I had a little time to drive around this weekend and here's a few observations.
First I drove around the Mockingbird Canyon area on Friday while waiting for my car to be serviced at Walter's. I noticed A LOT of "for sale by owner" signs. These don't show up in the numbers and statistics we keep hearing. I wonder how many more homes there are actually for sale than the statistics tell us?. Second observation up there was the amount of open houses on a Friday. Who goes to open houses on Friday's? Third observation was the stunning amount of empty homes. I stopped at quite a few big expensive homes that were empty. This is just a swag, but it looked like 1 in 4 homes that are for sale up there were empty. All the model homes were empty as usual, no one looking. I did see one home I really liked and checked it out out when I got home. I stopped in and looked at the home since it looked like an REO (the lawn was dead, etc). I found it on Redfin for $900k. It looks like it sold in 2005 for 1.13M and now it's listed for 900k. It does not say it's a REO but it must be with the dead lawn and being empty. It's a cool looking house (the real house looks way better than the pics), it looks like a castle with stone walls. It's had some wild price swings over the years and I'm not sure what's going on with it. Anyway it's only 3 bedroom so, no bueno for me. Maybe I'll offer them $420 for it, just to mess with them....
Saturday me and the wife were out running errands and I tricked her into looking at some new model homes over in Canyon Crest. She hates looking at homes! The prices were $490-$600k, completely delusional! On the way home, just around the corner from my house I noticed a guy sitting on his lawn trying to sell his ATV's and his boat. He also had a For Rent sign stuck in the lawn of his house. I remember the house being for sale for the last few months. Looks like he could not find a sucker and now he needs to sell his toys. I'm sure he's not selling them to make a few more payments. More likely is that the apartment complex he's moving to has not where to keep the stuff.
I've also noticed a big increase in the amount of homes for sale in the areas I'm interested in. I was checking Redfin this evening and saw that quite a few new homes had popped into my search areas. Of course the prices on most of them are still insane but I did notice a few REO's that were listed way under the last sales price. So there is hope, it appears the banks are starting to chop the prices.