Friday, November 30, 2007

The smoke screen of the "Median Price"

In the last post the CAR say's the median in Riverside/San Berdu is down 15.6%. I noted at the end of the post that the Median does not accurately reflect the drop in price. The reason the Median does not accurately reflect the true drop is that the "mix" of homes selling has changed. These days there are more higher end homes selling than low end homes. This artificially keeps the median higher. I found a perfect graph over on Piggington's that illustrates this. In the graph you can see the mix of homes is split into High Priced, Medium priced, and Low Priced. You can see the sales numbers of each type stayed close together until early this year. That means the median was probably fairly accurate until sometime around Spring 2007. Then the Low and Medium priced homes started to diverge from the high end homes. High end homes continue to sell better while the lower and medium priced homes were not selling. The higher number of high priced homes in the data sets is keeping the median price high. But this does not accurately reflect the true drop in prices that homes are selling for. I think it should be obvious by now, after the hundreds of homes I have shown on this blog that the prices are off 30% to 40% at a minimum in the IE.

Note, this chart is for San Diego. I would expect the IE is not too different, if anything our low and medium ends are probably worse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CAR report for October

CAR has released the October report. As usual it is full of ugly numbers but they have included another rosy forecast for the future. Although their rosy forecasts are getting far less rosy as the months go on. It must be hard for these people to try to put a happy face on this real estate implosion.

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 28) – Home sales decreased 40.2 percent in October in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 9.9 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.

“Financing issues have dogged entry-level buyers since early 2007, but they spilled over into the middle and upper-tier markets in the last few months,” said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. “The decline in sales at the upper end of the market contributed to a significant decline in the statewide median price as even well-qualified borrowers had difficulty securing financing.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 265,030 in October at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 40.2 percent from the 443,320 sales pace recorded in October 2006.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2007 would be if sales maintained the October pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during October 2007 was $497,110, a 9.9 percent decrease from the revised $552,020 median for October 2006, C.A.R. reported. The October 2007 median price fell 6.4 percent compared with September’s $530,830 median price.

“We expect further weakness in sales over the next few months as the liquidity crisis plays out,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Both the state and national economies remain fundamentally sound at this time, despite recent developments in the housing market. While there have been mixed signals in recent months, economic growth is expected to continue into 2008.”

Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for October 2007:

  • C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in October 2007 was 16.3 months, compared with 6.4 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
  • Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 6.38 percent during October 2007, compared with 6.36 percent in October 2006, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.68 percent in October 2007 compared with 5.56 percent in October 2006.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 59.3 days in October 2007, compared with 56.5 days for the same period a year ago.

The important numbers for us are bolded. As you can see the high desert is getting creamed. Sales are down nearly 60% and the median price is down nearly 20%

Riverside/San Berdu are slightly better with sales down nearly 35% and median down 16%.

One thing to remember is that the median is still not showing the actual depth of the price declines. It's obvious by looking at the listing prices of the aggressively priced homes that the "real" price decline is probably running between 30% and 40% in the IE. The median price is probably still being propped up by the ratio of higher priced homes that are selling. Back in the boom years there were more lower priced homes selling but today the bottom end of the market is DEAD. Most of the homes that are still selling are towards the high end. This has the effect of inflating the median. We heard a lot about this effect 6 months ago when the median prices were still going up. You don't hear much about it now that the median is finally falling. The effect is still there however and it is making the price declines appear less than the actually are.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best deal in the IE?

I might have found the best deal in the IE. The location ain't great but it's not terrible either. The location is horrible for commuting though. But if you were retired and just wanted a bitchin house this might be the ticket.

32871 Tiznow, Menifee, CA 92584 This is a builders model home and it is beautiful inside and out. It is just over 3000 sq/ft with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. best of all it is a one story home and it sits on a good sized 1/4 acre lot. They have this listed for $349k! That's only 115 sq/ft for a fully decked out, upgraded to the max home. They just dropped the asking price of this $150K. I'm a little confused as the listing says NEW builders model home but Redfin shows a previous sale of $589k back in june of 06. It could possibly be that someone bought the model back then and let the builder lease it back. That's not an unheard of thing with model homes. I wish this thing was up in Riverside or Corona at this price.

bought too late

I ran across these two homes in the Chase Ranch area of Corona. These are the kind of properties I will be looking for when I buy.

Home number one 3797 Via Zumaya ST, Corona was bought nearly a year before the peak of the market in late 06. Our seller picked up this 2483 sq/ft single story with 5 bedrooms and 4 baths on a 1/4 acre lot for $760k. The original owner bought it for $380k only 2 and a half years before. They DOUBLED their money in 2 1/2 years! (I will assume they put in the pool and landscaped the home so they may have only made $250K....). I wonder if the current owner though he would also double his money in two years. If so that would have made this house worth about 1.52 million. Anyway, back to reality and we all know what happens next. The bubble pops and the owner decided to bail out. He asking a little more than he paid 2 years ago. Just enough to cover the fees. Anyone think he will get it?

Let's look at his competition.

1713 Camino Largo, Corona, is just around the corner, only a few houses away. This home is larger at 2700 sq/ft and sits on a bigger 1/3 acre lot. It has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It's beautifully landscaped and also has a pool and jaccuzi. This home is for sale by the original owner that only paid $380K. He should be able to undercut home 1 by a large amount. BUT we must have a home equity issue as he is listing this as a short sale for $590k. Still $209k cheaper than his smaller neighbor. This is a nice looking home and at $590 it's getting into "almost there" territory. I'de be very tempted to look at this home if it were around $500k.

Here's a bonus home,

Now if you need something a little bigger then one block over we have this pool home.
1688 Tamarron, Corona is 3584 sq/ft 2 story home has 4 beds and 3.75 baths. It also has a pool but it looks to be just a lap pool in a small yard. The owner picked this baby up in mid 2005 for $795k. He's been trying to sell it now for a few months. He started at $650 but is now down to $495K as a short sale. That's a $300k or 38% fall since 2005 if it sells at that price.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Riverslide

The carnage continues.....

First a look at another couple of big losers in Lake Hills Reserve. This is one of the more overpriced developments in Riverside. Homes at the peak were from the low 600's to over a million. A year later and prices are starting to plummet.

17093 Rocky Bend, Riverside, CA 92503. This poor fella bought his estate at the top of the hill for a song. A song to the tune of 1.043 Million dollars only 11 short months ago (WTF was he thinking?). In addition to the purchase price it looks like he's dropped another few dollars landscaping the back yard. He's got a fire-pit, BBQ, waterfall and a lot of fancy concrete work. He's easily dropped another $50k on the yard. I dunno what happened but his monster 5074 sq/ft 5/4 is now on the market for $850 as a short sale. That's an astonishing loss of over $200k (plus fees) if he can unload it. Let's face it, he's got a better chance of hitting the lotto and catching up on his payments.

18730 Lakepointe, Riverside, CA 92503. Another Lake Point loser. This poor fella bought his dreamflip last December. After a few months of ownership he does the normal thing and places his dreamflip on the market for $100k more than he paid. That's normal operating procedure in SoCal, right? Well, unfortunately he was about a year too late and after 142 days with no bites he's now down to $580k and "very motivated" according to the listing. I bet, because there is still not much chance of selling his house even at $140k less than he paid

16517 Cheltenham, Riverside, CA 92504. This one is not in Lake hills but over in Woodcrest. This is another monster, 5426 sq/ft sitting on an acre. Our flipper bought this thing for 1.058 Million just over a year ago. He's grown tired of it already and you can buy it today for the bargain price of $850K. That's another loss of over $200K plus fees in just over a year. I doubt he will have much luck though as the builder (KB) is selling these for $699K. Ouch, that's gotta sting!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

back to Oh-3

When the crash started I though prices would drop back to 2003 levels. I may have been too optimistic. We are not even a year into the IE's crash and already it's not too difficult to find homes priced at 03 levels. These homes are primarily in the less desireable areas but they are moving closer to the core areas of the IE. Here's a few I plucked from redfin today.

15260 WASHINGTON, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530 this is a newer home on the north end of Elsinore. It's listed as a short sale so the bank may not go for the price. They bought it new in 2003 for $350k. They have obviously spent some money on this home, putting in a pool, patio, bbq and landscaping it. All that does not seem to matter and they have put the old ranch on the market as a short sale for $319k. $35k less than they paid 4 years ago and that does not factor in the cost of the pool and other upgrades. That's gotta sting a little, eh?

10481 Whitecrown Corona, CA 92883. This south Corona home was purchased in 2003 for $407k, sold in 2006 for $660 (for a very healthy profit, lucky seller). Unfortunately this buyer did not see the returns of the last one. Another sale was posted in June for $558k, I think this was probably the bank taking it back. If so it would have to be a 1st payment default. It's now listed for $399,900. $7k Less than the 03 price and $260k less than the 06 sales price. That's a 40% loss in ONE year!

Here's another 40% yearly loss. this one is not an 03 rollback since it was only built in 2005. Originally it sold new for $371k in 2005. This guys flips in in 06 for $485k making a quick $100k!, No bubble here folks, nothing to see, move along.... Unfortunately for the buyer history did not repeat itself. It does not indicate this is a REO or a short sale. If it isn't the poor owner is heading for the exits $186k poorer. $186k is a lot to spend to live in MoVal for a year and 4 months.

38265 Placer Creek, Murrieta, CA 92562, this one sold new in 2001 for $239k, again in Dec 2003 for $405k and the last record is in July for $517k. My guess is that would be the bank taking it back. It's now listed for $369k.

2003 rollbacks are easy to find, how long before 2002 rollbacks?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

October sales by zip code

Here are the Riverside county sales by zip codes. As you can see nearly every city is down. % chg is the difference between Oct 2006 and 2007. Price is in $1000s. No surprises except for how far and how fast some cities are falling. Lake Elsinore is down nearly 30% in one zip and 22% in the other. Moval, Corona, Murrietta, San Jacinto, Perris, Wildomar and a couple of others are taking the biggest hits. For the county the Median has dropped 13.6% since last October for Single Family homes and a stunning 41.7% for Condo's.

SFR Price % chg Condos Price % chg $/Sq Ft
1,127 $350 -13.60% 278 $175 -41.70% $192
Banning 92220 24 $269 -10.60% 1 $75 -17.80% $191
Beaumont 92223 28 $323 -5.10% n/a n/a n/a $186
Blythe 92225 5 $190 -8.30% 1 $125 2.50% $159
Calimesa 92320 8 $265 -7.00% n/a n/a n/a $219
Canyon Lake 92587 16 $415 -9.60% n/a n/a n/a $205
Cathedral City 92234 39 $319 -11.40% 6 $258 17.80% $175
Coachella 92236 9 $253 -18.40% n/a n/a n/a $162
Corona 92879 22 $362 -23.00% 4 $287 -30.80% $225
Corona 92880 24 $450 -23.10% n/a n/a n/a $189
Corona 92881 16 $405 -27.00% 2 $332 -11.60% $239
Corona 92882 39 $440 -18.40% 4 $270 -23.50% $227
Corona 92883 18 $440 -12.80% n/a n/a n/a $213
Desert Hot Springs 92240 18 $225 -21.10% n/a n/a n/a $139
Hemet 92543 9 $199 -20.70% 2 $128 -25.00% $159
Hemet 92544 21 $265 -10.50% 1 $153 -30.10% $175
Hemet 92545 30 $250 -18.30% n/a n/a n/a $146
Idyllwild 92549 14 $320 0.00% n/a n/a n/a $251
Indian Wells 92210 6 $1,630 -5.60% 4 $743 -28.90% $362
Indio 92201 27 $285 -12.70% 1 $85 -49.70% $161
Indio 92203 11 $351 -5.60% 2 $263 58.10% $178
La Quinta 92253 47 $540 28.70% 13 $402 -16.20% $223
Lake Elsinore 92530 28 $300 -22.10% 2 $210 -10.30% $168
Lake Elsinore 92532 4 $354 -27.40% n/a n/a n/a $139
Mecca 92254 3 $242 33.00% n/a n/a n/a $173
Menifee 92584 26 $334 -15.90% n/a n/a n/a $157
Mira Loma 91752 9 $479 -6.90% n/a n/a n/a $270
Moreno Valley 92551 12 $310 -18.40% n/a n/a n/a $191
Moreno Valley 92553 22 $300 -17.00% n/a n/a n/a $183
Moreno Valley 92555 12 $360 -23.30% n/a n/a n/a $134
Moreno Valley 92557 35 $295 -23.50% n/a n/a n/a $204
Mountain Center 92561 3 $428 -43.00% n/a n/a n/a $242
Murrieta 92562 40 $383 -23.40% 1 $245 -15.40% $166
Murrieta 92563 37 $383 -20.10% 5 $243 -8.30% $165
Norco 92860 17 $635 12.40% n/a n/a n/a $236
Palm Desert 92211 23 $375 -3.80% 16 $328 -20.10% $200
Palm Desert 92260 13 $517 59.10% 24 $299 -15.70% $225
Palm Springs 92262 26 $408 -14.90% 26 $207 -17.40% $245
Palm Springs 92264 15 $658 -6.10% 132 $37 -86.30% $278
Perris 92570 11 $358 -10.60% n/a n/a n/a $167
Perris 92571 25 $287 -24.50% n/a n/a n/a $172
Rancho Mirage 92270 15 $798 -4.50% 17 $330 -27.90% $259
Riverside 92501 13 $333 -17.80% n/a n/a n/a $225
Riverside 92503 29 $389 -13.60% n/a n/a n/a $246
Riverside 92504 19 $349 -8.20% n/a n/a n/a $235
Riverside 92505 19 $392 -8.60% n/a n/a n/a $266
Riverside 92506 23 $380 -10.90% n/a n/a n/a $249
Riverside 92507 18 $364 -1.40% 1 $318 -24.00% $267
Riverside 92508 12 $375 -24.80% n/a n/a n/a $200
Riverside 92509 32 $342 -14.50% 2 $230 -33.90% $216
San Jacinto 92582 11 $285 -18.60% n/a n/a n/a $124
San Jacinto 92583 11 $265 -20.10% 3 $138 -11.00% $147
Sun City 92585 9 $260 -13.00% n/a n/a n/a $159
Sun City 92586 25 $230 -15.90% 1 $143 -10.60% $168
Temecula 92591 20 $390 -16.70% n/a n/a n/a $194
Temecula 92592 46 $425 -8.60% 6 $233 -43.20% $202
Thermal 92274 1 $96 n/a n/a n/a n/a $79
Wildomar 92595 18 $341 -24.30% n/a n/a n/a $153
Winchester 92596 8 $389 -19.00% 1 $260 n/a $147

More news from the spin doctors

You may have seen the news reports that construction starts were up. The media and the real estate industry have grasped on to this glimmer of good news like a white shark onto a baby seal. But once again the spin doctors are hard at work with the numbers.

Overall residential construction starts were up in October BUT this is only because of a huge increase in the number of apartments/condos being built. Apartment/condo construction was up about 40%, single family construction was down over 7% compared to Sept. Once again these numbers have a large percentage or error at this early date, +/- 10%!

Since most of us are concerned with houses and not apartments or condos the news is more of the same, bad. House construction starts are down 7% (+/- 10%).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Homes for under $200K

I saw a post on Dr Housing Bubble about a shack in Riverside that was close to $200k. It got me thinking, are there any decent homes for under $200K in the IE. I was actually a little shocked at what I found. There's friggin plenty of them! Some you could actually buy and probably rent with positive cash flow.

In MoVal a decent 3 bedroom home rents for around $1300/mo to $1500/mo. Can you purchase a home for less than that? Amazingly enough in MoVal you can!

Here's a few in a decent area of the city. There are plenty of them in the scary areas of MoVal but these are in areas of the city that are fairly safe.

26463 Dracaea, Moreno Valley, CA 92555, this is a typical late 80s tract home 1322 sq/ft and 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. It's a nice looking home and is listed for $189K. a 30 year fixed at 7% with 10% down will get you into this home for about $1100 a mo. Add another $150/mo for property tax and you can probably rent this and make a few bucks.

13186 Pocono, Moreno Valley, CA 92555, Another late 80's tract home in the same area. This is another 3/2 about the same size for $180K. Again this looks like you could actually buy it and rent it without losing money.

25256 Sweetgrass, Moreno Valley, CA 92553, One more of the same but only 2 bedrooms on this one. It's listed for $169K. I think you could actually buy this with 10% down and have a payment UNDER $1000/mo! Of course 2 berooms only rent for around $1200/mo so as a rental you are on the edge with this one.

1075 Alderwood Perris, CA 92571, this is a newer home in Perris and is a 1663sq/ft 3 bed 3 bath. Listed as a short sale for $180K (108 sq/ft). If this home were to sell at this price that would be a 54% drop from the last sale in Jan 2006.

I'm certainly not recommending that anyone go on a buying spree just yet. I think in a year the choices will be far better in this price range.

Free houses by next winter? October Numbers

How's this for a headline? "At the current rate of decline homes will be free by next winter". The median price in Riverside has dropped about $25k for the last 2 months. In August the median was $394, last month the median sales price was $374 and this month it is $350k. Dropping $25k per month it would only take 14 months for the median to be zero.... This is a fine example of how numbers and trends can be twisted to reflect just about any type of propaganda.

Back to reality for a second. At the current rate Riverside will drop below $300k median in December or January. Where should Riverside's median be? If you read the post a few months ago, using the NAR charts for Riverside I calculated the median would be between 150K and 225k if the market had been "normal" for the last 6 years.

The numbers for October were dismal. No surprise there really! We set another record low for sales, at least as far back as DataQuick records go (1988). Riverside sales were down 44% from last year and the median price was down 15%. San Berdu did not do much better with sales down 55% and the median price down 10%.

Riverside county had 2463 sales last month and there are roughly 32,300 homes for sale (on the MLS). That equates to a 13 month supply of homes. San Berdu sold 1603 and it has 22,900, giving it over 14 months of inventory.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Those builder closeouts can hurt ya'

Back to Eastvale again! There's a sad sad seller at;
6880 Edinburgh Corona, CA 92880, his 4133 sq/ft castle is up for sale. Our sad seller purchased his Edinburgh Castle in Nov last year for $670k from the builder. After 1 year he is ready to sell and has his castle listed for $698k. After fees he's looking at a loss 10K assuming that there was a hope in hell of selling at that price.

His competition is the builder who is trying to unload a similar home at,
6935 Lancelot Corona, CA 92880, for $490k. The builder is $180k under last years sale price. Ouch, that's gotta sting. But even this home has been on the market for 2 months with no action. Even though it is $119 sq/ft! Not too shabby for Corona (if you can stand the smell).

Just to rub it in the builder is also offering
6949 Lancelot Corona, CA 92880, for $499. Same model, slightly larger lot.

BTW, I've been to Edinburgh Castle, it's a super cool place, don't miss it if you are ever in Scotland.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Vacation time, Kaboom taking a week off!

That's right boys and girls, me and the wife are heading to "sin city" for a week of..."eh, what happens if Vegas, stays in Vegas"!

Oh yea, and I'm gonna go see these guys at Aviation Nation. Yea Baby!!


They may want to consider changing the name to Didcrest, as in the prices crested about a year ago. They are now in full retreat. Woodcrest is full of new developments, built from the late eighties until...well, they are still building. The new tracts that are still going have made some massive price cuts. The Centex development lopped off about 20% back in July or August. That was about $160k on the biggest homes. New homes are all over the pricing universe but the ones that are priced most aggressively are sporting 2003/2004 prices. Some of these may technically be in Orangecrest but close enough.

19944 Krameria,
This a rather typical new home in the area up for sale, 2651 sq/ft 4/4.5. It was bought new in 2006 for $615k (redfin says it was built in 2004 but this tract was not there in 2004. It looks like the owner lost it to the bank in July. He managed to hang on slightly less than a year. They are not messing around with this one and have it listed for $409,900. A staggering loss of $206k in one year or 33%.

19929 Lonestar this is a big-un, 4015 sq/ft on a 1/4 acre lot. Mr desperate seller is willing to deal on the furniture too if it helps make the sale. This home was bought new in July of 06 for $738k and it's now on the market for $549K. Assuming he can find a buyer thats a loss of $189k plus another $33k in fees for a loss of $222k in slightly over a year.

8186 Branding Iron, is a 3288 sq/ft 5 bedroom home built in 2002. It sold new for $299k (probably about what it's worth today). In 2006 it was flipped for $650k (we have a winner!). Unfortunately the new owner stretched himself a wee bit too far and lost this baby to the bank. It's now offered for $474K. That's a loss of $176k or 28% in a year.

9474 Paradise is a 4300 sq/ft REO. I don't have the original purchase price but I do have the brochure from the development. These sold from the low $700s but the bank is offering this one for $515k. The last owners may have taken the kitchen with them though..... This has to make the neighbor at 9568 Paradise PL a little tweeked as he is trying to unload his 4300 sq/ft home for $699k. He is already listing it for $56k less than the $755k he paid. But with the REO at $519k he is looking at a loss of $235k in a year (or 32%).

Homes with big big price drops are just way too easy to find in this area. Basically anything bought after 2004 is currently screwed. Next year anything bought after 2002 is probably gonna be upside down. This area is probably going to settle back to 2001/2002 prices. That would put most of these bigger homes right around $100 sq/ft.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Yucaipa by request

A request was made to look at Redlands and Yucaipa. Redlands is one of those cities that is kinda different. Most of the homes are older historic types and they don't turnover much. When they do it's hard to say if they went up or down because many get full or partial remodels or restorations. There are a few new tracts but many of those are high end homes. All those doctors from Loma Linda have to live somewhere... Yucaipa is another story, it's more of a workin' class town and has several newer developments. Like most of the other areas these are where you can find price drops. I must say, I was a little surprised that the prices are not dropping as much as I would have thought. But if you look at the days on market of many of the homes they are up there in the hundreds of days. Even so it was not hard to find homes with $100k price drops.

Lets start with 35983 Willow Crest, is a 3300 sq/ft 5/3 sitting on a huge lot. It has a nice rock pool and landscaping. Our seller picked up his estate in Aug 2005 for $690k. He listed it TEN months ago for $750. Hoping to make a quick $50k he was.... After waiting for 5 months he got serious and whacked the price $140k, down to $609k. Still no bites so in Sept he cut another $15K off his asking price. He's asking $595 now. If he gets it he is going to lose $95k plus another $35k in fees. IF he is very LUCKY he will only lose $130K (in just over 2 years).

Back in town we have 11459 Warm Springs, this is a 2615 sq/ft 4/2.5 home near the golf course. It was sold but the deal fell through so it's back on the market as a short sale. This has also been on the market an eternity, nearly 200 days. It started out at $435k and after 3 price cuts he is now asking $388. Our desperate seller bought this in Dec 2005 for $470k. So if he manages to get his asking he is looking at a loss of about $103k.

Another home in the same area is 34610 Yale St, this is a 2462 sq/ft 4/3 home. It was purchased in Aug 2005 for $480. It's now listed for $380k. Another $100k loss plus another $23k in fees.

Yet another 100k loser at 33545 Pembrook, this one is a bank owned and needs work. Dead lawn and an empty pool. Our ex-homeowner paid $570k for this house in August 2005. The bank is trying to unload it for $464k. They will need to drop this at least another $100k before anyone even looks at it. The two homes above are bigger and in better shape and are prices over $100k less. What the hell is the bank thinking. The neighbor up the street at 33532 with the same floorplan is even under-cutting the bank by $15k.

I'm not sure if anything is actually selling in Yucaipa. Even these homes which are the lowest priced in their tracts are not selling, and some of these have been on the market for nearly a year.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Where are the best deals?

If you absolutely had to buy a house and location did not matter where are the best deals. Looking around the IE (excluding the deserts) the lowest prices and largest price cuts are in Menifee, San Jacinto, Hemet, Murrietta and Lake Elsinore. In those cities many of the newer tracts are in a world of hurt. It's not hard to find newish homes selling for under $100 sq/ft and there are just loads of them under $120 sq/ft. Six months ago finding a home under $100 sq/ft was a pipe dream even out in San Jacinto most homes were over $150 sq/ft. Not only can you find homes under the magic $100 sq/ft mark I was actually able to find a few under $90 sq/ft!

What kind of "deals" am I talking about? Well, How about a 3000 sq/ft home built last year for $250k! That my fellow bears is $82 per sq/ft!

1146 Newberg Commons, San Jacinto, CA 92582

And to prove that it's not a fluke we have 665 DRAKE DR, this one is 3148 sq/ft and it's listed for $269k or $86 a sq/ft!

This one technically is not under $90 sq/ft but I bet if you could buy it for under it. 455 Peregrine LN This home is a big one story home that is new, as in never lived in. It's 3279 sq/ft 3 bed/3 bath and it's listed for $299k or $91 per sq/ft.

There are several others on Redfin that are in the low $90s per sq/ft that I'm sure you could pick up for under that if you wanted to live out in "hell-n-back". (no offense meant to residents of San Jacinto but the city is waaaaay out there).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend observations

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.