Making the numbers say what we want (and a Sacramento market update)

We can make numbers say whatever we want. We see this all the time in the media, politics, and even in real estate. Sometimes it’s a matter of intentionally fudging the numbers, but other times we might be honest about sharing something but actually still get it totally wrong. Today I want to highlight a real life example how we can end up saying something totally different about the market depending on the numbers we’re looking at. Whether you’re local or not, I hope you can take something away from this post. Then for those interested we’ll dive into a big Sacramento market update. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear your take.

Example 1: Sales price to list price ratio:

sold-vs-list-price-percentage-in-sacramento-county

The sales vs. list price percentage is the ratio between the sales price and whatever the most recent list price was before a property got into contract. For example, imagine a property listed at $100,000, was reduced to $98,000, and then went into contract at $98,000. The sales to list price would be 100% (98/98). If we look at this metric alone and see a county average of 100%, it looks like properties are selling for whatever they’re listed for. Woohoo, the market is hot!!!

Example 2: Sales price to ORIGINAL list price ratio:

sales-price-to-original-list-price-in-sacramento-county-by-sacramento-appraisal-blog

The sales to original list price ratio is the relationship between the original list price and the final sales price. For example, imagine a property listed at $100,000 but was reduced to $98,000, and then went into contract at $96,000. The sales to list price ratio would be 96% (96/100). This metric takes into account ALL price reductions, and in my mind tells a more fuller story of the market.

KEY QUESTION: Which one above does your CMA report?

BIG POINT: If we look at the sales price to list price ratio the market seems like it’s NOT softening. But if we take a deeper look at the sales price to ORIGINAL list price ratio, we see properties on average sold for 4% less than their original list price last month. This is definitely a more telling stat because it reminds us how many properties have been overpriced lately. Remember, there were nearly 1800 sales last month, so an average 4% decline is a big stat. But it’s easy to miss that if we don’t know what to look for and end up reporting the first stat above.

—-—–—– And here’s my big monthly 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 time digesting what is here.

DOWNLOAD 70 graphs HERE: Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file. 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 Market Summary: The market feels like it should at this time of year. It’s taking slightly longer to sell than it was a couple of months ago, the sales to original list price ratio has been declining, and prices are softening as the hot summer fades away. This doesn’t mean the market is dull at every price range though. In fact, the bottom of the market under $300,000 is definitely more aggressive than properties above $500,000. Right now housing inventory is 11% lower than it was the same time last year and a whopping 35% lower than it was in 2014. If you remember, two years ago the market felt extremely dull and there were about 400 price reductions every day when logging in to MLS (this year price reductions are hovering around 200 tops every day (that’s for the entire MLS coverage area)). This reminds us some fall markets are softer than others. Sales volume this year has been about the same as it was last year, though it’s important to note FHA is down 6% and cash is down over 8% so far. Celebrity house flipping seminars are coming to town frequently in Sacramento, but keep in mind only 2% of all sales in the region last month were bank-owned, which reminds us low-priced fixer deals on MLS are pretty much a thing of the past. Lastly, there has been lots of talk about the market having shifted or beginning a downturn, but right now the stats look to be showing a normal seasonal slowing. We often hear things like, “the market is starting to tank”, but unless we see a real change in the stats or hear something more definitive from the real estate community about values declining, let’s be in tune with the slowing seasonal market. In case it’s useful, here is a video tutorial I did a couple of weeks ago to walk through the slowing season and what it looked like in 2005 also.

Sacramento County:

  1. The median price is 102% higher than it was in early 2012.
  2. Sales volume was up 8.5% this August compared to August 2015.
  3. There were only 4 sales under $100K last month (single family detached).
  4. Sales volume is up about 4% this year compared to last year.
  5. Housing inventory is 11% lower than the same time last year (only 1.57 months of inventory).
  6. FHA volume is down about 6% this year compared to 2015 (though they were 26% of all sales last month).
  7. Cash sales were only 14% of all sales last month.
  8. It took an average of 26 days to sell a home last month, which is 1 day less than the previous month (and 8 less days compared to last year).
  9. REOs were only 3% of all sales last month and short sales were 2.8%.
  10. The median price increased by 1% from last month, is down 3% from two months ago, and is up nearly 12% from last year at the same time.

Some of my Favorite Graphs this Month:

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

median-price-context-in-sacramento-county

median-price-since-2013-in-sacramento-county

price-metrics-since-2015-in-sacramento-county-look-at-all

inventory-august-2016-by-home-appraiser-blog

cdom-in-sacramento-county-by-sacramento-regional-appraisal-blog

sales-volume-in-sacramento-county-since-2012

SACRAMENTO REGIONAL MARKET:

  1. The median price is 98.5% higher than it was in early 2012.
  2. It took the same time to sell last month compared to the previous month (but 8 less days compared to August 2015).
  3. Sales volume is about the same as it was last year at the same time (very slightly more this year so far)
  4. Cash sales were 15% of all sales last month.
  5. Cash sales volume is 6.4% lower this year than last year.
  6. FHA sales were 22% of all sales last month.
  7. FHA sales volume is down nearly 7% this year so far.
  8. There is 1.77 months of housing supply in the region right now, which is over 13% lower than the same time last year.
  9. The median price increased last month, but it’s down from two months ago. The median price is up nearly 9% from last year at the same time. The average sales price and average price per sq ft are both up about 8% from last year too.
  10. REOs were only 2% of all sales last month and short sales were the same.

Some of my Favorite Regional Graphs:

median-price-sacramento-placer-yolo-el-dorado-county

regional-inventory-by-sacramento-regional-appraisal-blog

sacramento-region-volume-fha-and-conventional-by-appraiser-blog

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

number-of-listings-in-sacramento-regional-market

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

number-of-listings-in-placer-yolo-el-dorado-sacramento-by-home-appraiser-blog

PLACER COUNTY:

  1. Today’s median price is 70% higher than it was in early 2012.
  2. It took 4 more days to sell a house last month than the previous month (but 6 less days than last year at the same time).
  3. Sales volume was down less than 1% in August 2016 compared to last August and is down slightly for the year about 3%.
  4. Both FHA sales were 16% and cash sales were 19% of all sales last month.
  5. There is 2.05 months of housing supply in Placer County right now, which is down nearly 13% from the same time last year.
  6. The median price declined about 1% from the previous month, but for a better context it’s up 7% from last year at the same time.
  7. The average price per sq ft was $214 last month (was $202 last year at the same time).
  8. The average sales price was $472K last month (up about 4% from last year).
  9. Bank owned sales were only 1% of all sales last month.
  10. Short sales were 2% of sales last month.

Some of my Favorite Placer County Graphs:

placer-county-median-price-since-2014-part-2-by-home-appraiser-blog

placer-county-housing-inventory-by-home-appraiser-blog

months-of-housing-inventory-in-placer-county-by-sacramento-appraisal-blog

number-of-listings-in-placer-county-2016

days-on-market-in-placer-county-by-sacramento-appraisal-blog

placer-county-sales-volume-by-sacramento-appraisal-blog

DOWNLOAD 70 graphs HERE: Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file. 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.

how-to-think-like-an-appraiser-class-by-ryan-lundquistAppraisal Class I’m teaching: On September 29 from 9am-12pm I’m doing my favorite class at SAR called HOW TO THINK LIKE AN APPRAISER. This is a tremendous time where we’ll talk about seeing properties like an appraiser does. We’ll look at comp selection, using price per sq ft properly, and so many issues. My goal is to help you walk away glad you came and full of actionable ideas for business. Register here.

Question: Did I miss anything? Any other market insight you’d like to add? 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.

If the real estate market did shift…

The new buzz word in real estate is SHIFT. Everywhere I go I hear this word, and it seems like every other article is about a coming change in the market. Thus the question becomes, how would you recognize if the market did begin to shift? What signs would you look for? Let’s kick around some ideas below and I’d love to hear your take in the comments. Any thoughts?

change sign - purchased by sacramento appraisal blog by 123rf dot com

Key points when considering a market shift:

  1. Markets go up and down: Just like the stock market, gold, or any other commodity, at some point real estate values will go up and at some point they’ll go down. Bottom line.
  2. See it first in the listings: When the market does eventually “shift”, we’ll see the change in the listings before the sales. This means properties will begin to struggle to sell at the same level as the “comps”, which will lead to price declines. This underscores the importance of paying close attention to pendings and listings to see the current market. Granted, every year someone says, “the market is declining” when the fall season begins to unfold because values begin to soften. Just be aware there is a difference between a normal seasonal softening and a definitive declining trend.
  3. Word on the street: One of the ways we’ll know the market has changed is the real estate community will feel it in the number of offers, feedback from buyers and sellers, more credits being given to buyers, etc… We can always look at stats, but there is something powerful about the word on the street from real estate insiders.
  4. The previous peak: It’s always interesting to see how close or far prices are from their high point ten years ago, but there isn’t any rule that says prices have to get back to their height for a decline to happen.
  5. Watch higher & lower prices: The market isn’t always doing the same thing at every price range or in every neighborhood. When it comes to values declining, watch the top and bottom carefully because one of them might change direction before the other. Which one?
  6. Other metrics: I included an image below to talk through some of the metrics we might watch to know the market is softening. Again, these things all tend to happen during the fall months every year, but no matter what time of year we are not likely to get to full-fledged value declines without passing through a softening stage. Be sure to watch the sales to list price ratio too (I forgot to include that in the image).
  7. The power of lenders: Values have increased these past four years, but wage growth has been more or less stagnant. This means some buyers will now begin to struggle to afford higher prices. The temptation for lenders is to develop more creative financing to help buyers keep playing the game. Does anyone else think Kenny Loggins’ Highway to the Danger Zone would be good background music for this point?
  8. Future clients: This conversation can feel stressful for those who work in real estate because a change in the market can lead to a change in clients. Yet markets always change, so that’s something we can be prepared for, right? Blockbuster Video had a lucrative operation until they didn’t adapt to the way the internet changed the DVD rental landscape. When it comes to business we can spend so much time holding on to the way things have been that like Blockbuster we don’t take steps to adapt and position ourselves to be Redbox or Netflix so to speak. Here are two questions to continually ask: Who are you clients going to be in the future? What are your clients going to need in the next few years?

Signs of a soft market

I hope this was helpful.

Questions: What is point #9? What other metrics can we watch to see the market change? Anything I left out? I’d love to hear your take.

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Seeing the forest & the trees in real estate: Part II

Two weeks ago I talked about seeing the forest through the trees in real estate. The big point was it’s easy to look so closely at the most recent stats that we don’t see the bigger picture of the market. It’s sort of like noticing only the trees instead of the forest (hence the title). Anyway, in today’s big monthly market update I wanted to show how this concept actually works in real life when crunching numbers in the Sacramento area. Whether you’re local or not, I hope this will be interesting or even provocative for how you think about and share housing trends. I’d love to hear your take in the comments below.

The forest and the trees image - sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased and used with permission from 123rf dot com

Interest Rates & Nerf Battle: Before diving in, I have two quick things to share. Unless you’ve been in a bunker without internet access, you’ve probably heard the Fed finally increased rates. There is some good discussion unfolding on a post on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear your take there or here. Also, in non-real estate news, I recently built a Nerf gun battlefield out of pallet wood for my son’s birthday. Check out a quick video tour at the bottom of the post (or here).

Recommendations for reading THE BIG MONTHLY POST: Compare the numbered bullet points to get a sense of the latest numbers (the trees) with older stats (the forest). If you’re short on time, just skip the graphs or download them for later use. The big question today: What difference does it make to look at both recent numbers and year-old numbers? If you’re new here, once a month I do an in-depth market update, whereas other posts are short and sweet. I know the post is long, but it’s on purpose (thanks for reading).

SACRAMENTO COUNTY:

The Latest Numbers (Trees):

  1. DOM: It took 3 more days to sell a house last month than two months ago.
  2. Volume: Sales volume declined 18% from the previous month.
  3. Inventory: Housing inventory stayed about the same as the previous month.
  4. Median Price: The median price has been the same for 7 months.

Last Year’s Numbers (Forest):

  1. DOM: Last year in November 2014 it was taking 6 days longer to sell.
  2. Volume: It’s normal for volume to decline from October to November, so highlighting an 18% “decline” is silly. The bigger story is volume this November is actually 12% higher than last November.
  3. Inventory: Current inventory is 36% lower than last year at the same time.
  4. Median Price: The median price was 5.8% lower last year, which reminds us values have seen a modest uptick this year.

Some of my Favorite Graphs this Month:

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

inventory - November 2015 - by home appraiser blog

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

seasonal market in sacramento county sales volume 2

market in sacramento - sacramento appraisal group

DOWNLOAD 61 graphs HERE: I have many more graphs you can download for study, use in your newsletter, or share some on your blog. See my sharing policy for ways to share (please don’t copy this post verbatim).

SACRAMENTO REGIONAL MARKET:

The Latest Numbers (Trees):

  1. DOM: It took 4 more days to sell a house last month than two months ago.
  2. Volume: Sales volume declined 20% from the previous month.
  3. Inventory: Inventory increased by 3% from the previous month.
  4. Median Price: The median price is down 1% from a few months ago.

Last Year’s Numbers (Forest):

  1. DOM: It took 5 days longer to sell a house the same time last year.
  2. Volume: Sales volume in 2015 is actually 9% higher than last year. Also, in 2014 sales volume declined 23% from October to November, so let’s not freak out about the 20% “decline” above.
  3. Inventory: Current inventory is 28% lower than last year at the same time.
  4. Median Price: The median price was 9.7% lower last year at the same time.

Some of my Favorite Regional Graphs:

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:

The Latest Numbers (Trees):

  1. DOM: It took 4 more days to sell a house last month than two months ago.
  2. Volume: Sales volume declined 22% from the previous month.
  3. Inventory: Inventory increased by 10% from the previous month.
  4. Median Price: The median price has been jumping up and down for the past few months (generally hovering between $390-400K).

Last Year’s Numbers (Forest):

  1. DOM: Last year it took an average of 5 days longer to sell.
  2. Volume: Sales volume this November was 12% higher than last November.
  3. Inventory: Current inventory is 23% lower than last year at the same time.
  4. Median Price: The median price was 5-7% lower last year at the same time.

Some of my Favorite Placer Graphs this Month:

Placer County sales volume 2 - by sacramento appraisal blog

number of listings in PLACER county - November 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

Quick Market Summary: On one hand the market in Sacramento has been slowing down. This is normal to see during the fall, and we see a slowness with less sales volume compared to a few months ago, increased days on the market, and a slight increase in housing inventory. The bigger story though is how much different the market is this year compared to last year. In 2014 the fall was extremely dull and incredibly overpriced (as evidenced by 300-400+ price reductions every day). This year housing inventory is over 20% lower, sales volume has been roughly 10% higher, it’s taking 5-6 days less to sell a house, and price reductions have been far less of an issue. However, even with strikingly low housing inventory and more glowing numbers this fall, if the price is not right, buyers are not pulling the trigger. Bottom line. Well-priced listings are tending to attract multiple offers, but otherwise there are homes that are being priced higher that are sitting instead of selling. Sellers would be wise to remember prices tend to soften in the fall, which means pricing like it’s the spring probably isn’t a good move.

Nerf Battlefield I built: Okay, now let me give you a quick tour of a pallet wood Nerf battlefield I built for my son’s birthday. Yes, an epic war happened just two weeks ago in my backyard. Check it out below (or here). Locals, if you want to borrow it for a birthday party, feel free to reach out (you have to pick it up, return it, sign a liability waiver, and of course be trustworthy).   🙂

DOWNLOAD 61 graphs HERE: I have many more graphs you can download for study, use in your newsletter, or share some on your blog. See my sharing policy for ways to share (please don’t copy this post verbatim).

Questions: What stands out to you when comparing the latest numbers with older stats? What impact do you think an increase in rates will have on the housing market? I’d love to hear your take.

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

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.