Hitting Bottom, Barstow, and Scripps Ranch Market Times


According to the Wall Street Journal, the “housing bust is over.” Phew! That’s a relief.

This article ran last week so, technically, the housing bust was over on July 11. I suppose I was just too busy writing multiple counter offers to notice.

Those of us in the trenches have been seeing all of the signs of a recovery. Or maybe what we have been seeing is summer. It could go either way. But the funny thing about tops and bottoms, peaks and valleys, is that you can’t really know you are there when you are there.

Take those brave pioneers who, for whatever reason, decided it was a good idea to head across the California Mojave desert on foot. They, too, probably thought they had hit bottom when they got to Death Valley. And then they stumbled upon Barstow.

Death Valley, Barstow. Whatever. It’s close enough. I actually tend to agree that, while we may be trudging through the tumbleweed for a while yet, we’re pretty much there.

Our most recent listings have all gone with multiple offers. Last week, I entered a listing in our MLS at 6:00 am. At 5:00 that evening, I got a call from an agent. “How may offers do you have?” she asked. My answer: Five.

Which brings us to this installment of Stats Man.

Today Stats Man looks at market times and, since we long ago established that Stats Man is lazy, it will come as no surprise that this information is for the Scripps Ranch, 92131 Zip code. (Disclaimer: Information is from the Sandicor Multiple Listing Service. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Dry clean only, do not use this data while operating heavy machinery, for external use only, void where prohibited.)

I took a quick look back at detached homes sold in Scripps Ranch over the past thirty days. Note that I eliminated the short sales, because their market time continues to rack up while they are relegated to the purgatory of “contingent” status waiting for lender approval. I also eliminate the couple of homes that were new construction, builder offerings. That being said, here is what the market times looked like:

Average Days on Market: 32

Average Price per Square Foot: $268

That was fun. But what is more fun is to look at what happens when you eliminate the homes that were overpriced. How do I know which homes were overpriced? Those would be the ones that had to go through one or more price reductions before they found a taker. Duh.

Average Days on Market: 13

Average Price per Square Foot: $287

Now, as a preemptive strike for all of you naysayers, the price spectrum in each sample was roughly the same. In other words, you can’t say that more expensive homes generally have longer market times. They don’t. At least, they didn’t over the past 30 days.

In summary, what we have here is two messages. First, I will beat my favorite drum. It you price it tight to true market value — if you price it right — you will sell faster and for more. Period.  

OK. So we knew that. The other message is a reminder that there are buyers out there – a whole bunch of them. And the activity we began to see in early spring is continuing, even escalating, as we head into the dog days of summer.

Are we in Death Valley or Barstow? Beats me, but we’re close enough.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this post about Barstow do not necessarily reflect the opinons of San Diego Castles Realty. It is a fine town. Really, it is. (Not to mention, it is halfway to Vegas.) They have a Bob's Big Boy. I highly recommend the Brawny Beef combo.


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