Scripps Ranch is second runner-up, but the contest may be fixed.

Creative Commons License photo credit: faeparsons

Hat tip to John Wake at the Arizona Real Estate Notebook for calling to our attention the news that Scripps Ranch wins third place in the days on market beauty contest. According to Business Week (via Altos Research):

The third-fastest-selling Zip is the Scripps Ranch neighborhood of San Diego, a wealthy inland market where listings were typically 70 days old, a span that would have been unthinkable during the real estate boom.

Read the fine print, and this market time applies to active listings, not the homes which have sold. Read more fine print, and you will be reminded that this data like any is subject to interpretation. In August, for instance, eighteen detached home sales occurred in Scripps Ranch, yet Altos shows us absorbing between 32 and 40 a month. In other words, don’t take the 70 days to the bank. We have a lot of churning going on, and it is not only due to the failed escrows but to expirations and cancellations relisted with a new and improved “zero days” market time.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not prepared to hand over our little tiara just yet; I simply think that this story is incomplete at best.

Thinking I could spend a little time in our crack MLS system and get to the bottom of things, I started about doing a history check on the 99 current detached active listings. Somewhere around number 12, I realized that the property histories are flawed. One home, for instance, shows a 53 day market time and no prior listing activity. An address check, however, revealed what I knew to be the case — This home has been listing, expiring and relisting since September, 2007. With an inventory hovering around 100, it doesn’t take many of those to blow the rosy stats out of the water.

Business Week quotes a Scripps Ranch “neighborhood specialist” as saying, “Homeowners in the affluent neighborhood don’t feel as much pressure to sell as homeowners in poorer, foreclosure-heavy neighborhoods because they have the means to ride out the downturn.” Well, guess what? Over 15% of the current active detached listings in our MLS ‘fess up to being “subject to lender approval.” We know the actual number is greater. For condominiums, this number sits squarely at 50%. Hmm…

I am all for good news, and I am a big fan of the stats. I am even the first to admit that there are some very good opportunities for buyers, and homes priced and promoted properly continue to sell relatively quickly. But, Scripps Ranch is not immune to the current larger market dynamics, and spinning the news because it sounds better is just irresponsible. Or sloppy. Or both.

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