Thursday, April 3, 2008

Signs of the times ...

1. In the early 1990's as droves of folks moved out of CA, Uhaul charged a premium for one-way truck rentals to other states, to recoup the cost to Uhaul to try to get trucks back to CA for the next one-way move. Yesterday, I went to Uhaul's website and selected an arbitrary one-way truck rental from Sacramento to Charlotte, NC ($3,420) and compared it to a one-way rental from Charlotte to Sacramento. Same mileage, same truck, same number of days, but Charlotte to Sacramento was only $1,959, a premium of almost $1,500 to move out of California.

2. Four listings that I have been watching in the $500k range, recently went pending. In each instance, the "For Sale" sign vanished immediately with nothing in its place. In the past, agents would typically post "Sale Pending" or "Sold" signs on the posts and the signs/posts would not be removed until after escrow closed. Even though the MLS states the homes are "pending sale," there is no real estate sign on the property. The conspiracy theorists thinks the agents' strategy is to reduce the number of visible For Sale signs so that it appears to the casual observer, there are less-and-less homes for sale, thus falsely creating a sense of urgency among buyers. Someone else opined that it was more likely because the agents needed the signs somewhere else. What have you seen in this regard?

3. Lastly, of those same four listing, as of today, three are now back on the market with the "sales pending" lifted. I actually spoke to one of the homeowners last Saturday at her garage sale (while her home sale was still shown as pending), where she stated that she believed the escrow on her home was going to close this current week (presumably March 31 or April 1), however, my daily MLS email this morning has put her house back on the market for the third time. This suggests to me that her escrow cancelled literally at the eleventh hour and presumably not due to inspections, buyer qualifications, buyer downpayment, or the like.



Max said...

In the past, agents would typically post "Sale Pending" or "Sold" signs on the posts and the signs/posts would not be removed until after escrow closed.

This is an absolute fluke. Most agents I know leave the sold sign out in front as long as possible, even to the extent that the new owner is usually the one to remove it. The value an agent gains in proving they can sell a house vastly outweighs any potential benefit of making it look like there's less houses for sale.

My guess: the listings fell through, and the sellers changed agents.

mcb44 said...

I don't know of an automated way to track, but it would be really interesting to follow how many homes marked pending sales go on to sell.

I'm tempted to start systematically tracking individual PS homes, at least in my price range and area, to compare against actual sales, but if anyone has any ideas about automating the process, I'm all ears.

Husmanen said...

I have also noticed that the signs take time to go up. A home is listed for sale, I drive by a few days later and no sign. I drive by a week later and maybe 50% have signs.

Then, of course, there are the homes that have 'coming soon' on the shingle a month before they are actually posted.

This might be a sign of the chaos in the market as so many things are changing daily, buys in and out, sellers not accepting market prices, macro news about bail outs etc.

OntheSidelines said...

My wife and I sold our house at the height of things in August 2005 and then moved to Charlotte in June 2006. We have family out there and thought we would like it since our visits were always positive. We lasted exactly one year and just moved back, very homesick!

A lot of transplants in Charlotte. Hope they like humidity and dry, cold winters.

Very interesting to see the price differences, we got lucky and were going against the tide.

Buying Time said...

Welcome Onthesidelines!

We lasted 8 years out there (2 were in graduate school). And had moved back in the fall of 2006....we have been waiting it out every since.

Now I have the perspective to realize why California is more expensive =)

P.S. and if you find the data on Folsom, please share...I haven't been able to find anything that goes back that far.

Jacob said...

As for signs, I see them on plenty of houses, so if there is a conspiracy it is under staffed...

There also has been a bump in sales as expected, and probably peaked in March, so we should see lot and lots of for sale homes piling up.