Wednesday, May 9, 2007

So What Do Lake Forest Realtors Say About The Market?

Since some little bird told me that real estate is local, let's check in with Realty Times and 4 key, local real estate agents for the local market conditions in Lake Forest, California (Orange County) with my comments in blue text:

REALTOR No. 1: Ms. Vicki Lloyd, Realtor with an MBA
"Since we are now into our "normal" buying and selling season, it is not surprising that more listings are coming on the market, but someone forgot to invite the buyers to come out of hiding! The decline in the total escrow number includes both closed sales and cancellations. I have noticed a much higher than average rate of properties coming "back on the market" due to buyers failing to qualify for their financing. With the recent tightening of lending standards and meltdown of the subprime mortgage market, fewer buyers are able to qualify for financing"

Active - 148@ $789,650 average list ($396/sqft)

Range from $574,000 to $1,890,000

In Escrow - 31 @ $803,500 average list ($383/sqft)

Range from $579,000 to $2,500,000

Last 30 days Closed - 15 @ $686,600 ($372/sqft)

Range from $569,000 to $899,000

Taken off market (expired, cancelled or withdrawn) - 23

Probably the most informative realtor comment on local market conditions I have read before. No bull-shit or fluff. Things are slowing down and Ms. Lloyd demonstrates the cajones to call it like she sees it. That kind of candor earns respect and is appreciated. Constructive data on the numbers - prices, volume, median levels, etc. - this lady appears to know her shit. She has the confidence gene that helps certain realtors survive shit storms.
Nice, open acknowledgement about the subprime fiasco too and the impact of basically eradicating her Lake Forest customer base. Afterall, most of us unimportant Lake Forest residents on the income bell curve only pull down$75,000 per year max. Not exactly what you'd call "conducive to the profile" of purchasing any of the 148 homes currently on Ms. Lloyd's active sales list. Unless, of course, you like leveraging yourself 10 times your annual gross income. One would have to be a financial moron to do so.

REALTOR No. 2: Mr. John Daniel ("doctor of real estate" and tri-athlon athlete)
"..many of the properties are still dated. And if your are trying to sell, this weak market is going to hurt you. For the near future, buyers have an opportunity to negotiate hard as the Lake Forest market is very slow. But eventually, I believe they will benefit greatly from their secret weapon. The irvine Great park will be on the northern boarder of Lake Forest. This premeir park should be one of the best in the country. And since the irvine company and developers are damanding increadibly high prices on high density new homes surround the park, Lake Forest should directly beneficiary.."

Mr. Daniel too acknowledges a slow market and more of a buyer's market status in Lake Forest. He even issues a stark warning that the market "can hurt you" right now. I liked that. Then he loses me. We are led to believe that a new theme park in Irvine and the ongoing land development of the old El Toro Marine Base is going to cause home values to rise again. Well, "Doctor", not unless median incomes in Lake Forest increase by a factor of 10, or median home prices plummet in the same fashion. And not unless mortgage lenders see a greenlight to issue ARM and interest-only loans to anybody on the street that has a pulse. Mr. Daniels provides no acknowledgement as to the possible causes for the weak market. It's just weak, OK! He said it was weak! Are you gonna just stand there, or are you gonna buy a home from Mr. Daniels! Jesus Christ! You people and your questions, questions, questions!!

REALTOR No. 3: Ms. Ginger Bohland-Aliotta
"Look at the weather around the country... who wouldn't want to live here! We have plenty of inventory, giving Buyer's more to choose from. Homes are sitting on the market longer these days, but we are not seeing drastic price reductions. Those that are priced right and are in good condtion ARE selling. Now is not the time to "flip" properties, but rather to focus on building equity and enjoy the tax benefits of home ownership. Densely populated Orange County is still one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, a great place to live and a great place to invest in your future"

Man, I sure wish somebody would do something to stop all of these house flippers here in Lake Forest, California. I mean, they are an out-of-control menace!
OH, there! Wow! Thank God! Ms. Bohland-Aliotta just declared that now is NOT the time to "flip" properties!

Really? We shouldn't be flipping houses? No flipping of houses? Because I'll flip houses anyway I can flip them!

And don't forget the weather. Man, if I could only charge 6% of every realtor in OC who has ever used that line....

Somehow I feel less informed after reading Ms. Bohland-Aliotta's opinion of the local market conditions. Some realtors possess that mysterious power.

REALTOR No. 4: Ms. Victoria Craig Robles
"The median price of all homes in Orange County recorded in February, 2007 was $620,000, slightly lower than one year ago. The median price in February of Lake Forest homes was $610,000. Total sales in February dropped to 45 homes, down by 36.6% compared with one year ago. The market is favoring buyers at this time as inventory is higher than normal and interest rates remain low."

After reading Ms. Craig Robles' viewpoint on the Lake Forest market, I'm now more convinced than ever before that the California Association of Realtors doesn't license people at all.
Can we be a little more vague to prospective buyers as to why it's a buyers market, why inventory is higher than normal, and why total sales are down by a whopping 37%?
Thank you at the very least for not making any of us even a little bit more informed, and for not saying something completely stupid like "It's a great time to buy".

1 comment:

Vicki Lloyd said...

Thank you for your nice comments! I am going to update my "Market Conditions" Report today, so check back in a few hours (assuming that the phone doesn't interrupt me too many times!)

I like your blog, and will link it to mine when I finish setting it up in the next couple of days.