4 things to remember about increasing values and low inventory

Let’s talk about increasing values and low inventory. ‘Tis the season for this conversation because the market is heating up right now as we are on the cusp of spring. Here are a few things that have been on my mind, and then a huge local market update after that (for those interested). I’d love to hear your take in the comments below. Any thoughts?

values in real estate - sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased and used with permission from 123rf

  1. Front Loaded Market: In a normal market prices tend to heat up in the spring and soften in the fall. While this isn’t true everywhere in the United States (or for every year or type of property), this general reality reminds us that value increases are often loaded into the front part of the year rather than throughout the entire year. For instance, if values increased by 6% last year, it doesn’t mean value went up by 0.5% each month. Instead, any increase in value might actually have occurred from February to June.
  2. Rapid Appreciation: I’ve been hearing lots of chatter about rapid appreciation lately. The idea is the market has increased substantially in value over the past couple months and appraisals are lagging behind the trend. I know low appraisals are a reality, and if appraisers aren’t giving upward adjustments for value increases (when warranted of course), it can lead to conservative appraisals that probably reflect the market two months ago rather than right now. Whatever the case, the Sacramento market has felt extremely competitive lately because of freakishly low inventory, though actual value increases seem more nominal for the spring rather than exponential. Yes, there are some properties that have been bid up 10% or so, but those properties were probably priced far too low since increases that large have not typified this market. Moreover, sometimes markets feel more aggressive than they actually are, so a market’s mantra might be: “Aggressive demand, modest appreciation.”
  3. Not Every Neighborhood: Some neighborhoods and price ranges are trending differently than others. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s easy to lump all areas and price ranges together. For instance, the median price in the regional market last month increased by 2.5%, but that doesn’t mean values increased by 2.5% in every single neighborhood or price range. When valuing a property, we can keep an eye on trends from the wider area, but at the end of the day we need to look at competitive sales and listings in the subject property’s particular neighborhood. What is the competitive market doing in the neighborhood? If we impose the notion that “values increased by 2.5% last month” on every neighborhood, we’re probably going to make some valuation mistakes.
  4. Less New Construction is Starting to Matter: When the economy collapsed, new home construction sloughed off and has not yet recovered anywhere close to where it was during the glory years from say 2003 to 2005. This might not seem like a big deal, but now imagine the population has grown over the past 10 years, which essentially means there are now less available housing units for a larger population. On top of this, institutional investors bought homes in recent years and are holding on to them instead of selling. Moreover, some owners purchased several years ago are sitting on a sweet 3.5% interest rate and a low mortgage payment. Why would they sell in today’s market unless they really had to? Not all areas in the country are struggling with low inventory, but a lack of new home construction in recent years is actually a big deal, and it’s certainly contributing to a lower housing supply in many markets including Sacramento. Lastly, when there are less housing units for the population, it tends to create an environment where rents increase. This is an important trend to watch.

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 70 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 February was fairly normal in Sacramento. Values saw a modest seasonal uptick, sales volume increased, and inventory declined. This was all expected because it’s what we normally see at this time of year. But while market stats are more on the tame side, the market has felt anything but that in the trenches of house hunting. Multiple offers are commonplace and buyers are seeming to exude a 2004-ish frenzy to get into contract before values rise too quickly (does that concern anyone?). Despite housing inventory being extremely tight, properties that are priced too high are sitting instead of selling, and that reminds us how price sensitive buyers have become. The market is definitely a sellers’ market, though that doesn’t mean sellers can command any price they want. It’s interesting to note it took 12 less days to sell a house this February compared to last February, and only 3.4% of all sales in the region last month were short sales. 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 an average of 46 days to sell in both February and January.
  2. It took 12 less days to sell this February compared to last February.
  3. Sales volume was nearly identical in February 2016 compared to last February.
  4. FHA sales were 24% of all sales last month.
  5. Housing inventory is 25% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  6. The median price increased by 6.7% last month (take that w/ a grain of salt).
  7. The median price is 6.7% higher than the same time last year.
  8. The avg price per sq ft increased by about 1% last month.
  9. The avg price per sq ft is 6% higher than the same time last year.
  10. Sales volume in 2016 is roughly the same as the same time last year.

Some of my Favorite Graphs this Month:

Median price since 2013 in sacramento county

inventory - February 2016 - by home appraiser blog

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

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Median price and inventory since 2001 by sacramento appraisal blog

market in sacramento - sacramento appraisal group

SACRAMENTO REGIONAL MARKET:

  1. It took 1 day longer to sell a house last month than January.
  2. It took 12 less days to sell this February compared to last February.
  3. Sales volume was 2% lower in February 2016 compared to last February.
  4. FHA sales were 22% of all sales last month.
  5. Short sales were 3.4% and REOs were 4.8% of sales last month.
  6. Housing inventory is 20% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. The median price increased 2.5% last month from the previous month.
  8. The median price is 3% higher than the same time last year.
  9. The avg price per sq ft declined slightly last month (less than 1%).
  10. The avg price per sq ft is 7.9% 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 7 more days to sell a house last month than January.
  2. It took 6 less days to sell this February compared to last February.
  3. Sales volume was 4% lower in February 2016 compared to last February.
  4. FHA sales were 20% of all sales last month.
  5. Cash sales were 19% of all sales last month.
  6. Housing inventory is 17% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. Sales volume is up 2.5% this Jan/Feb compared to last Jan/Feb.
  8. The median price increased 2.5% from the previous month.
  9. The median price is up nearly 11% from February 2015.
  10. Short sales were 1.5% and REOs were 4.3% of sales last month.

Some of my Favorite Placer County Graphs:

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog number of listings in PLACER county - January 2016 Placer County housing inventory - by home appraiser blog Placer County price and inventory - by sacramento appraisal blog Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

I hope this was helpful and interesting.

DOWNLOAD 70 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.

Questions: Any other points to add about increasing values or low inventory? 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.

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My last blog post of 2015

It’s been a wonderful year. Has it been for you too? I hope so. I wanted to thank you sincerely for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I hope it’s added some value to your life or business somehow, or maybe it’s helped you navigate the real estate road a bit better. Sometimes when I tell people how much I love blogging they think I have no life. But in truth this blog is about building relationships with readers (you), and that means the world to me. I appreciate the amazing people I’ve been able to meet over the past 7 years since this whole thing began. Thank you for hanging in there with me for another year.

Two Weeks: For the next two weeks I’ll be lying low with family, which means I’ll be taking the rest of the year off (I like the way that sounds). Honestly, this has been a very successful year in terms of business, personal goals, and relationships. Yet I find myself tired and emotionally done with 2015. Can you relate? I’m ready to close this chapter, get refreshed, and open a new chapter in 2016. So these next two weeks I’ll be enjoying walks on the beach, thinking about appraisals, building a few wood projects, catching the new Star Wars movie (no spoilers please), drinking as much coffee as possible, and savoring time with my lovely wife and sons. I’ll look forward to connecting with everyone again the first week of January.

Merry Christmas from Lundquist Appraisal Company

I took this photo at the Capitol building in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago. If you’re local, I highly recommend grabbing a hot drink and heading over to enjoy the tree while it is still there.

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

Question: What are you going to be doing for these next two weeks? Any plans with family or friends?

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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.

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4 questions to ask when giving real estate value adjustments

Let’s talk about adjustments. Last month I wrote about being a trigger-happy real estate adjustment giver, and I had some great feedback. One appraiser told me she is going to stop adjusting for some of the very minor stuff like fireplaces and covered patios, and an agent told me his list of adjustments was basically the one I shared as an example of what not to use. It’s great to hear of growth like this, and I love the honesty, yet I think anytime we start talking about adjustments, it can also make us feel insecure because we begin to question everything we are doing. So for the sake of growth and conversation, let’s kick around the topic a bit more. I’d love to hear your take in the comments (or send me an email).

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

4 questions to ask when giving real estate value adjustments

Does the adjustment represent how buyers behave? When valuing a property, we adjust the comps when there are value-related differences compared to the subject property. The adjustments are not about what one buyer would pay, but rather what a representative buyer in the market might pay. In other words, if you lined up a group of 100 interested and qualified buyers, and they would pay a difference for that certain feature, we then adjust by that difference. Remember, there is always going to be one buyer who is going to love a feature, and pay way more because of it, but we have to ask, “How much is the market going to pay for this?” Example: House shaped like Darth Vader’s light saber.

Does the adjustment seem reasonable? Take a step back from the adjustment you are giving and just ask, “Is this reasonable?” If you’re giving a $500 fireplace adjustment, does that really seem like a reasonable adjustment, or is it purely made up? Does a $10,000 location adjustment for the busy street really represent what the market is willing to pay? Or does a $25,000 condition adjustment between the fixer and remodeled home make reasonable sense? This is a big question to filter our adjustments through, and I recommend getting into the habit of asking it. By the way, I find sometimes when it comes to condition, the adjustment might be more like 20% instead of $20,000.

Is the adjustment supported? It’s easy in real estate to pull out a list of canned adjustments and start giving them whenever we see any difference between a comp and the subject property. So we see a built-in pool and automatically give a $10,000 adjustment for the difference. Yet we need to do some research in the neighborhood. Is there a price difference between similar homes with and without pools? At times our canned adjustment at $10,000 might actually make really good sense, so it’s perfect to use, but other times we might see a different story of value. It’s easy to get stuck giving that $10,000 adjustment in every case, but this is where we need to let the market speak to us. Research the sales and let them set the tone. This means the adjustment might look different in each valuation. Maybe you’ll have no adjustment at all for a pool if there really isn’t a discernible price difference, while other times you might adjust twice as much as you normally do because the pool is something special and it looks like buyers paid a premium for it. Remember, the goal ought to be to find other homes that actually don’t need any adjustments at all because they are truly comparable. I know that’s a fat chance, but keep that in mind.

Does the adjustment fall in the range of value? As much as we’d like to think there is one perfect and precise adjustment out there to give, it’s most likely we will see a range of value emerge. For example, if we surveyed a neighborhood and found homes with built-in pools were tending to sell between $8,000 to $15,000 higher in price, we have to make a decision. What should the adjustment be in the case of the subject property’s pool? If it’s an older pool, maybe we end up giving a value adjustment closer to $8,000. But if it is a higher quality newer pool we might reconcile the adjustment closer to the top of the range.

I hope this was helpful.

Questions: What is question #5? Anything else to add?

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