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 Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org, 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