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Go fish. Scripps Ranch listing inventory is oh-so-low.

This is the trend for inventory of Scripps Ranch homes for sale (Altos Research, 92131 Zip code). It’s ugly.

It’s ugly, that is, if you are a buyer.

I was reminded that it might be time to touch on the little empty shelf syndrome we are currently experiencing when I found myself, yesterday, at the weekly Scripps Ranch broker pitch session. The pitch session is a long-standing tradition in many communities, Scripps included, where agents from all offices gather to network and promote their new listings.

Now, I’ve been a bit of a negative Nellie about the pitch session in recent years, having long argued that this relic of the good ol’ days has essentially been relegated obsolete by things like, oh, the Internet. It seems rather goofy to stand in front of a rather insignificant subset of the Realtor population (insignificant in terms of numbers) and as many vendors – Title reps, loan officers, home stagers and others who will never bring a buyer to one of my transactions but would very much like to earn my business – and read from the MLS. Yet we do this, week in and out, because old habits die hard.

As this week’s meeting wrapped and we were swapping idle banter before hitting our Realtor mobiles to visit the newest offerings, it struck me that our current market may be serving to validate, at least temporarily, this industry throwback to the simpler days of water cooler back slapping. I watched as several informal discussions were taking place around the room between agents. Some had buyer needs, others had upcoming listings, and all were dealing from their respective decks in a real estate game of “Go Fish,” attempting to make that all-important match.

Here’s why. In Scripps Ranch this morning, there are 62 active detached listings. That’s it. 62. Consider that in the context of approximately 8,000 detached homes standing and in the context of a “normal” inventory of listings being approximately double what we have today. It’s slim pickings.

By the numbers:

Traditional sales = 44
Short sales = 11
Bank-owned homes = 7
Average days on market = 75 days*
Median price = Approximately $725,000**

* This is fakey days on market, because so many of these have changed agents or otherwise relisted and, therefore, enjoyed an opportunity to reset the old odometer. The real average is actually longer.

** “Approximately,” because of a stupid value range price that, in this market, no one understands and makes little sense.

So, these days, the more tenacious agents are left to their own devices to try to make choices materialize for their buyer clients. And, sometimes, it works. Twice in the past two months, agents from our own little shop found a matched pair, pre-MLS, to the delight of both parties to the transaction.

And, yesterday, I found myself engaged in one of those little card games with two other agents. One had an unmet buyer need, another had a client who was preparing to sell a home that met their criteria but needed to find a replacement home, and I had a home currently being staged to debut next week that sounded like a fit for the middle man. The first agent called it a possible trifecta. Or maybe it is a hat trick – depends on your sport.

As a result, two showings have been scheduled. It may work; it probably won’t. But, crazier things have been known to happen, and desperate times call for desperate measures. The moral to the story is that there are buyers out there. Listings? Not so much.  And to all those folks who ask if they would be better off to wait until after the holidays to list, just remember that the new year will bring with it new buyers but, also, more competition. If you do hold off, at least make sure your agent is stumping for you in the meantime.

Kris Berg

Kris Berg is Owner and Designated Broker of San Diego Castles Realty. She has been serving San Diego buyers and sellers since 1997.

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  • http://astoriaoregonrealestate.net Jeremy Linder

    I only WISH we had that trouble up here. We’re looking at 12+ months of inventory in most areas, some over 20. 

    Question: Are you finding your buyers are avoiding short sale listings? From the sounds of things it would make a shortage of listings even more of a challenge.

    • Steve Berg

      Jeremy – It seems buyers here are cutting both ways. Some don’t want to mess with short sales, some will. I must admit that more of the lenders are actually starting to do a better job on their short sale processing (About time!!). Timeframes are shrinking from 6-8 months to 3-4 months in many cases. But we still don’t see the light at the end of the “distressed” tunnel. Hopefully, your inventory will start to shrink if the economy can finally get more traction next year (I know, I know, it’s always next year). Good luck!

  • Steve Berg

    On a related issue…Interesting that there are only 2.7 months of detached homes in the inventory in Scripps Ranch. Same for attached properties – Only 2.96 months of inventory standing right now. In the old days this would have been considered a strong sellers’ market. Is one around the corner?   

    • Realitycheck

      hey steve,

      Is the recession over? According to experts the recession ended in 2009. How can we have 50 million people on food stamps and say the economy is recovering?

      I see a huge bifurcation in the public these days. You have people totally broke and then those who are actually doing quite well.

      If you were a candidate how would you fix the housing problems sir?

      • Steve Berg

        Realitycheck – Your question is way above my pay grade. There’s a bunch of people smarter (hopefully) than me that have been trying to come up with an answer to that question for several years. Very generally speaking, I think it comes down to confidence – both consumer and business. Job creation goes a long way to help the consumer which would, in turn, give confidence to business (not to mention the stock market and a few million retirement accounts). But what is the catalyst for all of this? Maybe our political leaders finding a way to resolve their differences with regard to the debt and deficit. Certainty in the marketplace would go a long way to help. Sorry, that’s the best I can do without having my head explode.    

        • Realitycheck

          Thx steve

          You know it appears to me that all these programs out there are encouraging people to walk from their homes. People are getting free rent for 2-3 years and then saving up money to buy another house at lower prices. I have to believe that people who can do a short sale will be back buying in a fairly short period of time. I know if you stay current on payments before a short sale you can basically get a loan immediately after. Something is not adding up here.

          The house next to me had the NOD in February 2008. They had a trustees sale in march 2011. To this day someone is still in the house getting free rent. working on 8 months for an eviction.Working on 4 years for this house to go back to bank. 4 years at 1800.00/ month rent saved is a chunk of change. Plus the outstanding loan amount is 500k on a house that is worth 200k.

          I guess the people losing all the money are not that concerned?

Office Location

  • San Diego Castles Realty
  • 10636 Scripps Summit Court, Suite 153
  • San Diego, CA 92131
  • P: 858.530.2374
  • F: 858.876.1701
  • E: info (at) sandiegocastles.com
  • CA BRE# 01853496

Broker Information

  • Kris Berg, Broker
  • CA BRE #01241572