San Diego Home Prices – Trending sideways at best

The print-version of the article was titled “Home Sales Status Quo.” The San Diego Union-Tribune’s online installment carried the snappier title, “San Diego County housing prices slow to a crawl.” From the article:

San Diego County’s median home price slipped to $330,500 last month as demand cooled in the wake of the end to buyer rebates, MDA DataQuick reported Monday.

The median was 1.9 percent lower than August’s $337,000 but up 1.7 percent from year-ago levels.

It was the smallest year-over-year rise since October last year and confirmed what many economists have been saying — prices may soften in the next few months.

DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said the pricing trend might reflect the temporary rise that occurred when federal and state homebuyer tax credits were instituted late last year and early this year.

(You can read the full article here.)

You’ll get no argument from me, of course, except for the part about prices softening in “the next few months.” It’s already happening. DataQuick’s statistics tomorrow are our door openings and contracts today, so we already have a pretty strong sense that the market bulls (read: sellers) may be disappointed. Drop the party hat and no one gets hurt.

Showings for our listings are down, and competition for the buyer’s affections is fierce. For the uber-motivated, this translates to aggressive pricing strategies that force the hands of all the rest. And sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

What we have is a tax-credit hangover in combination with the typical seasonal demand slump.  Will Spring be better? Maybe, but probably not, because with ramping post-holiday demand traditionally comes greater post-holiday inventory.  For the foreseeable future, we (“we” is me, because I routinely speak for Steve when he is not looking) agree that this market is indeed going to be “status quo.”

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