April 2019 OC Housing Market Summary

Oakmont Plan 3 Model Home Beacon Park Irvine Kitchen and Dining

Here are some highlights of the current housing market and activity in Orange County:

  • The active listing inventory increased by 166 homes in the past two weeks, up 3%, and now totals 6,532. Last year, there were 4,609 homes on the market, 1,923 fewer than today. There are 42% more homes than last year.
  • So far this year, 4% fewer homes came on the market below $500,000 compared to 2018, and there were 15% fewer closed sales. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now priced below $500,000. This price range is continuing to vanish.
  • Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 78 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 3%, and now totals 2,350, its lowest level for this time of the year since 2014. Last year, there were 2,538 pending sales, 8% more than today.
  • The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 84 days two weeks ago to 83 days today, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days) and the highest level for this time of the year since 2011. It was at 54 days last year.
  • For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 and 90 days) with an expected market time of 64 days. This range represents 42% of the active inventory and 54% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 66 days, a slight Seller’s Market. This range represents 18% of the active inventory and 22% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $1 million to $1.25 million, the expected market time is 85 days, a slight Seller’s Market.
  • There were 1,543 closed residential resales in February, 15% fewer than February 2018’s 1,820 closed sales. February marked a 6% increase from January 2019. The sales to list price ratio was 97.4% for all of Orange County. Foreclosures accounted for just 0.3% of all closed sales, and short sales accounted for 0.6%. That means that 99.1% of all sales were good ol’ fashioned sellers with equity.

A Rug In the Kitchen? Thoughts?

I recently asked a friend of mine how they felt about a rug in the kitchen. I had a large colorful rug in my otherwise white kitchen for a long time. My sister, as well, had a large area rug in hers. But a rug, no matter how lovely, is not always suited for kitchen use.

I liked having a soft covering underfoot as I went from one end of the kitchen to the other. In addition, it was a darker color, so dirt did not show so much. AND it was a relatively inexpensive piece, so I didn’t feel bad if it suffered some war and tear (which it really did not). Plus it added a lot of color in an otherwise plain space. I guess if i grew tired of the color, I could always change it easier than changing cabinets, paint and flooring!

But after I DID change my flooring to a laminate wood, I liked the look of the wood better than old tile, so I got rid of the large area rug. the space looked much bigger without the rug, and clean-up was easier. I missed the soft flooring underfoot, but the trade-off was well worth it.

If you DO decide to use an area rug in the kitchen, make sure you use a pad to avoid slippage, maybe opt for an indoor/outdoor material and understand that it will take more effort when cleaning the kitchen floors.

New Listing ~ Beautiful Updated Mission Viejo View Home

26315 Buscador Kitchen Mission ViejoGreat new listing in south Mission Viejo, close to everything! Beautifully updated throughout, this property features 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths in over 1900sf of living space. Located on a view lot in the center of the tract, you can enjoy views, privacy and a quiet location. Wonderful curb appeal, updated kitchen and baths, newer carpet and lighting, newer paint in and out, newer roof, water heater and much more! Plus the two-car garage has also been newly finished with custom cabinetry, lighting, epoxy flooring and a work desk. No Mello-Roos, low HOA, close to schools, parks, shopping, freeways, etc.

To get full listing details, go HERE. Or give me a call for a private showing 949.525.5905.

List price $775,000.


Staging the Living Room to Sell Your Home

Staged Living Room Mission Viejo 26315 Buscador

Just like the front of the home and the garden is the first thing a buyer sees when they drive up to your home, the living room is usually the first room they see once they come inside. It therefore makes sense that this room should really stand out (in a good way) and make a great first impression on the buyer.

Make sure the buyer can really SEE this room and not see your collectibles, family photos and favorite crazy quilt. Try to minimize the amount of tables, decor, art and bright colors in this room. Rearrange furniture so that the room welcomes you in. Create a conversation area. Don’t hide any great features in the room, like a view, a window seat or architectural details.

When I stage a room, I usually wind up packing away a lot of things and then bring in a few well-chosen coordinating pieces to achieve the look I want that goes with the overall vibe of the home. I take lots of photos to make sure i achieve this. I keep moving things around until I am happy and it feels right and looks right in the photos.

Returning to a Balanced Housing Market in Orange County

Orange County Housing Market

For years, sellers have been in control of the housing market. Multiple offers were generated almost instantaneously after hammering in the FOR SALE sign. Homes flew off the market in the blink of an eye. Frustrated buyers had to cut back their expectations after writing offer after offer with no success. It felt like housing was unstoppable and would continue its relentless climb. That is until the spring of 2018.

This year has been all about the evolution of housing from a brisk paced, hot, Seller’s Market to a much more normal, Balanced Market. The trouble is nobody really remembers a “normal” market. It is where homes must be priced well, or they will sit. There is no room for error. In a hot seller’s market, homeowners get away with stretching their asking prices. With very little inventory and heated demand, buyers were willing to pay extra just to secure their piece of the “American Dream.”

Today, housing is much more balanced, a market that does not favor sellers or buyers. Overprice and sit. Sellers that pad the price to leave room for negotiations will sit. Sellers who ignore their professional REALTOR® and arbitrarily pick a price, will sit. Ignore real estate fundamentals like location, condition, and upgrades, and sellers will be stuck without success.

An unbelievable 37% of all homes on the active listing inventory have been exposed to the market for more than 60-days. That is high considering 39% of the active listing market has come on within the last 30-days. Of course, everyone

expects Sellers in the luxury ranges to play the waiting game; however, many sellers in the most affordable price ranges are sitting on the market and waiting as well. Below $500,000, it is 28% of the market. Between $500,000 and $750,000, it is 24% of the market. About a third of all sellers between $750,000 and $1 million have been on the market for over two months. From there, the share of sellers who have been waiting to find success grows, from 40% to 68%.

For the rest of the year, the percentages will just grow in every price range. That is because housing is now transitioning into the Autumn Market. This season of real estate begins with the kids going back to school. It is no longer the most advantageous time for families to move, so many would be buyers stop their search for the time being. On average, demand drops by 11% from the end of August to the start of October. With less demand, there are fewer sellers who are able to find success. As a result, more sellers find themselves sitting and waiting.

With both the Spring and Summer Markets in the rear-view mirror, many sellers realize that the best time of the year to sell is now in the past. For the remainder of the year, carefully pricing is absolutely crucial. There will be more homeowners this year who will not be able to isolate a buyer willing to purchase and their contracts to sell will expire. In the real estate trenches, they are called “expired listings.” Expect the number of expired listings this year to spike compared to the rest of the housing run.

Sellers have a choice: price their homes according to the Fair Market Value or throw in the towel and pull their homes off of the market. It sounds simple, but many sellers quite simply cannot get out of their own ways, unwilling to listen to the real estate experts and do what it takes to achieve their goals in selling.

Buyers need to be aware that while it is no longer a hot seller’s market, it is not a buyer’s market either. Looking for a “deal” is a waste of time. They too need to look at offering to purchase at a home’s Fair Market Value. Anything less, and they will not be successful in securing their piece of the “American Dream.”

Quick, Cheap and Easy Fixes That Add Value to Your Home

orange county bathroom DIY

Can’t or don’t want to do a complete home remodel but want an updated look? I almost always suggest these quick, inexpensive fixes that make a big impact, add lots of value and can look great!

In the Bath: Change out the faucet for something sleek and modern and then add matching drawer and cabinet pulls. While you are at it, install a new towel bar and toilet paper holder.  Have a little extra cash? A new water-saving toilet adds value and SAVES money!  Switching out a dated light fixture adds instant style and beauty. I get lots of comments from buyers saying they hate those older light fixtures.

In the Kitchen: If you have dated or worn cabinets, painting them will bring them up to date as will new drawer and cabinet pulls. And just like in the bathroom, new faucets and lighting go a very long way to saying, “I am new and in good condition!” And if you have a little extra cash, new appliances are well worth the investment. It will look like you did a whole remodel!

Paint: I love a fresh coat of paint and so will you and so will buyers if you are thinking of selling! Paint can freshen up a tired room, lighten a dark corner and add a cohesive look throughout if you stick to one modern neutral color.

Remove and Replace: Any old or outdated details from a bygone era that don’t work for you anymore? Old chair railing or wall paper or mirrored walls are not popular or very attractive. Consider removing them. Have an old wet bar? Maybe re-purpose it by removing old glass shelving and mirrors and simplifying the space into a snack bar or coffee bar.

A new home with more appeal and use value does not have to cost a fortune or take a lot of time and effort. Enjoy!

Charming Detached Home in Rancho Santa Margarita Under $650,000!

6 paseo Fucsia Rancho Santa Margarita for Sale

It is a tight market in Orange County right now, especially in the under $750,000 price range. This beauty may be just the right property for you!

Property is located at 6 Paseo Fucsia, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, and is listed at $649,900. It features an open, light-filled floor plan of almost 1500sf, 2 bedrooms PLUS an optional third bedroom, currently used as loft/office with built-ins, two full baths plus downstairs guest bath and a direct access two-car garage.  Formal living and dining, spacious eat-in kitchen with full-size laundry closet, master bed and bath upstairs with dressing area, walk-in closet, all clean and well-maintained.

One of the best features of the home is the private patio with fountain right off the eat-in kitchen that can also be enjoyed from the living room. with fireplace. Property is well-located within walking distance to schools, shops and entertainment with easy access to toll road. It is so easy to live here!

Call me for more details and a private showing 949.525.5905.

April 2018 Orange County Real Estate Info

Orange County Real Estate Market Info
The active inventory increased by 4% in the past two weeks.

The active listing inventory continued to climb in the past two weeks, adding an additional 189 homes, up 4%, and now totals 4,609. The active inventory is increasing at its fastest pace since 2014. It will continue to climb as the market moves deeper into the Spring Market, and will climb through the summer, peaking sometime between July and August.

After starting the year with 674 fewer homes compared to the start of 2017, 12% fewer, the year over year difference has drastically diminished. Today, there are only 107 fewer homes compared to last year, a 2% difference.

Demand increased by 5% in the past two weeks.

Demand, the number of new pending sales over the prior month, increased by 121 pending sales over the past couple of weeks and now totals 2,538, a 5% rise. The last time demand was above the 2,500 pending sale level was back in September 2017. The Spring Market is in full bloom and demand will continue to rise, peaking sometime between April and May.

Last year at this time, demand was at 2,664 pending sales, 126 more than today, or 5%. The number of pending sales has dropped this year because of a serious lack of inventory of homes priced below $750,000. This price range is significant as it represented 62% of all closed sales in 2017. So far this year, there has been 12% fewer homes that have come on the market below $750,000. The lack of homes in the most affordable price ranges has seriously undermined potential demand.

The expected market time, the amount of time it would take for a home that comes onto the market today to be placed into escrow down the road, decreased slightly from 55 to 54 days in the past two weeks, a hot, seller’s market. Last year at this time, the expected market time was at 53 days, very similar to today.

The luxury inventory and luxury demand increased in the past couple of weeks.

In the past two weeks, demand for homes above $1.25 million increased from 343 to 353 pending sales, up 3%. The luxury home inventory increased from 1,704 homes to 1,797, up 5%. From here, expect both demand and the inventory to rise throughout the Spring Market. The current expected market time for all homes priced above $1.25 million increased from 149 to 153 days over the past two-weeks.

For homes priced between $1.25 million and $1.5 million, the expected market time increased from 78 to 88 days. For homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the expected market time decreased from 149 to 142 days. For homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the expected market time increased from 193 days to 202. In addition, for homes priced above $4 million, the expected market time decreased from 338 to 296 days. At 296 days, a seller would be looking at placing their home into escrow around mid-January 2019.