Real Estate News

Why you want your home on the market during “summer”

By | Hints for Sellers, New, Real Estate News, Sales by Club

Wow!!!  Look at what sells during the “off season”!

Update…just added Desert Falls..Looks at their percent summer sales!

Sold 5/15-10/15/10      
  “Summer” Total Year % “Summer”
Country Club Sold Sold  
Andalusia 6 18 33%
Desert Falls 20 39 51%
Hideaway 10 21 48%
Indian Ridge 24 63 38%
Indian Wells CC 24 60 40%
Mountain View 19 49 39%
Palm Valley 23 61 38%
PGA West 76 162 47%
Rancho La Quinta 28 65 43%
Toscana 9 19 47%
Week Total 239 557 43%
5 months “summer”      
41% of the year      
43% of the Sales!!      

As we all know! This is our selling season!

By | New, Real Estate News

Area home sales buck trend, up 7.3 percent

Written by

The Desert Sun

Home sales rose 7.3 percent in February across the Coachella Valley compared to the same month a year ago, bucking a downward trend in Southern California and the nation.

The latest monthly home-sales tally also rose considerably from January, La Jolla-based DataQuick Information Systems reported.

The 848 existing homes, condos and newly built homes that sold last month in the valley was up from 727 in January, DataQuick reported.

Brisk sales of previously occupied condos — a nearly 31 percent hike in year-over-year sales — helped boost the valley’s real estate market, analysts and real estate professionals said.

The Coachella Valley’s home sales increase last month compared to an 11.2 percent drop for all of Riverside County and a 6.4 percent drop across Southern California.

Nationwide, sales of existing homes fell 9.6 percent in February compared to the same month a year ago, the lowest level since November, the National Association of Realtors reported.

The latest monthly home-sales figures illustrate how tough it is to compare the valley’s real estate market with the rest of Southern California or even other parts of Riverside County, said Jim Franklin, president of the Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors.

“We’re unique here in the Palm Springs-Coachella Valley,” said Franklin, a broker associate with Prudential California Realty. “People want to live here; it’s not like they have to live here. So our market holds up pretty steady.”

The valley’s median price — half sold for more, half for less — was $200,000 in February, the same as February 2010, DataQuick reported. That was up from $181,250 in January.

Southern California’s median price was $275,000 in February, DataQuick reported.

Positive factors

Analysts with DataQuick and the California Association of Realtors said there appears to be enough potential demand that the pace of home sales is expected to increase over the next several months.

Low prices, low mortgage rates, available credit, signs of job growth and improving consumer confidence are among factors that could help boost home sales this spring, said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“There’s pent-up demand out there,” Walsh said. “Lots of people have been waiting for the right time to buy.”

The Coachella Valley is getting into its prime season, with May typically one of the busiest months, Franklin said.

“At the end of the season, people start buying,” he said. “I think if people don’t buy this year, they’re going to come back and say, ‘Boy, I should have bought this.’”

Franklin said condos are selling well because many out-of- town owners perceive them as easy to care for and they’re priced well at a time when the inventory of lower priced single-family homes is waning in some valley cities.

Sales of newly built homes continued to struggle in the valley, in part because builders are faced with steep competition from foreclosed and other distressed properties.

The figure of 30 newly built homes that sold in the valley during February was down 48 percent drop from February 2010, DataQuick reported. In January, 23 new homes sold, a 39 percent drop from a year ago.

Foreclosure factor

Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors, said a big decline in the median price statewide in January could primarily be attributed to the brief moratorium that some banks placed on foreclosures last fall.

As the foreclosures resumed, Appleton-Young said more distressed properties came onto the market, which led to an uptick in sales of lower-priced homes in January. It’s a trend likely to continue as lenders expedite the disposition of those properties, Appleton- Young said.

DataQuick analysts observed that foreclosure resales made up 37.1 percent of all existing home sales in February across Southern California, which was up from 36.8 percent in January but down from 42.4 percent a year ago.

Short sales — transactions in which properties are sold for less that what is owed — made up about 19.8 percent of all home resales in Southern California in February, DataQuick reported.

CDAR officials have joined the California Association of Realtors to urge banks, government officials and others with a stake in the housing market to make short sales easier, faster and more efficient.

Some homebuyers have been frustrated having to wait as many as three months for banks to respond do short sale offers.

Greg Berkemer, CDAR executive director, said “we know our market is recovering,” even if fluctuations in sales and prices is uneven or choppy from month to month.

Cash Sales Accounted for 30% in Jan in CA

By | New, Real Estate News

Cash-only home sales rise in California

All-cash buyers grabbed a record 30.9% share of California house and condo sales in January. In Southern California’s most expensive communities, cash deals now account for as much as two-thirds of home sales.

 By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times

March 1, 2011

 Cash talks. And it’s speaking loudly in California real estate these days, even in the nicest parts of town.

All-cash buyers grabbed a record 30.9% share of the Golden State’s houses and condos in January as low prices lured investors and others, according to San Diego research firm DataQuick Information Systems.

Cash activity has been brisk for months in foreclosure-ridden areas such as Riverside and San Bernardino. But now, the cash buyer has become a major player in Southern California’s most expensive communities, where cash deals account for as much as two-thirds of home sales.

The trend is being driven by several factors, analysts say, including the difficulty of getting a “jumbo” loan from lenders still stinging from the mortgage meltdown. It also reflects speculation by wealthy investors who believe home prices are at or near a bottom.

“A lot of people think housing will outperform other financial investments,” said Andrew LePage, a DataQuick analyst. “This is just a place to park their money.”

In the Southland’s $1-million-and-up market, 29.2% of buyers paid cash last year — the highest percentage since 1994, DataQuick statistics show. For homes selling for $5 million and up, 62.2% paid cash.

Overall, cash deals constituted 27.8% of Southern California home sales in 2010, the most since DataQuick began tracking the market in 1988. It’s also more than double the 13% average for cash sales over the last decade.

The shift toward cash purchases started when foreclosures became a significant factor in the market, said Gary Painter, director of research at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. That’s because investors buying properties on the courthouse steps don’t go looking for mortgages.
“There have always been all-cash investors who think they can go in and flip a home,” he said.

There’s just more of them now. Cash buying has reached fever pitch in parts of Orange County, where the Balboa community of Newport Beach saw the highest percentage of sales going to cash buyers last year of any $1-million-plus Southland community — 66.7%.

Chris Crocker, a Coldwell Banker broker in Corona del Mar, said well-heeled buyers are using cash to acquire investment properties and second homes or to better their portfolios.

“Buyers are looking out 10 years, and buying a trophy property for 40% off its price” before the housing downturn, Crocker said.

Within a five-mile radius, his office closed 24 all-cash deals in the $5-million-and-up price range in the last six months.

“The smart money is ahead of the game and buying before the summer selling season when they will have competition,” he added.

Other big cash markets were Montecito, with 57.2% of sales, and Beverly Hills, with 45.6%.

“All-cash buyers are becoming the optimum buyer,” said agent Ian Brooks of Rodeo Realty, Beverly Hills. “I just closed three deals in a row that were all cash.”

Among the properties was a $1.73-million condo at the Azzurra in Marina del Rey, a 19-story building known for its collection of paintings, sculptures and photographs by artists including Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Roy Lichtenstein that adorn the lobby and other public areas.

Brooks says most of his clients who pay cash are investors looking for a fast close.

“We call it land banking,” he said, “because buyers are literally taking these condos and homes and they are betting prices will go up.”

But all-cash purchases aren’t a cause for excitement in every luxury community in Southern California. Montecito is one such market where cash is old news.

“It doesn’t sell any popcorn here,” said Harry Kolb, a Sotheby’s agent with 32 years of experience in the wealthy Santa Barbara community. “We’re pretty jaded. Over-$5-million sales are, for the most part, cash.”

One reason for the high percentage of cash sales is that luxury properties are hard to value, making it harder to get a loan.

“Our market is very subjective,” Kolb said. “We’ll have a 3,000-square-foot house that sells for more than a 5,000-square-foot house. Appraisers don’t know how to handle that.”

Another factor contributing to the high percentage of all-cash deals in luxury markets is the prospect of being turned down for a loan because the qualification process has gotten much more difficult for jumbo loans, Kolb said. In areas with high housing costs, including Los Angeles and Orange counties, a jumbo loan is a mortgage of more than $729,750.

“Very substantial financial people have not been able to get loans,” he said. “It’s the first time they’ve ever been refused for anything.”

While investors are counting on home prices to rise, they should also be prepared for a long wait, USC’s Painter cautioned.

“My sense is that we are in a flat period,” he said. “I expect we’ll be there for another 12 months as the inventory gets pushed out in the foreclosures that banks are holding and as they dispose of them.”