Wednesday, July 17, 2013


According to KCM Blog, a real estate blog, well documented with national sources and valid statistics, and a recent job report regarding wages, give great evidence that there is no bubble.  Talking about the possibility of a bubble has made for good fodder both in the papers and on cable newscasts.  However, take a look at the following and you will find some compelling reasons to keep an open mind and draw your own conclusions.  1) 41% - Percentage of homes being bought where payment is cheaper than renting.  2) 16 X's - The ratio of home prices to rents in the first  quarter of 2013 is slightly better than long-term average.  3) 8% - The percentage housing is still undervalued on a price to income ration.  4) 91% - Percentage of the country which is still undervalued.  5) Pent up demand / Low inventory.  6) Wages are rising.  We aren't even mentioning larger down payments, stringent loan qualifications and number of owner occupied versus investors is rising significantly.  Finally, has it been mentioned the renewed perception that home ownership is once again a great investment?


The entire Southland hit a sales high in May, the highest in 7 years.  The median price hit a 5 year high.  According to records kept by DataQuick, there was a total of 23,034 new and resale houses and condos sold in LA, Ventura, OC, SD, Riverside and San Bernardino.  That was up 7.6% from the previous month of April, and 3.8% up from  May 2012.  However, there is still room for growth, as May 2013's numbers are still off 10% historically of what May usually produces since DataQuick started keeping records in 1988.  The total number of sales for all properties in OC was 3,648, up 11% from May 2012 and the median price was $540,000 up 24% from a year ago.  The number of resale homes was 2,347, condos came in at 1,013 and new homes still lagged, from lack of product, at 288.  Million dollar homes are making a big comeback, recording the highest number of sales since 2007.  For all of last year, 2012, there were 26,993 homes sold at $1,000,000 or higher.  That is up 27% from 2011.


Reason #1 -- According to S&P/Case-Shiller, prices will continue to rise in 2013.  In fact, they adjusted their original forecast of 8% to 11%.  Reason #2 -- Mortgage rates will continue to rise.  According to Freddie Mac, 1/2 a point interest has already been factored in and likely will stay there for the time being.  But don't test providence.  Reason #3 -- It is time to make a decision.  The time for hesitation, waiting for the bottom of the market, has come and gone.


This was the headline in the OC Register on July 11th.  The true number of households in some stage of foreclosure, according to CoreLogic, was 4,300.  This represents a mere 1% of all households, and less than half the number of May 2012, which was 8,900.  Nationwide, 1 million US homes were in the foreclosure process for May, representing 2.6% of borrowers.  That number is down 29% from the previous year.  The point to glean from all that is that OC is stronger than the rest of the country, at least in avoiding foreclosure.  This is mainly a result of the appreciation of the last 2 years pushing more and more homeowners into equity positions, allowing them to either refinance or sell their home without it becoming a short sale, or facing foreclosure.


Yes, the notifications from the county tax assessor are making their way to your mail box as this is being written.  The boost is the result of a more robust market, solid appreciation, and new parcels which have sold, including commercial development as well as homes.  Prop 13 only allows 2% adjustment, so long time homeowners may get a notice of a slight uptick, but the most revenue will come from new housing developments, which allow for a fresh tax assessment based on sales price, broken down by land and improvements, and new commercial properties, factories, and shopping centers, to name a few revenue sources.  If you have questions about your tax bill, you should not hesitate to call the Tax Assessor and talk to one of their appraisers.  If you are in OC, you can view your tax bill online.  


Many investments, whether bonds, stocks, mutual funds, etc, are bought to hold and in fact become long term investment strategies.  Remember, we have been desensitized these past 10 years from one extreme to another.  First, from 2002 to 2006, the public saw real estate as a means to get rich quick. Investment  for  the short term.  Sadly, many people got caught holding the bag, and lost a lot of money, trying to make real estate something in their investment portfolio, it was never meant to be.  Then the other extreme hit, of no one wanting properties except the heartiest, cash flush, investor.  But if you take10 years, any 10 year period, after the great depression, there is no time that real estate did not do well.  Food for thought.  See you next month.

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