A bunch of wrongs make a right (and Zillow lets you interact with your bad news).

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Please note that everything mentioned in this mail and the attachments it includes are embargoed until 9 PM Pacific time tonight (February 11th).

No worries, Drew. You can always count on us to “break” the news three days after it happens. Tomorrow, we will be reporting on that new invention, the wheel. In the meantime…

A bunch of wrongs tend to make a right. That is what I see when looking at the fourth quarter Zindex data from our friends at Zillow, the proud parents of the ugly Zestimate baby.

With their fourth quarter statistical value data for counties, cities and neighborhoods, they bring these new, way-cool interactive maps. If you find real estate housing value trends the least bit captivating and have a block of free time today (say, eighty-six hours), it is worth taking a look. Their site truly overfloweth with data (including the little tidbit that my Scripps Ranch neighborhood is a community of “High $$ DINKS – Urban high-income couples with no children”, present company excluded on all counts).

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DataQuick’s January housing prices are out, and they show the following year-over-year sale price changes for San Diego County homes:

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Zillow gives a year-over-year Zindex change of -8.3% for all homes combined, so we seem to be in agreement. But, parroting the Real Estate is Local mantra, we need only check out the colors of the area heat map markers in San Diego County to confirm that all neighborhoods are not running the same fever. Coastal communities are fairing much better than are areas at the extreme edges of the county. In our city, where land is scarcer and in fact the far-larger component of a property’s value, this comes as no surprise. Coastal communities have always tended to be less susceptive to down market influences and, until someone decides to move the beach inland, this will likely always be so.

Case in point:

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That’s the State of the County. Now, for the State of Scripps Ranch, where our Zindex for single-family detached homes dropped 4.1% year-over-year and 5.1% quarter-over-quarter. My analysis is based, not on Zestimate comparisons or reports from the County Recorder’s office, but from a past Sunday afternoon spent showing homes to a couple who really wanted to find something to buy. Generally speaking, our active inventory is currently a vast wasteland of nothingness.

My client’s price and characteristic requirements are not unreasonable, yet we had a whopping 86 homes in a community of approximately 8,000 homes to chose from, roughly one-fourth of which met their size requirements, and only ONE of which we considered worth visiting. These are the issues I have been encountering of late with other, seriously motivated home buyers (yes, they do exist):

  • Asking prices seemingly determined with a Ouija Board over a bottle of Scotch while wearing dark glasses;
  • Homes seemingly staged by a pack of badgers holding a grudge and wielding blow torches and wrecking balls;
  • Mix well and repeat.

There are two clear buyer camps at the moment, and these homes will appeal to the latter, the “opportunity” seekers, but only when the sellers of these properties slash their pricing. The opportunity seekers want not only an insanely great deal, but they want to see tremendous pain and suffering on the part of the sellers. As for the other folks, the group of would-be buyers seeking a good home at a fair price, they may have to rough it a little longer until these same sellers clean up the campsite, price their homes properly, or both.

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