My youngest daughter is threatening to matriculate. (As my mother used to say, if she does, she’ll have to clean it up!)
She is also about ready to graduate from high school. It seems like only seventy-eight years ago that I spawned her, during which time I have survived diapers, Beanie Babies, annual passes to every “amusement” park within my time zone, science fairs, and that insufferable purple dinosaur. Today I watched her trudge off to the hallowed halls of Scripps Ranch High School for the last time (assuming she returned her library books). And in three short months, we will whisk her off to college and usher in the nice men in HazMat suits to finally answer the burning question — Is there actually carpeting beneath all that crap in her bedroom? I expect to find Jimmy Hoffa.
In honor of this momentous occasion, I am doing what every doting “Mother of the Year” does. So, without further ado, I give you a Scripps Ranch real estate update. Somebody had to do it.
While all of the statistical purists out there sing the refrains of “It’s a Small Sample After All,” I am going to forge ahead fearlessly, because I believe that there are a few conclusions we can draw from our 92131 numbers.
Here are what the sales looked like for condos and detached homes dating back to March (courtesy of the Sandicor Multiple Listing Service, of course). We are only halfway through June, but I’ll let you extrapolate. (Hint: Multiply by two.)
Now, I will set about stating the obvious. Detached sales took a dive in April because of California’s home buyer tax credit. All of the qualifying folks in escrow who could extend their scheduled April closings until May did — so that they could get both the Federal credit and the bonus prize. We had several of these and, setting aside the argument of why in the h-e-double-hockey sticks our broke Golden State thought that essentially giving money to people who had already committed to a purchase was a good idea from a “stimulus” perspective, I can’t blame them.
But, why didn’t we see the same dip in April for the attached homes? Well, we sort of did. The mix of attached homes sold in May was quite different and telling.
My theory is that the lenders wait for no one; if you are in escrow on a short sale, you will close when the bank says you will close (although we did get a four-day extension on one short sale for tax credit purposes). My theory, part two, is that fewer closings of distress sales in May means there were more traditional sales (nothing gets past me). And, a greater percentage of traditional sale closings could suggest that the guys who could drag their feet on their closings did.
So, having established that the State tax credit basically just shuffled the deck, here is what “normal” feels like in Scripps Ranch right now.
1. Detached homes are being absorbed at a clip of approximately 30 per month. (Today, we have 112 active listings.)
2. Attached homes are selling at a rate of approximately 20 per month. (This morning, we have 34 active listings.)
3. Prices per square foot, regardless of what you may hear, are bouncing around, as shown in the following pretty charts that I made all by myself.
(Editor’s note: The y-axis labels on that last one are supposed to be months. Refer to previous chart for reference. I got sloppy.)
I suspect that the bouncing has a lot more to do with the mix of homes being sold than any kind of overarching market movement. In the case of detached homes, the “mix” is likely more driven by size and price (because one one-million dollar plus sale can make an impact) and, to a lesser extend, the mix of distress sales during a given month (since these typically sell at lower prices). In the case of attached homes, however, I think the bouncing is entirely a function of the distress sale market mix. The fact that condos are generally selling at a lower price per square foot than their detached counterparts (which is counter-intuitive) supports this argument. Finally, if you believe that we are far from navigating our way through the foreclosure mess, expect the bouncing to continue.
Nothing says “Congratulations, Emily!” like a snappy market update. I can’t wait to send her the link. I know she will be thrilled (if she can find her computer in that landfill she calls a bedroom.)