Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sacramento Real Estate Market - March 2008 Water Cooler (2)

Post off-topic links, observations, and stories about the Sacramento real estate market here. Please read the comment policy before posting.


Diggin Deeper said...

Should be a very interesting week coming up. Bear Stearns is on the ropes and a 28 day liquidity bailout by the Fed and Merrill Lynch will probably not do it for them. Lehman's probably not too far behind,

Gold, oil, and food commodities are stratospheric and really due for a correction but the dollar just keeps tanking as the Fed pumps more and more of the green into the system. The yen and swiss franc are also pushing much higher in response to the dollar's problems. Wouldn't be surprised to see the dollar post a temporary correction to clean out all the speculation that's betting against it. But then again, if it continues to slide it could push the yen and swiss franc aside as the new carry trade currency...which would strengthen both further. So far the dollar is down over 7% in '08...that's a big number by yearend if it doesn't correct soon. Better to be out of benjamins and into "name your currency here" than to watch it's purchasing power weaken day by day.

While real estate has been the "canary" in the coal mine for quite some time, it was the first to go, and it could be the first to show signs of life as we work our way out of this mess. Sales figures for the next 3 months should at least confirm or deny the market's direction or lack thereof. Most bets are on a continued price slide here in Sacto, and that's probably a pretty good bet. However, having corrected between 30-40% off the highs, imho we'll see price stabilization sooner rather than later. Markets don't go straight up or straight down without some intervention or correction, if for no other reason than to encourage or discourage investemnt/speculation that builds on either side of the trade.

Whether or not we see a 50% price decline by year end is just another form of speculation that probably's best left to swamis and tooth fairies. Much beyond that level, say to 75% off, or more will have a devastating affect in the valley. If we think that foreclosures are high today, I can't imagine how high they'd go if pricing were to collapse an additional 30-35% from here. While I want the lowest price for the highest value possible, I don't want to sacrifice my lifestyle to acheive that goal. ff

Tyrone said...

While I want the lowest price for the highest value possible, I don't want to sacrifice my lifestyle to acheive that goal.

I agree. Lifestyle changes almost seem inevitable at this point. I find myself moving money around every week, even after I think I'm comfortable. I'm sorry I didn't buy MERKX at 11.60 a few weeks ago; might be next on my list. Seems to get scarier every week.

anon1137 said...

The regional median may be down 30-40%, but East Sac, Midtown, Land Park, etc. have barely begun to correct. At this rate, they'll be giving away McMansions in Elk Grove and Natomas before the good neighborhoods are down even 15% from peak.

Did everyone see the article in The Atlantic (also summarized on sfgate at predicting that stucco box suburbs will be the next slums?

Diggin Deeper said...

Tyrone...I know what you mean about moving money around trying to find a comfort zone. Sold most of my precious metals last week, most of the ag ETF's, oil stocks, and anything that looked like an US based stock. But I immediately placed lower priced orders for all of the above (except the US stocks) in anticipation of a correction. I am convinced that hard assets are going to grow for years and will buy the dips and corrections with two-fisted conviction.

anon...that really confounds me as well, although you really don't see much competition or inventory surfacing in those areas. The shift occuring away from the burbs to the cities makes a whole lot of sense. I remember I drove about 100 miles a day to work after I bought my first home. Today, that just seems so unlikely with energy costs rising as they are.

Diggin Deeper said...

that 100 miles was total to and from work

Ed said...

Bye-Bye Bear. 99% of your worth, evaporated in 3 weeks. Go play some more golf.

aggiealum said...

I knew I should've bought some cheap puts on BSC last week. The waaay out of money $25 puts were only 0.30 last week. $4.10 on Friday. Wow.. what $300 would've looked like Friday. And what it'd look like tomorrow! Wonder what it'll be tomorrow? Financial blogs say maybe Lehman Bros is next?

Diggin Deeper said...

Opening the umbrella today as it looks like a storm is brewing in the financial markets. Fed's opening the discount window to Wall St. That hasn't been done for 30 plus years. Looks like the August meltdown was mere a trailer to what we're seeing today.

Yen and Swiss franc are really on the move upward. Dollar and Pound are getting hammered and Trichet at the ECB remains hawkish about inflation.

This could be one ugly week and should further dampen consumer confidence. The USA is on sale and it will be interesting to see just who the buyers will be.

Gwynster said...
Farm workers lack housing in El Dorado County
'"Our industry could really flourish if we had a good solid labor force," Boeger said.'

Evin said...

Can anybody give me some advice?

Me and my girlfriend are looking to buy this December. We work in Natomas and are lookin to get the most bang for our buck in the 200-250k price range.

Right now, I'm looking pretty much exclusively at Antelope... cheap prices and the crime rate seems reasonable.

Any thoughts?

norcaljeff said...

Evin, the longer you wait the better. I'd say Dec is much better than now. Rates will continue to fall this year as the economy falls into deep recession. Antelope is better than Natomas, above the flood waters, etc. You should be able to get something nice in that range by Dec. Make a very lowball offer on anything you are trying to buy. It doesn't hurt to throw those numbers out there as low as possible. And don't let a realtor talk you into doing anything you don't want to do. Try and hook up with Agent Bubble, he's one of the good guys.

Max said...

I'm starting to hear rumors of walk-aways in Elk Grove en masse. Reportedly, five families on one street bailed out in the under cover of darkness on various nights last week.

I'll keep everybody posted as I learn more.

Sippn said...

Boeger should just bus in labor from ELk Grove where apparently the housing is cheap, and presearve the good land for wine grapes. Don't call me Sippn for nothin. He he.

Who gave the PHeD all this power? What if they poured $200 bil into Detroit and paid off all the old pensions? How about save Vallejo? (sorry)

#3 Beaver Ct, Antelope, $205K 1500 sf including the finished garage. Pool looks less than a year old.

anon1137 - have you thought that east sac, etc may already be correct, didn't get as screwed up as the others in the first place?

I noticed (ABs blog) that inventory is down as much as 1/3 YOY in close in Zip codes (not in # months, but total #)

((I know I sometimes look like a lazy writer but if you saw what I deleted all the time...))

BTW What ever I said bad about Jim Wasserman I take back.

Cmyst said...

I need help trying to figure out something in Zillow -- and I know, Zillow sux.
Houses in areas like Carmichael, which should logically be lower on the crime scale, are showing higher than national average crime rates. Areas that seem like they should be higher in crime than Carmichael, such as Foothill Farms, are showing less than the national average. I've noted this for some time, and it just doesn't make sense. Does anyone know of an alternative free site that I can use to check crime rates against the national average?

Sippn said...

Last I looked, Zillow used Antelope as comps for Carmichael, Morgan Creek as comps for Antelope, etc. Saw some Antelope Zestimates 50% HIGH.

Do you expect them to get any better with associating crime rates?

They might be comparing total Sac county incedents to Carmichael population and total to Antelope population - who knows. THey don't dig into their information much, they just send out the computers searching for data without much examination.

The real point that Zillow wants is YOU clicking on their site - thats how they get revenue. The accuracy and validity police are not looking - its entertainment.

You could check or with the Sheriff for stats.

Cmyst said...

I found this site:

It's rather neat. And it seems to be verifying that there actually WAS more property crime in the neighborhood I was looking at in Carmichael than the one that is 100K less in asking price in Foothill Farms. Bizarro.

Yet another useful tool, at least in Sacramento Co. So thanks for the push in the right direction, Sippn.

anon1137 said...

Good point, Sippn.

I looked at graphs of prices for CA, Sac (not sure if city or county), and 95816 on Zillow for 2000 until the peak for Sac in late 2005 and got these rough estimates:

CA, $225K to $530K, or +136%
Sac, $140K to $400K, or +186%
95816, $170K to $475K, or +179%

The graph shows that Sac and 95616 ran parallel from 2000 to 2006, but after that, Sac took a dive and 95816 has only been slowly declining.

I think Midtown/East Sac will catch up eventually. This thing has a long,long way to go yet.

Patient Renter said...

"Who gave the PHeD all this power?"

On December 23rd, 1913, while many members of Congress were on vacation, in a late night session, the Federal Reserve act was passed after some stealthy lobbying from the big bankers who architected the legislation - the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the JP Morgan company, etc.

Conflict of interest? Self-serving? You can decide.

norcaljeff said...

Channel 3s website is great for crime tracking, esp is you live in S Placer Co.

norcaljeff said...

On the Flipping in Trouble site the Placer Co. listings went from 2pages a little over a week ago to 5pages this week and a sum of losses of $14M to over $30M today.


If Davis is immune to a RE downturn, why is the city closing a school? Guess all these bulls are being proven wrong. Next they'll tell us the schools closing in Land Park is just a coincedence.

inpd said...

My Question is:
"What Areas have Corrected to Realistic

Max and Agent Bubble mentioned
that 2001 prices are fair so lets
use that as a measuring stick.

Based on my judgement and using
Zillow and Trulia I can see
that WestSac and Natomas homes
built in 2001/2002
are now priced at or below their
2001/2002 new prices so I think Natomas
and WestSac has corrected.

I'm particularly intersted to know if
the Pocket area (95831)
has corrected because its a hard call.
In 1988 many homes in the Matsyama school district were built and cost new
$150K, by 1992 they were $230K,
by 1995 they had dropped to $170K
again and are now $350K-$400K so
I'm not sure what a fair long term
value is.

Same question for Carmichael.

What other areas have corrected beyond
Natomas and West-Sac
a) Please back up with facts
b) People who are realty-industry
area friendly (i.e. Sippn, please
no rhetoric or spin-doctoring).

inpd said...

> If Davis is immune to a RE downturn, why > is the city closing a school? Guess all > these bulls are being proven wrong. Next > they'll tell us the schools closing in
> Land Park is just a coincedence.

I work in Davis, and it has gone down
a lot. My colleagues who lived in the area a long time
tell me that in 2005 $500K would get
you a 1300 sq ft 1950's home. Now
they cost $350K and $500K will get
you a 2000 sq ft newer home in Mace
Ranch or South Davis.

The question is: what are they really
worth in the long term (see my earlier


Ex-Countrywide execs forming mortgage firm


HOUSE2008 said...

Prices are still WAY to high BUT it's encouraging to see them drop from 500k to 365K. Yet even at this price that's close to 50% of my NET income for that mortgage. Not. gonna. happen.Prices have a ways to go.
An update for those who are curios. Drove to Galt to look at the Hoffman Co. Keystone development. First thing I noticed was the amount of space between the homes. One doesn't feel cramped. One could put one & a half of those big yellow school buses between them. They have two homes on a lot where 4 is the norm on each lot for Elk Grove. Each lot is 10,000 ft or more. The one I likes was a single story 2333 sqft w/13,200 sf lot. Nice but at 365k still pricey. Anyhow for those of you looking for a family orientated place it's nice up there. Although I did see some bank owned homes already. the homes were from the same builder, same model having a 65K haircut selling in 2005 for 510k to 449K. Ouch. That development reminds me of what Elk Grove used to belike 10-15 yrs ago..:(

DFT said...

The index that make sense to me is the housing affordability index which is the correlation between median income and the median price of a house. Back in 1998 this index ran concurrent with the national average (remember this index is a reflection of what people can afford based on their income in that area). At the end of 2007 the index in the Sac area was at 27 and the median price of a home was $304K whereas in 1998, when the index in the Sac area is similar to the national average, the index was at 70 and the median price of a home was $139k. In my estimation, the current median home price of a home should be closer to that of 1998.

wrong moves said...

DTF "In my estimation, the current median home price of a home should be closer to that of 1998."

Yeah, I had that similar train of thought back when I sold the house and moved away in 2000. Now I have been back since 2004, scratching my head wondering how the prices remain as high as they do.

smf said...

Slight update on our situation.

Right now, we are in negotiations on the offer we have received for our house. It is a workable offer slightly below what we want but workable still.

Shows the power of pricing it well.

If we can negotiate the sale of our home, we will then enter negotiations on the house we want. That also looks a little promise, as the sellers are getting willing to negotiate.

You can all thank me for setting up new comps for the future.

Yes, we are still overpaying but certain circumstances allow us to justify the move now.

Rich Wilson said...

Thanks smf :-)

We're moving to the area in a couple of months, and plan to rent for at least six before we think about buying.

Kind of thinking Roseville/Rocklin/Folsom. The only commute will be an occasional trip to the airport, so we're pretty much open to anything withing 50 miles or so of Sac. But what is important is good schools. Targeting the 300K range. Any local advice appreciated!

Professor Shays said...

Ouch. Looks like Wachovia (aka World Savings) is pulling the plug on lending in our area (see: )

According to an insider posting:

Alot of changes are rolling out come next tuesday. And no this is not an april fools joke. some items included, lower ltv's, higher fico's, no voe under 70%, no stated retired. Submit now if you fall within these guideline changes. Apoligize in advance if everything mentioned doesnt follow through, but just from what i "heard"

List of areas no longer lending.

1. San Diego
2. Riverside
3. San Bernardino
4. Inland Empire
5. El Dorado
6. Fresno
7. Kern
8. Kings
9. Placer
10. Sacramento
11. San Joaquin
12. Merced
13. Madera
14. Stanislaus
15. Tulare
16. Yolo
17. Yuba

Another poster, in response said:

"It tells me we don't want to lend on homes that will likely lose another 30% of their value over the next 12 months."

Kay said...

How about buying in Folsom? We are looking now, is it right time. Any input?

Tyrone said...

We're moving to the area in a couple of months, and plan to rent for at least six before we think about buying.

Rather than planning on buying in 6 months, why not plan to reseach and do your homework on the market, buying when you know it's safe. Saying you're "targeting the $300K" range is like saying you're prepared to catch the knife at that price. Your life will not end if you find a house to rent, and doing your due diligence could save you boatload in the long run.

The economy is teetering at the abyss. $300K today could be $150K tomorrow. Just my opinion. Recommend reading Calculated Risk and Housing Panic blogs.

Cmyst said...

Most of the houses on my list have dropped substantially, and at the point where I can buy a house that's as nice as the one I'm renting, I'll buy -- if they're still loaning money at that time.
Meanwhile, I have saved substantial money that I need for my retirement by not buying. I used to think that 300k was my price point, too. Now, the place at which I think I'll be able to buy with relative confidence that I won't be losing money is much closer to 200K. One of the houses I'm tracking last sold in 2006 for 330K, and the bank is asking just over 200K for it now. Sounds like a deal, but when you see what that same house sold for in the early rise of the bubble in 2001 (136K) it's not such a good deal for basically no upgrades to the house beyond fresh paint and maybe new carpets. Oh, and new knobs on the cabinets.

inpd said...

Why the Property Market Will Continue To
Fall Even in Areas With No Foreclosure Issues

I welcome criticisms of my comments.

I would love to live in Lands Park and
Davis. Instead I'm going to wait a few
years before I buy there (I may buy
in a forecloure desimated area in the mean time, sell in a few years and
then move into Davis/Lands Park).

Here's why. I have near perfect credit
(800), no debt, equity in a home that
being sold of more than $200K and
my wife and I comfortable earn $120K
together. BOA will only lend me $375K,
WFargo the same, so whose going to buy
those $500K homes in Davis and Lands
Park? I think very few people and hence
prices will fall.


Jacob said...

How about buying in Folsom? We are looking now, is it right time. Any input?

Even if Folson is at the bottom right now, it will still be there for several years. And if it isnt at the bottom then there is a chance to lose a lot of money.

Unless you just HAVE to buy now, there is too much downside risk and really 0% change of prices raising anytime soon, so you just gotta wait it out for another year or 2 (or more).


I agree with that, even with $100k to put down you still need to make over $100k/y to even qualify for a loan that big, and how many people make that kind of money?

The other problem is that there was so much speculative demand (50% or more in some areas) and builders over shot that fake demand level. So now there are just so many homes available.

Last year, the home range I track, there were about 50. This year it is almost to 200 active listings.

Too many homes, too few people qualify (no that you have to document your real income and also pay back the loan...), add to that all the lost jobs that have occured and will continue for some time. Prices can only continue to go down.

Sold in '05 said...

Reposting from an earlier story hoping for some more response:

Can anyone shed some light on what is going on with "Placer County Land Speculators LLC"? I've learned that the development that they were working on is Placer Vineyards. Placer Vineyards appears to be a large development (no broken ground yet) in the empty space between Antelope and Roseville.

For the last two weeks the Wednesday edition of the Roseville Press-Tribune has published in the Public Notices section, a very interesting Notice of Trustee Sale. It covers one entire page plus one column. It lists 200 individual investors by name and investment amount, a long, vague and legalese description of property plus assets and finally the debt owed.

The dollar amount invested by the 200 individual investors (and I'm assuming this cash to have already been lost), is $27,500,000. The amount of the debt being foreclosed upon is $51,799,126.95.

Maybe I'm stupid but this looks like a nearly $80,000,000 bloodbath right here in Placer County. I know there will be some recovery on the land sale but holy cow!

Why is this not a news story? Have I just missed it? Anyone have any details?

smf said...

Talking about bloodbaths:

With our house for sale, we put in a price that we thought was lower than most comparables. Didn't take more than a week for an offer. Of course, if it sells at that price, the comparable it creates does not help many other homes for sale.

And with the planned offer on the house we want, we would do the same thing. If our possible offer gets accepted...umm...more than several people will see their sale price be way over.

I wonder how long will some 'hate' us for setting the bar lower on comparables? pioneers can suffer.

shellshocked said...

sold in 05. Yep, looks like a bloodbath for those investors and the fund that lent them the money.

Has anyone else noticed all the stopped projects around town by infill developer Sixells? I know they have a lot of lawsuits filed against them for unpaid bills, but I keep driving by some of their developments and see no activity whatsoever. Have they filed for bankruptcy YET? Anyone know if they have anyone guaranteeing their debt besides David Lonich and Kip Skidmore (and their wives)?

I am seeing lots of lawsuits by banks against individuals where the banks are seeking to have the guarantors on a lot of these projects make good for the corporate entity borrower. Examples: CC Myers for Winchester, John Reynen, Christo Bardis, Kip Skidmore, David Lonich,... any others?

Patient Renter said... pioneers can suffer.

That's what I'd like to think as well :) G'luck.

waiting_for_the_fall said...

800 isn't near perfect credit. Near perfect is 990, which I found out recently is my credit score- better than 98% of the nation.

I got that score by always, and I mean ALWAYS paying my bills on time. I like buying things on sale, buying store brands, and saving money when I can. Sure, I can afford to buy a 50 inch flat screen tv, but I'm waiting for the price to drop below 1k.

There's no way I'm buying a house until prices come down to what rents are.
That won't happen right away. I expect at least 2 to 4 more years of price declines, then stagnant for another 2 to 4 years.

This bubble will take a long time to deflate.

OntheSidelines said...

This is a little off topic...but can anyone tell where I can get the median home price per square foot in Folsom (95630) as far back as 1980.

I want to create a graph showing these trends from 1980 through 2007.

Thanks in advance.

Jacob said...

800 isn't near perfect credit. Near perfect is 990, which I found out recently is my credit score- better than 98% of the nation.

850 is the top of the FICO range. There are some free services to get a FICO or FAKO or some other such score that go higher.

750-850 is the top rating. If you have this score you can get the best deals that anyone is offering.

Gwynster said...

I finally broke 750. All the scoring I've seen is 850 capped. They've been talking about revising how scoring works and changing the scale to 1000 or so capped but it hasn't happened yet.

inpd said...

Yes, I was referring to the credit score capped at 850. That's what all the banks use. They'll get your credit score from the 3 agencies and drop the top and bottom one and take the middle. At least that's what BOA and WF does.

I still contend that 800 is near perfect.
Getting 850 will require an unusual situation. People who borrow alot and
pay on time. Few people are like that.
Most people who pay on time, don't
borrow alot, since they don't need to.

inpd said...

That won't happen right away. I expect at least 2 to 4 more years of price declines, then stagnant for another 2 to 4 years.

I believe in the places already greatly
effected (i.e. Elk grove, Natomas)
the end of price drops are near.

But areas like Lands Park, Davis
are as you say, in for another 4 years
of drops until people can afford them.

waiting_for_the_fall said...

I got my credit score from TransUnion and was surprised it was so high. I guess that agency raised it to 1000.

Rich Wilson said...

The free score that TransUnion gives you isn't FICO, and is pretty much useless. It's a way to get you to buy their monitoring service.

Getting into the 800s requires maintaining a balance near 30% of your available credit. Always pay on time, but don't pay in full. It's really not worth doing. You pay intrest by maintaining a balance, and you won't get a better rate than someone with a 750. It also helps to have several different kinds of credit (cards and a car loan e.g.)

Gwynster said...

Exactly, paying off the balances each month keeps it down. I actually began clsoing accounts with long histories because I just don't use them and don't need them.

inpd said...

Gwynster and others living in the Davis area, what's you take on measure J
passing again.

Recall it's due for renewal in 2010
and last time just passed 53.5% to 46.5%.

If Measure J's renewal fails then
Davis will be turned into a Sac
suburb and loose everything that's
nice about it.

Deflationary Jane said...

'If Measure J's renewal fails then
Davis will be turned into a Sac
suburb and loose everything that's
nice about it.'

Me? I hope it fails by a big margin. Davis is like the Truman Show with old hippies turned nasty conservative and ugly, aging housing stock. Last time I was surrounded by more selfish and unappealing human beings was when I last returned to OC. Being a Sacramento suburb would be an improvement.

The only thing that keeps me sane here are the students and my husband. Only thing that keeps me here is the bike commute. It's no secret that given the chance (jobs at a univ in another state), we'd be out of CA in a heartbeat.

Jacob said...

I actually began clsoing accounts with long histories because I just don't use them and don't need them.

That will actually hurt you as it lowers the average age of all your accounts so you should leave them open.

But anything over 750 will get you the best deals. Keep your usage to 30% or less on any revolving account.

If I got a car loan or mortgage it would help me by giving me different types of credit, but would also hurt me cause I would have more credit/debt.

But before I qualify for a mortgage I will just pay off all my credit cards and keep the usage to 20% or less to give my credit a little bump. It goes between 775-830 based on what my balances are, or if I open a new account it takes a hit for a few months etc.

anon1137 said...

March Water Cooler? It's April 4th! Is Lander asleep at the switch again?

Unsold Homes Tie Down Would-Be Transplants

Seems like there are a lot of stories like this lately. NBC news had another one last night about people who want to retire "but can't sell their homes".

What a joke. It's not that they can't sell, it's that they won't lower the price enough to sell it. The bubble prices their neighbors were getting at the height of the boom gave them visions of a jackpot profit and now they can't seem to get that vision out their heads. The dream is paralyzing them - they can't move, can't eat (well, maybe they can eat), can't sleep, can't function unless they can hit that jackpot.

Boo-hoo. Maybe we need a taxpayer funded bailout for the sad homeowners who missed the top of the market.