Friday, February 16, 2007

Hope in Sacramento? Sales, Prices, Pendings Down; Inventory, Foreclosures Up

From the Sacramento Bee:

How does the capital region's housing market look so far this year? Not unlike last year -- but with a bit more hope that the free-fall in prices and sales may be ending.

The new year opened last month with the fewest escrow closings for a January since 1998, according to property researcher DataQuick Information Systems. The firm reported similar slides to 1990s levels in the Bay Area and Southern California.
DataQuick reported 2,522 buyers of new and existing homes picked up the keys last month in Amador, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties -- down from 2,999 the same time a year ago.
Median sales prices, meanwhile, continued a months-long trend of falling below the same month a year earlier in seven of eight capital-area counties. Only Nevada County saw higher sales prices than in January 2006.
Sacramento County reported a median January sales price of $345,500 for all new and existing homes, down 6.6 percent from the same time last year. In December the year-over-year decline was 9.1 percent. Likewise, Placer County's median $423,500 median sales price was down 10.8 percent from January 2006. In December prices were down 18.2 percent from a year earlier.
January also ended with 10,971 existing homes for sale in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, according to Sacramento-based real estate researcher TrendGraphix. That's nearly triple the number of homes for sale in January 2005 and a major contributor to falling prices, analysts say.
Many in the real estate industry predict that a housing recovery could take hold during the year's second half. But others worry that too many homes for sale and growing foreclosure activity could prolong or worsen the region's housing slump.


Patient Renter said...

"Many in the real estate industry predict that a housing recovery could take hold during the year's second half."

This is pretty much an indirect quote of Lereah. Why not go straight to the man himself!

Sippn said...

I looked at the reports you cited yesturday and it is not all negative as follows:

Jan Vs December
SFR Escrows up 51.8%
Condo escrows up 127.5%
SFR escrows up 14.9%
Inventory only up 3.4%
Mean price up 5.5%
Escrows up 15.6%

Jan 07 vs Jan 06
SFR Inventory down 4.8%
Condo Escrows up 8%
SFR escrows up 11.7%
Escrows up 30-50% in close (Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay)
Inventory down 15.8%

Couple this with the homebuilders calling January the busiest sales month since June 2005.

Of course, you already have plenty of detail on the negatives, but I would call this mixed, improving a "little."

I wouldn't be looking for the phenomena called the 2005 real estate market again but 2001-2004 was OK, too.

Gwynster said...

This from Ben's most excellent blog today:

Comment by scdave
2007-02-16 08:59:22
Gwynster;…While doing some research this morning a saw 40+ houses in the Sac. region come on the market with some dude from Coldwell Banker…ALL bank foreclosures….

Lander said...

Re: YoY Inventory

TrendGraphix: +18%
HouseTracker v1: +20%
Bubble Markets: +18%
SAR: -4.8%

I'm not sure what to make of SAR's inventory data as it is inconsitent with all other sources. For example, in Feb 06, TrendGraphix reported that inventory increased by 178% YOY, while SAR said it only increased by 26%. Certainly the coverage areas are somewhat different and TG probably includes condo sales, but I don't think that explains such as huge discrepancy.

Take home point: I wouldn't put much stock in their inventory numbers.

Here's a repost of my comment Re: new escrows.

According to the SAR data for the last 6 years, a "spike" in new escrows between December and January is a seasonal phenomenon, just as a decline in sales over the same period is seasonal and the spike in sales in March is seasonal. Here's the % change in new escrows between December and January for the last six years:

2002: 112.4%
2003: 82.4%
2004: 36.8%
2005: 37.9%
2006: 36.2%
2007: 51.8%

The spike is real, just as it is real every year. As Sippn said, new escrows are down 11.9% yoy. So we start the year with new & closed escrows below last year levels while inventory is above last year levels. Any guesses as to how that will affect prices?

Sippn said...

Weren't escrows off 25-30% last fall YOY?

SAR (MLS) is the source of the data for the others, so either there was an adjustment, an error or their number is composed differently (I have seen some typos in their data but have seen it in most of the other cited sources too).

(if you saw the data strings that Zillow sent out last week, you'd sell their stock!)

AgentBubble said...


You mean Zillow's $900,000 estimate of my 1500 sq. ft house in Oak Park might not be accurate?

Sippn said...

Here's a sample of 5 succesive quarters from Zillow zip 95864 (didn't happen this way)


Case closed

Patient Renter said...

The comments for this article over at the Bee are pretty bold. People are definately jumping on this as confirmation that there is/was/will be no housing bust. I expected a bit more depth to the common thinking on this, but I guess a lot of people are too heavily invested in their homes.

Perfect Storm said...

The comments for this article over at the Bee are pretty bold.

I know the housing bulls are trying to cling to hope with any means. Poor souls.

Gwynster said...

A drowning man will cling to anything to keep from going down.

I think NNA now has 20+ accounts so he can vote positives on his posts >; )