Wikinvest Wire

SoCal real estate - sales up, prices down ... way down

Monday, August 18, 2008

Earlier this morning, DataQuick reported on Southern California real estate sales activity for the month of July.

Sales were up 17 percent from a year ago, largely a result of foreclosures and short sales, but they came in 23 percent below the average July sales volume going all the way back to 1988.

More importantly, prices were down ... way down.

With the exception of Ventura County (our old stomping ground), where the median home price was flat at $420,000 (which still sounds like a lot of money for an average house), prices tumbled in every other area, the once-hot Inland Empire counties of San Berardino and Riverside now in a heated battle to see which will first claim the title of a 40 percent decline from the peak.

Riverside came within a whisker last month and, given its momemtum as shown below in light blue, it will be tough for San Berdu to make up that ground.
IMAGE NAMELos Angeles County holds the title of "least worst" decline with a year-over-year drop in median price of 27 percent, or, if you're keeping track, about a $150,000 haircut from the mid-2007 price.

That could be part of the reason lenders are yanking home equity lines of credit today as quickly as they were extending them a few years back.

Surely there are realtors out there who are telling their clients that sales have picked up and that they "gotta buy now" before prices go back up.

And surely, some will buy as a result.
IMAGE NAMEFor about the millionth time, an increase in sales volume is only an indication that a housing bottom has been reached if you sell real estate for a living. This means that you might earn a commission check or two this year. If you're a buyer, concerned more about sales price, your bottom probably won't come for a couple more years.

Since Marshall "almost all if not all of those gains are here to stay" Prentice has now retired, new DataQuick President John Walsh gets the DataQuick commentary duty:

What we're looking at is a fire sale of properties in newer affordable neighborhoods that were bought or refinanced near the price peak with lousy mortgages. What we're still not seeing is this level of distress spreading to more expensive or established neighborhoods.
So far, so good for the new guy. Just stick to the facts.

Prices have reverted to the 2003 or 2004 level, depending on the county, but there's still more work to do.
IMAGE NAME I don't know where it was, but, some dope in some newspaper the other day said that the ratio of home price-to-median family income had come down from somewhere around 13 to under 10 in some part of the country and that real estate was becoming affordable again.

He failed to mention that the historical average for this ratio is somewhere around 3.

You'll know when home prices hit a bottom - people won't be talking about them anymore.

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Anonymous said...


You are spot on with that last sentence.

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe that prices are already down 40 percent. It seems like yesterday that they were crowing in the Inland Empire about having the strongest RE market. Nice charts!

d said...

It really does seem like yesterday. This information age is something else.

Anonymous said...

I like this site but I notice that the ad for your portfolio's performance no longer shows the 2006, 2007 and ytd numbers: this is just as the 2008 numbers started to look really ugly.

Is it a technical glitch or will it only come back when/if commodities start rising again? ;->

Tim said...

I'm on vacation for the next two weeks and that was one less thing to update while we're away. Just click through to the website to see the ugly numbers.

Anonymous said...

I see. My apologies!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Bring it on...I want to see 50-60% reductions...

We can only hope.

Equity Bad Credit Loans said...

The Real Estate Market Starts Climing Again

The Real Estate Market Starts Climing Again
During the past couple of years we've all seen a tremendous change in real estate in the country.
This change actually has spread all over, businesses loosing money while gas prices are extremely high.

The real estate market has become a big issue for all of us out there, we've seen many homeowners loosing their homes and struggling to find a home to rent because of their credit.

What happen to us?
Remember the bubble 4 years ago?
That's exactly the answer, from years of prosperity and times of spending, traveling and investing in stocks and real estate, we are now experiencing another bubble but this time the bubble is going in a different direction and we are wondering what to do.

So real estate was going down and it's still going down, some economists say that it will get stable in 2 years from now.

The sellers market became a buyers market, and today we all know it by now.
Investors and renters that saved their money for better days to buy to make money are in the market today, that's making the real estate market busy.

Real estate agents that learn how to change with the market also learned how to make money from the changes, these real estate professionals are making lots of money and while we are all struggling for business they're making the business.

Today you can get a home directly from the banks for almost half the price.
I've seen homeowners that are so desperate that they're willing to give their homes for free, just come and take their loan and continue their payments.

On the other hand, investors are looking to buy homes in bulk, they can get homes $.50 on the dollar.

Some banks like bank of america and countrywide are selling hundreds of homes in bulk to investors at a discount prices.

So real estate agents are busy getting hundreds of listings and reo's from banks, then they're selling these homes at a low price to future homeowners and investors.

It's definitely a buyer's market like we had in the early 90's, so if you're an investor or a homeowner.
This is your time!

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