Thursday, July 10, 2014


No economic recovery is perfect, in any sector; jobs, manufacturing, import/export, tourism, restaurants/services, and housing. There will be recovery and sputter, ebb and flow. Let’s concentrate on housing. There has been much positive news that relates to housing, primarily jobs and construction. New homes are still off a full 50% from a “normal” market, but the housing projects and construction starts by America’s biggest builders are definitely making a comeback. In fact, they are the highest they’ve been since 2008. In fact, new home sales jumped 18.6% last month, even as sales for single-family resale slowed. The volume of sales for existing homes fell for 8 consecutive months. Before anyone starts screaming that the sky is falling again, must remember that we are reporting a decline in sales for 2014 compared with 2013, which had been the hottest year since 2006 with double digit appreciation. For the volume to flatten out and prices to stabilize, southern California needed inventory. It appears that at last this is happening. The problem out sellers. You cannot simply tack on an extra fifty or one hundred thousand to your sales price, because that’s what your neighbor did last year. Prices have softened, you have more competition, and buyers are taking their time. With interest rates staying so low, there is no real outer motivating factor to drive a rapid market. Classic economics would tell you we are far from a neutral market, we still don’t have enough inventory. But it certainly feels that way, as buyers peruse through open houses and are reluctant to make offers. If you are a seller who has a location or floor plan and no competition, you no doubt may still field multiple offers. But don’t expect necessarily an all out bidding war. Part of the reason is that more of the buyers are now millenials. They won’t overspend to get exactly what they want, as the baby boomers did when they were the driving force behind the market. Millenials are pickier, they are conservative about their debt, and a deal must make sense for them. Plus, many have been living in multi-generational family situations, and they are in no hurry to move.


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