Paying attention to the mood of the market

The other day a home owner was upset because he thought his appraisal came in too low. Yes, he was hung up on price per sq ft, which was a big issue, but most of all he believed the home should have been worth way more since there were almost no other homes listed for sale on the market. His thought was, “There’s no inventory, so I’m going to command top dollar.” After all, isn’t real estate about supply and demand? Well, yes. But there’s so much more.

the mood of the market sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased and used with permission by 123rf

The Market’s Mood: The truth is there are many factors that make value move in a market, and supply and demand is only one cog in the system (or “layer of the cake” as I like to say). Granted, it’s one of the more important metrics, but at the end of the day we can’t forget to ask how buyers and sellers are feeling about the market. Or in other words, what is the mood? For example, in early 2013 housing inventory in Sacramento was incredibly low, and buyers were pretty much willing to offer at list price or above on anything that hit MLS. In fact, if something didn’t have multiple offers, I wondered what was wrong with the property. At the time there was a real desperate mood, yet despite inventory still being low today, buyers are exhibiting more discretion by not pulling the trigger unless the price is right. Like the owner above thinks, this seems irrational because there aren’t many homes for sale. But the mood has changed. Likewise, if a house backs a busy street or has some adverse issue, buyers are tending to wait rather than offer. Again, this seems illogical because on paper it looks like buyers should be making offers all day long because of how low inventory is. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the owner above did not realize his home valued toward the higher end of the neighborhood range was simply not experiencing the same demand as the lower end of the price spectrum in the neighborhood. Thus the mood at the top was different than the bottom.

Action Step: At the end of the day, let’s not forget to talk with clients about the mood of the market. We can do this by sharing the latest numbers, thinking about what is driving some of the numbers (the mood), reading articles from several local and national publications, and having conversations as often as possible with others in the real estate trenches (not just with people in your office or field). Also, since market moods are constantly changing, we have the opportunity to continually say something different about the local market.

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear your take below.

—————– For those interested, here is my big market update  —————–

Big monthly market update post - sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased from 123rfTwo ways to read the BIG POST:

  1. Scan the talking points and graphs quickly.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes digesting what is here.

DOWNLOAD 73 graphs HERE:
Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim). Thanks.

Quick Sacramento Market Summary: The market in January was fairly normal. It took 3 days longer to sell a house than the previous month. That’s normal. The median price and other price metrics generally declined from December. Yep, that’s normal too for the time of year. Sales volume declined by 39% from December to January, but that’s common since sales volume ALWAYS declines from December to January (yes, I said always). Actually, the real trend is January 2016 had a 2.5% higher sales volume than January 2015. Housing inventory increased, which is also normal. Okay, I apologize because I’m repeating one word too often here. But do you catch my drift? However, I will say the bottom of the market and “entry-level” neighborhoods have felt a little more aggressive in terms of values, number of offers, and demand. In short, some neighborhoods have seemed to have more of a feel of a budding spring real estate market, while others have been cruising along waiting for the spring season to further ripen. As I said last month, if I had to sum up the market in 2015 I would say: Modest value appreciation, but aggressive demand. Yes, demand is very aggressive out there, but sellers really need to price realistically unless they want to sit on the market. One last thing, there is a big difference in the mood among buyers when mortgage interest rates are closer to 3.5% compared to even 4.0%, so watch rates and the market closely.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY:

  1. It took 3 more days to sell a house last month than December.
  2. It took 14 less days to sell this January compared to last January.
  3. Sales volume was 2.5% higher in January 2016 compared to last January.
  4. FHA sales were 26.8% of all sales last month.
  5. FHA sales under $200,000 were 29% of all sales last month.
  6. Housing inventory is 30% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. The median price declined by 5.3% last month.
  8. The median price is 9.4% higher than the same time last year.
  9. The avg price per sq ft declined by about 1% last month.
  10. The avg price per sq ft is almost 11% higher than the same time last year.

Some of my Favorite Graphs this Month:

inventory - January 2016 - by home appraiser blog

median price and inventory since jan 2013 - by sacramento appraisal blog

January market in Sacramento real estate - by sac appraisal blog - since 2008

sales volume in January

inventory in sacramento county Since 2011 - by sacramento appraisal blog

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

SACRAMENTO REGIONAL MARKET:

  1. It took 2 more days to sell a house last month than December.
  2. It took 15 less days to sell this January compared to last January.
  3. Sales volume was 7.9% higher in January 2016 compared to last January.
  4. FHA sales were 23.6% of all sales last month.
  5. Short sales were 3% and REOs were 3.5% of sales last month.
  6. Housing inventory is 28% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. The median price declined by 1.3% last month.
  8. The median price is 10.8% higher than the same time last year.
  9. The avg price per sq ft increased 2% last month.
  10. The avg price per sq ft is 11.6% higher than the same time last year.

Some of my Favorite Regional Graphs:

sales volume 2015 vs 2016 in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

sacramento region volume - FHA and conventional - by appraiser blog

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blog

median price and inventory in sacramento regional market 2013

number of listings in sacramento regional market

PLACER COUNTY:

  1. It took 4 less days to sell a house last month than December.
  2. It took 16 less days to sell this January compared to last January.
  3. Sales volume was 13.8% higher in January 2016 compared to last January.
  4. FHA sales were 16.7% of all sales last month.
  5. Cash sales were 19% of all sales last month.
  6. Housing inventory is 28% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. Sales volume is over 13% higher these past 12 months compared to the previous one year.
  8. The median price, average price per sq ft, and average sales price increased last month, but Placer County data seems to fluctuate quite a bit since there are fewer sales, so I don’t recommend putting too much emphasis on these increases unless they become prolonged over time.

Some of my Favorite Placer County Graphs:

Placer County price and inventory - by sacramento appraisal blog

number of listings in PLACER county - January 2016

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog - January volume

interest rates inventory median price in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

I hope this was helpful and interesting.

DOWNLOAD 73 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim). Thanks.

Questions: How would you recommend for someone to find the mood of the market? Are there certain metrics you think best show the mood? Also, what stands out to you about the latest stats in Sacramento? I’d love to hear your take and what you are seeing in the trenches.

If you liked this post, subscribe by email (or RSS). Thanks for being here.

Speaking fluently in real estate cliches

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of speaking fluently in real estate clichés. While there’s maybe nothing wrong with saying, “The market is ‘on fire'”, or “It’s a good time to buy and sell,” there has to be more depth we can tap into, right? It’s almost like if I asked someone how they were doing, and the person said, “I’m on fire at work” or “It’s a good time to be alive.” Okay, that’s great to hear, but what does that really mean? I want to catch specifics because it’s in the details where I can really know a person. The same is true in real estate. When we step away from vague clichés and begin to speak fluently in current market trends, it can be very powerful. Whether you’re an agent, appraiser, or home owner, I hope you can glean something from this post as you tell the story of the market to clients and contacts, and I’d love to hear your take in the comments below. If you’re not in the Sacramento market, how would you describe your area? Are trends unfolding in similar ways?

CHALLENGE: Share one talking point below with a client or contact today (or include a point in conversation on Facebook).

real estate market cliches - by sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased and used with permission from 123rf dot com

Two ways to read THE BIG MONTHLY POST:

  1. Scan the talking points and graphs quickly.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes digesting what is here.

DOWNLOAD 62 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim). Thanks.

One Paragraph to Describe the Sacramento Market: The latest stats show a couple of things: 1) The market is slowing down as it almost always does during the fall (no surprise there); yet 2) The market is definitely not as slow as it was last year at the same time. For instance, last month in the region it took one day longer to sell a home than the previous month, which shows the market is cooling, but it’s actually taking ONE WEEK LESS to sell a home this year compared to last year. There is roughly two months of housing inventory in the Sacramento region, which essentially means there are only two months worth of houses for sale on the market. This is very low considering last year inventory was at 2.65 months at the same time. This might not seem like a big difference, but the market is actually VERY sensitive to increases in inventory, which is one of the reasons why the market last year felt much slower (and even sluggish) compared to this year. Many times we hear 5 months of inventory is normal, but keep in mind values have declined any time inventory even approached 4 months in Sacramento County over the past 15 years. Anyway, despite inventory being low right now, buyers are not pulling the trigger unless the price is right. In short, Sellers, if you want your property to sit on the market, overprice it. In terms of values, the overall median price in Sacramento County has been about the same for 6 months and the regional market has softened by 2% in recent months. By the way, if you missed my recent post, I gave some perspective on “real estate bubble” conversations, and it’s a very relevant conversation as we see price metrics begin to soften at this time of year (and people freak out about that).

Sacramento County Market Trends for October 2015:

  1. The median price has been hovering around $290,000 for 6 months in a row.
  2. It took an average of 38 days to sell a house last month (up 2 days from the previous month).
  3. Last year at this time it was taking an average of 45 days to sell a house.
  4. FHA sales were 28.5% of all sales last month.
  5. Sales volume is 9.8% higher so far in 2015 compared to last year.
  6. Sales volume was 7.8% higher in Oct 2015 compared to Oct 2014.
  7. There is a 1.78 month supply of homes for sale (similar to previous month).
  8. Housing inventory is nearly 28% lower right now compared to Oct 2014.
  9. The average price per sq ft is 186.5 (7.1% higher than last October).
  10. Cash sales were only 15.5% of all sales last month (18.5% last year at the same time).

NOTE: The graph below shows an increase in the average price last month, but keep in mind the median price and average price per sq ft were flat (this reminds us to not isolate one metric and make it all about that one point).

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

inventory - October 2015 - by home appraiser blog

seasonal market in sacramento county median price

seasonal market in sacramento county sales volume 2

seasonal market in sacramento county inventory 2

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

layers of the market sacramento county since 2011 - by sacramento appraisal blog

Sacramento Regional Trends for October 2015 (Sac, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado):

  1. It took 7 less days to sell a house this Oct compared to Oct 2014.
  2. Sales volume was up 5.5% in Oct 2015 compared to Oct 2014.
  3. Sales volume for the year is up 10.3% compared with 2014.
  4. The median price at $326,000 is up 6.8% from last year, but down 2% from the past few months.
  5. It took an average of 42 days to sell a house last month (1 day longer than last month).
  6. FHA sales were 24.5% of all sales in the region last month.
  7. There is 2.06 months of housing inventory (same for past 3 months).
  8. The average sales price is $364,829 (7.7% higher than last year, but down slightly from $370K a few months ago).
  9. FHA sales volume has increased by 30% in 2015 compared with 2014.
  10. Housing inventory is nearly 22% lower right now compared to Oct 2014.

sales volume 2015 vs 2014 in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

prices in sacramento region - FHA and conventional - by appraiser blog

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blog

median price and inventory in sacramento regional market

number of listings in sacramento regional market

Placer County Market Trends for October 2015:

  1. Sales volume was the same in October 2015 compared to October 2014.
  2. Sales volume for the year is up 14% compared with 2014.
  3. The median price in Placer County is $397,500 (it’s been fluctuating up and down between $390-400K over the past 6 months).
  4. Cash sales were 16.8% of all sales last month (very normal level).
  5. It took 47 days on average to sell a house last month (1 day longer than the previous month month).
  6. Last year at this time it took 7 days longer to sell a house.
  7. FHA sales were 18.6% of all sales in Placer County last month.
  8. There is 2.26 months of housing inventory (18% lower than last year).
  9. The average price per sq ft is 201 (3.6% higher than last year at the same time).
  10. REOs were 2.4% of all sales and short sales were 3.6% of all sales.

Placer County sales volume 2 - by sacramento appraisal blog

number of listings in PLACER county - October 2015

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County price and inventory - by sacramento appraisal blog

interest rates inventory median price in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much for being here.

Quick Pricing Advice:

  1. Remember the market isn’t as soft this year as it was during the same time last year, but we are still seeing values cool during the fall.
  2. Talk about the difference between actives, pendings, and neighborhood sales on your listing appointments and in your appraisals. If listings are selling for less than sales from the Spring market, that shows us the market has changed (and we need to price accordingly). See How to use a CMA to gauge the temperature of the market for a fantastic way to quickly explain what the market is doing to your clients.
  3. The market has been very price sensitive all year, which means buyers are not biting on overpriced listings despite inventory and interest rates being relatively low.
  4. Remember there are many markets within a market, so price according to the neighborhood market rather than county-wide trends since your neighborhood might be more or less aggressive compared to the entire county.

DOWNLOAD 62 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim). Thanks.

Questions: How does the market feel to you this year compared to last year? What are you seeing out there? I’d love to hear your take.

If you liked this post, subscribe by email (or RSS). Thanks for being here.

The stats show the market is slowing (and we’re not surprised)

Shocking titles tend to get clicked more on Facebook. So if I wanted more clicks, I probably could have gone with a sensational title like, “The market is taking a turn downward”. Or maybe I could have said, “Big changes you MUST know about in Sacramento real estate.” After all, the stats are showing values are softening, so hyping up this point could certainly lead to more traffic. But you know what? I’m not interested in hype, and I never want more clicks at the expense of my integrity. Yes, the market is growing softer right now, and that can feel scary for some, but truth be told there really isn’t any shock here because this is exactly what we expect to see happen during the fall months. Nonetheless, the fascinating part is the fall season this year has still been different than it was last year. This year is actually much more competitive and far less dull. So let’s unpack some trends below with the goal of understanding what values are doing so we can more effectively tell the story of the market to our clients and contacts. I hope this is helpful for locals as well as out-of-town readers (what is your market doing right now?).

housing numbers - image purchased and used with permission by sacramento appraisal blog

Two ways to read THE BIG MONTHLY POST:

  1. Scan the talking points and graphs quickly.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes digesting what is here.

DOWNLOAD 70 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim). Thanks.

One Paragraph to Describe the Sacramento Market: The market has been slowing in the Sacramento area, but it’s nowhere near as slow as it was last year at the same time. Overall sales volume is up nearly 11% in the region this year, housing inventory is down 24%, and homes took 4 fewer days to sell this September compared to last September. There have actually been less price reductions so far this year too. In terms of home prices, the median price, average price per sq ft, and average sales prices are tending to be about 4-5%+ higher than they were last year, though this doesn’t mean values are necessarily 4-5% higher. This is an important distinction because median price increases don’t always translate dollar to dollar to actual value. Keep in mind the median price in the regional market has softened by almost 2.5% over the past few months, and the median price in Sacramento County has been about the same for five months in a row. There are some graphs below to help show the seasonal market, and they remind us it is customary to see the median price soften, inventory increase, and sales volume decline during the fall months. Overall there is still a higher demand than there was last year, but the market is very price sensitive. Buyers simply aren’t pulling the trigger on overpriced homes (sellers, please consider that). By the way, if you missed my post last week, I gave some perspective on “real estate bubble” conversations, and it is a very relevant post as we see price metrics begin to soften at this time of year.

Sacramento County Market Trends for September 2015:

  1. The median price has been hovering around $290,000 for 5 months (3.6% higher than last year).
  2. It took an average of 36 days to sell a house last month (up 2 days from the previous month).
  3. Last year at this time it was taking an average of 41 days to sell a house.
  4. FHA sales were 29.5% of all sales last month (nearly 28% of all sales in Sacramento County last quarter).
  5. Sales volume is 10.1% higher so far in 2015 compared to last year.
  6. Sales volume was 13% higher in Sept 2015 compared to Sept 2014.
  7. There is a 1.74 month supply of homes for sale (similar to previous month).
  8. Housing inventory is nearly 30% lower right now compared to Sept 2014.
  9. The average price per sq ft is 188 (5.6% higher than last September).
  10. The average sales price is $314,317 (1.9% higher than last September).

Median price since 2013 in sacramento county

reo and short sales sacramento county 2

seasonal market in sacramento county median price

seasonal market in sacramento county sales volume 2 FHA and cash trends in Sacramento 3

seasonal market in sacramento county inventory 2

inventory - September 2015 - by home appraiser blog CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

Sacramento Regional Trends for September 2015 (Sac, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado):

  1. Sales volume was up 11.5% in Sept 2015 compared to Sept 2014.
  2. Sales volume for the year is up 11% compared with 2014.
  3. The median price at $325,000 is up 4.8% from last year, but down 2.5% from the past few months.
  4. It took an average of 41 days to sell a house last month (2 days longer than last month).
  5. FHA sales were 23% of all sales in the region last month.
  6. There is 2.06 months of housing inventory (same as previous month).
  7. The average sales price is $360,481 (4.3% higher than last year, but down slightly from three months ago at $370K).
  8. It took 4 less days to sell a house this Sept compared to Sept 2014.
  9. FHA sales volume has increased by 30% in 2015 compared with 2014.
  10. Housing inventory is nearly 24% lower right now compared to Sept 2014.

sales volume 2015 vs 2014 in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

breakdown of sales fha and everything else in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

breakdown of sales in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

median price sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County Market Trends for September 2015:

  1. Sales volume was up 7.7% in September 2015 compared to September 2014.
  2. Sales volume for the year is up 15.8% compared with 2014.
  3. The median price in Placer County is $389,000 (about 1% higher than last year at the same time).
  4. Cash sales were 18.8% of all sales last month (very normal level).
  5. It took 46 days on average to sell a house last month (same as previous month).
  6. Last year at this time it took 1 day longer to sell a house.
  7. FHA sales were 16.7% of all sales in Placer County last month.
  8. There is 2.42 months of housing inventory (17% lower than last year).
  9. The average price per sq ft is 194 (5.3% higher than last year at the same time).
  10. REOs were 2.6% of all sales and short sales were 1.5% of all sales last month.

Placer County median price since 2014 - part 2 - by home appraiser blog

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

interest rates inventory median price in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much for being here.

Quick Pricing Advice:

  1. It’s normal for prices to cool during the fall. This year the market is not as soft as it was last year at this time, but we are still seeing a softening.
  2. Price according to the most recent listings that are actually getting into contract rather than the highest sales from the spring.
  3. Talk about the difference between actives, pendings, and neighborhood sales on your listing appointments and in your appraisals. See How to use a CMA to gauge the temperature of the market for a fantastic way to quickly explain what the market is doing to your clients.
  4. The market is price sensitive, which means buyers are not biting on overpriced listings despite inventory and interest rates being relatively low.
  5. Remember there are many markets within a market, so price according to the neighborhood market rather than county-wide trends since your neighborhood might be more or less aggressive compared to the entire county.

DOWNLOAD 70 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim). Thanks.

Questions: How do you think sellers and buyers are feeling about the market right now? What are you seeing out there?

If you liked this post, subscribe by email (or RSS). Thanks for being here.

Face tattoos and seeing the full picture in real estate

appraiser with face tattooIf you ever plan to get a tattoo on your face, call me first. That’s what I tell my two sons. They always roll their eyes and laugh at me when I say this. Of course I’m joking in part because they’re only 8 and 10 years old. But there is still a truth here nonetheless. It’s a good idea to get an outside perspective before making a big decision. There is something about consulting with a friend, family member, professional or even Facebook contacts to help weigh a decision and understand what to do. The same holds true in real estate when it comes to grasping the way the market is moving. When we dig into several different trends instead of just one, we tend to get a more balanced or holistic view of real estate. What do you see in the graphs below?

median price average price per sq ft average sales price in sacramento county by sacramento appraisal blog

median price average price per sq ft average sales price in sacramento county since 2009 by sacramento appraisal blog

median price average price per sq ft average sales price in sacramento county since 2013 by sacramento appraisal blog

Why a Full Picture Matters: All of these metrics generally show a similar trend at any given time. However, you’ll notice sometimes the trend lines get closer together and other times they are further apart. There are also moments when one metric might have a slightly more aggressive uptick or downturn. What does this tell us? If we rely on only one trend to interpret the market, we might not get a full picture of how value is really moving. For instance, when looking at February to March 2013, we see the Median Price increased by 8.5%, Average Price per Sq Ft increased by 2.9% and Average Sales Price increased by 6.9%. So how much did value actually increase during this month? Can you see how blindly choosing one metric might get us into trouble? We cannot simply put all our eggs in the median price basket (or any one trend) to interpret the market.

DISCLAIMER: This post was in no way meant to offend anyone who has a face tattoo, will have have one or used to have one. Be happy in life.

Questions: What do you tend to look at most in real estate? Median price, Average Price per Sq Ft or Average Sales Price?

If you liked this post, subscribe by email (or RSS). Thanks for being here.