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Top 5 Trends in Housing Trends

by Ashlie DuCros

Top 5 Housing Trends: With five months of the year in the rearview mirror, there are crystal clear trends in 2019.

Everybody seems to have an opinion about the direction of the housing market. “Up!” “Down!” “The housing run has peaked!” “I’m going to wait for values to come crashing down.” In the end, there is way too much noise that is not rooted in facts, ignoring the data. It is time to step aside from the commotion and look at the trends that have surfaced in 2019.

Here’s a breakdown of the “Top 5” current Orange County housing trends:

1.There are a lot more homes on the market. In fact, this is the highest active inventory level since 2011. There are 7,479 homes that are currently FOR SALE. That is 27% more than last year, an additional 1,605 homes. At the start of the year, the difference was 2,204, so this trend is beginning to diminish. The big rumor is that there are a lot more homeowners opting to sell and flooding the market. The reality is that there are nearly the same number of sellers coming on the market year after year. In 2017, from January through May, 18,264 homes were placed on the market. In 2018 there were 18,199. And, there were 18,180 this year. No flood. Instead, fewer and fewer listings have been converted to sales due to muted demand. With less success, the active inventory has grown.

 2. Demand is muted compared to 2012 through the 2017. This trend emerged last year. In 2018, through May, demand (the number of new pending sales in the prior 30-days) was down by 13% compared to 2012 through 2017, the housing recovery. In 2019, it is down 20% compared to those same years. The muted demand has made it more challenging to sell. Homes are not appreciating like they used to. With values reaching record levels, the rise in incomes coupled with inflation has not been able to keep up with home prices. Also, many believe that the current seven-year housing run is reaching a peak and running out of steam. These factors are softening demand. Year over year, current demand looks a lot similar, off by only 19 pending sales, but keep in mind it was muted last year at this time. The trend of muted demand will continue for the remainder of the year.

 3.Muted demand has put a damper on closed sales. The number of closed sales is down 9% compared to last year and off by 12% compared to 2017. When there are fewer pending sales, that translates to fewer successful closed sales. For the rest of the year, expect reports of year over year closed sales to be almost identical. Keep in mind, closed sales last year were muted compared to prior years as well. From May through December in 2018, closed sales were down by 12% compared to 2017.

4.Home appreciation is now flat, so careful pricing is crucial. With a higher active inventory, coupled with muted demand, the Expected Market Time has increased substantially. Currently, it is at 85 days, a slight Seller’s Market. Unlike 2012 through 2018, housing did not enjoy a HOT Seller’s Market. It only evolved to a slight Seller’s Market, one where sellers get to call more of the shots, but homes are not appreciating much at all. Expect this trend to continue through the remainder of the year. As demand remains flat through the summer, more homes will be placed on the market and housing will evolve to a Balanced Market, one that does not favor buyers or sellers. There will be fewer multiple offer situations and homes will take an even longer time to sell. 

5.Interest rates have dropped dramatically over the past 6 months, improving affordability substantially, but not fueling much of a bump in demand. After nearly reaching 5% back in November, mortgage rates have dropped to 4%. They have not been this low since January 2018, right before they began to spike. This has increased affordability greatly. For a $750,000 mortgage, the monthly payment difference between 4% and 5% is $445. That is an annual savings of $5,340, or $26,700 in five-years. The drop in mortgage rates saved housing from slipping into a deep funk like September through December of 2018, but is has not moved the needle much in terms of increased demand. Even with the return of historically low interest rates, demand remains muted. With the Spring Market in the past, there are only a couple of great months left in the meatiest time of the year to sell. Once the market rolls into August, housing will start to transition to the Autumn Market where demand falls along with the active inventory. ( Steve Thomas- Quantitative Economics and Decision Sciences)

For more information, please contact us. 

Orange County Housing Market Summary Jan 2018

by Ashlie DuCros

Orange County Housing Market Summary:

 

  • The active listing inventory increased by 310 homes since the start of the New Year and now totals 3,707. Expect the inventory to increase from now through mid-Summer. Last year, there were 4,376 homes on the market, 669 more than today.
  • There are 31% fewer homes on the market below $500,000 today compared to last year at this time and demand is down by 28%. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now priced below $500,000. This price range is slowly disappearing.
  • Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, plunged by 158 in the past couple of weeks, down 10%, and now totals 1,447, most likely its lowest point of the year. The average pending price is $839,613.
  • The average list price for all of Orange County decreased to $1.8 million after reaching a record $1.9 million two weeks ago. This number is high due to the mix of homes in the luxury ranges that sit on the market and do not move as quickly as the lower end.
  • For homes priced below $750,000, the market is HOT with an expected market time of just 46 days. This range represents 38% of the active inventory and 62% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 67 days, a slight seller’s market (between 60 and 90 days). This range represents 17% of the active inventory and 19% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $1 million to $1.25 million, the expected market time is 101 days, a balanced market that does not favor a buyer or seller.
  • For luxury homes priced between $1.25 million and $1.5 million, the expected market time increased from 123 days to 157. For homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the expected market time decreased from 196 to 188 days. For luxury homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the expected market time increased from 266 days to 285 days. For luxury homes priced above $4 million, the expected market time increased from 667 to 695 days.
  • The luxury end, all homes above $1.25 million, accounts for 36% of the inventory and only 12% of demand.
  • The expected market time for all homes in Orange County increased from 67 days to 77 in the past two weeks, a tepid seller’s market (60 to 90 days). From here, we can expect the market time drop dramatically by the end of this month.
  • Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, make up only 1.3% of all listings and 2.7% of demand. There are only 17 foreclosures and 33 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, that’s 50 total distressed homes on the active market, dropping by 11 in the past two weeks and reaching its lowest level since the very beginning of the Great Recession. Last year there were 112 total distressed sales, 124% more than today.
  • There were 2,269 closed residential resales in December, down by 9% from December 2016’s 2,484 closed sales. December marked a 6.5% drop from November 2017. The sales to list price ratio was 97.3% for all of Orange County. Foreclosures accounted for just 0.8% of all closed sales and short sales accounted for 0.9%. That means that 98.3% of all sales were good ol’ fashioned sellers with equity.

​​For more information, please contact us at 714-743-9778, or email ashlie@ashlieducros.com

Orange County Housing Market - Novemeber 2017

by Ashlie DuCros

Here is the Summary of Orange County Housing market

The active listing inventory decreased by 337 homes in the past couple of weeks, the largest drop of the year, and now totals 4,878. The trend is down for the remainder of the year. Last year, there were 5,955 homes on the market, 1,077 more than today.

  • There are 36% fewer homes on the market below $500,000 today compared to last year at this time and demand is down by 16%. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now priced below $500,000. This price range is slowly disappearing.
  • Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 16 homes in the past couple of weeks, up 1%, and now totals 2,409. The average pending price is $879,146.
  • The average list price for all of Orange County remained at $1.7 million. This number is high due to the mix of homes in the luxury ranges that sit on the market and do not move as quickly as the lower end.
  • For homes priced below $750,000, the market is HOT with an expected market time of just 40 days. This range represents 40% of the active inventory and 61% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 51 days, a hot seller’s market (less than 60 days). This range represents 17% of the active inventory and 20% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $1 million to $1.25 million, the expected market time is 85 days, an extremely slight seller’s market with very slow appreciation.
  • For luxury homes priced between $1.25 million and $1.5 million, the expected market time decreased from 111 days to 100. For homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the expected market time decreased from 173 to 154 days. For luxury homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the expected market time decreased from 218 days to 164 days. For luxury homes priced above $4 million, the expected market time increased from 326 to 424 days.
  • The luxury end, all homes above $1.25 million, accounts for 35% of the inventory and only 13% of demand.
  • The expected market time for all homes in Orange County decreased in the past couple of weeks from 65 days to 61 days, a tepid seller’s market (60 to 90 days). From here, we can expect the market time to remain relatively flat, rising slightly by year’s end.
  • Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, make up only 1.2% of all listings and 2.3% of demand. There are only 20 foreclosures and 38 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, that’s 58 total distressed homes on the active market, decreasing by 9 in the past two weeks. Last year there were 133 total distressed sales, 129% more than today.
  • There were 2,543 closed residential resales in October, down by 1% from October 2016’s 2,575 closed sales. October marked a 7% drop from September 2017, normal for the Autumn Market. The sales to list price ratio was 98.2% for all of Orange County. Foreclosures accounted for just 0.7% of all closed sales and short sales accounted for 1.2%. That means that 98.1% of all sales were good ol’ fashioned sellers with equity.

​​For more information, please contact us at ashlie@ashlieducros.com or 714-743-9778

5 Ways to Sell Your House Stress-Free

by Ashlie DuCros

You’ve made the decision to sell your house. You may have been mulling it over for years, or perhaps a sudden life change has prompted you to make the leap. Whether you’re relocating for a job, empty-nest downsizing, or just need a change, you’ve made it past the first hurdle of reaching the decision!

But the many complicated logistics of selling your house may feel overwhelming. Before you get stressed out and change your mind about the whole thing, know that there are some great ways to stay focused and positive as you navigate this important step. Here are some tips to help you sell your house stress-free to make this leap a very positive one.

Be Clear About Your Objectives Up Front

A lot of communication is required when selling a house, so it’s critical to set a clear set of objectives to yourself and everyone else involved in the process: your real estate agent, your family, and your friends. From the outset, determine an attainable selling price for your home with your real estate agent, and set up clear and reliable lines of communication.

Be clear with your family and friends about what they can expect during the process, and what you’ll need from them to help facilitate the situation with as little stress as possible. Determining your goals and expectations and sharing them clearly with those closest to you is a critical step in eliminating undue stress as you maneuver through the process of selling your home.

 

Stay Flexible

You may have an idea in your head of how long it will take to sell your home. If it begins to take longer than what you expected, the stress will grow. Keep in mind that there are so many variables at play—the location, the price, the market—and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you set your mind to a too rigid deadline. An immediate house sale is rare, so it’s best to curb your expectations and stay flexible as the process unfolds.

 

Keep Things Tidy

You may be required to show your home to potential buyers at a moment’s notice. Maybe they’re in the area and want to pop in to view your home, or perhaps some out-of-towners want to add your house to their list before ending their visit. You won’t be so easily rattled by these last-second requests if you work diligently to keep your house tidy and in order at all times.

Make beds before leaving for work in the morning, never leave dishes in the kitchen sink, and keep up with the laundry and vacuuming. Thoroughly clean the bathrooms every week. If this is overwhelming, consider hiring cleaning help during this transition period. You may want to consider enlisting the help of a willing friend or neighbor who can help with last-minute tidying up if you can’t leave work. Keeping things neat consistently will dramatically reduce your stress level when last-minute showings come up.

 

Leave the House for Social Activities

Sometimes the pressure of unexpected showings and persistent phone calls can begin to take an emotional toll. To stick a pin in the building stress of selling a home, give yourself permission to get out of the house on occasion.

Go out to dinner with friends. Take a long weekend trip. Go to a museum or sporting event. Think of this time as an investment in your personal well-being, by getting your mind off the house sale for a bit. Getting out of the house can work wonders, especially during the first few weeks your house is listed.

 

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

No matter how all-encompassing it may seem, selling a house is never more than one piece of the large pie of life. Don’t forsake your other needs and demands while navigating the process of selling a home. Maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the process by eating healthy meals and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.

If you plan to move out of town, you may not be inclined to get a gym membership or join a yoga class. But you can still walk for a half hour every day or take the kids to a park where you can blow off some steam together.

Getting the appropriate nutrition is a natural way to help your body fight stress. Drink more water, pass on the fried foods, and get more hours of sleep than normal. You’ll thank yourself for the extra effort.

Selling your house can be stressful, but if you set realistic expectations and come to terms with the certainty of uncertainty for the time being, you’ll make it through with a smile.

If you need help selling your home, contact me today!

Looking to Move-Up to a Luxury Home? Now’s the Time!

by Ashlie DuCros


If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! Data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study shows that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer, or can be found at a discount.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a recent Washington post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs, and are looking to step into a luxury home… Now’s the time to list your house for sale. Call me to discuss how we can make your dreams come true!

Add Value to Your Home With This Outdoor Spring Clean-up Guide

by Ashlie DuCros

 

The Seller Drought Continues

by Ashlie DuCros

Fewer homeowners have opted to sell for years now in spite of massive appreciation and excellent conditions to sell. 

SO, what gives? Why aren’t homeowners moving like they did before? 

Some think it is because too many millennials are delaying the purchase of their first home and are shacking up with their parents. Others think it is because financing is too tight and that Dodd-Frank regulations are hurting housing. Both issues would have a negative effect on demand; however, housing does not have a problem with demand.

One of the key issues that has impacted the Orange County housing market has been the lack of affordable new housing. Today’s builders have been focusing on catering towards the higher end. The Orange County new home market used to create a lot more local real estate activity as many local homeowners bought new and had to sell their existing homes first. With the county running out of vacant land, this will be an ongoing issue.

Many homeowners are not moving because owning a home long term is now in vogue. The Great Recession rattled our collective psyche and people came out of it changed, looking at homeownership differently. Many are looking to hang onto their homes and dig in their roots, similar to the Midwest philosophy.

Still, the biggest factor preventing many would be sellers from placing their homes on the market is the fear that there will be nothing to buy after successfully selling their homes. This is one of the most prevalent, undermining market forces. Essentially, the low inventory is preventing homeowners from entering the fray. Collectively, they would significantly increase the inventory if they all gave it a shot and marketed their homes subject to finding a replacement property. A seller can accept an offer to purchase their home with the condition that they would be able to find a replacement property within a specific time period, 30-days being most common. If they are unable to find a replacement home within the given time period, then the contract is canceled or additional time may be negotiated.

Another way around this dilemma is the dreaded “double move” where a homeowner sells their home, moves into a monthly rental, and then takes their time to isolate the most ideal home for their family. There are plenty of moving companies that actually cater to this scenario and can crate and store whatever will not be used at the short term rental.

A lack of inventory coupled with a low housing turnover is a persistent trend that is not going to change in the near future. If you're a buyer, seller, or homeowner with any desire to make a move this year, call me to help you realistically approach the market and plan accordingly.

 

Real Estate Trends to Expect in 2017

by Ashlie DuCros

The real estate market is constantly evolving and 2017 is shaping up to be another year of change. If you're planning to buy a home in the new year (or you want to sell your existing home), it doesn't hurt to know a thing or two about what's trending in the markets. As we look ahead to the new year, here's what should be on your radar with regard to the housing markets.

 

1. Home Prices May Stabilize

Home prices have been on a steady incline in recent years. But that momentum may begin to slow down in 2017. Since the Federal Reserve just raised interest rates for the first time in a year, that could have a stabilizing effect on home prices. The National Association of Realtors estimates that price growth will slow to 3.9%, down from 4.9% in 2016.

For sellers, that may lead to a shrinking profit margin in previously hot local markets. Buyers, on the other hand, may be better positioned to snag a deal on a home in areas where prices have recently skyrocketed.

 

 

2. Demand for Housing Could Heat Up

According to the National Association of Realtors, we could see an uptick in the demand for properties in 2017. Specifically, NAR is predicting that existing home sales will top 6 million in 2017, which is similar to forecasts from the Mortgage Bankers' Association, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The increased push for housing may be driven in part by a growing number of millennials who are venturing into homeownership for the first time. In addition to purchasing single-family homes, younger buyers may buy condos as well.

 

 

3. Homeowners Could See Their Equity Rise

While the National Association of Realtors is projecting a slowdown in home prices, other housing industry experts are taking a different stance. CoreLogic, for example, is forecasting a price increase of 5.2% through September 2017. If home prices increase at that rate or close to it, some homeowners could see their home equity rise.

Having more equity in your home is a plus if you're hoping to sell your home or refinance. The more equity you've built up in your property, the more you stand to make if you decide to sell your house. If you're refinancing to pull equity out of your home for a major renovation, a higher equity value will give you more borrowing power.

 

 

4. More people will move to the suburbs for affordable housing

According to Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow, as home prices continue to rise, more buyers will move to the suburbs to find affordable housing.

"After the housing bust, people were able to move back to the cities because it was much cheaper than a few years ago," she said. "Now, we see people would still like to live close to the city center where they're close to amenities and in walkable neighborhoods, but for the first time they're not able to find enough inventory that's affordable for them to buy."

As a result, many people have to look further out from cities to find homes in the right price range.

This trend could be good news for suburban homeowners who are planning to put their homes on the market in 2017. For buyers, the primary advantage of choosing the suburbs over the city is the ability to stretch their budgets. For example, $325,000 may buy you a three-bedroom home in the 'burbs versus a one-bedroom studio in the city.

 

As we usher in the new year, if you plan to sell or buy a home this year, it helps to have a local professional on your side. Contact me TODAY! 

6 Tips for Selling Your House in Winter

by Ashlie DuCros

With people away on trips and cold weather making house hunting less appealing, winter can be a challenging time to sell your home. On the other hand, fewer homes on the market means yours will get more attention from buyers. By upping the cozy factor, making the most of winter assets and paying attention to details, you can make your house really stand out.

Here are six ways to prepare and stage your home for success, and create a warm and welcoming vision for buyers, even when the weather outside is frightful.

 

1. Have a cozy, crackling fire.

If you have a gas fireplace or new clean-burning woodstove, go ahead and light a fire to welcome visitors. But if your home's wood-burning fireplace is older and leaves a smoky smell in the room, hold off. Those with allergies or smoke sensitivities can be turned off — or literally turned away when they have to go outside.instead.

 

2. Keep entryways scrupulously clean.

 As with any time of year, a clean and clutter-free house will sell more easily (and maybe at a higher price) than one with more visible clutter. During winter it is especially important to remove mucky boots outside and keep family gear hidden in a closet or trunk, where potential buyers won't trip over them.

 

3. Give each room a warm touch. 

A folded throw draped over the back of an armchair, a plump quilt at the foot of the bed or an area rug in warm hues are a few small additions that will make a big difference in the way a room feels to prospective buyers. Also, be sure that every light is on — even for daytime showings. Winter days can be quite dim, and your house will look its best when it's as warmly lit as possible.

 

4. Show how outdoor rooms can be used even in the coldest months. 

If you have a covered porch or outdoor fireplace, be sure to keep the area fully furnished. Turn on outdoor lights, build a fire in the fireplace and drape a few thick throws over your outdoor furniture.

 

5. Showcase the entertaining possibilities of your home. 


Winter is prime time for festive parties and holiday open houses, so whet prospective buyers' appetites with an enticing display. Set out stacks of plates and fresh flowers on a dining room buffet or display holiday cookies on cake stands in the kitchen.

 

6. Do decorate for the holidays.

Buyers want to be able to envision living in your home, so it pays to make that vision as inviting as possible. Festive twinkling lights, green wreaths or topiary, and a decorated tree near Christmas will strike the right note. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard — in fact, a house overly cluttered with holiday decor can be a real turnoff.

Starting to Look for a Home? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED

by Ashlie DuCros

 

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or on the internet, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale with rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the man cave of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make or break now?

The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)

  • ‘Should Haves’ – if the property hits all of the must haves and some of the should haves, it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.

  • ‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!


Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. Call me today if you're thinking about buying a home and check out my Buyer Resources page for more helpful home buying tips. 

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Ashlie DuCros & Associates
Coldwell Banker Previews Global Luxury
21580 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda CA 92887
714-743-9778
Fax: 714-849-5489