LISTEN, UNDERSTAND & SPEAK UP

Posted by Richard D'Ascoli on Jun 5, 2020 5:01:05 PM

WE MUST ACTIVELY WORK FOR REAL CHANGE

The following statement from PSAR CEO Rich D’Ascoli is in response to the riots, looting and protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man while in the custody of Minneapolis police:


The shocking, senseless death of George Floyd is tragic. Our deepest sympathies are with the Floyd family and others, who through four hundred years of abuse, understand and feel this pain and grief like nobody else can.

As longtime champions of fair housing, equality and inclusion are among our most cherished values. PSAR is committed to leading the way on policies that address racial injustice and that build safe and inclusive communities. We remain committed to supporting the dignity and worth of all individuals, and to work vigorously to defend policies that bring justice, opportunity and security for all. We stand in support of racial equality and all those who search for it. We’re hoping this breakdown will ultimately turn into a breakthrough. Building the future begins with equal access to housing and opportunity for all.

Many of us are looking for ways to stand up for what we believe. We cannot remain disengaged and hope that this will go away. As a community of professionals working and living through extraordinarily challenging times, we must work together and remain committed to a better world for everyone, not just a few. Honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way toward building trust and influencing change. Now is the time to listen, seek to understand, and speak up.

We appreciate all you do as REALTORS® to listen, learn and work with others to be part of the solution. As leaders in your communities, REALTORS® are active participants in promoting equality, inclusion and acceptance. Thank you for your support of PSAR.

If you have 15 minutes, please consider watching this video by Valerie Alexander on Unconscious Bias. I saw her speak at a CAR meeting in October with other CEOs from around California.  She helped me understand our biases, including my own, in a way that I hadn’t before.

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Topics: Market Information

Learn from the april Market statistics

Posted by Rick Griffin on May 30, 2020 5:00:00 AM

Voice of Real Estate, April Housing Market

Home sales locally and statewide dropped sharply in the month of April as the housing market felt the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home lock-down order.

In its most recent monthly home sales and price report, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) stated that April 2020 home sales in San Diego County dropped 27 percent, compared to April 2019, and 15.9 percent, compared to March 2020.

Statewide, April 2020 home sales in California were down 30.1 percent from a year ago and 25.6 percent compared to March. Statewide year-to-date home sales were down 5.4 percent in April 2020.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 277,440 units in April, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.

It was the first time for statewide home sales to drop below the 300,000 level since March 2008, and the month-to-month drop was the largest since at least 1979, when C.A.R. began tracking the data. Additionally, the year-over-year decline was the first double-digit loss in 15 months and the largest decrease since December 2007.

Sales in April reflect purchases that began in March as stay-at-home orders swept the nation. While fear of economic insecurity stopped some potential buyers, another likely major factor in the slowdown was that many skittish sellers took their houses and condos off the market to wait out the COVID-19 virus crisis.

Meanwhile, home prices themselves have remained relatively unaffected by the effects of the pandemic-influenced market.

The median price for a single-family home in San Diego County in April 2020 was $671,000, down 0.6 percent from $675,000 in March 2020, but still 3.4 percent higher than the $649,000 figure in April 2019.

April 2020 County Sales and Price Activity
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)

blog_200530chart1

Statewide, the median price of $606,410 for an existing single-family home in April 2020 was 1.0 percent lower than the $612,440 figure in March 2020, and 0.6 percent lower than a year ago in April 2019, when the median price was $603,030.

While the median price remained above the $600,000 benchmark statewide for the second consecutive month in April, price growth showed signs of softening when compared to the past six months. The year-over-year price gain was substantially less than the six-month average gain of 7.8 percent recorded between October 2019 and March 2020.

“As expected, California home sales experienced the worst month-to-month sales decline in more than four decades as the coronavirus pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders, which kept both buyers and sellers on the sidelines,” said 2020 C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation REALTOR® from Bakersfield, Calif. “While some economic activity will resume as the state gradually reopens, the housing market is expected to remain sluggish for the next couple of months as potential market participants deal with the impact of stay-in-place restrictions.”

“With the recession-level decline in closed home sales, the statewide median price was just barely able to avoid going into negative territory in April, in part because high-end homes saw the biggest sales declines,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Even with tight supply and low interest rates, home prices will continue to be tested by economic deterioration in the short term.”

Reflecting the dramatic change in market conditions, a monthly Google poll conducted by C.A.R. in early April found nearly one-third (29 percent) of consumers said it is a good time to sell, up from 26 percent a month ago, but down from 45 percent a year ago. The market uncertainty has not curbed the optimism for homebuying as much; 31 percent of the consumers who responded to the poll believed that now is a good time to buy a home, a figure sharply higher than last year, when 22 percent said it was a good time to buy a home.

 Other key points from the April 2020 resale housing report include:

• All major regions reflected a dip in sales by more than 25 percent from last year, with the Bay Area dropping the most at -37.4 percent, followed by the Central Coast (-31.6 percent), Southern California (-30.2 percent), and the Central Valley (-26.1 percent).

• Median prices were lower in April from a year ago in the Central Coast (-6.1 percent) and the Bay Area (-0.8 percent) but increased modestly in both the Central Valley (4.8 percent) and in Southern California (3.5 percent).

• Regarding California’s supply of available housing, the Unsold Inventory Index jumped to 3.4 months in April from 2.7 months in March and was unchanged from last April. The index calculates the number of months needed sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.

• Total active listings continued to decline on a year-over-year basis for the 10th consecutive month, and the 25 percent decrease in listings was consistent with what was observed before the shutdown.

• The median number of days to sell a California single-family home fell significantly from a year ago, from 21 days in April 2019 to 13 days in April 2020. That compares to 15 days in March 2020 and 23 days in February 2020.

• In San Diego County, the median number of days an existing, single-family home remained unsold on the market was eight days in April 2020, which compares to 10 days in March 2020, 12 days in February 2020, 23 days in January 2020 and 17 days in April 2019.

April 2020 County Unsold Inventory and Days on Market
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)

blog_20530chart2

• The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.31 percent in April, down from 4.14 percent in April 2019, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate was an average of 3.31 percent, compared to 3.75 percent in April 2019.

 In other recent real estate and economic news, according to news reports:

• Nationwide in April, sales of existing homes in the U.S. dropped 17.8 percent in a month-over-month comparison and 17.2 percent year-over-year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR stated each of the country's four major real estate regions experienced a decline in both monthly and yearly sales, with the West seeing the greatest dip in both categories.

• NAR also reports that 77 percent of potential home sellers in the U.S. are preparing to sell once the stay-at-home orders end. According to NAR’s Economic Pulse Flash Survey, conducted May 3-4, nearly three in four (73 percent) of REALTORS® currently working with sellers said their clients have not reduced listing prices to attract buyers. About 20 percent said buyers are expecting a five-to-10 percent decrease in home prices over the next 12 months.

• Home sellers are slowly returning to the market, according to realtor.com. After several weeks of nearly 40 percent year-over-year declines, new listings moved toward positive territory as evidenced by a 29 percent decline in a year-over-year comparison during the week of May 9. In San Diego County, new listings were still down 28.4 percent year-over-year during the same time period.

• Zillow reports after a 25 percent reduction in year-over-year web-page views on March 22, when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, San Diego County had experienced a 27 percent increase in year-over-year page views by April 15. Nationwide, both Zillow page views of for-sale listings and requests to be connected to Zillow agents were higher in April than in the same month a year ago.

• According to CoreLogic, San Diego home sales had their biggest annual drop in April 2020 since the 2008 Great Recession. There were 2,499 home sales in April, down 30 percent from the same time last year. The last time there was a year-over-year drop of that magnitude was March 2008. However, there was not a corresponding drop in home prices in April. The median home price reached $594,500, which was $50,000 less than the record high reached in November 2019.

• Redfin said there were 31 percent fewer homes for sale in San Diego County from April 6 to May 3. As of May 3, Redfin said there were 5,166 active listings in San Diego County, down from around 7,250 the same time last year
.

Topics: Market Information

$1500 In Closing Costs for Veterans

Posted by Rick Griffin on May 23, 2020 5:00:00 AM

PSAR Helps Veterans / Active Duty Service members
with the Robert Calloway Memorial Housing Grant*

To celebrate Memorial Day 2020, the Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS® (PSAR) is proud to announce the launch of a special grant program designed to provide active duty, reserve and veteran military service members in San Diego County who are first-time homebuyers with closing-cost assistance.

In a joint partnership with the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Housing Affordability Fund (HAF), PSAR is providing 34 grants, each in the amount of $1,500.  These closing cost assistance grants are being made available to military families for a first-time purchase of a home in San Diego County.

The PSAR-sponsored program, titled “Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant”, launches June 1, 2020 and will continue for one year or until the available grant funds are exhausted.

“We are very excited to give-back to our military community and provide closing-cost assistance to our hometown heroes and their families who are searching to find a place to call home,” said Robert Cromer, 2020 PSAR President. “Our nation has thrived because of the courage, perseverance and resolve of active duty, reserve and veteran Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard service men and women. They have served and protected this beautiful country and our rights that have kept us free. Now it’s our turn to serve those individuals who have stepped up to protect the values and freedoms our country was founded upon. They fought for our homes, now it’s our turn to take action and help them with their first homes.”

The joint partnership with PSAR and C.A.R. was initiated by the late Robert Calloway, who served as 2019 PSAR President. A military veteran, Calloway served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years, from June 1985 to June 2011, retiring as a Senior Chief Navy Counselor. He specialized in human resources and counseling for the Navy during 20 of his 26 years. In 2008, Calloway started selling real estate while still in the Navy. He joined PSAR at the start of his real estate sales career and was elected to the PSAR board of directors in 2014. Prior to serving as PSAR president, Calloway served as the founding president of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), San Diego chapter.

Robert Calloway 1965-2020

Calloway passed away suddenly from heart disease on May 4. He was 54. At the time of his passing, Calloway was serving as a current PSAR board member and as a C.A.R. director and Vice Chair of C.A.R.’s Southern California Region 30.

“It’s great for our Association to team-up with C.A.R. and give back to our deserving veterans who have worked hard to protect our everyday lives,” said Rich D’Ascoli, CEO of PSAR. “We are committed to working together to enhance lives of our veterans over the long haul. We feel naming this grant after Robert is a fitting tribute to his legacy as a veteran and a member of the PSAR family of realtors.”

REALTORS® are limited to one transaction in a year’s time. To qualify for the closing-cost assistance, the homebuyer’s mortgage loan must already be approved through regular Desktop Underwriting (DU) industry standards and have an executed Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) in escrow. Homebuyers also must be using a Veterans Administration (VA) loan for their home purchase. If, for any reason, the transaction does not fund or close escrow, the $1,500 allocation will return to the PSAR grant program fund.

The Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant program is funded by HAF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to addressing California’s growing housing affordability crisis. The HAF receives donations from C.A.R. members, non-members and other institutions that are committed to addressing housing challenges in California. HAF donations are then distributed through local REALTOR® associations who have submitted funding requests for local housing affordability and housing supply programs. For maximum impact, HAF funds are leveraged with local associations and their housing partners.

HAF was established in November 2002 to provide more options to first-time homebuyers. It was created by REALTORS® who bore witness to working families being denied the American dream of homeownership. The HAF mission statement states the nonprofit plays an active role in addressing ongoing housing affordability challenges facing Californians

*QUALIFICATIONS:
     • First Time Home Buyer
     • Property in San Diego County
     • VA Home Loan Guarantee
     • Represented by a REALTOR®  
     • Program is good for 1 year or until funds are exhausted, limit to one Application per Realtor 
 

To apply: Download and complete the Application Form then email it to - haf@psar.org 

A committee of PSAR members will review and approve the grant applications. Committee members include Robert Cromer, Sam Calvano, Ditas Yamane and Tony Santiago.

“At PSAR, we use all tools available to achieve homeownership for everyone, including veterans” said Calvano. “Veterans can be assured that when they have a PSAR member representing them, they are getting the benefits of experience, knowledge and the best customer service. I am excited about this grant program which will help veterans with closing costs.”

“It is especially gratifying to help veterans find a home in San Diego,” said Yamane. “Veterans are our modern-day heroes who have selflessly shared so much and have sacrificed some of the best years of their lives, putting themselves in harm’s way to fight for liberty and keep everyone safe.”

“I have the upmost respect for our veterans,” said Santiago. “I am proud of be part of PSAR and our efforts to help these courageous men and women who have sacrificed so much.”

PSAR members who help a veteran family with closing-cost assistance are encouraged to create a video of the occasion when the keys to the front door are hand-delivered to their client. The best video will be shared in 2021 at the PSAR Real Estate Achievement and Leadership (R.E.A.L.) awards. The annual R.E.A.L. awards programs honors PSAR’s top producing agents and give them a platform to be recognized for their hard work and dedication by their sphere, peers and the public at large. The R.E.A.L. awards recognize agents and brokers who have achieved excellence through production and industry leadership. Awards are based on either sales volume dollars or units sold, including listings or sales units entered into the MLS.

 
Military Veterans

Housing Affordability Fund

Veterans Grant Program Flyer             HAF application Form

Topics: Announcements, Market Information

KEEP PACE IN THE FUTURE WITH VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSES

Posted by Rick Griffin on May 16, 2020 5:00:00 AM

Virtual Open Houses

Perhaps the greatest impact of the Covid-19 measures is on open houses. Going forward, instead of group open-house gatherings, expect fewer open houses with smaller numbers, as well as private home showings, featuring social distancing and plenty of disinfectant, masks and hand sanitizers available at the entryway.

The adaptability and ingenuity of realtors have come into play and a better and simpler way to conduct an open house has been developed--  a virtual open house using a laptop or cell phone. 

“Covid has changed the way real estate is being bought and sold all over the world. It has created a lot of uncertainty as agents are unsure of what the new norms will be,” said PSAR REALTOR® member Anthony Manzon. “No longer can we have public open houses with hundreds of people in attendance. Gone are the days of aggressively pricing properties and getting every single person into the house to create bidding wars.”

Indeed, as the pandemic has spread across the country, many home sellers, spooked by an unsure economic future and/or the thought of buyers potentially leaving virus deposits throughout their homes, have taken their properties off the market.

“The more agents hosting virtual open houses means the practice will become standard in our profession, which is good for everybody,” said Manzon. “All agents will benefit as more buyers and sellers become comfortable and confident with high-level virtual open houses. We can show the public this is how we can transact in today’s market in a safe way.”

Manzon, who prefers using a laptop for his virtual open houses, has created a Facebook page, called “Realtors of the Virtual World,” that offers training and success stories about virtual open houses and other virtual industry tools.

According to Manzon, agents who become proficient at hosting a virtual open house will attract new clients, demonstrate how to be proactive and solution-based and will keep buyers and sellers and agents safe, thus reducing the spread of the virus.

“Be sure to have some sort of lead capture, provide more information than what the MLS provides and remember that with every virtual open house agents are interviewing for their next client,” Manzon said.

Clearly, the rapid migration to digital technologies driven by the pandemic will continue during the nation’s economic recovery and beyond. REALTORS® will need to keep pace. After the lockdowns end, this time will be remembered for the rapid deployment of digital access to services across nearly every business sector.

Recently, Rich D’Ascoli, CEO of PSAR, facilitated an online discussion about virtual open houses with several REALTORS®. Here is a sampling of their comments: 

• “In my opinion, virtual open houses are the wave of the future,” said Amber Tannehill. “The ability to show a client a home virtually will assist us in identifying the buyers who are serious and ready to make an offer. As we adapt to what appears to be a new normal, we will certainly have some obstacles to overcome, but I find that buyers and sellers are understanding and appreciative as we make these adjustments." 

• “Open houses are still happening, but with virtual open houses, we’re just filtering the effort through a different process,” said Jason Lopez.

• “Because of the restrictions, traditional open houses may be a thing of the past. But, in some ways, virtual open houses are a better way to get the word out,” said Denisse Roldan Newell. “It’s becoming more important to become tech-savvy, and it’s not that difficult. It’s how we embrace change.” 

• “If you aren't willing to adapt as the market changes, then you will quickly learn what it’s like to be irrelevant,” said Sarah Heck. “Virtual open houses and new safety protocols are now the standard of care for our industry.” 

• “Virtual open houses are the wave of the future and, as REALTORS®, we need to learn it because it’s an important listing tool. Otherwise, we might lose the listing,” said Jacklyn Lamkin Dougan. “We need to be fearless and embrace change and be willing to do whatever it takes.”

• “It might take a few practice runs, but I think clients are very understanding and excited about virtual open houses as a new technology,” said Patty Nesbitt. “It’s better than watching the news. We need to bring happiness and normalcy to people’s lives.”

• “I’m excited about virtual open houses because it will be one of the great real estate game-changers that comes out of the pandemic environment,” said Elaine Boyd. “Virtual open houses are a win for all sides. The sellers love having fewer people wandering through their homes. Great for agents, too. We can do as many or as few VOHs as we like. Even if you do just one, you can post it on YouTube, then anyone can “walk” through the home any time. The 3D imaging is key for getting a true sense of walking through the home. It’s the wave of the future, just amazing. The Virtual Open House is so more than a bridge for these strange days of Covid-19. It is a new style of open house that benefits us all and it is here to stay.” 

Here are some general tips on hosting a virtual live open house.

To prepare for the virtual open house, first, select a time and date as you would for any open house. Allow 30-45 minutes to tour the property and answer questions from participants. 

Next, select an online meeting platform, such as Zoom, Google Meet or others.  Decide on a “private” open house private with a select group or streaming it to a platform like Facebook to be promoted widely. 

The following live web conferencing services are currently allowed on CRMLS Paragon: BlueJeans, bluejeans.com; Facebook Live, facebook.com; GoToMeeting, gotomeeting.com; GoToWebinar, gotowebinar.com; Google Hangouts,  hangouts.google.com; Google Meet, meet.google.com; Join.me, join.me; Livestream, livestream.com; Periscope, periscope.com; Skype, skype.com; Microsoft Teams, teams.microsoft.com; Webex, webex.com; Whereby, whereby.com; YouTube Live, youtube.com; Zoho, zoho.com; Zoom, zoom.us.

Facebook is popular because it allows you to create an event from your Facebook business page. Under the “Events” tab create a new public event to share.

To drive traffic to your virtual open house, include the link in a shared event via Facebook and other social media platforms. Also email your client list and agents who will bring interested buyers.

On the event day, prepare the house as you would for a typical open house.  Make sure it’s clean, presentable and properly lit.

If the home has a fast WiFi Connection and you feel confident with mobile technology, live streaming from the property is an option.

Another method is to prepare content like Matterport, video clips, and other multimedia in advance and review the content live from a home office.

Start the tour by opening your Facebook app on your smartphone, go to your business page, open-up the event you’ve previously created. Go to the “Say Something” option, click the “Live Video” option and then click “Start Live Video.” You’re on: “Hello, Facebook friends, thanks for tuning in to this live virtual open house.” The recording can then be posted on your Facebook timeline. And, don’t forget to follow-up with your viewers.

When using a smartphone, keep it in a horizontal position, not vertical, so participants see a wider view of the home as you’re touring. Put yourself on the other side of the camera and imagine how the audience is viewing the screen. Slowly move the smartphone and try not to shake it. There are gimbals available online for less than $100 that help to stabilize live video.

During the tour, think of your ideal buyer. Anticipate the questions they might ask and discuss the features they would find interesting. Some agents respond live to questions by looking at specific points of interest in a home.

Topics: Market Information, Marketing

What will, 'Back-to-Normal' look like for real estate?

Posted by Robert Cromer on May 2, 2020 4:30:00 AM

life after COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has led to challenging and stressful times, full of ambiguity and uncertainty. The virus fallout has hit all business sectors to their respective cores - and our real estate industry is no exception.  And even while we are all in the middle of finding ways of conducting business and helping our clients, we are wondering what will be the long-term impact to our industry? What will “normal” be after the COVID-19 lock-down ends?

The answer is: It depends on your definition of “normal.” It’s likely we will see a different way of life in real estate. It’s unlikely that way of life will be exactly as it was pre-Covid-19. The stay-at-home mandate is now in its second month, and the dial is beginning to inch in the opposite direction. Some states are beginning to lift restrictions while others lay out roadmaps. Our economy’s reopening is coming, but “normal” is still a ways down the road.

Here are a few thoughts about the coronavirus impact on our real estate profession and our PSAR members.

-- The virus-driven economic shutdown hit the normally active spring home-buying season hard by limiting supply and dampening demand. Inventory, which already was tight, is now even tighter with fewer numbers of new listings. Many sellers pressed pause on putting their home on the market. Their hesitation to list is understandable given the dynamic economic outlook and the uncertainty it generates. Coronavirus fears also made many more buyers cautious fence-sitters.

-- Expect better times in 2020 Q3. Much of the economic disruption will continue throughout the second quarter. But I’m expecting that many potential sellers who hesitated due to anxiety will list their properties in the third quarter. I’m also expecting a more balanced market with fewer unrealistic sellers, over-pricing their homes and refusing to negotiate. Concern among our members is increasing tempered with a“this too shall pass” perspective.

-- Low mortgage rates will fuel demand and spur a quicker recovery in Q3. Rates will hover in the 3 percent range. Refinancing activity will remain constant as homeowners scramble to lock in record-low rates.

-- Open house activity will change going forward. Instead of group open-house gatherings, I see an increase in private showings of homes. Fewer open houses with smaller numbers to maintain social distancing will be scheduled. I’m proud to see how our PSAR members are exhibiting ingenuity and adapting open house strategies to meet head-on the Covid-19 reality. PSAR members are using video virtual showings and video tours on mobile devices, with disinfectant, masks and hand sanitizers available at in the entryway of every house shown. Some open house tips: Require all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms; before and after the open house, ask your client to clean and disinfect their home, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.

-- The coronavirus has been the catalyst of a greater reliance on technology by our industry. Overnight out industry, out of necessity, evolved from a a high-touch, in person process. I see more REALTORS® using technology, that has in fact existed for years, to finalize remote home closings and other steps of the transaction process. Technology is helping us find workarounds to navigate legal requirements and consumer anxiety.

-- iBuying, or automated home flipping without the expertise of a REALTOR®, certainly has been impacted by Covid-19. Algorithms that were built to snap-up real estate bargains and put cash offers on the table are being used less. The use of algorithms to evaluate and flip homes has been slowed considerably.

-- New home developers have also been hit hard because they normally depend on sales and marketing events that are now not allowed. Several new developments originally scheduled to launch in the spring will now be deferred until later this year, if not next. Private appointments and an increasing use of digital viewing options are now key aspects of new home marketing.

PSAR members will always be called upon to adapt to and leverage changing market realities and use their knowledge, negotiating skills and technology to treat all parties fairly, get deals done and keep the local economies strong. We will always find new ways to add value to our clients. Something good comes out of every crisis because we make changes that make us better, smarter and stronger. Tough times teach you so much, lessons you’ll use throughout your careers. We will get through this tough time as we have done in the past. I believe our industry is in a position to thrive when this is over. Our clients will need us more than ever, so hang in there!

 

Topics: Market Information

March Housing Report Reveals Mixed Virus Impact

Posted by Rick Griffin on Apr 24, 2020 5:01:38 PM

email_march2020_411b

Home sales in March reflected the early impacts of the coronavirus on the housing market, according to the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.). During the last two weeks of the month, Californians were under a stay-at-home order.

Statewide, home sales in March 2020 were down 11.5 percent, compared to February, and down 6.1 percent compared to March of last year. In March, closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in the state totaled 373,070 units, compared to 421,670 in February. The statewide month-to-month drop was the first double-digit loss in more than nine years and the largest since August 2007. Additionally, the year-over-year decline was the first in nine months and the largest decrease since March 2019.

However, in San Diego, home sales in March 2020 were a whopping 23.4 percent higher than in February, and down only 1.3 percent compared to March of last year.

Meanwhile, despite a dip in housing demand, March home prices were up from those in February. March’s statewide median home price was $612,440, up 5.6 percent from February ($579,770) and up 8.3 percent from March 2019 ($565,740). It was the first time in three months the median price surged past the $600,000 benchmark.

The median home price of $675,000 for San Diego in March was slightly higher than the $670,000 figure in February. The March 2020 figure was 8.2 percent higher than the$623,800 figure of March 2019.

March 2020 County Sales and Price Activity
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)
March 2020 County Sales and Price Activity

“The relatively moderate sales decrease that occurred in March is only a prelude to what we’ll see in April and May because sales were still modestly strong during the first two weeks of March before stay-in-place orders were implemented throughout the state,” said 2020 C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick.,. “However, pending sales, which is a better reflection of the current market conditions and consumer concerns about the coronavirus, dropped nearly 25 percent and suggest the decline could extend beyond the next couple of months, depending on the duration of the pandemic and the lockdown.”

“While the median home price continued to record a strong gain in March, most, if not all, of the closed sales were negotiated in mid- to late-February prior to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Still, the fast deterioration of the economy, the steep decline of the financial market and record-setting job losses have not been factored into March's closed sales but will become obvious in coming months.”

Reflecting the dramatic change in market conditions, a monthly Google poll conducted by C.A.R. in early April found just one in four (26 percent) consumers said it is a good time to sell, down from 59 percent a month ago, and down from 48 percent a year ago. The market uncertainty has not curbed the optimism for homebuying as much. 28 percent of the consumers who responded to the poll believe that now is a good time to buy a home, up from last year’s 22 percent, when interest rates were 82 basis points higher.

C.A.R. reports that potential home sellers are holding off listing their properties as uncertainty remains over the future of the economy and market conditions. As the fast-moving coronavirus continues to dominate daily lives, many potential home sellers may delay selling their homes, which would lead to fewer new listings.

California’s supply of available housing decreased in March from the prior month. If delay their buying plans due to  concern about the pandemic impact on their finances, sales willdecline and trigger a jump in the Unsold Inventory Index in the short term. The Unsold Inventory Index dropped to 2.7 months in March, down from 3.6 months both in February and March 2019. It was the lowest inventory level in three months. (The index indicates the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.)

Other key points from the March 2020 resale housing report include:

  • At the regional level, all major regions experienced a sales decrease from last year, with the Bay Area dropping the most at 12.1 percent, followed by the Central Coast (-7.3 percent), the Central Valley (-6.4 percent), and Southern California (-0.3 percent).  Twenty-nine of the 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. experienced a year-over-year sales loss. 

  • Median prices in all regions increased in March over last year, with the Central Valley leading at 7.7 percent, followed by the Bay Area (7.4 percent), Southern California (7.3 percent), and the Central Coast (7.0 percent).

  • Forty-two of the 51 counties tracked by C.A.R. reported a year-over-year price gain in March.

  • The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home fell significantly from a year ago, declining from 23 days in February 2020 and 25 days in March 2019 to only 15 days in March 2020.

  • In San Diego County, the median number of days an existing, single-family home remained unsold on the market was 10 days in March 2020, which compares to 12 days in February 2020, 23 days in January 2020 and 19 days in March 2019.

March 2020 County Unsold Inventory and Days on Market
(Regional and condo sales data not seasonally adjusted)
March 2020 unsold inventory days on market

  • The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.45 percent in March, down from 4.27 percent in March 2019, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate averaged 3.16 percent, versus 3.83 percent in March 2019.

In other recent real estate and economic news, according to news reports:

  • Online home searches declined in March with the arrival of the coronavirus, according to LendingTree. In January, people searching for “homes for sale” in San Diego County were up 25 percent year-over-year right before the coronavirus hit. By the end of March, the searches had dropped by 43 percent from the January peak.

  • Demand for San Diego County homes declined by 27 percent in late March and early April, according to data from Steven Thomas of Reports on Housing. He said San Diego is still a seller’s market, especially on the low end of prices, and homes under $750,000 still make up more than half the sales in San Diego County.

  • According to CoreLogic, the median home price in March in San Diego County was $590,000, about $5,000 shy of an all-time high reached last year. The data reflects transactions that began in late January and February, since 30-day escrows are typical. It wasn’t until March that coronavirus stay-at-home orders swept across the nation.

  • The National Association of REALTORS® said the coronavirus has led a quarter of U.S. REALTORS® (NAR) to have at least one client put a contract on a home in April without physically seeing the property. The NAR also reported the median number of homes a family visited either in person or via computer declined from nine in 2019 to just three in 2020.

  • Redfin said the government’s coronavirus stimulus checks of $1,200 per person will cover only 42 percent of rent in San Diego, where monthly rent payments average $1,668, and only 14 percent of a mortgage payment, which averages $2,573, including utilities. Nationwide, the stimulus checks will cover one month’s worth of housing expenses for three-quarters of U.S. renters and nearly 50 percent of homeowners.

Topics: Market Information

Virtual Showings Available in CRMLS Now

Posted by Richard D'Ascoli on Apr 9, 2020 11:51:03 AM

ShowingTime, available to CRMLS users at no additional cost, has made it easy to conduct showings virtually with its latest update.

Simply select “Virtual Showing” as the appointment type when verifying appointment details:

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The showing agent may also add a note for the listing agent indicating which video conferencing solution they’d like to use for the showing.

Listing agents may also set their preferred appointment type to Virtual Showing.

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For a full walkthrough of the Virtual Showing feature, visit the CRMLS Knowledgebase article.

 

Topics: Market Information, Technology

Resources for Property Managers

Posted by Richard D'Ascoli on Apr 7, 2020 2:37:28 PM

PSAR launches Property Management Resource Page
PSAR will provide links and resources to property managers and landlords to help with information as we navigate the COVID-19 Crisis. It can be found here.

Judicial Council Suspends Evictions and Foreclosures
Among the actions the council approved, to go into effect immediately: Suspend the entry of defaults in eviction cases & Suspend judicial foreclosures. More information here.

CAR Releases two New Property Management Forms 4/6/2020
Form NTAP (Notice to Tenant of Ability to Pay Rent During Coronavirus Pandemic) is an informational notice that a landlord can send to a tenant for the purpose of starting a dialogue with the tenant regarding the payment of rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
Form RPD (Coronavirus Rent Payment Delay and Repayment) is an addendum to a residential lease or rental agreement that, when agreed to and signed by the landlord and tenant, documents the tenant’s claim that the tenant is unable to pay rent and the reason for the inability; proof of the inability to pay; the amount of the rent not being paid; and a plan to pay it in the future.

Topics: Announcements, Market Information

Financial Help Is Here

Posted by Richard D'Ascoli on Mar 30, 2020 9:26:03 AM

Here is a list of some of the companies offering assistance and what
you can expect from them.

Financial help and infromation

Are you are worried about making payments now or in the near future?

Now is a good time to conserve resources for your family to weather this crisis for the foreseeable future.

NOW is the time for you to CONTACT your service providers! There is Coronavirus Mortgage, Rental, Credit Card, Auto and Personal Loan Relief but you have to ask for it!  - CLICK HERE -

REALTOR®s who have specific questions about the CARE act, unemployment or other COVID-19 benefits, call  C.A.R.’s COVID Relief Hotline by calling 1+(213) 351 8450,  Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

 

Topics: Announcements, Brokers/Managers, Market Information, Industry

The Feds & State Determine Real Estate is Essential

Posted by Richard D'Ascoli on Mar 29, 2020 12:00:18 PM

 

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency CISA updated its list of essential services during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis and expressly included residential real estate. Since Governor Newsom’s March 4, 2020 order incorporates this list, the order now includes residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services as essential services in California. However, if a city or county has an order with a more restrictive standard regarding what qualifies as an essential service, or more restrictions on activities, those guidelines will still govern the activities of a licensee. Notwithstanding this new development, all real estate licensees must take into account the health and safety of their clients and fellow licensees and follow the protocols that exist for protecting against the spread of COVID-19. If such heath safeguards and protocols are not followed, the rule for the state could easily change to stop or restrict all real estate activity.

To that end, in conformity with current health guidelines, real estate licensees should follow all CDC and local health mandates. This includes the following: 1. No open houses should be held. (CRMLS has removed the option of holding Open Houses) 2. Showings should be done virtually.

Read more from C.A.R. here.

Topics: Brokers/Managers, Market Information, Industry