Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lending Activity In Santa Barbara

It has been a couple of months since I updated my charts on lending activity in Santa Barbara. Not much in the way of change. Purchase loans are still happening and refinance loans are really slowing down.

I'm trying to figure out what is causing the refinance loans to slow down. I'm coming up with a number of scenarios.

  • First, it could certainly be what we would all expect. Property values are down and loan rates just aren't that appealing when you compare them to the rates we got accustomed to in the 5% range.
  • Second, maybe banks aren't lending the way they once did. Qualifying for a refinance loan today is certainly more difficult than in the past and this is the banks way of saying we don't want to give you any money.
  • Another possibility could be borrowers just aren't feeling the need to refinance. They have figured out pulling money out of their homes might not be a good idea, and or their interest rate is still pretty good.

It's probably a combination of many things some of them probably weren't mentioned. If you have a thought feel free to share it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lompoc And Santa Ynez Valley Home Sales

I'm seeing a recovery going on in the Lompoc area. With 64 properties selling in September. Most of them being homes.  I'm sure that the increased home sales are not just a short term trend. 21 of these properties sold for $200,000 or less. Another 21 sold for $300,000 or less, and 22 properties sold for over $300,000.
It would appear to me at first glance that the 2 higher priced sales in Lompoc were commercial buildings.
  • 1225 N. H St. $1,050,000
  • 129 W. Central $1,500,000

Moving on to the Santa Ynez Valley area, there wasn't much activity. 7 sales in total with 4 of the 6 being $1,600,000 or over.
  • 2920 Bramadero Rd. $1,600,000
  • 3080 Montecielo Rd. $1,775,000
  • 1080 Viendra Rd. $2,050,000
  • 1925 Still Meadow Rd. $2,300,000
What is being seen in the Lompoc area is indicative of what I'm hearing about across southern california and the country. There are many areas, most of them the ones that were hit hardest by foreclosures that are now seeing activity because of the the low prices. Having the volume of sales increase is the first sign things are going in the right direction.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Santa Maria Home Sales Continue Their Brisk Pace

While the stock market has been the topic du jour. The northern part of Santa Barbara County has been doing a great job of showing signs of a real estate recovery.

The Santa Maria area had almost 200 properties transfer in September to a new end user. That is a very substantial number and crushes anything the south coast is seeing.

Along with the number of homes that are selling is the fact that the prices of these properties are at a median price we haven't seen in a long time. I quickly calculated the median price for all the properties that transferred and it was below $250,000. WOW!

The higher priced properties continue to be in the Orcutt area, but even they are not selling for anything you would consider high based on prices from a number of years ago.

I am glad to report I believe the number of sales occurring in the Santa Maria area this year would cause me to believe that things are good in the real estate market and are going to get better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

September Real Estate Sales In Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara area has been pretty consistent in recent months with the number of sales that CORT has been reporting. September saw a small decrease to 117.
The 2 largest sales appear to be commercial properties. 600 Pine Ave. in Goleta sold for $13,100,000 and 5464 Carpinteria Ave. sold for $12,000,000.
The largest residential sales appear to be 942 Hot Springs which sold for $10,107,000 and 803 Picacho sold for $9,500,000.
Hope Ranch appeared to have a pretty active month with 3 properties selling.
  1. $2,555,500 9/12/2008 1510 CANTERA AVE
  2. $3,495,000 9/30/2008 1151 ESTRELLA DR
  3. $5,000,000 9/30/2008 4545 VIA ESPERANZA
I noticed a number of Highlands Condos transferring as well.
  1. $380,000 9/10/2008 968 Miramonte DR 2
  2. $389,000 9/2/2008 965 Miramonte DR 5
  3. $475,000 9/26/2008 951 Miramonte DR 3
Those are my quick observations for now. Be your own judge on what is happening in your area of interest.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Did The Banks Take Back In September?

There is definetely something to be said for consistency! That is what the last 2 months have yielded in terms of properties going back to their respective lenders due to foreclosure.

In August there were 211 and in September there were 209. How's that for a horse race? Seeing this number go lower in the coming months is what I'm expecting since the number of notice of defaults is dropping.

25 of the 209 properties taken back were in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, and Carpinteria areas.  This is a small increase over the previous months, but nothing significant.

Countrywide was again the big land baron taking back 45 of the 209 properties. I have only been watching who the lender is for a couple of months now, but Countrywide is certainly the big winner or loser depending on your perspective.

Lompoc had 35 properties and Santa Maria had a total of 125 with the sourrounding areas in the northern part of the county sharing the rest of the properties.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Santa Barbara County Foreclosure Trends

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm getting pretty dizzy watching the stock market go up 400 points one minute and then be down 200 points the next. It has been a very wild ride to say the least if you are paying attention there.

The Santa Barbara County real estate market hasn't been so up and down. It has been pretty consistent for the most part.

With respects to foreclosures and some of the indicators I watch to tell me whether they are slowing or not, the trend is certainly slowing.

The most significant number in September was the number of notice of defaults the county reported recording. There were only 112 as compared to 269 in August. I am certain that some of the legislation requiring lenders to get in touch with borrowers before recording these notices is having an affect on how many are being recorded, but I also think they will be working out the terms of some borrowers loans which again will cause the default rate to slow down.

The number of trustees deeds has also declined in a large way from 217 in August to 146 in September. More obviously good news for the foreclosure market.

The last 2 pieces of the equation are also spelling relief for the foreclosure market. The number of loans that are adjusting this month is 228 which is the peak for the year. I have data out to January 2009 and that number is 115. This tells me less borrowers are going to feel stuck in the adjustable loans they have.

The final part of the foreclosure equation in my mind is how many of these foreclosures are selling? This is important since that inventory needs to be bought up before we are going to see prices start to really stabilize and climb. In Santa Barbara County there were 81 of those properties purchased in September. This number has continually increased since January of this year showing me that the price point is being reached.

Foreclosures aren't going away any time soon, but they are selling and they are becoming less of an impact on our residential markets.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Are You Searching For Foreclosures Or Short Sales In Santa Barbara?

I had the pleasure today of speaking to Sue Irwin. She is an agent working for Prudential California Realty in Santa Barbara. She introduced me to a new website that she and her partner Kalia Rork have just launched.

She promoted it as a place where someone can go and either get educated on short sales and foreclosures or search those types of properties that are listed in the Santa Barbara area.

I know that I have certainly been asked more then once on how to find distressed properties in Santa Barbara. This seems to be a quick way to search the Multiple Listing Service for any properties that are listed for sale meeting those requirements. 

Good Luck to Sue and Kalia for launching what I think is a unique service. At least it is for now! 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Foreclosure Story!

Here on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County we have heard about the areas of Southern California that have been extremely hard hit by foreclosures.

We have been fortunate enough to be in an area that has been relatively unnaffected. The video below done by KCET is worth watching to get the real story behind how some of the areas being hard hit are affected. It is about 12 minutes long, but worth watching.