January 30, 2014

Something Unique And Intrinsically Valuable

The Sacramento Business Journal reports from California. “In the last three months of 2013, 136 homes priced at $750,000 or above in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties sold, up from 116 during the last quarter of 2012. The median sales price of $920,000 was about 2 percent higher than a year earlier. Homes priced over $1 million sold at 47 percent higher clip. Kris Vogt, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Sacramento-Tahoe region, said finances play a role in where people with money choose to live, but other factors do as well. ‘At the end of the day, there’s something unique and intrinsically valuable in California real estate,’ he said.”

The Manteca Bulletin. “Ripon continues to set the standard when it comes to home values in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The median price of existing homes based on closed escrows rose to $300,000 in 2013. Perhaps even more indicative of how popular Ripon is with home buyers is the average time that the 201 homes that sold in 2013 stayed on the market. It was 24 days. Ripon isn’t experiencing the double digit gains that many communities in California experienced in 2013. Manteca, for example, saw the 35.4 percent jump in value last year to a median of $255,000. That meant the median price for existing homes that sold in Manteca during 2013 was up $66,750 from 2012 levels.”

The Marin Independent Journal. “New lending rules being phased in this month could make it harder for some Marin residents to get mortgages, experts said, while many extolled the protection the rules offer for buyers. ‘I see it (the regulations) as a good thing,’ said Bob Ravasio, an agent with Coldwell Banker. ‘We’re hearing people talk about a bubble forming in real estate once again. This is one more thing that will make it more difficult to keep that from happening.’”

“‘I have a concern where protection tips toward prevention. If you have a jumbo investor who is making interest-only loans and we start to see people start filing lawsuits, things might change. The lender will have no legal defense in those cases. That’s the six-million—dollar question. What is going to happen? We don’t know until the first one ends up in court,’ said Rob Spinosa, a loan officer in Mill Valley.”

The Santa Cruz Sentinel. “The median sales price for single family home in Santa Cruz County in December was $618,500, down from $674,444 in November but up from $528,920 a year ago. Gary Gangnes of Real Options Realty observed 21 of the 138 sales last month involved distressed properties, double the percentage from the month before, with 16 of 21 selling for less than $450,000, bringing down the median, which is the midpoint of what sold.”

“The high-end market is soft. A five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath 2,800-square-foot home, suitable for a family compound, sold for $2.1 million in December to a buyer who had been hunting for three years. The initial asking price was $2.95 million. ‘It was a unique property, it took a unique buyer,’ said Linda Bailey of Vanguard Realtors, noting it was appraised for $3.5 million.”

“Bailey got 10 offers after a single showing of a three-bedroom home on the Santa Cruz Westside, currently rented and priced at $749,000. Six of the 10 are for more than the asking price. Her advice to sellers in this bracket: ‘Don’t wait till spring. Do it now.’”

“‘Anything in the median price range goes,’ said Alex Johnson of David Lyng Real Estate, cautioning against overpricing. ‘Buyers are looking for turnkey properties, a nice kitchen and a nice bath. Those are the ones that are selling fast as long as they are competitively priced.’”

The Signal. “As sales of condominiums posted strong gains in the Santa Clarita Valley and home prices continued rising in 2013, investors pulled back from the single-family home market, a Realtors association reported. One local Realtor said she expects home sales to continue rising as inventory increases this year. Homeowners are beginning to use newfound equity in their homes, which will create more inventory and more sales, said Cherrie Brown.”

“‘Real estate listings are now entering the market at a faster rate than they were back in October through December,’ said Connor MacIvor. The increased inventory, however, slows price increases down a little as buyers have more options, he said. Homes are now entering the market at a faster rate than they are selling. ‘Within the last seven days we have had 59 listings that changed their (sales) prices; 85 percent of the homes experienced a reduction,’ MacIvor said.”

Bits Bucket for January 30, 2014

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