Tuesday, October 16, 2007

September Southland home sales lowest in more than 20 years

September Southland home sales lowest in more than 20 years
by Real Estate Analyst John Karevoll-->October 16, 2007

La Jolla,CA----Home sales in Southern California plunged to the lowest level in more than two decades, as financing with "jumbo" mortgages dropped by half. The median price paid for a home dropped sharply as a result, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 12,455 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in September. That was down 29.9 percent from 17,755 for the previous month, and down 48.5 percent from 24,195 for September last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.
Last month's sales were the slowest for any month in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. The previous low was in February 1995 when 12,459 homes sold. The September sales average is 25,258.
"Some of last month's drop was part of the longer-term slowing trend, but most of it was due to mortgage market turbulence and difficulties in getting jumbo financing. There's a good chance there will be some "catch-up" sales activity between now and the end of the year as jumbo loans become more available. Still, we can't expect the market to re-balance itself until sometime in 2008," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.
The number of Southland homes purchased with jumbo mortgages dropped from 5,359 in August to 2,681 in September, a decline of 50.0 percent. A jumbo mortgage is a home loan for $417,000 or more. For loans below that threshold, the sales decline was 19.3 percent, from 9,237 in August to 7,459 in September. Historically, sales drop by about 10 percent from August to September.
The median price paid for a Southland home was $462,000 last month, down 7.6 percent from $500,000 in August, and down 4.0 percent from $481,000 for September last year. If the jumbo-financed portion of the market had remained stable, last month's median would have been $487,000.
DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.
The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,198 last month, down from $2,422 the previous month, and down from $2,295 a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are about the same typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They are 11.7 percent below the current cycle's peak in June last year.
Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity is at record levels, financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is flat, financing with multiple mortgages has declined significantly. Down payment sizes are stable, flipping rates and non-owner occupied buying activity is flat, DataQuick reported.

My comments:

For every foreclosure and distressed seller there is a happy buyer waiting for the right price/home. Prices will drop to levels that can be supported by the down payment and income of the borrower(s) using sensible mortgage financing. Every market is different. Every city and block has micro markets. I have always thought the national figures were meaningless. Comment as free speech is still in effect. You won't be carried out of the debate and pepper sprayed.

Realtors moving offices to Candyland?

Below for your enjoyment is a collection of article headlines posted today from various news services. Can you spot the one that's from Candyland? The mythical place where everything is great. The roads are paved with chocolate and the sky is full of rainbows.


California median home prices are predicted to fall next year for the first time in ten years, according to a a recent forecast released by the California Association of Realtors(CAR). CAR is predicting that in 2008, the median price of a resale home in the state will drop 4 percent to $553,000 and sales will fall another 9 percent in addition to the 23-percent plunge that is predicted for this year. Riverside, San Bernardino and the Central Valley counties are experiencing the steepest declines, the forecasters said, largely as a result of an exceptional amount of new-home construction, which has forced builders to take large price cuts to clear unsold inventories. CAR President Colleen Badagliacco predicts that Riverside and San Bernardino counties will continue to suffer more than the rest of the state because of the large number of subprime mortgages that were used by first-time buyers who moved inland from coastal counties to buy affordable housing. Badagliacco said she expects the California housing market will again be jolted in the second and third quarters, when more adjustable-rate subprime mortgages are scheduled to reset, possibly at higher interest rates. "Tighter credit standards, affordability concerns and a continued standoff between buyers and sellers will contribute to continued weakness in the market going into next year," Badagliacco said. Badagliacco added that the industry is hoping the federal government will help by raising the lending limits on government-sponsored mortgages. Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi said the significance of CAR's projection is that it reflects a growing pessimism among real estate experts. Adibi said it is the first time that Badagliacco's group has acknowledged the downturn may continue for another year. "We haven't seen any turnaround in sales, and the inventory of unsold homes keeps rising," Adibi noted. "For sure there will be no rebound."
Several major banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have announced they are pooling money to prevent investment funds from having to dump assets into the market. The pool will prop up funds known as structured investment vehicles (SIVs), which have had trouble refinancing their debt recently and in the worst case scenario would have to sell their assets to pay off investors.

NAR Says Improvement in Mortgage Market Bodes Well for Housing in 2008
Conditions in the mortgage market are improving for consumers, according to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Lawrence Yun, NAR vice president of research, notes that widening credit availability will help turn around home sales. “Conforming loans are abundantly available at historically favorable mortgage rates. Pricing has steadily improved on jumbo mortgages since the August credit crunch, and FHA loans are replacing subprime mortgages,” he said.

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