Saturday, May 26, 2007

NAR Spin Machine

Okay, couldn't resist, just one more post before I get on the plane. Saw this quote by NAR in the WSJ this morning:

(NAR must desperately be looking for something positive to say about the resale numbers reported on Friday...cause this is downright pathetic)

---Lawrence Yun, a senior economist at the NAR said that the sudden rise in inventory is due in part to existing homeowners seeing an opportunity to trade up-leading them to list their current homes on the market while they shop. It could be implying that existing homeowners are feeling a little more confident about reentering the market. ---

Did he even look to see how many vacant, investor and bank owned homes make up that inventory? Probably not.

A previous desperate attempt by NAR to put out the positive spin, resulted in them lauding the fact that the decrease in sales/prices was not as low as previous decreases....of course (look of feigned surprise on all our faces) leading them to belive the worst was over. But once again....they were comparing the numbers to the previous year, which was already slow.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Average Buyer Goes Cold Turkey

I'm going on vacation next week. I work-to-live as opposed to living-to-work. Normally I don't have any problem "unplugging" with regards to work (and I do love my job).

But with my new found might be more of a challenge. I hope to successfully go cold turkey all next week, staying away from the real estate blogs, current events and stats.

For sure will be back online by June 5th.

Weekly Screen Scrape - Intermission

Hmm.....real estate must be taking a vacation this week. No houses went pending, and no new houses came on the market (there were 2 re-lists). At least the re-lists were being sensible and came back on the market with substantial price drops.

Price per square foot of homes for sale seems to be plateauing at $220. There are currently 16 homes pending sale that meet my criteria in Folsom and EDH, and 61 still on the market.

A house we looked at in late February dropped its price 21%! It went pending the week of the 18th. They were dreaming at their original list price, but I think a 12% drop would have done the trick. They were probably interested in playing the "multiple competing offer" game.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anatomy of an Obesession

I have finally figured out why it's so easy to become obsessed with housing in a down market. Americans are doers. We are taught from birth to set goals and actively pursue them to achieve our dreams. In this case, achieving the American dream of homeownership involves waiting.

This presents a contradictory case of action by inaction. The situation goes completely against the grain of our “instant gratification” culture. Thus some of us find outlets by examining any housing data we can get our hands on and scouring the news, to make sure our goal is on track.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

News & Notes

Wednesday May 16, 2007
From El Dorado Hills Village Life - Housing market on “spring break”
From The Folsom & El Dorado Hills Telegraphs – Staged to sell in a soft real estate market

From the Wall Street Journal,
May 14, 2007
--Mortgage Woes Force Banks to Take Hit to Sell Homes (Sacramento was shown in the graphic with over 2000 default notices in Q1 2007).
--Home Down-Payment Gifts May Cease (lists Nehemiah Corp. of Sacramento, and suggests these gifts inflate the sales price of the house)

Anecdotal note: When inquiring “any offers,” it seems there is always an investor offer (some that have been disclosed do not seem particularly low). Are investors really still purchasing homes in this market? In several cases, they are the only offers that have been made. I must not understand the industry well enough, because I thought the object of an investment was to make money.

EDH note - The same issue of the Telgraph had a front page article about a lawyer who represented some homeowners that tried to paint their house back to the original color. Apparently neighbors complained and the Community Services District got involved ruling against the homeowners...eventually the situation went to court. It was rather incredulous reading the article....but I guess this is why communities like Serrano have gained such popularity.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Updated Folsom and EDH Charts

As mentioned in earlier posts, El Dorado Hills does not appear to be holding up near as well as Folsom. I'm sure the difference in months inventory reported yesterday has a lot to do with it. Folsom is still well below 6 months inventory while EDH is significantly above it.

Folsom - April median home $$ is down 14% from its peak. April price per square foot is down 11% from its peak.

El Dorado Hills - April median home $$ is down 28% from its peak. April price per square foot is down 16% from its peak.

Folsom appears to be experiencing a much sharper drop off in sales, but it does not appear to be contributing to a weakened market for sellers.

All data has been derived from the Sacramento Bee Home Sales Charts found on their website. This data is furnished monthly by DataQuick.

Data Warning: For those of you pulling this data, it appears the sales count calculations are a bit unreliable. The % change does not work out if you look up the previous years' data (it didn't for Folsom, EDH, and some areas others were monitoring). I'm not sure if they just do the math wrong, or if there are properties that are not showing up in the counts.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

No Surprise - Month's Inventory Rise

At long last, I have my monthly sales data! We are squarely in buyer territory now. The average weighted month's inventory is now at 8.9 months! In other words, it would take almost 9 months to sell all the home inventory if sales continuted at the same pace. Note that big increases can come from either a drop in sales, or an increase in inventory, or a combination of both.

Zip codes in bold had a strong rise in month's inventory. There are still 8 zip codes with less than 6 months inventory (less inventory favors the seller). Of course those tend to be the particularly desirable parts of town. Four zip codes, 95815, 95624, 95648, and 95673 actually had a decrease in month's inventory. I don't post percentage changes since some zips didn't have a lot of sales.

This is not an exact science since I am relying on public data sources. What you see below is a comparison of the month prior sales with inventory collected 15 days or so into the next month. For example, the April sales are compared against inventory levels from the middle of May.

Monthly sales data is from the SacBee who gets their data from DataQuick. Available inventory is taken from ZipRealty. I started tracking some additional zip codes (which is why the March/April inventory is blank for some zips). Originally I only tracked zips that had over 30 sales (to get more statistically sound data).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Weekly Screen Scrape - Price Reductions

This week I saw quite a few large price reductions (defined as 20k or more in my book). However the average price per square foot did not go down this week, even with all the price reductions. The reason is because the well priced places are selling, which tends to keep the for-sale-per-square-foot prices a bit higher.

The pending to available ratio seems to be fluctuation around 20% or so for the last 4 weeks. One of the factors I plan to use to gauge as recovery, is if this ratio gets above 40%.

The re-listing rate also appears to be picking up as more listings expire (go off my list, only to come back on later).

Again this data is only for Folsom and El Dorado Hills homes that meet my criteria. I have been tracking this data for three and a half months now.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Non-Financial Cost of Renting

(on travel and forgot to bring my spreadsheets to crunch the new sales numbers!! argh...)

While many bubble bloggers are proud renters, I want to take a minute to highlight some of the downsides for those of us “waiting it out.” I certainly don’t consider these insignificant, and can see how they might push the pendulum, which is clearly in favor of renting, back toward a more neutral ground.

1) Neighbors who own nearby often treat you like a second class citizen (this might be worse for us since we live in El Dorado Hills).
2) Re-establishing relationships with local services. If you move too far away when you buy (or rent another place), you may have to find a new hairstylist, doctor, pediatrician, mechanic, daycare, babysitter, church. For those with school age children this is especially difficult. This is no small chore since quite a bit of leg work goes into finding places you like and meet your standards. Your location can even affect how often you see different friends (depending on their relative distance).
3) Anti-Nesting. The female nesting instinct is thwarted by renting. In our current rental we don’t have a single wall hanging up, because the walls are textured and would be difficult to putty when we leave. The rental is rather impersonal as I do not want to purchase d├ęcor items for this house that may not get used in our next place. While I am not exactly one for doilies, and flowered wall paper, I still yearn to to add some personal touches. I am sick of unobtrusive rental colors like beige!

And for the record....I don't necessarily consider myself a renting bubble doom and gloomer.....I am more of a pro-affordability advocate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mother Nature vs. Sacramento

Lander's tip on EDH's asbestos issues reminded me of a line of thinking related to choosing a place to buy (and since I am still waiting for April sales data....I figured now is as good a time as any)

Do others think about the inherent environmental risks when choosing a place to settle down? After all, isn’t that what homeowners insurance is supposed to do, remove the financial risk of catastrophic events? However losing your home and possessions can be a traumatic event I would like to avoid if at all possible.

While the rest of the country seems to think earthquakes and California are synonymous….. those of us in Sac, know that’s just not true. Below is a completely subjective list of how Sacramento stacks up in terms of major environmental risks to a home (with a man made risk thrown in to keep us on our toes).

All in all there are relatively few major risks to Sacramento. However those that exist can cause significant amounts of destruction.

Hurricane – Low
Tornado – Low
Earthquake – Relatively Low
Volcanoes – Low
Tsunami – Low
Avalanche – Low
Mudslide – Low (perhaps greater in foothills where massive restructuring of hillsides have occurred)
Lightening – Relatively Low
Extreme Weather (hail, wind etc.) -Relatively Low
Flood – Moderate to Relatively High depending on location (lower in foothills)
Fire – Moderate to Relatively High
Getting Nuked by North Korea – Relatively Low (they would likely hit Seattle, SF, LA and San Diego first if they can get the range). (Thanks anonymous for pointing out the editorial slip...I was writing this with some jet lag).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Weakening Demand for Mortgages Across the Board"

Burried in a WSJ article today on credit standards for subprime loans, was a very juicy tidbit. According to the Federal Reserve survey of banks "almost a third of the banks surveyed had experienced lower demand for mortgages of all types over the past three months regardless of the loan category."

It should be noted that this is the exact same data economists were using to call a bottom to the market in January when these applications were showing signs of life. I take this news as a healthy indicator that we are no where near the bottom.

This also brings up another secret theory of mine (well I guess its not so secret now). Housing trouble will hit all segments of the market. While I think the move-up theory holds some weight (if first time buyers can't buy, then others can't move up)....I think there are bigger, more structural issues in play, related to family income and expense ratios. Everyone seems to be blaming their housing slump woes on subprime......but this bubble deflating was going to happen regardless. Subprime just exacerbated the situation and made it come to a head as opposed to a slower unraveling. Affordability affects everyone, not just subprime. My theory was boosted last week when Toll Brothers, supposedly a more upscale builder, reported lower than expected profits.

Separately, I tracked down the article on "the Realignment of America" from Tuesday's (May 8ths) WSJ. He basically categorizes metro areas based on population inflows and outflows (and who makes up those flows, Americans or immigrants). Sacramento was listed as part of the shifting center of gravity, one of the interior boom towns.

Monday, May 14, 2007

If My Obsession were a Full-Time Job

Not that I feel I need to justify my obsession, but if I did, it wouldn’t be hard. I did a quick bit of math, and if I obsess about purchasing a home for 2 hours a day during the week, and it saved me $50,000 in purchase price of a home, on a per hour basis, that is the equivalent of an annual salary of $200,000. Certainly more than hubby and I make in one year. Although we don’t plan to quit our day jobs =)

I made a quick chart, so that others can feel good about their obsession as well (I know there are several of you sucked into this same vortex). If you think you might have to wait more than a year, then simply divide the annual salary by the number of years you think you will wait.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Comparison of April to May Home Inventory

Wow...had to double check some of these inventory increases to make sure they were for real. (I am starting to wonder if my data was really that accurate. After all, it hasn't even been a full month.) I plan to start tracking this data a bit more methodically in the future, since I really like this metric. Around the 15th of the month gather inventory data from ZipRealty by zip code for the Sacramento area to get a better idea where the market is soft and where it is still holding up.

Really interesting item to note, on average, the areas where months inventory (available/sold) is the lowest, showed the highest inventory jump from April to May. Areas where the inventory increase was lower, already had a higher months inventory.

In case that wasn't very clear, to give an for example, the two zips I track Folsom and El Dorado both showed this trend. Folsom with a low months inventory had a 22% increase, were El Dorado with a relatively high months inventory showed only a 3% increase. Interestingly there were two zips that whose inventory actually decreased from last month, Rio Linda and West Sac.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Days on Market

After thinking about this week's screen scrape and the DOM re-set game. I went back to look at the houses pending sale in my search criteria. There seems to be a big divide which gets obscured when you look at averages.

I think DOM includes escrow in most realtor data, however my numbers are from the time a listing showed up in my criteria (either new, or lowered price into our range), to the time it lists as pending in the MetrolistMLS.

To get to the point, there seems to be two basic types of sales occurring. The first group is priced well and tends to go pending in less than 2 weeks (often these are the same places that have piqued my interest). The second group of homes has been sitting for over 2 months. I imagine the sellers have finally clued into the fact that they need to accept a lower offer.

Again, this is a relatively small sample, for Folsom and El Dorado Hills, but it does seem to be fairly consistent with the rest of the Sacramento area market.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weekly Screen Scrape - Acceleration?

Okay so 3 weeks doesn't exactly make a trend, but over the last three weeks the price per square foot of the properties in my search criteria have dropped by a dollar a week!

If this keeps up I might be able to buy within the next year rather than the two years it was looking like a couple weeks ago. With better pricing comes more sales, and I did see a modest uptick contract activity this week.

Saw some interesting things this week..... 1) A house come back on the market, it had been withdrawn, for $30,000 more than what it was last listed at! 2) A resale in the Riata at Empire Ranch, development in Folsom finally went pending. The sales office was willing to take offers on new places for $15,000 below their last listing price. I will be very curious to see what they were able to sell it for.

At a Crossroad (Part 2)

I inadvertently left out a key detail in my original post. My first choice (and one suggested in several comments), would be to renegotiate with our landlord. However I have a very strong suspicion he won't be willing to reduce our rent. He is renting because he couldn't sell for what he was asking for on our house (as well as the place 2 doors down). Since he wasn't willing to lower his asking price, which his agent strongly urged him to do, I doubt he will capitulate with us on the rent......sigh.

Looks like the consensus is to find a new rental. At least this time round we will have time and diligence on our side. If we don't find anything better, the neighbor up the street is willing to rent to us for about $350 less than we are paying now, on a month to month basis......which would also keep the disruption and hassle of a move to a minimum, but still give us some flexibility.

Thanks to everyone who commented.

At a Crossroad

Well our six month lease expired last week. At the time we signed it, we figured that in six months we would have bought a place to call our own. However, once we leaned about the state of the market here in Sac, we have now thought better of that course of action.

Unfortunately, when we rented our current place, we had less than a week to secure a rental. Once we began the process of renting, our landlord, threw in another $150 for the outrageous Serrano HOA on top of our rent. We were in serious time crunch and figured it was only for 6 months, so we went ahead with it.

The dilemma is this, on the one hand, we can get a much cheaper place (15%-20%), we aren't planning to buy for at least another 6 months, and of course we could use the rent savings to boost our eventual down payment. On the other hand, I have two small children and hate going through all the change of address stuff, not to mention how much I despise actually moving.

Any words of wisdom? I am very conflicted.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Supply Continues to Increase

Today's WSJ reported that inventory continues to grow rapidly. Sacramento inventory is rising faster than the national average. They stated that this growth is "above the seasonal norm." Typical increases from March to April run in the 4.5% range nationally. Sacramento looks to be around 12% according to the chart. (D2)

On the demand side, the WSJ had an interesting article yesterday about migration and population growth patterns in the U.S. over the last couple decades. While the author was looking at these patterns for political/voting implications, I believe these patterns are also closely tied to the cost of living, with housing being among the biggest contributors.

Closely related to the population growth patterns issue is today's article on where home prices are still rising (the details of which are fairly consistent with yesterday's findings). (D1)

A modest proposal – Restructuring Real Estate Commissions

Technology has allowed many industries to cut out the “middleman”. In business terms, I believe its call disaggregation. In many industries there were/are people who aggregate information and services, then repackage and sell them to buyers. Travel agents and music stores are a good example of business models which have been challenged by technology, because the value they brought to the customer has eroded now that customers can directly access this information on the internet.

I’m sure by now you know where this is headed…..what value do Real Estate agents really add to a real estate transaction? Prior to mass access to the MLS, they helped bring buyers and sellers together. Now what do they do? They unlock a door for a buyer to see a house (that the buyer picked out on the Internet), or they host an open house. Of course there are a couple phone calls involved, and they set-up and coordinate appointments for closing escrow. And for all this they get anywhere from 2-6% commission. Yikes, no wonder there are so many soccer moms becoming real estate agents.....especially with the high price of homes these days.

My proposal is this: structure the fees so they are consistent with the value the Agent brings to the customer. Several businesses have started down this path like ZipRealty, Help-U-Sell and BuySide/Iggy’s House. I certainly applaud their efforts. But none of them really get away from the percentage based commission.

The Buyer’s Business Model –
Charge a fixed rate for showing a house. If a buyer sees 2 houses, they shouldn't’t pay the same as a buyer who sees 20 houses. Perhaps packages can be arranged (1-10 houses, 10-20 houses etc). Currently buyers have no incentive to minimize these visits, since it’s all built in. This has the potential to waste a lot of time for everyone involved. A fee should also be included for closing. These fees should be a % of the house value up to a certain amount. An $800,000 does not really involve more work at closing compared to a $200,000 house. So perhaps 1% of closing up to $3000?

The Seller’s Business Model –
Many sellers’ need help staging their house so it shows well. Sellers should have the option to host their open house or have the agent do it. Again perhaps they can purchase a package deal at a flat rate. The closing fee structure would be the same as the buyer. (With our selling agent in the D.C. area, we negotiated his commission based on a time frame, 2% if it sold within a month, and 2.5% if it sold after that.)

The biggest change, which I don’t see happening anytime soon, is that both sides should pay their own commission. Thus they both have an incentive to minimize the realtor transaction cost.

I’m sure I am missing something here, like other value added activities that realtor's perform…..(I’m not sure if giving referrals is a value added activity, since it can create a conflict of interest.....but with many Internet services like Angies's list popping up...this too is becoming obsolete).

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


When we were looking to move back into the area, I was really pushing for Davis. My roommate in college grew up there. She brainwashed me with all her stories about how great Davis is. To boot, she was very bright and of course educated in the very reputable public school system there.

So for me Davis embodies almost everything I look for in a neighborhood, strong sense of community, college town charm, good public schools, and biker friendly.

What prompted me to sing the praises of Davis? They made the WSJ last Friday along with another one of my favorite cities, Madison Wisconsin. I would also live in Madison in a heartbeat, if it weren't so chilly there in winter. Seeing a pattern? Great college city, state capitol, with lots of fun activities, located on two lakes......

Anyways, Davis was cited as having 95% of arterial roads with bike lanes, and 17% of commuters who bike. Very impressive.

Unfortunately Davis homes are pricey, and its too long of a commute for hubby.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Supply and Demand

For giggles I decided to graph the data that is posted each week on bubble market inventory tracking It sure is a text book case for any Econ 101 class. When supply is tight, the price of real estate goes up (see the narrow band between the two the first several months of 2005). Around mid 2005 supply (inventory) just takes off, and demand (sales) is slowly trending down, which of course leads to even more supply!

The next logical step in the econ lesson is that prices will come down to bring supply and demand back into equilibrium. However home prices are rather sticky coming down since there is a lot of emotion and denial involved.

April Sales for Folsom and El Dorado Hills

While I don't trust the data very much, MelissaData stats are usually available shortly after the end of a month.

The price trends in MelissaData are the opposite of what I have been seeing in DataQuick for the last month or so. One explanation could be that MelissaData only reports the average price, which can be skewed upwards for El Dorado Hills if some of those million dollar homes actually sell.

According to the average home sales price, Folsom is down 23% from its peak (Nov 04), and EDH is only 11% down from its peak (Jan 06). Again, I would only look at this data for trends and not individual data points.

But boy what a trend is happening with the EDH sales....the Bruce Springsteen song comes to mind.....were going down down down down. Folsom area sales below previous years, but seem to be holding up relatively well, which is why the pricing trends seem a bit at odds with the sales data. Of course one fairly logical explanation for this trend, is that sellers are lowering their prices, which leads to more purchases.

Some reasons why I like Sacramento

Having spent most of last week back on the East Coast for work, it reminded me why I chose to move back to Sac.

1. Old Town and the Capital area make Sacramento very unique when compared to other cities of similar size across America. For the most part, in the U.S., we don’t have quaint historic city centers to stroll through as they do in Europe. American cities tend to be defined by what shopping is available (disgusting but true). American cities have become as indistinguishable from one another, as the tract homes they are made of.

2. We have 2 rivers that meander through the city. One is beautiful and clean, the other is navigable up and down the central valley. We love to go to the fish hatchery and watch the salmon and steelhead run. River rafting isn’t too far away, and of course Lake Folsom is right nearby as well. The trails along the American river also make for a great getaway, even though you are in the heart of the city.

3. Compared to the bigger cities, Sacramento traffic is a relatively easy commute.

4. Compared to the East Coast, the heat is dry which makes it bearable, and it only rains in the winter here. Compared to SoCal, we get rain and some seasonal changes in the trees. Compared to the NorthWest, we get sunshine.

5. We aren’t too far from all the wonderful things that San Francisco and Tahoe have to offer.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

An aviation friendly community

As you drive South on Zinfandel you pass a large banner proclaiming "an aviation friendly community." You think to yourself....oh yeah....Mather Field is right nearby. But if you are out scouting neighborhoods during the weekend, you quickly forget.

Rancho Cordova has changed a lot since I last lived there (right out of college) we went inside the Elliott sales office to take a look. We were very tempted by the location, size and price (compared to what we had seen in Folsom and EDH). The houses were being offered way below list. In addition a new elementary school had just opened up within the development.

The spec home we looked at was a very basic model with only upgraded insulation. Here is where things get interesting. Having forgotten about the nearby airport in our excitement, we asked why, of all things, the insulation was upgraded. She dodged the question by making a remark about noisy kids or something, making sure not to bring our attention to the real reason!

As we left the community, I was already picturing myself in a new home. But true to form, my head finally took over, so I decided to do a bit more research. After all it was a very large chunk of $$, considerably outside the range we had set (amazing how easy it is to start to justifying these things).

I had several major concerns, 1) will the air traffic levels increase significantly, 2) what are the noise contours of the current arrival and departure paths, 3) how are the schools, and 3) given the slow pace of sales, how will the neighborhood mature if they change the master plan. All the sales reps we talked to were not sure about future building plans since they were just focused on selling what they had. This made us very wary of the fate of the development.

I was able to find answers to both my aviation questions in the following document:
At a glance it did not appear that they were planning to develop Mather as a reliever airport for passenger traffic. So that was good, since low cost carriers tend to prefer less crowded airports closer to the city (like Midway in Chicago). But Mather still gets at least 4 flights an hour (and that only counts the IFR traffic).

However it looked like the noise contours go right over the development! Any remaining spark of interest we had was now DOA.

When looking at the noise map, we noticed that the community of Mather was well out of the traffic pattern, even though it was close to the airport. Again, the size and price were much better than Folsom or EDH, so 2 weeks later I went for a drive. Nice looking community, but way too isolated and difficult to get to.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Weekly Screen Scrape

About 2 months ago, I started tracking overall stats for my weekly market pulse check. During that time, inventory has more than doubled, but sales have not increased to keep pace. From my small sample size, it looks like home sales in March were higher than April, and we know how bad March was!

Average price per square foot of listings is dropping a dollar every 2-3 weeks. So at this rate I will feel comfortable buying in approximately 2 years (at around $185 a square foot). Although in all honesty, I expect the downward pricing trend to accelerate in the upcoming summer months.

On thing is for sure, for our price range, the quality/size of the house has really improved. Initially only serious fixer uppers showed up in our criteria. Now some very attractive and well kept homes are within our range (albeit near the top). However I am still seeing well priced and cared for properties, in good locations, sell within 1-2 weeks.

My numbers come directly from and only cover the cities of Folsom and El Dorado.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Realtors are not Statisticians

Realtors are not statisticians, and they should’t play them in the media. Given how much data realtors have at their disposal, you would think their licensing requirements included some basic statistics and data analysis. Unfortunately, some of them misrepresent the data on a regular basis.

For example:
  • They call a trend with only 2 data points. You can’t look at data in a vacuum. If this month’s sales are up over last month’s it dosen’t necessarily mean buyers are getting back into the market. Seasonality and pricing can also be affecting the data.
  • If they happen to look at year-over-year, to account for seasonality, they don’t offer context. Like last year was a really bad year, so the fact that we are up 2% over last year, is actually pretty bad, not something to celebrate.
  • They don’t seem to grasp the concept/importance of sample size, and weighted averages. You can’t combine two averages to get the overall regional average. For example, the average of a zip with 30 homes for sale, at an average of $225 a square foot, and a zip with 10 homes for sale at $275 a square foot is not $250 (the average of $225 and $275), as much as the realtors would like it to be its. The properly weighted average is $237.5, which is a much less exciting number when compared to $250.
I guess I am just frustrated because this misrepresentation adds fuel to the fire.
I do want to caveat that there are some savvy realtors who understand the data and offer context, like the great work done over at sacrealstats by AgentBubble and Max.

Coast to Coast

What do D.C. and Sacramento have in common?
1) Lots of government employees in tennis shoes at lunch time (stable employment)
2) Overbuilt suburbs that are rapidly loosing their value, while desirable neighborhoods near downtown are still treading water.

In D.C. this week on business. Report from the trenches is things are not great here either. Have two co-workers holding off on purchasing till another year or so, and another one is underwater on his mortgage.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I Need a (Quick) Fix

Right about now is the time of the month when I start to get the shakes, because I desperately need another real estate data fix. I know I have at least another 10-15 days to wait until the next Sacramento DataQuick monthly installment….sigh.

If I Weren’t so Bitter About Real Estate Prices:

If I weren't so bitter about real estate prices, I would almost feel sorry for the local papers (El Dorado/Folsom). If I had to guess, 75% of their add revenue comes from the local real estate industry (agents, brokers, title companies, contractors etc.). So no surprise that they are doing their best to sell the dream of a robust local real estate market. However I think even they are coming to the realization that the days of escalation clauses are way behind us.

All this to say, its been rather entertaining to watch the tone of the articles evolve as indisputable evidence of a housing slowdown has mounted. Late last fall the articles were encouraging folks to buy now before the market gets hot again. In January and February the articles gave hints to make a house show well, and told us things were on track for a strong spring. The latest article I saw was advice for sellers who receive low offers.

My my, what a difference 6 months makes!