South Bay Real Estate Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Market Statistics: South Bay part of Southern California

Here is a comparison of sales and median prices for various cities in the South Bay. The sales are for residential single family properties, including townhouses and condos, but not multi-unit properties.

Please let us know what other specific information might be useful for you (or if the city you're interested in isn't listed), and we'd be happy to help.

Palos Verdes Peninsula:
212 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $1,200,000
173 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $1,195,000

Hermosa Beach:
68 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $978,500
71 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $1,280,000

Lomita:
49 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $549,000
42 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $570,000

Manhattan Beach:
161 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $1,495,000
120 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $1,700,000

Redondo Beach:
368 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $780,000
262 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $785,000

San Pedro:
201 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $503,000
161 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $565,000

Torrance:
389 sales in March, April, and May 2005
median price was $560,000
364 sales in March, April, and May 2006
median price is $635,000

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Softening Real Estate Market in Some Boom Areas

Here is an MSN Article entitled "The Boom is Ending With a Whimper." I don't know how long they'll keep it there, since I don't have any control over the content of the MSN site.

http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/Homebuyingguide/P85323.asp?GT1=8289

The article states that areas with recent record-breaking appreciation rates, such as Las Vegas, Florida, and Phoenix, have started to slow down. A leading indicator of a softening market is increasing number of homes on the market. A backlog of homes for sale is created while sellers think they can get get their price, even if there are no offers and few showings.

Click on the links below to see the appreciation rate in your area.

House Price Appreciation by Metro Area
Akron, OH - Los Angeles, CA
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/Homebuyingguide/P85324.asp

Louisville, KY - Yuba City, CA
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/Homebuyingguide/P85333.asp

To find an agent who can give you more specific information on real estate values in a particular area, send an email to Laurie@SouthBayHomeTeam.com and we'll tell you the agent we would use if we were buying, selling, or investing in that area.

How to Make Any Room Look Bigger

Homes that appear larger will sell faster or for more money than homes that feel smaller. How we live in homes and how we sell homes are different, so we consult with sellers to tell them what small changes they can make to get a big reaction from the buyers.

When we prepare a home for sale, there are two main suggestions we always give. Here they are:

1) Start packing. The buyers want to look at your home, not at all your stuff. If your stuff is in the way, they can't see the space you have. Since it's the space they'll be buying, not the stuff in the space, we need to let them see it with as little imagination as possible that's required on their part. The less stuff that you have, the larger your home will look, and the easier it will be for buyers to imagine their stuff in your space.

Donate or sell items that aren't going with you to your next home. Pack items that are going with you but that you don't use often. Store them at a friend's house, in a garage, or in the most out of the way place.

For more tips on what packing tips make the most difference, send an email to Laurie@SouthBayHomeTeam.com and ask for our Preparing Homes For Sale suggestions.

2) Place a focal item on the far side of the room. When you enter a room, your eye goes first to the largest item. If your large item is near the entrance to a room, the space will feel smaller. It's similar to when someone is standing too close to you; you find yourself feeling a little crowded. You don't want your buyers feeling that way. Instead, place a plant or mirror on the far side of the room, and have that item be the focal point. With the focal point far from the entrance of the room, the room will feel much larger. Having a focal point is also better than having the room empty because when our eyes look at it, we're able to judge the size of the room by comparing the size of a common object in the room, such as a plant or end table.

For other tips on how to make rooms feel bigger, please email Laurie@SouthBayHomeTeam.com and ask us to email you our article entitled "How To Make Any Room Look Bigger."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Southern CA, South Bay Area - Days on Market Stats

The number of days on the market before a home sells is gradually increasing, which is more evidence for our market slowing down. Please keep this term "slow down" in perspective, however. Prices are still high, interest rates are low, and homes are selling, just not in the hour and a half of market time that we had within recent years.

When we compare the number of homes available with the number of homes currently in escrow, it shows that the Southern California South Bay market is still strong with inventory at 2-3 months. That means that with the number of sales we have now, it takes a home about 2.6 months to sell. In other words, we have about 2-3 times the number of homes for sale than the rate that buyers are currently buying them. Part of the reason is that there are slightly more homes for sale than there were a year ago, and perhaps a bigger part of the reason is that buyers are cautious about buying now because they want to see what the market will do next.

Palos Verdes - 279 available, 109 in escrow, ratio of 2.6
Redondo Beach - 272 available, 122 in escrow, ratio of 2.2
Manhattan Beach - 179 available, 66 in escrow, ratio of 2.7
Hermosa Beach - 88 available, 24 in escrow, ratio of 3.7
San Pedro - 199 available, 76 in escrow, ratio of 2.6
Torrance - 368 available, 183 in escrow, ratio of 2.0
Lomita - 50 available, 18 in escrow, ratio of 2.8

Please email Laurie@SouthBayHomeTeam.com if you'd like market information on cities not mentioned here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Back to a "Normal" Market

One of the activities we do for our clients is read all new listings and send appropriate ones to our clients. Some are looking for a "fix and flip," while some are looking for a home in particular neighborhood, for example.

As we do this, we're seeing a lot more of the language we used to see before the most recent and long-lasting raging seller's market. We're seeing phrases like, "seller wants to see offers," and "motivated seller," for example (but not in our marketing, of course, because those phrases help the buyer negotiate from more strength than necessary).

Prices are still going up in the South Bay, but inventory is increasing - about 2.5 months to sell a home these days, and less experienced agents are writing words like "seller will consider all offers" instead of calling all the shots by saying, "seller will review all offers on [insert date and time here]" like we saw up until just a few months ago.

To have market statistics emailed to you each month, please send an email to Laurie@SouthBayHomeTeam.com and please indicate the particular area(s) you are interested in. We compile many South Bay cities on a monthly basis and would be happy to share this information with you if you don't want to take the time to do it yourself.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Remodeling Spending at an All Time High - says NAHB

The National Association of Home Builders reports that remodeling spending was over $200 billion in 2005, and even more is expected in 2006.

This trend is not surprising here in the South Bay where home prices are increasing and the number of homes available is still low.

At http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?newsID=2287&print=false, you can read the full article.

Need a local plumber, a painter, or a handyman? To see who we use when we need work done on our homes, please visit http://www.SouthBayHomeTeam.com, click on "Links & Resources," and click on our "Service Directory."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Internet Buyers vs. Traditional Buyers

The chief economist for the California Association of Realtors provided statistics comparing buyers who shop for their home using the Internet and buyers who shop for homes using traditional methods, such as going to open houses.

Internet buyers spend more time researching before they start looking at homes in person. They spend 4.7 weeks compared to 1.6 weeks for traditional buyers. Because they did this research, they typcially visit 6 homes in person before buying one, compared to 14 homes for traditional buyers.

Internet buyers spend an average of 2 weeks seeing homes with an agent vs. 7 weeks for traditional buyers.

Internet buyers interviewed an average of 1.4 agents before selecting one, and traditional buyers interviewed an average of 3.3 agents.

85% of Internet buyers prefer to communicate via email, whereas 100% of traditional buyers prefer to communicate over the phone.

Internet buyers report being overall more satisfied with the purchasing process than traditional buyers, perhaps because the process takes a shorter amount of time and because Internet agents respond more quickly to buyers. 21% of Internet buyers expected an instant response to an inquiry, with another 23% who expected a response within 30 minutes. 38% of traditional buyers expected a phone response the same day, and another 28% expected a reponse within one day.

Internet buyers report that they liked the quick response and they felt their Internet agent worked hard on their behalf.

Whether we're working with an Internet buyer or a traditional buyer, these same habits are some of the contributors to building our real estate business.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What a difference a year (or 2) makes: comparing February 2004 with February 2006

In February 2004, I remember writing 15 different offers at or above asking price and not having any of them end up in a signed agreement with the sellers. Mine was always one of many offers, sometimes 10 or more. The highest number was involved in was 26 offers on one property.

When you’re one of many buyers, sometimes you get a counter offer, and sometimes you don’t. It all depends on what strategy the seller and his agent want to use. In fact, one buyer and I missed out on a property in the $400,000 range by only $1,000. We bid $8,000 over the initial asking price, and the seller accepted an offer that was $9,000 over the asking price without giving us a counter offer, which would cause us to bid up the price against the other buyer, netting the seller more money. I don’t know the circumstances because those are between the seller and his agent, but I believe his seller could have netted more money had he chosen a different strategy.

Now so far in February 2006, headed toward a normal market, we’ve written 3 offers, all below asking price, and all 3 buyers are now in escrow. And prices overall are 30-50% higher than they were then. What a difference a year or two can make!