Wednesday, September 24, 2008

August Property Sales Kept Up The Consistency!

It is that time of month again when I'm able to map out all the home and property sales that happened in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, and Carpinteria areas.

Consistency is once again the theme, 123 sales but there was one biggie. A piece of property on Cima Del Mundo sold for $26,400,000 as reported by CORT. I sure would like to have a look at that property. Maybe Google Earth will give me a shot. Better yet I found a photo tour you can view if you would like. That is a nice house!

The next biggest sale for August was 34 W. Victoria, which if memory serves me right is the Vons site at the corner of Chapala and Victoria. That sold for $12,500,000. I wonder if the new owners have some sort of plans for that location.

Goleta real estate appears to be continuing to hang in there. A property at 611 Corte Bella sold for $2,050,000 in August when a property earlier in the year on that same street sold for just under $2,000,000. It is interesting to see a number of properties selling below $750,000.

Carpinteria real estate is continuing to do what you would expect in this market. The sleepy little seaside surf town had 10 properties sell for well under 1 million. As a matter of fact a number of those properties went for under 500k.

Montecito had a solid month with quite a few properties in the 2-4 million dollar range selling.

Santa Barbara had a number of sales as well, with the median price being in the mid 900's. There were a number of sales over the $2,000,000 number with 1732 Santa Barbara St. going for $3,850,000.

I'm sure there were many sales you may be interested in looking up yourself, so don't hesitate to use the map below to quell your curiosity.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Santa Barbara's August Sales Numbers.

How does 123 transactions in August hit ya? The impression it left on me, was same ole same ole. Since March of this year the number of transactions in the Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, & Montecito real estate markets has been very consistent.

The lowest number during that time frame was 118, and the highest number was 135. During that time we have seen the number of foreclosure properties jump a bit from a few a month to 22 or so. There have been a number of financial institutions that have had to take some drastic action just to survive. Some didn't! The number of refinanced home loans has been dramatically reduced.

Besides the number of transactions, home loan rates have also been relatively unchanged. Qualifying for a loan has remained relatively difficult even for the most qualified buyers, but it is getting done.

What does it all mean? For me, I am glad that the number of properties changing hands has remained pretty consistent. When many things around these sales have been in total chaos the consistency tells me there is still some demand. People are willing to buy homes even though the financial world is upside down.

When some of the other areas of the financial markets get some consistent results then you will see some confidence come back in to the real estate lending field. Until that happens I think the number of sales is going to remain pretty consistent, some might say boring.

See You In Escrow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Santa Barbara's "Notice of Defaults" Are On The Decline!

In light of the news last night about the government getting more involved with the bad loans that are out there, the decline in notices of defaults being recorded in Santa Barbara County is more good news in an economy that hasn't had much in recent months.

If the notice of default number continues to decline there just isn't any way the number of foreclosures will continue it's unprecedented rise. One other item of note is the number of loans that are scheduled to adjust in Santa Barbara County in the coming months is also declining sharply.

Foreclosures have been a significant part of the real escape landscape in the last couple of years. They have had as much to do with volume going down as well as the median price. I do expect them to continue to taper off through the end of the year and in to next year even if the government doesn't step in and do anything to exaggerate that decline.

What will this mean for local real estate. I think we are already seeing it in the Santa Maria and Lompoc areas. The median price there has begun to stabilize and the number of transactions has been up significantly from last year.

Since those areas have seen the most number of foreclosures it will take them more than just a few months of sales to stop feeling their affects. I do believe that you could possibly see some real price stabilization early next year, with a threat of prices rising sometime near the end of 2009.

As far as the Santa Barbara area is concerned it may take a little longer to see any real price appreciation. The north county may be a barometer of things to come on the south coast and will probably see prices rising sooner than the Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria areas will. With the new government program that is being finalized this weekend though all bets are off on exactly how quickly things will get back on track.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Countrywide Is The Land Baron Of Santa Barbara County!

I just pulled up the August information for properties being taken back due to foreclosure and Countrywide took back 25% of the overall number for August in Santa Barbara County.

It isn't even worth trying to figure out who was in 2nd. With 211 properties going back to their respective lenders as REO's and Countrywide with 54 (if I counted correctly) the rest of the pack was left in the dust.

I did see the usual suspects though, Wells Fargo, WAMU, Chase etc.....

One field of information I didn't remember seeing in the past was the information on surnames. I don't know what this really has to do with anything, but 107 of the 211 properties had been owned by people with hispanic surnames.

21 of the 211 were in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, and Carpinteria areas. If memory serves me correctly, that is 1 less than what occurred in July. So, 180 of the properties on the list are from the Santa Maria, Lompoc, & Santa Ynez Valley.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Is Santa Barbara Real Estate A Good Investment?

I have been busy with meetings and corporate projects recently and have been neglecting getting my posts up on the blog this week. I didn't hear a lot of backlash from the 4 readers I have, so I hope they are still out there. ;o)

Today I am wanting to put up some numbers about the median price of a home that I received from Mark Schniepp at the California Economic Forecast.

As you can see from the chart, the question of whether or not Santa Barbara Real Estate is a good investment or not is pretty easy to answer. If you had purchased the median priced home in 1975 for about $48,000 it would now be worth about $1,230,000. That sounds like a great place to have put your money. We all should have bought 3 or 4 for that matter.

One of the thoughts in real estate has been it is cyclical. I have heard more than one person say that the cycle runs about every 10 years. So is that what the chart says? I would say that is pretty close to the truth.

We are obviously in that area where the prices are going down. One of the reasons the median price did not go down in 2007 is that the high end of the market was very hot. If that hadn't occurred we would probably had 2 years in a row of lower numbers. As you can see from the chart the median price does not stay down very long, so if you are thinking of buying it might be the window you are looking for.

One other thing that is fun to notice is that the increases in the median price in the mid 2000's aren't unprecedented. The 30%+ increases that happened in the 70's are the biggest increases on this chart.

If you want to hear more about the forecast on real estate locally you should attend the program being put on by the Association of Realtors and The California Economic Forecast Project at the Cabrillo Arts Center Thursday morning the 18th. You can get tickets at the Association office at 1415 Chapala St. There should also be some available at the door.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lompoc And Santa Ynez Valley Sales

As the Real Estate Market begins to get its feet back under it, I have been noticing some pockets of activity. One of those pockets this month was the Santa Ynez Valley.

There were 17 transactions that closed in July. The areas covered by the Santa Ynez Valley include Solvang & Buellton, Los Olivos, & Santa Ynez. These are all very wonderful neighborhoods with their own identities.

If you dig in to the details in this area, there were a number of properties that sold over 1 million with 1 property that closed over 5 million.

Other than that, Lompoc had a busy month as well with 58 transactions. For an area that had been hard hit by the foreclosure market and had dipped way below that number this is another good month.

Lompoc's prices are pretty appealing based on what they had been just a few short years ago. Many of the homes are selling in the $250,000 range. That is very affordable for that area.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Santa Maria Home Sales Are Still Hot!

CORT has reported 148 properties transferring in the Santa Maria area in July. Once again that is a very good number. Historically, that certainly beats the numbers posted in July for the last couple years.

Many of the sellers again are banks and that is more terrific news. As the inventories of foreclosed properties continue to be sold off there will be less of those properties competing with other home sellers.

The lenders that appear to be active in this area selling off their properties are Bank of New York, HSBC Bank, Indymac, US Bank Nat Assoc, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, and the big winner with 22 properties sold was Deutsche Bank.

There were a couple of properties that sold for over 1 million, and a handful of properties that actually sold for less than $100,000. The median price was right around $250,000. I have to think buying a home in the Santa Maria area for that price is a bargain.

The conforming loan products that are out there as well as the lower price point are what is fueling this recovery. Personally, I'm glad to see it. This area got hit very hard, and it isn't completely over yet, but it does appear that the prices aren't going any lower.