When the market feels aggressive…

The market feels aggressive out there. I don’t know about you, but I’m having so many conversations about rising prices at the lower end, a shortage of inventory, and even low appraisals. So I wanted to share some of the talking points floating around out there and give some commentary too. Here’s a list of things coming up in discussion lately (it’s longer on purpose). Anything to add?

sacramento appraisal blog - housing market

One buyer vs market value: Value is what a buyer is willing to pay. I hear that statement quite a bit, but what one buyer is willing to pay could represent an individual’s value rather than market value – which is what appraisers are gauging.

Front-loaded market: Most of the value increases are usually found in the beginning of the year. Thus if values went up 5% last year, that means we probably saw about a 1% increase per month during the first two quarters of the year. But if the bottom of the market increased by say 12%, then we saw a 2% monthly increase. Of course some months might see greater appreciation rates than others.

sacramento appraisal blog

The need to respect pendings: Sales tell us about where the market used to be when they got into contract 60-90 days ago, but pendings tell us about the temperature of the current market. This is why we have to respect pendings. For instance, during a recent appraisal of a fairly original home in South Sacramento I saw some properties close around $230,000 less than six months ago, and now similar ones are getting offers galore at $245,000+. The tricky part is I don’t know the exact price and terms of a pending unless I call the agent (and he/she tells me). 

One sale or pending doesn’t make the market: Let’s remember value in a market is not based on one high sale. In today’s market if a buyer paid $25,000 above appraised value, for instance, an appraiser has to consider if that property at $25,000 above everything really represents the market or just one buyer willing to pay more. This is a reminder that appraisers and agents have to “appraise the comps” so to speak. We can’t just blindly accept the final sales price of a comp without understanding the back story of why it closed that high. The same holds true with pendings as we can’t base an entire valuation on one “lone ranger” that is higher than anything else.

South Sacramento

Upward adjustments by appraisers: Value adjustments can be given by appraisers to account for an increasing market. These adjustments can be figured out with graphs, analyzing sales and pendings, talking to real estate agents, etc… This is what I did with the South Sacramento property above as my comps were 2-6 months old, but the market was 4-6% higher easily because the pendings were all trending higher. The truth is if I didn’t give upward adjustments my value would have reflected the past instead of today’s market. Some appraisers might not give a specific upward adjustment, and I won’t split hairs over that so long as an increase in value is accounted for somehow in the appraisal.  

Appraisers aren’t hired to “hit the number”: A lender hires an appraiser to assess whether a loan should be made or not. Thus if a buyer offers an unrealistic price, the buyer might be willing to pay that amount, but if the house cannot sell for that price to the rest of the market, it doesn’t make sense for the lender to make the loan at that level. In this regard it’s reasonable to see appraisals come in lower than some of the high offers we’re seeing.

Multiple offers don’t always mean aggressive increases: Just because there are many offers doesn’t mean values are increasing rapidly. In some price ranges we are seeing clear increases in value and other prices ranges feel a bit flat. Realistically though there are likely to be multiple offers in about every price range (more at the lower end). This is a good reminder that at times there is a difference between how the market feels and what it is doing (actual data).

what-market-value-looks-like-sacramento-appraisal-blog-530

Different trends different neighborhoods: It’s easy to project what is happening in one neighborhood onto another or use one sweeping cliché to describe all locations and price ranges, but we have to look at actual numbers in each neighborhood to understand what the market is doing there.

Informed buyers: Having low inventory is creating some aggressive offers out there, and while buyers are willing to overpay to a certain extent for the right property, they won’t literally pay any price just because “nothing is on the market.”

Not easy to interpret: If we’re honest it’s not always easy to interpret what the market is doing – especially when things seem crazy with multiple offers and bidding wars. This is a good reminder to be humble because the market isn’t always wrapped up in a neat little perfectly decipherable package. There are things we can expect of course and seasons of the year, but the market is still distinct and sometimes even surprising. Let’s be real about that.

A perfect season for communication: This is a perfect market to foster excellent communication between real estate agents and appraisers. Agents, sticks to the facts and tell the story of the marketing of the property when talking to appraisers. Feel free to use my Appraiser Info Sheet (local agents, I love when you use this). In any price range where values are changing quickly, insight from agents can really help appraisers. On that note, Appraisers, glean insight from agents by finding time to make phone calls and asking the right questions about comps and the subject.

Reconsideration of value: I did a presentation recently on tips when asking an appraiser to reconsider the value. If anyone wants a copy of it, just send me an email (lundquistcompany @ gmail  dot com). You can also read this post.

Hindsight makes everyone sound smart: When in the thick of a “hot” market it’s not always clear what the exact trend is, but after a few months when more stats are published everyone and their Mom sounds like a real estate expert. #truth

Questions: Anything else to add? What else are you seeing out there in the market right now? I’d love to hear your take.

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What’s your housing shtick?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying one thing about the housing market. Just as a comedian has a shtick, or regular performance, we can get into the routine of talking about real estate based on one big idea about what the market is doing or will do. Let’s consider some examples. Which one(s) are you? Any thoughts?

37841087 - overhead of office table with notebook, computer keyboard and mouse, tablet pc and smartphone. copy space

Doom & Gloom:  The market is going to crash like it did 10 years ago.

Corrector:  Values will correct but not implode.  

One-Metric Wonder: The market will turn as soon as this one thing happens.

Normal: The market is normal and not in a “bubble”.

Mr. Buzzword: The market is headed toward a “shift” in the future.

Polly Pollyanna: It’s always a good time to buy and sell. Everything is always good.

Specific Year Guy: This year is going to be the one where values turn.

Mrs. Cyclepants: The market has a 7 year cycle and it’s about up.

Foreclosure Prophet: Another foreclosure wave is coming. Just wait.

Headline Regurgitator: This person says whatever the latest headlines say.

Spinster: Any negative aspect of housing is spun into something positive.

The Feeler: I feel like the market is strong and will be in the future.

Crystal Ball: This is exactly what the market is going to do.

Broken Crystal Ball: Nobody knows the future including me.

If we’re honest we might identify with several shticks above. That’s okay. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with that, but let’s be challenged to consider what we say and not get locked into conveying only one thing about the complex housing market. Moreover, let’s be cautious about imposing clichés and ideas on the market because it’s easy to miss trends that way. At the same time let’s not be naive by refusing to consider the future. My advice? Pay attention to the numbers and know them well enough to quote, know what is normal and not for the time of year, remember that values might be moving differently in various price ranges and neighborhoods, and find ways to talk about current values in specific terms while keeping an eye on the future (instead of focusing entirely on the future).

My knee & market update post: Some of you may know I hurt my knee in a snow tubing accident 10 days ago. I have an MRI next week, but for now the doctor thinks I may have torn my meniscus. Anyway, I normally do my big market update between the 10th and 15th of the month, but I can’t swing it this week since I took last week off and I’m basically playing catch-up with all my reports this week. I’m just grateful to be at my desk again. Anyway, I will be 100% up and running (not literally) next week, and I’ll get to my big update then. Thanks for your understanding.

Questions: Which shtick stands out to you most? Any others to add? Did I miss something? I’d love to hear your take.

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Seeing the real estate market without numbers (and a big Sacramento update)

It’s not just about the numbers. Like many, I’m a huge fan of getting deep into real estate stats, but the truth is there are so many other ways to sniff out what the market is doing. Thus I’ve created a list of some of the things on my radar lately that help say something about the temperature of the market. Then for those interested, let’s crunch some numbers with my big monthly Sacramento market update. I’d love to hear your take. Any thoughts?

How to see the market moving - image purchased and used with permission from 123rf - Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Ways to see the real estate market without numbers:

  1. Facebook Posts: I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen lately saying, “Hey, my friend needs to rent a house. Anyone have something?” Seeing an increasing number of posts like this on Facebook or Nextdoor.com is definitely a symptom of rising rents and scarce inventory.
  2. Celebrity Flipping Seminars: Last week an HGTV flipping couple hosted a 4-day “how to flip” seminar in Sacramento, and this week a different “guru” is coming to town. If anything, this tells us the market for flipping has passed.
  3. Riskier Loans: As more lower-down payment loan products hit the market, it reminds us buyers need more options to afford higher prices.
  4. Sacramento Kings vs. Market - jokeSacramento Kings Wins: Here is an image to show the relationship between an NBA team winning and the housing market. Okay, there really isn’t a connection, but it almost looks like there is (you can make numbers say whatever you want).
  5. Less Property Tax Appeals: As the market has improved, assessment appeals have declined every year since 2008 in Sacramento County. Right now home owners are enjoying equity again and they’re hardly paying attention to their property tax bills. Here is an image to back that up.
  6. More Divorces: As the housing market has rebounded, it seems there are more divorces. I’ll admit stats are tricky in that some sources say divorces are increasing and others say they are not. It may be my personal experience, but I’ve done more divorce appraisals these past 2-3 years than I have in the previous ten years.
  7. Builders Being Less Cooperative: I’ve heard from several agents lately about local builders being less cooperative with agents representing buyers. That’s fairly normal for builders of course, though being less cooperative is certainly a luxury afforded by a market with tight inventory too. In other words, if the market had three times the housing supply, conversations might go differently at the sales office.
  8. The word “shift”: There is so much emphasis right now on the market shifting or maybe doing so in coming time. When the real estate community uses terms like shift, change, correction, or bubble, it can sometimes highlight what the market is doing (or at least what is on the mind of the real estate community).

Question: What is #9? I’d love to hear in the comments below. By the way, scroll to the bottom if you want to see some of my recent woodworking projects.

—————– 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 time 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 Market Summary: Yep, the stats show the market has been increasing. This doesn’t mean every single price range or neighborhood is going up in value, but county and regional data are definitely showing that trend overall. One of the bigger narratives is that housing inventory is still down by 15% in the region compared to last year. Sales volume has been up slightly for the year and it took 6 less days to sell last month compared to the previous month. For context, last year at the same time it was taking an average of 8 days longer to sell. This reminds us the market has been more competitive this year compared to last year, though don’t take that to mean value increases have been extremely aggressive. Last month the median price increased by nearly 2% in the region, and the average price per sq ft increased by 2.5%. Overall most value stats are up a good 8-10% since last year, though remember it’s not the same market as it was in 2005 when we’d say, “My house went up by $10,000 last month.” It’s still important to price correctly unless you want to sit instead of sell.

Sacramento County:

  1. It took an average of 27 days to sell a home last month, which is 4 days less than the previous month.
  2. The sales to list price ratio was 100% last month.
  3. It took 8 less days to sell this May compared to last May.
  4. Sales volume was up nearly 4% in May 2016 from May 2015.
  5. There is only 1.35 months of housing supply in Sacramento County.
  6. Housing inventory is 22% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. The median price increased by 3% last month.
  8. The median price is 9.6% higher than the same time last year.
  9. The avg price per sq ft increased by 1.8% last month.
  10. The avg price per sq ft is 9.9% higher than the same time last year.

Some of my Favorite Graphs this Month:

Median price since 2013 in sacramento county

monthly inventory is sacramento county since 2001 - by sacramento appraisal blog

inventory - May 2016 - by home appraiser blog

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Regional Appraisal Blog

price metrics since 2015 in sacramento county - look at all

market in sacramento - sacramento appraisal group

SACRAMENTO REGIONAL MARKET:

  1. It took 6 less days to sell last month compared to the previous month.
  2. It took 8 less days to sell this May compared to last May.
  3. The sales to list price ratio was 99% in the region last month.
  4. Short sales and REOs were both 3% of sales last month.
  5. There is 1.6 months of housing supply in the region right now.
  6. Housing inventory is 15.6% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  7. The median price increased 1.7% last month from the previous month.
  8. The median price is 6.8% higher than the same time last year.
  9. The avg price per sq ft increased 2.5% last month.
  10. The avg price per sq ft is 8.4% higher than the same time last year.

Some of my Favorite Regional Graphs:

median price sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

sacramento region volume - FHA and conventional - by appraiser blog

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

Regional Inventory - by Sacramento regional appraisal blog

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

median price and inventory in sacramento regional market

Regional market median price - by home appraiser blog

PLACER COUNTY:

  1. It took 2 less days to sell a house last month than April.
  2. It took 1 less day to sell this May compared to last May.
  3. Sales volume was up 3% in May 2016 compared to last May.
  4. FHA sales were 16% of all sales last month.
  5. Cash sales were 17% of all sales last month.
  6. There is 1.84 months of housing supply in Placer County right now.
  7. Housing inventory is 12.4% lower than it was last year at the same time.
  8. The median price is about the same as it was the previous month.
  9. The median price is up 7% from May 2015.
  10. Short sales were 2.1% and REOs were 1.7% of sales last month.

Some of my Favorite Placer County Graphs:

number of listings in PLACER county - 2016

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County price and inventory - by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County housing inventory - by home appraiser blog

I hope this was helpful and interesting.

My Latest Woodworking: By the way, I know this post has been ridiculously long already (on purpose since it’s my big monthly market update), but here are some of my recent woodworking projects. If you didn’t know, I like to tinker and create.

Ryan woodworking 2

Ryan woodworking 1

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.

Question: Any other market insight you’d like to add? I’d love to hear your take.

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