Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Evidence Of The Credit Crunch

It appears to me that the definition of a credit crunch consists of 2 things. People getting more and more in debt and institutions not willing to refinance that debt or lend money at all.

So, where are we in Santa Barbara County?

In the communities on the south coast, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, & Carpinteria the number of refinances that closed in November is 20% of what it was just a year ago. To put it another way, it is down 80% from a year ago. That is a staggering number when you think about when this credit crunch began. It began in August or September of last year. If you look closely at the chart you will see that the average refinance amount is huge. That is attributed to a 68 million dollar refinance that Wachovia recorded. WOW!

Is the news any different in Santa Maria? NO!
The volume of loans there is down about 80% from the previous year as well. The only difference in Santa Maria is that in the last 5 months the purchase loans have outnumbered the refinance transactions. I would think that is a good sign, since most of those purchase loans are buyers, buying bank owned properties.
Now how different is the Lompoc area? NOT MUCH!
They are in the same situation that Santa Maria is in. Refinance volume is down over 80% from last year and there are more purchase loans than refinances and have been for the last 5 months.
I am not sure if this will change in the near future but I can say with certainty that the number of refinances in process right now has increased dramatically. We will have to wait and see if the properties are able to appraise or the borrowers are able to qualify.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Lenders Are Still Land Barons

Whether the lenders want to be or not they are land barons these days. Countrywide had been winning the race of who takes back the most properties every month until November. They only had 4 on this months list.

Washington Mutual was the big winner with 8 properties, but Deutsche Bank came in a close second with 7. There were only a total of 85 properties taken back in November.

There were a handful of properties on the list that had gone in to default back in 2007 but for the most part most of the properties the lenders took back had been defaulted on since May or June.

Only 13 of those properties had loans over $500,000 with only 1 being over 1 million at $1,348,319. 14 properties on the list were in the Santa Barbara, Goleta areas with the remaining 71 properties being in the Santa Maria and Lompoc areas.

Check them out on the map below.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

November Sales Turn Cold!

There are certainly many records being set in the financial world these days. Real Estate is no different. The number of Santa Barbara area homes sold in November is another all time low as far as I know. I did have my hopes up that the last quarter of this year would see more sales than last year.

Two months in to the last quarter of the year and the Santa Barbara Real Estate Sales are 3 transactions behind where they were last year. Come on December! In 2007 there were 93 transactions in December. After seeing what we opened as a company in November it is going to be close. We have a number of transactions that are wanting to close by the end of the year, so there may be a small surge.

So what did sell in November of 2008? The highest priced sale was a property in the Carpinteria, Montecito area at 915 Cima Del Mundo for $6,500,000. That has become a pretty hot area for the well to do recently. Other than that Montecito had the usual 2, 3, & 4 million dollar sales.

The rest of the South County saw pretty normal sales prices and nothing really out of the ordinary for this market. Santa Barbara, Montecito, & Carpinteria all had fewer homes sell this year than last. Goleta was the one area that saw a small increase in home sales over last year.

Check out your favorite area on the map below.