the real estate market. The biggest plus is that we will eliminate the negative equity situation for many homeowners, creating more inventory for buyers, and allowing many current homeowners to sell and purchase properties that are more cost-efficient for them. All this, of course, will create higher home values, which benefit neighborhoods.

All in all, this is a great time to be in the position to sell, so get your home in tip-top shape and enjoy the turn of the market. If you are thinking of selling your home, it is important to consult with an experienced neighborhood real estate agent.



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Homes Are Selling FAST in California!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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Home Price Index Sees Biggest Increase in Years

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The latest news from the CoreLogic, a national provider of real estate statistics, is that the home price index has increased 3.8% on a national level – the largest increase since 2006. The figures include distressed properties. What does this mean?

A home price increase is good for the housing industry, as it means that housing is on the road to recovery. This is great news for the economy. What will be interesting to see is how the news affects home sellers. Either we will begin to see more inventory on the market, which is desperately needed to meet demand, or we will continue to see low inventory as sellers wait for the market to climb.

Unfortunately there will not be any drastic increases in price – it will be gradual. Hopefully those sellers who are sitting on the proverbial fence waiting to sell will realize this shortly, and then list their homes anyway. Lack of inventory is one of our biggest challenges right now in real estate, but undoubtedly is one of the reasons for the price increase.

The future index measures by CoreLogic indicate that sales will rise, moving forward, 4.6% on a year to year basis from August of 2011, and at least 0.6% on a month over month basis from July of 2012. These predictions are derived from measuring multiple listing service (MLS) data that measure price changes in prior months.

The 5 states with the highest levels of appreciation, including distressed properties, were Arizona, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota and Colorado.

In North San Diego county we have seen a slight price decrease (for attached and detached homes)  in median price, from $403,500 to $395,000, for the month of July, compared to July of last year. San Diego county a as whole enjoyed a price increase of 1.28% from June to July of 2012, with a year to year increase of 5.33% from July of 2011.

As always, it is imperative to focus on your specific neighborhood if you are interested in specific sales data, as information varies depending on where you are located. The good news is that most areas across the nation are experiencing price increases, which is a great sign for the housing market and the economy.

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Is the Housing Market Really Improving?

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how the housing market is doing, I would be a very happy lady. Right now there are a lot of stories and speculation out there as to the status of the housing market. There is definitely a lot of positive news, and that seems to be the majority. But nevertheless, when I report on it I still get comments from people claiming that their area is still hard hit, rife with foreclosures, etc. Can we answer the question, “how is the market?” in general terms?

The answer is “not really.” Although most areas of the country are in a better place than they were say, two years ago, the answer to the housing market status question is still area-specific. Some areas – like many parts of California and Arizona (due in part to inventory shortages) and Idaho – are experiencing positive signs, like increased sales, multiple offer situations, lower foreclosure numbers, and construction booms. Yet other areas, such as New Jersey, have thousands of empty homes that have not hit the market yet (New Jersey has one of the highest “shadow inventory” rates in the country – the  number of homes owned by lenders but not yet active on the resale market).

So in some areas of the country we are seeing housing improvements on different levels, while in other areas we are not seeing such signs. Therefore, looking at housing from a national perspective really does not provide an adequate picture as to what is going on in your area. As I always say, it is more important to focus on your specific area and ignore the media reports on housing (unless they are hyper-local reports). So let’s take a look at what’s going on locally.

The California housing market improved 8.5% in sales in June from the same time last year. Prices also increased 8.1% from the same time last year, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). Low inventory rates in many areas, as well as low interest rates and ready buyers, combined to jack up the competition and bring more offers and more closed escrows.

Here in San Diego county, the median price for all North County homes – attached and detached – increased $13,000 from May to June, 2012. Wow! That is a big increase in one month. Among detached homes, North County experienced the highest median price recorded for single family detached homes since 2010 (a 4.68% increase in price from May to June of this year). Attached homes in North County also increased – 1.97% from May to June of this year. [Data complied by NSDCAR via HomeDex]

The number of sold homes in North County increased for the 5th month in a row, while the number of single family detached home listings decreased from May to June by 6.15%, with a fall of over 35% from June 2011. Normally the busiest selling time of the year, this Spring and Summer have definitely been different in the local housing market. The lack of inventory and the demand for such continues to strengthen the local market in terms of price and sales.

Outside of North County (the rest of San Diego county), detached home prices increased 0.87% from May to June, and attached home prices remained steady from May to June (at $210,000).

Locally, we are definitely seeing a housing market rebound. For those who have to purchase it can be trying, due to the low inventory and fierce competition, including investor buyers who often can present cash offers. What we need locally is more inventory. Although prices are down from the heyday of the market, it still can be a great time for sellers who need to sell or have equity in their homes.

When focusing on the housing market and whether it is truly “recovering,” my advice is to ignore the national media and look at housing reports in your area, or the area in which you would like to purchase. If you would like a copy of the HomeDex report, please send an email to me at, and I will be happy to send it to you. I am also happy to provide a thorough market analysis of any San Diego neighborhood.


Photos courtesy of Dreamstime

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Real Estate News REcap: July 6

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Housing Affordability is Up: The National Association of Realtors has reported that housing affordability is at it’s highest level since the 1970s, when such record-keeping started. The Housing Affordability Index measures the relationship between median home price, median family income, and average mortgage interest rates. As the index climbs higher, household purchasing power grows. An index of 100 is the place at which a household with median income is able to qualify for a purchase of a median-priced home; the index in January scored 206. Great news for buyers.

Vacation and Investor Purchases Grow: Rising to the highest level since 2005, vacation home and investor purchases are heating up the market. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that investment purchases rose over 64% last year from 2010 levels. Vacation home purchases rose 7% from 2010. I have definitely felt this to be true, as the majority of my sales in 2011 and again this year have been to investors and those purchasing second/third homes – it’s a great time to negotiate for these buyers.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Keep Falling: Fixed rates have continued to drop, according to a Freddie Mac survey, with a fall again this week for 30 year fixed rates, to 3.62% (compared to 4.60% this time last year). Similarly, 15 year fixed rates and 1 year ARMs also dropped. For more details click here.

California Homeowner Bill of Rights Closer to Approval: The California Homeowner Bill of Rights -which actually encompass two bills – passed by the State Assembly and Senate on Monday, and now go to the Governor for final approval.

The bills will address two main issues: (1) protection from foreclosure of homes while homeowners are working with their lenders on modifications (allowing them to stay in their homes), and (2) establishing a single point of contact with lenders for homeowners in their communications (so they are not passed around to numerous people while trying to work out their modifications – an act that would have a big impact on getting these modifications approved).

The bills will also prevent robo-signing by imposing fines on the lenders for filing any unverified documents, and will allow homeowners to sue before a foreclosure. Lenders of course have been fighting these laws and are against passage. The laws are expected to be passed and would take effect January 1.

California Officials to Use Eminent Domain to Help Restructure Underwater Mortgages: Eminent domain, the process by which the state can take your property for public use, is being considered in a new light in an attempt to help underwater borrowers. The plan would allow seizure of underwater mortgages at a low price, based on fair market value, and would then refinance them (to the homeowner) at a slightly higher amount. The venture capital firm that is financing the seizures would make a profit on the new mortgages, and homeowners would be allowed to participate if they were current on their mortgages. Homeowners would stay in their homes and have new mortgages based on current market values. It will be interesting to follow the path of this clever but controversial plan.

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

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Home Prices are Rising

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Home prices are rising and have been doing so for the last three months.  According to Standard and Poor’s newest Case-Shiller index report, prices have actually showed a decline, but that fact has been disputed by other reports. In North San Diego, I agree that prices seem to be rising and market times, not including short sales, are decreasing.

The discrepancy between the Case-Shiller report and other reports that have studied markets across the country is that the other reports focus on when contracts are signed – it uses the prices agreed upon at that time, even though it could be months until the properties close escrow.  Case-Shiller uses the prices reflected at the close of escrow, so there is quite a bit of lag time, up to several months, which skews the results.

Market Trends: The general consensus is that if you focus on what is trending, rather than waiting until close of escrow down the road, you get a clearer picture of price increase. Of course, there is the possibility that some of these sales may not close escrow, or may not appraise at the agreed price, but there is still a valid argument that focusing on what people are WILLING to pay and do get into contract for is a more accurate measure of hyper-local market analyses.

North San Diego: From a personal standpoint, I agree that prices seem to be increasing in the North San Diego market. We are seeing a lot of multiple offer situations, especially in the lower price ranges (under $400,000) across the county. Also apparent is that that the days on market time seems to be decreasing. In Carlsbad alone the average market time (for all four zip codes combined) for detached homes is 76 days, but if you scroll through all the pending listings you will notice many that sold in under a week. For attached homes in all four Carlsbad zip codes the average market time is 84 days, but again, you will notice a handful of properties that went into pending status quickly.

Sales Time Trends and Short Sales: Another trend I am seeing is that short sales contracts are being presented and accepted faster, especially in the under-$400,000 price range, with both attached and detached homes. These sales go into contingent status (meaning an offer has been signed and accepted by the seller pending approval by the short sale lender(s)) much quicker these days, but the market times are longer because the parties await short sale lender approval. The wait time, which can take months, throws off the market time numbers and makes them longer, so that has to be considered when looking at the sale times.

All in all the news is positive that the market here in San Diego is improving,which is great news for homeowners and buyers alike. According to Altos Research, the statistics indicate that the tables have turned slightly in the condo market, making it a seller’s market for the first time in a long time; the detached home market is still a buyer’s market. Hopefully the road ahead will continue to bring us closer to a more “normal” market.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like any detailed market reports and statistics sent to you, and I will be happy to do so. Send your request to



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North San Diego February Home Sales

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

North County Home Sales

Thank you to Roxanne Kelemen, with Advantage Title for the above information!

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Weekly News REcap 12-2-2011

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Happy December everyone! I can’t believe the year is almost at an end (we won’t mention that I am completely unprepared for the holidays either). Here is what has been happening in the real estate market this week.

Foreclosure Moratorium for the Holidays. Some lenders are finding kindness in their heart to put in place foreclosure moratoria over the holidays, like they have done in the last few years. Fannie and Freddie have already announced a temporary moratorium on all foreclosures of single family homes and 2-4 unit properties for the holiday period, and all evictions will be delayed until after the New Year. California groups like Occupy L.A. and Occupy Santa Cruz are also trying to get lenders in their respective counties to place moratoria on foreclosures for the holidays. If you are facing foreclosure you can call your lender to see if they have instituted such a policy.

Fewer American Homowners are Underwater. A new study just published by CoreLogic concludes that the number of Americans whose homes are “underwater” (they owe more on their mortgage(s) than the current value of their homes) has decreased to 1 in 5. It used to be 1 in 4, so this sounds like good news, although there will be more foreclosures to come due to the large amount of negative equity in the housing market.

Reverse mortgages to have new requirements, may make it harder to qualify. Getting a reverse mortgage may soon be more difficult. Reverse loan originators will soon begin looking at the financial status of applicants, to see if they are able to cover the costs of homeowners insurance and property tax. The goal is to prevent future defaults. Reverse mortgages are obtained by borrowers over 62, and allow them to convert the equity in their homes into cash, which is used to live on. The loan is due, with interest, at the time the owners die, move, sell the home, or fail to pay homeowners’ insurance or property taxes.

Home values have declined in most markets; buying cheaper than renting in many places. According to a study by the Wall Street Journal it is cheaper to buy rather than rent a home in 12 major metropolitan markets. Home values also have declined in all but 5 markets. Low mortgage rates and timing make this a great time to buy for many buyers, and prices are predicted to continue to decline, mostly due to distressed sales. To read more on this study click here.


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