The slowing, competitive, & price-sensitive market in Sacramento

Slowing down. Competitive. Price sensitive. Still more aggressive than last year. These are all ways I would describe today’s housing market in Sacramento. Let’s unpack the latest trends today to really see the market so we can better understand it and explain it to clients.

slow but competitive market in sacramento - image purchased and used with permission from 123rf - sacramento appraisal blog

4 Hours to write this post: This post usually takes easily 4-5 hours to write each month. Keep in mind I create 50-60 graphs and then break down the trends into bite-sized talking points. I honestly LOVE doing this, and the goal is to be able to use the information for life and business. Why am I mentioning this? I just wanted to let you know how much I value helping us stay in tune with the market. New readers, the three other monthly posts are short, sweet, and general, but this one is long and hyper-local.

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 54 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: Last month I talked about how the market has been slowing down. Sometimes when we say “slow”, it can really freak people out. But it’s actually very normal for real estate to soften during the later summer and fall after a more aggressive buying season in the spring. Moreover, when the market does change, it’s simply an opportunity to price more efficiently and explain the changing market to clients. The danger is when we say the same thing about the market all year long despite the trends really not being the same. What are some of the signs of slowing? It took 4 days longer to sell a home last month than the previous month in the Sacramento region. Housing inventory increased slightly in the surrounding four counties last month. The sales to list price ratio decreased by 1% last month. The median price in Sacramento County has been the same for four months in a row. The median price in the Sacramento region has declined by 1% over the past few months. I could go on and on. Of course let’s remember that sales volume is up by a whopping 10.9% so far this year in the region, and housing inventory is actually 22% lower right now in the region compared to the same time last year. Ultimately it’s still very competitive out there as buyers are hungry to get into contract before interest rates rise too much or while they feel like they can still afford the market (that’s so 2004). All year the market has been remarkably price sensitive too, which means buyers have been hesitant to write offers on overpriced homes. As housing supply presumably continues to increase over the next few months, watch out for price reductions to continue to increase, unrealistic expectations from sellers, and buyers gaining more power.

Sacramento County Market Trends for August 2015:

  1. The median price has been hovering at $290,000 for 120 days.
  2. It took an average of 34 days to sell a house last month (up 3 days from July).
  3. Last year at this time it was taking an average of 40 days to sell a house.
  4. FHA sales were nearly 27% of all sales in Sacramento County last month.
  5. Sales volume is 9.7% higher so far in 2015 compared to last year.
  6. Sales volume was 15% higher in August 2015 compared to August 2014.
  7. There is a 1.76 month supply of homes for sale (slightly lower than July).
  8. Housing inventory is nearly 27% lower right now compared to August 2014.
  9. The average price per sq ft is 185 (5.5% higher than last August).
  10. The average sales price is $319,636 (slightly lower than past two months).

context for median price - by sacramento appraisal blog

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

inventory in sacramento county Since 2013 - part 2 - by sacramento appraisal blog

inventory - August 2015 - by home appraiser blog

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

number of listings in sacramento - August 2015 - by home appraiser blog

sales volume in Sacramento County

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

  1. Sales volume was up 12.8% in August 2015 compared to August 2014.
  2. Sales volume for the year is up 10.9% compared with 2014.
  3. The median price at $328,825 is up 6% from last year, but down 1% from the past two months.
  4. It took an average of 39 days to sell a house last month (4 days longer than last month).
  5. FHA sales were 23% of all sales in the region last month.
  6. There is 2.05 months of housing inventory (up from 1.98 last month).
  7. The average sales price is $367,545 (4.2% higher than last year, but down slightly from two months ago at $370K).
  8. It took 3 less days to sell a house this August compared to August 2014.
  9. FHA sales volume has increased by 30% in 2015 compared with 2014.
  10. Housing inventory is nearly 22% lower right now compared to August 2014.

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

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

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

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

breakdown of sales in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

interest rates inventory median price in sacramento regional market by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County Market Trends for August 2015:

  1. Sales volume was up 11.7% in August 2015 compared to August 2014.
  2. Sales volume for the year is up 17% compared with 2014.
  3. The median price in Placer County is $402,900 (increased from last month, but it’s been hovering from $390-400K generally).
  4. Cash sales were 18.5% of all sales last month (very normal level).
  5. It took 46 days on average to sell a house last month (6 more days than July).
  6. Last year at this time it took 1 day longer to sell a house.
  7. FHA sales were 19% of all sales in Placer County last month.
  8. There is 2.35 months of housing inventory (up from 2.17 months in July).
  9. The average price per sq ft is 201.8 (been hovering around this level for a few months).
  10. REOs were less than 2% of all sales and short sales were roughly 2.5% of all sales last month.

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County median price and inventory - by home appraiser blog

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

Regional market median price - by home appraiser blog

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

Quick Pricing Advice:

  1. Remember it is normal for the market to cool off during the latter part of the year. Knowing seasonal cycles and communicating them is key.
  2. Price according to the most recent listings that are getting into contract rather than the highest sales from the spring. Remember, it’s normal for housing inventory to increase during the fall, so this will only allow buyers to be more picky.
  3. The market is still very price sensitive, which means buyers are not biting on overpriced listings despite inventory and interest rates being relatively low.
  4. 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 54 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.

The story of Sacramento’s regional housing market in 2014

How much did values increase last year in the Sacramento Region? What about Placer County? How would you describe the market to friends or clients? Let’s take a stroll through the trends today.

Dude, this is a long post: If you’re new to subscribe (thank you), most of my posts are not this long. But twice a month I break down the local trends so we can better know how the market is moving. If you are outside of the area, you can still glean from what is here. Beyond these two monthly posts, my other posts tend to be general enough to apply throughout the United States.

Two ways to read this post:

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

Thank you for being here.

SACRAMENTO REGION (scroll below for Placer County)

Sacramento regional market in 2014 - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog - smaller

Email me if you want the graphs: If you would like all the graphs in this post (and others), send me an email (make sure to write “I want the market graphs” in the header). You can use these in your newsletter, some on your blog, and some in other social spaces. See my sharing policy for ways to share.

Regional Market Year-End Stats:

1) Median Price ended at $309,000
2) Average Sales Price ended at $339,182
3) Average Price per sq ft ended at $179
4) Sales volume was down 6.6% in 2014 compared to 2013.
5) FHA sales increased by 4.6% from 2013.
6) There were 32% less cash sales this year.
7) Short sales represented only 6.7% of the entire market in 2014.
8) Bank-owned sales were only 5.8% of all sales in 2014.

1) Values saw a modest uptick, but the market was flat for most of the year:

median price sacramento placer yolo el dorado countyThe graph above shows an increase in the median price at the beginning of the year, but then the market was basically flat for more than half the year. Overall the median price increased by 10.3%, the average price per sq ft increased by 5.3%, and the average price increased by 6.6%.

Regional market median price - by home appraiser blog

 2) Cash volume declined by 32% this year in the regional market:

cash sales and volume in sacramento region - by home appraiser blog

Having 32% less cash sales in 2014 definitely softened up the market compared to 2013. For much of the year there was a sense the market was “normalizing” in that it was learning how to exist without cash investors driving the market, inventory was approaching more normal-ish levels, and interest rates were increasing. Of course now that rates have begun to decline again, that will help put a bit more “steroid” back into the market.

3) Sales volume was down by 6.6% in the region:

SALES volume in sacramento region - by home appraiser blog

There were almost 1800 less sales this year in the Sacramento region, which translated to a sales volume at 6.6% lower than the previous year. This year volume was lower, and we began to get a better picture of what real demand is like in the Sacramento market. In 2012 and 2013 we saw a market that was driven by buyers outside of our market (investors). In short, the demand wasn’t a result of the local market or the local economy. But this year we saw a market that was more driven by local buyers, which is why volume was so much lower than the previous year. Granted, interest rates are still helping buyers afford far more than their wages would otherwise allow, and that’s going to be important to watch over time.

4) Housing inventory increased over the year (declined in December):

median price and inventory in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

Housing inventory saw a clear upward trek throughout 2014. There was not a steady increase every single month, but overall the trend was increasing, wasn’t it? The truth is in real estate some months are going to be higher or lower in a particular category, and sometimes data will even seem conflicting. That’s why we need to look at the big picture as well as hyper-local neighborhood data and county-wide data. It all helps us understand and tell the story of the market.

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

Here is what inventory looks like in December. We should see increases this next month as some properties slowly begin to hit the market. We like to think real estate fever begins in March, but remember the sales in March are often the pendings from February.

5) It’s taking about 25% longer to sell a house in today’s market (but 35% more quickly than it was three years ago):

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

These days it’s taking about 25% longer to sell a house than it did last year. This sounds alarming, but let’s remember this is normal. We remember the days in mid-2013 when it was actually taking less than 30 days on average to sell a house. That was insane. For context, at the end of 2011 it was taking about 90 days to sell a house in the Sacramento region (that was three years ago). Of course I still recommend pricing to sell in 30 days or less so you hit the sweet spot of buyers looking for properties. In most price ranges  you don’t want to be on the market for 90 days right now because you begin to lose your power to negotiate a higher price with buyers.

6) Listings and Trends:

number of listings in Placer Sacramento Yolo El Dorado county - Oct 2014 - by home appraiser blog

Here is the price spread of current listings in the regional market. The bulk of current listings are priced between 200-400K. We can also see as of last month there were only 50 properties for sale under $100,000. It’s just no longer the market to pick something up for dirt cheap.

interest rates inventory median price in sacramento regional market by sacramento appraisal blog

Last but not least, here is a picture of some of the “layers of the market” working together.

Email me if you want the graphs: If you would like all the graphs in this post (and others), send me an email (make sure to write “I want the market graphs” in the header). You can use these in your newsletter, some on your blog, and some in other social spaces. See my sharing policy for ways to share.

PLACER COUNTY MARKET TRENDS

Placer County 2014 recap by sacramento appraisal blog - smaller

Placer County Year-End Stats:

1) Median Price ended at $387,000
2) Average Sales Price ended at $428,629
3) Average Price per sq ft ended at $192
4) Sales volume was down 2.96% in 2014 compared to 2013.
5) FHA sales decreased by 9% from 2013 (76 less sales).
6) There were 19% less cash sales this year.
7) Short sales represented only 5% of the entire market in 2014.
8) Bank-owned sales were only 3.5% of all sales in 2014.

Email me if you want the graphs: If you would like all the graphs in this post (and others), send me an email (make sure to write “I want the market graphs” in the header). You can use these in your newsletter, some on your blog, and some in other social spaces. See my sharing policy for ways to share.

1) Values increased only a few percent over the year:

Placer County median price since 2012 - by home appraiser blog

How much did the market increase in Placer County last year? Overall the median price increased by 8.1%, the average sales price increased by 6.3%, and the average price per sq ft increased by 7.8%. The market saw some appreciation in the beginning of the year, but was fairly flat and really softened over the last two quarters. The stats actually seem a bit higher than the market felt in light of December’s numbers (which were quite a bit higher than the past few months). For instance, the median price had cooled to $375,000 in October, then $365,000 in November, and then December showed up at $387,000, which is just $1,000 under the highest monthly median price of the year. We’ll see how this figure pans out in coming months, but don’t put too much weight on it. As I said a couple days ago when discussing Sacramento, remember that these figures don’t necessarily mean each property has increased in value by 8.1%, 6.3%, or 7.8%. Actual value is only something we can determine on an individual basis.

2) Inventory increased steadily over the year (down in December):

Placer County median price and inventory - by home appraiser blog Housing inventory in Placer County increased steadily throughout the year and was hovering in the higher 2s for the most part. It peaked once over three months at the end of the year, and saw a dramatic Fall to 1.8 months in December (its very normal for inventory to decline in December because there aren’t many new listings coming on the market).

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Housing inventory was freakishly low in Placer County last month (besides the market about $1M). Keep in mind there are only four listings below $100,000, so don’t put any weight on the “4” number you see for inventory under 100K.

3) It’s taking 20-25% longer to sell a house in today’s market: 

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Last year at this time it was taking anywhere from 45 to 50 days to sell a house, and this year it was taking anywhere from 55 to 60 days to sell a house. Well, technically on average it took 61 days to sell a house last month in Placer County. It’s normal for properties to take longer to sell in the Fall months, and then shorter when the market heats up during the Spring. As you can see, there are different price segments that tend to sell more quickly than others. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the longer it takes to sell.

4) Sales volume was down 2.9% in 2014 compared to last year:

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

There were 164 less sales in 2014 in Placer County compared with the previous year. This translates to sales volume being 2.9% lower compared to 2013. In contrast, Sacramento County had a volume that was 7.7% lower than the previous year.

5) The Fall showed a normal real estate seasonal cycle:

Placer County median price since 2012 - Fall season - by home appraiser blogIt felt like a fairly normal Fall for the most part (beyond the higher uptick in median price). Remember, don’t make too much of the median price. It may have increased 6% from the previous month, but the average price per sq ft only went up 1%. What does that tell us?

6) The layers of the market at work:

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

Real estate is never just about supply and demand. There are so many “layers of the market” that are working to impact the direction of values. Both interest rates and housing inventory will be important factors to watch this coming year.

Thanks for letting me post today. I know these posts are long, but twice a month we get to delve into some big-time real estate trends, and I hope it’s been helpful for you (I know it is for me). The more we can explain what the market is doing and why it is doing it, the more we can help our clients make informed real estate decisions.

Questions: What else are you seeing out there? Anything you’d add?

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

10 quick talking points when someone asks about Sacramento real estate

The holidays are here, so if your Uncle Bob asked you next week at a family gathering what the real estate market is doing, what would you say? Or if a neighbor heard the market has been slow, how would you respond? Below I have 10 quick talking points to help you impress your Uncle Bob or anyone else with your knowledge of the local market. So let’s unpack some real estate trends in Placer County and the Sacramento region to hone in on two important questions: What are values doing? And why are they doing it?

Two ways to read this post:

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

 

PLACER COUNTY

1)  The median price dipped about 2.5% last month:

Placer County median price since 2013 - by home appraiser blog

It’s not surprising to see the median price dipped last month by about 2.5% in Placer County. The median price had been at $375,000, and now it’s at $365,000. It is very normal for prices to soften at this time of year, which is seen in the graph below. Yet at the same time, the market really is getting much softer in light of increasing inventory, which is also important to watch.

Placer County median price since 2012 - Fall season - by home appraiser blog

2) Inventory increased to 3.24 months last month.

Placer County housing inventory - by home appraiser blog

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Housing inventory saw an increase from 2.75 months to 3.24 months from October to November 2014. This increase sounds dramatic, but fewer sales last month played a big role in seeing inventory increase. Remember, housing supply is calculated by dividing the number of current listings by the number of sales over the past 30 days, so a lower amount of sales will naturally drive inventory up. As you can see, inventory is not the same at ever price level, is it?

number of listings in PLACER county - October 2014 - by home appraiser blog

3) It’s taking an average of 55 days to sell a house in Placer County:

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

It took one more day this month to sell a house compared to the previous month, and about 10 more days compared to mid-Summer. It’s still taking much less time to sell a house than it used to about 5 years ago, but it is still very important to price listings correctly. When prices are softening and houses are taking longer to sell, this means overpriced homes are simply going to sit. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the longer the marketing time. Keep in mind sales above $1M took only 91 days, but there were only 12 sales, so take that stat with a grain of salt. Realize too that current actives above $1M have been on the market for 198 cumulative days.

4) Sales volume is slightly lower right now compared to last year:

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

There were only 345 sales in Placer County this past month, and that’s a fairly low number, though last year in November the figure was only 365.

SACRAMENTO REGION:

5) Regional values in Sacramento softened by about 2% last month:

median price sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

The regional market was extremely flat for about six months, but it finally dipped over the past couple of months in light of the onset of Fall. An increase of inventory is definitely putting pressure on values too. Housing supply lately has been hovering about where it was when prices hit bottom in January 2012.

Regional market median price - by home appraiser blog

When watching real estate, it’s important to take a broad look at how values are unfolding in surrounding counties as well as the entire region. If we look too closely at any given county, we might not be able to see the bigger picture. By the way, the median price in Placer County is $100,000 higher than Sacramento County. Does this mean prices are $100,000 higher in Placer County? Nope. Keep in mind the average size of house that sold last month in Placer County was about 450 sq ft larger in size than in Sacramento County. This makes for huge price differences, don’t you think?

6) Sales volume is down 7.5% this year compared to last year:

SALES volume in sacramento region - by home appraiser blog

Sales volume is down in 2014 by about 7.5% when compared to the same time period in 2013. This might seem like a trivial number, but it equals about 1900 less sales on MLS so far this year.

7) Cash sales are down 34% in the Sacramento Region in 2014:

cash sales and volume in sacramento region - by home appraiser blog

Our regional market was heavily driven by cash investors over the past couple of years, but cash is no longer king. In fact, there have been 34% less cash sales in 2014 compared to 2013, which effectively means there have been 2186 less cash sales so far this year. This is a huge reason why housing inventory has increased this year because there are simply less buyers in the market right now. As time goes on, non-cash sales continue to show an increase as owner-occupant buyers are ultimately beginning to drive the market more and more. Some good news in the market is that FHA, conventional, and VA buyers have been increasing in numbers.

8) It’s taking an average of 50 days to sell a house in the Sacramento Region:

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blogIt took one more day last month to sell a house compared to the previous month (10 more days since July 2014). It’s important to be in tune with the trends of each price range too since the market is not the same at each segment.

10) Housing inventory is a HUGE driver for the regional market:

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

The higher the price, the more inventory there is (generally speaking).

number of listings in Placer Sacramento Yolo El Dorado county - Oct 2014 - by home appraiser blog

median price and inventory in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

As you can see, housing inventory in the region is definitely increasing, and that has dramatically slowed values over the past couple of years. Remember that housing inventory was artificially low at times in 2012 and 2013 because of the massive influx of cash investors who came from outside of the market to take advantage of the lower prices at the time.

interest rates inventory median price in sacramento regional market by sacramento appraisal blog

Since the current market is no longer driven by cash investors, real estate is more prone to be strongly influenced by the health and strength of the local job market as well as increases in inventory.

I hope this was helpful, and I do hope you can share something here in a conversation soon. Thank you so much for being here.

Sharing Trends with your Clients? If you want to share graphs online or in your newsletter, please see my sharing policy. Thank you for sharing.

Questions: How else would you describe the market? What are you seeing out there?

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

The market continues to cool in Sacramento

The market is cooling, and that’s normal to see at this time of year. Yet beyond the expected chill of the season, the market as a whole is still clearly slowing down to become a buyer’s market. Let’s take a quick look today at real estate trends in Sacramento County so we can better understand what values are doing, and how to talk to clients about the market (don’t miss my 5 tips at the bottom). I’ll have a post on Tuesday to discuss the regional market and Placer County. Remember, you can use some of the graphs in your marketing too (see my sharing policy).

Two ways to read this post:

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

GRAPHS

(I was getting spam from the form, so email me)

1)  The median price dipped about 2% last month:

median price and inventory since 2013 - by sacramento appraisal blog

The median price declined from $270,000 to $265,000 from October to November in Sacramento County. Remember, it’s normal to see prices cool during this season, and the graph below helps illustrate that. Yet at the same time the overall market is definitely slowing regardless of the season.

median price in fall - by sacramento appraisal blog

2)  The median price is 33% lower than it was at the TOP of the market:

context for median price since the real estate bubble by sacramento appraisal blog

Since the bubble burst by sacramento appraisal blog

Let’s get some context. The median price hit its peak in Sacramento County in August 2005 at $395,000, and now it’s about 33% lower at $265,000. It’s hard to imagine prices were that high, but at the time buyers were willing to buy at those levels.

3)  Prices overall are softening

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

It’s important to look not just at the median price, but other metrics such as average price per sq ft and average sales price. This helps us get a stronger sense of the trends of the market so we don’t put too much weight on one metric.

price metrics since 2012 in sacramento county

4) Inventory increased to 2.75 months last month.

inventory in sacramento county  Since 2011 - by sacramento appraisal blog

Housing inventory increased  from 2.47 months to 2.75 months from October to November. This seems like a dramatic increase, but remember that inventory is the relationship between the number of sales last month and the number of current listings. Sales volume was REALLY low last month, so it’s natural to see inventory see an uptick. Having 2.75 months of housing inventory means there are 2.75 months worth of houses for sale right now (active listings).

months of housing inventory by sacramento appraisal blogGenerally speaking, the higher the price, the more inventory there is. Knowing what the market is doing at various price ranges can help us better market or value properties. The market doesn’t behave the same at every price level.

inventory in sacramento county - by sacramento appraisal blog

BIG POINT: The market has ultimately become much more sensitive to increases in inventory in recent years, so what happens with inventory in coming months will help set the stage for next year.

inventory during fall 2 - by sacramento appraisal blog

5) Sales volume was sluggish in November (lowest November in 7 years):

sales volume in Sacramento County since 2001

We had a slow November. In fact, sales volume in November hasn’t been this low since November 2007. Granted, volume this year was only down by 4% from November 2013, but it’s still important to note when volume is sluggish.

sales volume in fall through 2014 - by sacramento appraisal blog

Remember that sales volume always declines in the Fall months. This is part of the normal real estate cycle, and we see this every year. However, the decline in sales volume was slightly higher this past month than normal. Volume usually declines by about 15% from October to November, but this year was 22%. This isn’t something to write home about because it’s only one month of data. It’s simply important to explain what happened.

6) Cash sales are down 40% in Sacramento County in 2014:

cash sales and volume in sacramento county - by home appraiser blog

Cash sales since 2009 in Sacramento County by sacramento appraisal blog

Sales volume is down by 8.5% in 2014 compared with 2013. When we break down the numbers in Sacramento County, this means there have essentially been 1336 less sales this year compared to last year. The chief culprit in lower sales volume is the fact of 40% less cash sales in 2014 compared to 2013. Cash sales represented only 17% of all sales last month, which is far lower than 36% of all sales less than two years ago. This is great news for conventional, VA, and FHA buyers in that there is now more space to get into contract. Furthermore, non-cash sales are about 4% higher in volume this year compared to last year, which is also good news.

7) FHA sales were 25% of all sales last month (buyers are gaining power):

FHA and cash sales since 2009 in Sacramento County by sacramento appraisal blog

The market is still fairly competitive out there, especially for well-priced listings in good condition, but overall buyers continue to gain an edge in the market. One out of ever four buyers in Sacramento County last month used FHA financing. As you can see in the graph above, as cash declines, FHA has increased (conventional and VA are also increasing). Moreover, the market used to be about 33% FHA, so there is still some room for FHA to take an even greater share of the market.

8) It’s taking an average of 45 days to sell a house in Sacramento:

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

It took an average of 45 days to sell a home in Sacramento County last month (that’s the same as the previous month). As you can see above, the market doesn’t behave the same in every price range. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the longer it takes to sell. There were only 5 sales above $1M last month, and they sold very quickly. For reference, current listings above $1M have been on the market for an average of 119 days. Take stats below $100K and above $1M with a grain of salt since data is limited in both price segments.

9) Distressed sales are only 5% of the entire market:

REOs and Short Sales since the bottom in Sacramento County

The market hit bottom in early 2012, and since then both REO sales (bank-owned) and short sales have seen a dramatic decline. The market simply is not driven by distressed sales any longer. In fact, only 5% of all sales last month were REOs and 6% were short sales. Investors did a great job buying up the distressed market over the past couple of years, and banks have likely done a better job with loan modifications too. Some say there is a “foreclosure wave” coming, but friends, people have been saying that for 6 years. When looking at the stats, there is a slight uptick in foreclosures this year in terms of volume, but it’s more like a rain drop rather than a wave.

10) There are many layers to the housing market

layers of the market sacramento county since 2001 - by sacramento appraisal blog layers of the market sacramento county since 2008 - by sacramento appraisal blog layers of the market sacramento county since 2011 - by sacramento appraisal blog

These are some of my favorite graphs because they help show that the market is made up of many layers. Housing trends are never just about supply and demand, but interest rates, the job market, cash investors, the economy, buyer confidence, availability of financing, etc…

Conclusion: The market is experiencing a normal Fall seasonal dip, yet at the same time the market as a whole is definitely cooling. Interest rates have seen a decline lately, which helps buyers gain more power in the market to a certain extent, but increasing inventory is the trump card in that higher inventory carries the most weight to drive values these days in Sacramento.

5 Quick Tips for Real Estate Agents:

  1. Price Correctly: Houses that are priced right are selling, but overpriced homes are sitting. The market is still very price sensitive, meaning buyers will pull the trigger quickly when the price is right.
  2. Current Listings: Remember to price according to the most current listings that are actually getting into contract. Of course you’ll want to pay attention to sales, but remember that sales are historical documents in that they tell us what the market used to be like whenever the sales got into contract. Today’s market might have softer prices compared to six months ago, so that’s why current pendings (and listings) can sometimes help give us a better temperature of what the market is like right now.
  3. Concessions & Credits: As inventory increases, buyers in some price ranges are going to be asking sellers for more credits for repairs and/or concessions in the purchase price. Preparing your sellers for this reality is important. Also, remember to be cautious about padding the price with concessions beyond what it can appraise for.
  4. Know FHA Standards: One in four sales were FHA last month, so it makes it all the more important to be in tune with what it takes for a property to meet minimum FHA appraisal standards. On a side note, if you do not know where a carbon monoxide detector should be installed, read here.
  5. Being a “Short Sale Specialist”: There are still short sales happening, but keep in mind only 6% of all sales last month were short sales (which translates to 64 short sales in November in the entire county). It’s still somewhat relevant for your website and business card to say “Short Sale Specialist”, but keep in mind there are lots of agents out there to service this limited pool of sellers. Consider marketing to sellers who have equity again and to buyers who went through a foreclosure or short sale several years ago and can now re-enter the market (these buyers are called “Boomerang Buyers”).

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

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Questions: How else would you describe the market? What are you seeing out there?

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