Sonoma Housing Bubble

Pulling the cork out of Sonoma's bubbly housing foolishness

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sliding Down the Slope of Hope

(headline shamelessly stolen from a clever and delightfully smartass poster on the pressdemocrat comments website)

"Cut-rate foreclosed homes being unloaded by banks wreaked havoc on the Bay Area's median price in July, sending it down nearly 30 percent to a level not seen in more than four years."

A third of all existing homes sold in the nine-county region in July were foreclosed properties. ~ DataQuick

'"There is deep discounting in inland markets that have been slammed by foreclosures," said Andrew LePage, an MDA DataQuick analyst."

" The biggest percentage of foreclosure sales was in Solano County, where two-thirds of all resold homes were foreclosures."

"Many potential home buyers are still taking a wait-and-see attitude since prices are continuing to drop."

'"From an average person's perspective, until prices start to stabilize, (they think), Why buy today when tomorrow will probably be cheaper?" said Sam Khater, senior economist at First American CoreLogic. That mental psychology will not change until prices level out, he said.
Homeowners who need to sell face a difficult reality."

"LePage said he thinks the bottom is not imminent - and is unlikely to usher in a quick turnaround."

'"Recent history suggests you could be looking at at least two or three years of price stagnation," he said. "It's looking like the bottom will feel more like a bog than something you just bounce off of."'

"Foreclosure resales -- homes sold in July that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months -- made up 33 percent of all resales. That was up from 29.9 percent in June and 4.2 percent in July 2007. Foreclosure resales ranged from 4.6 percent of the resale market in San Francisco to 65.9 percent in Solano County. "

""So much of today's market is driven by distress. Unless interpreted in that context, the stats give a rather distorted view of the overall market. We know one-third of the Bay Area's resales in July were homes fresh off foreclosure. Who knows how many more involved a desperate seller and a lender who accepted a short sale," said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president."

Sonoma County Q2 Notice of Default stats:

NODs Q2 2007: 462
NODs Q2 2008: 1,376

197.8% increase

Sonoma County July 2008 sales of existing single-family homes: 410

Sonoma County MLS: 3529 (bareis mls)

8.5 month's supply of homes on the market states median price of: $397,000 down 30.4% from 2007

Average time on the market from listing to sale: 103 days (

68 percent of all purchases were under $500,000 compared with 36 percent a year ago.

'“People are out looking for bargains. I think you’re going to see continued softening of prices into next year,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors."

"Homeowners facing rising mortgage payments are selling properties at deep discounts and banks are clearing out foreclosed homes."

"Prices now have fallen 25 consecutive months, dropping 35.5 percent from the record $619,000 set three years ago."

"Every week, lenders seize almost 80 homes from borrowers who have stopped paying their mortgages. Those homes go back on the market, sometimes within weeks, other times within months, almost always at a sharp discount."

"Sonoma County housing prices won't stabilize until sales cut into the glut of distressed properties hitting the market, bringing the overall supply of homes for sale into better balance with buyer demand, Appleton-Young said."

"Lower-priced homes will likely drive the county's housing market into next year because of the continuing wave of foreclosures, Appleton-Young said."

'"We've essentially got to work through the foreclosures that we know are coming over the next six to 12 months. So it's just a longer period of time where you're just kind of bouncing along the bottom," she said."

"Any recovery also could be slowed by tightened lending requirements, as well as the economy's downturn."

The pressdemocrat reports 2,386 homes listed for sale in Sonoma County.

One click on Bareis MLS lists 3529 single family residences listed for sale in Sonoma County.


At 8/20/2008 10:47:00 AM , Anonymous Tom Stone said...

Todays article in the PD about Exchange Bank was very interesting because they have been well managed over the years and still show a tenfold increase YoY in bad loans to builders.There are actually opportunities now to buy property at prices that make economic sense.The opportunities I see are in improved land and REO's with cosmetic damage in decent neighborhoods purchased 5 or more at a time to take advantage of economies of scale.This will not be fast money,we are talking a 5 year or longer hold,but the profits will be sweet.I am of course assuming an intelligent and informed investor with some management skills.It feels good to be able to say there are solid investments in Real Estate after how many years posting here?

At 8/20/2008 05:22:00 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

"Lower-priced homes will likely drive the county's housing market into next year because of the continuing wave of foreclosures, Appleton-Young said."

Let me rephrase that...

Lower priced homes will drive the county's housing market because that's all people can actually qualify for without voodoo financing. And just wait until credit really, really starts to tighten. Down payment and debt to income requirements will knock out the vast majority of buyers.

At 8/20/2008 09:26:00 PM , Anonymous Tom Stone said...

lisa,the crunch is here,now.we are seeing the last dribbles of easy credit,and prices are about to tank in good neighborhoods.There are deals that work now for the first time since I moved to sonoma county 4 years ago.The rate of change is accelerating,and I would not hesitate to make an offer on SOME of the REO's out there now that school has started.If the person you are dealing with fails to either foam at the mouth or turn deathly pale,your offer is too high.offer 125x monthly rent for a nice place in petaluma,and back it up with a quote from any of the Appraisal Textbooks on GRM's.They will be calling you within 6 months if they don't take your offer now.


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