Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2007 REO's, Where Are They?

One of the topics of conversation in recent months has been on foreclosures. Where are they, how many, etc.... With the help of LandAmerica foreclosure services I have been able to get a list of all the properties that ended up being foreclosed on by the respective lender and ultimately owned by that lender.

If you didn't know what REO stood for, it is Real Estate Owned and I believe it is a term coined by lenders to represent the properties they own via foreclosure.

The map below represents all of those properties for the year 2007. You can zoom in to a particular part of the county and see which properties are represented. If you would rather browse the list of addresses, they are to the right of the map you can then click the one you want more information on and it will appear. I hope this is useful.

There are over 400 properties displayed on this map, so it can take a few seconds to load.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Website That Searches The Web For Listings?

This is a bit of a new twist. At least from what I've run accross.

DotHomes is a search engine that originated on the other side of the pond in England. They have a clean and interesting approach to the Real Estate Portal.

What there site does;

  1. It searches the internet for listings, no matter what website they are on.
  2. Then a google map will pop up with the markers for the listings DotHomes has found.
  3. You can then click on these markers and the detailed information for that listing comes up.

I just typed in a zip code and and away it went. You can narrow your search if you so desire. If a listing is found on more than one website it will show all the listings it has found with links to them.

I spent a few minutes just typing in a couple of searches locally and found the format that they were displayed in kinda cool. I have absolutely no idea how current or accurate the information is going to end up being. I can tell you that I found that most of the listings were from Coldwell Banker. I'll check in on this site in the future just to see if it becomes more complete.
Ultimately they will sell advertising to real estate related businesses.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What's Next?

I am probably like a lot of folks. I get out of bed and wrestle with getting my kids off to school and head in to the office.

What seems different these days is there is always a new piece of information that is supposed to determine where the real estate market is headed.

  • Today it was Bloomberg.com reporting; U.S. Economy: Existing Home Sales Fall, Prices Drop, 2007 provided us with "the biggest annual slump in 25 years and the first decline in prices since the Great Depression."

  • Yesterday it was Inman News reporting; The Bush administration appears willing to go along with an agreement by House Democrats and Republicans to boost the conforming loan limit.

  • Tuesday it was Fed Cuts Interest Rates by 75 Bps

I could continue to go on and on and every day there is a new prediction on what is going to happen. Some say more gloom and doom, others are saying now is a good time to buy.

Here is my reality, our orders are up over December and they are as good as they have been since July of 2007. All of this is going on and we haven't even finished January yet.

This year is going to be a good year for the Real Estate Business in Santa Barbara. The sub prime issues of months past have created pent up demand. Interest rates are about as low as we've seen in years and there is the possibility of another rate cute soon. Get Ready, folks we are going to get busy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Santa Barbara's Downtown Height Restrictions

It looks like the Chapala project that Bermant Development did has been the center of quite a bit of controversy lately.

The project is beautiful and very well done, but seems to be getting notoriety for being a tall building in an otherwise not so tall downtown.

It has truly begun to put the fear in to people that our downtown is going to turn in to some kind of a skyscraper filled San Francisco like locale.

The controversy is beginning to heat up with some people wanting to limit the height of buildings in the downtown area to 40 feet instead of the present 60 feet. Besides the obvious reasons for not doing it, one is that the city desperately needs to continue to find ways to build affordable units for it's citizens and one way is to go up.

Noozhawk had a pretty informative article. The comments section is of particular interest to me as well since you get a good cross section of what others are thinking. See You In Escrow!

Rain In Santa Barbara, Can't Be!

If any of you out there are like I am, a big wimp who doesn't want to go out in this rain, then maybe you would want to check out the following links to see what to expect.

The first couple of links show what the rainfall totals have been over the years.

The second couple are from KEYT. The last one from KEYT is a pretty cool map showing the latest Doppler radar.

Checking the forecast, it looks like we are in for some wet weather for a while. The thunder and lightening have been pretty exciting and or nerve wracking. I know everyone here at the office is worried about backing up there work regularly so they don't lose anything. The way it was coming down a little while ago makes me think we should build an ark. Enjoy your day, we don't get this often.

Just in case you were wondering;

Santa Barbara, California -- Wettest month on record, 1998. 21.74 inches (55.22 cm) of rain fell in February, the most rain in a month since record keeping began.

Santa Barbara Rainfall
County Website
101 Closed
KEYT Doppler Radar

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Santa Barbara Foreclosure Info December 2007

The first thing that is evident from the chart is the number of Notice of Defaults recorded in December spiked up from November.

There were less than 150 recorded in November and December's number rose to over 250.
That isn't good news for homeowners.
  • The number of Trustees deeds rose as well to over 50. This number reflects a lender taking back properties that had been in foreclosure.
  • The number of loans adusting dipped a little and the number of REO (bank owned) properties that sold continued a pretty consistent trend.
  • Santa Barbara County has been a tale of 2 market places, with the Santa Maria and Lompoc areas experiencing 90 percent of the foreclosures this year.
  • The Santa Barbara area, which includes Carpinteria, Montecito, and Goleta have had relatively low numbers of foreclosures.

What will we see in the future?
There has been a lot of attention paid to this market. The government has stepped in and given many sub prime borrowers time to sort our their situation. There is also continued talk about raising the conforming loan limits in California, which could help some home owners. The continued pressure to lower interest rates even more is also something that could affect this market in the near term. I will not be surprised even with the number of Notice of Defaults being recorded if we don't see a pretty significant slowing of homeowners in distress.

If you would like more of a California perspective check out this article on Inman News. Let me hear you thoughts and See You In Escrow!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Santa Barbara County Loan Activity for December 2007

Lending Institutions have certainly been seeing more than their fare share of the front page of many newspapers these days. If you read all the headlines you wouldn't think there were any left to do loans. Well there are and the loan programs I'm hearing about are pretty darn good. The County saw over 900 new residential loans and over 320 million in loan dollars in December of 2007. If you ask me that sounds like the lenders are lending. The Santa Barbara area had a slight increase in the number of non purchase loans done with a small decrease in the number of purchase loans. These numbers haven't changed much in the last 4 months. In the Santa Maria area for December there was a slight increase in the number of purchase loans and a slight decrease in non purchase loans. These numbers appear to be pretty similar to the numbers that have occurred the last 4 months as well. The numbers certainly aren't what they were earlier in the year, but they seem to be stabilizing and probably prepared to go up in the not too distant future. Lompoc in December was the only area where both the non purchase loans and the purchase loans went up slightly. Again, I don't think this is anything to revealing other than the numbers seem to be stabilizing and to me that might mean we are close or at the bottom of the market when it comes to the number of transactions that are being done. See You In Escrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Santa Maria and Lompoc Real Estate December 2007

The North County Sales showed some signs of life in December rebounding from October and November's numbers. The Santa Maria and Lompoc Real Estate Sales posted a 13% gain in the number of sales from November. If you look at some of the past years, this seems pretty typical in that market. In reviewing the list of sales, there were quite a few bank owned properties selling. Hopefully that is going to help strengthen that market by getting those properties out of the mix of listings that are available. If you focus your attention to the Santa Maria Orcutt sales, there increase over November was 17.5%. This was the highest number of sales in that area since August of this year. It is interesting to note that for December 2006 in Santa Maria there was not an increase in the number of sales as there had been in previous years. Lompoc on the other hand was flat. There were 25 sales in November and December of this year. I'm not quite sure what to make of the Santa Maria and Lompoc Real Estate markets. I do think that shortly people are going to start understanding that the prices are excellent. The really good news for these areas is that many properties can be purchased with a conforming loan. Those loans have excellent interest rates, even though they are a bit harder to qualify for than they were a year or so ago. See You In Escrow!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Santa Barbara Real Estate For December 2007

You are living in historic times! As you can see from the chart to the left, the number of transactions for Santa Barbara's South Coast fell below the 100 number for the first time that I can remember. I CORT figures back to Jan of 1997 and Dec of 2007 is the first and only time this happened. This constitutes over a 33% decrease from December of 2006. It is only a 6% decrease from November. The last 4 or 5 months have been a real anomaly due in most part to the Sub Prime lending issues. I think the rebound we were seeing earlier in the year could have sustained itself if that had not factored in to the equation. This leads me to believe that there will be some pent up demand in the not to distant future. With respects to the individual markets of Montecito, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Goleta the charts to the right show the number of sales in each area. Montecito and Summerland had their slowest months in recent history. This didn't surprise me too much in that I think folks with big money have just decided to sit out during the holidays. Santa Barbara showed a slight decrease, while Goleta showed a pretty significant move upward. Having Goleta improve this way I think is good for everyone. The low end of the market was pretty sluggish in 2007 and for our market to gain some real strength posting better volume in that are would be a terrific thing. Don't forget you will have access to these charts underneath the Market Trend section to the right. See You In Escrow!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Santa Barbara Real Estate Property Maps

The maps for December are now available. I am going to keep 3 to 6 months worth archived under Property Sales Maps to the right. I'm not sure how many months I should keep but I may also create another page where they will all be listed. There are currently 3 maps per month. One map showing the Real Estate Sales in Santa Barbara (which is displayed at the bottom of the page as well) and the South County which includes Carpinteria, Goleta, Montecito, & Summerland. Another map showing the sales in Santa Maria and the last map showing sales in Lompoc and The Santa Ynez Valley. This last map includes Buellton and Solvang as well as Santa Ynez and Lompoc. I want to point out that ZeeMaps is a free service and you can create your own maps. They even have a function where you can create a property map and it allows you to show all kinds of property information including a photo of the property within the map. The site is pretty user friendly and all you need to do is poke around on it for a short time to figure out what to do. If you need a little help in figuring it out don't hesitate to call get hold of me. Right now the service is completely free, but I'm not sure what their business model is yet, and so I wouldn't doubt it if they start to charge for the maps in some way. Remember to check back soon, as the Market Trends charts will be updated to reflect Decembers sales. Have a great weekend and See You In Escrow!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thoughts on 2008 for Santa Barbara Real Estate

I was inspired to do a little something on 2008 and or maybe make some observations of my own about 2007 by reading this article from TheXBroker. I would recommend everyone read it. 2008 in Santa Barbara Real Estate I think is going to be the tail of 2 halves, almost like 2007 was but in reverse. The first half of the year is going to be when we see the housing market start to get it's legs under it. The sub prime crisis is going to slowly become less of an issue which will allow us to see fewer foreclosures on the market and create a scenario where buyers are going to start moving again. I think the mortgage meltdown that we have seen is causing some pent up demand that should start showing itself by the second half of 2008. So the first half will be the time where buyers and sellers are figuring out just where the price point is and getting comfortable with those numbers. From everything I'm hearing interest rates should remain low, which will allow properties to keep moving. I am predicting a 5 to 10% increase in transactions with a decrease of maybe 3 to 5% of the median price. I've never made specific predictions before, so let's see how I do. If you are interested in some predictions on what online real estate is going to do in 2008, check out the Future Of Real Estate Marketing. The Daily Sound also had an interesting post on 2007 the year in review. Good Luck in 2008 and See You In Escrow!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Santa Barbara Sales Statistics For December

Via the hardworking and ever diligent Gary Woods the statistics for December of 2007 and the entire year have been released from the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. They are broken down in to 2 sections, one reflecting the information for Single Family Residences and Estates and the other section giving information for the Condominium market. The number of closed sales in December was slow and therefore it is hard to rely on information generated from such a small number of sales, but here it is. Homes and Estates saw 44 sales close with a median selling price of $929,000. This compares to 78 sales and a median price of $1,257,500. Condominiums were off as well reporting 12 closed sales and a median price of $526,000 compared to 29 closed sales and a median price of $635,000 in 2006. These declines are not surprising and the good news is that their appear to be some good buys on the market considering that rates are still good.

The sales numbers for the entire year were not all that surprising either. For 2007 there were 886 closed transactions for the SFR Estates category and the median price for the year was $1,231,750. The median price was probably propped up a bit by since the high end was a larger percentage of the market this year. For reference the 2006 numbers were 913 sales and a median price of $1,190,000. For condominiums 2007 ended up with 354 sales and a median price of $629,000. In 2006 there were 332 sales with a median price of $655,000.

My thoughts on the market are this. The number of listings dropped from 2006 to 2007, interest rates have remained low, and the median price has dropped. I think that smart buyers are going to start getting back in to the market in the next few months. Prices will need to remain low since the inventory is still too high for sellers to be in control. Look for an increase in the number of sales for the year, but we may not see this increase until the market gets a little steam. This could happen sometime between March and May. See You In Escrow!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Real Estate Networking, Online

Real Estate Agents and consumers have more and more options when it comes to connecting via the Internet. In the good old days agents would put their listings on their own websites or maybe their companies websites in hopes that consumers would look them up and make a connection with them. Then these listings began to find their way to sites like Realtor.com. Now the listings are being fed to local MLS sites like SBAOR.com and agents can now feed most if not all of the local Multiple listings to their own site through a system called IDX. What next? The last couple of years has seen a huge increase in online networking, Facebook and MySpace are probably a couple of familiar names. The real estate business is also facing the reality of consumers who want to get connected via a real estate networking site before they actually see homes or apply for loans. They have many questions and curiosities that cause them to seek answers. Some of the places consumers are getting answers are sites like Zillow, Trulia, Localism. 2008 will be interesting to see how Real Estate Agents market themselves on these sites as well as how the consumer use these avenues to get familiar with todays real estate market.