Ready Set

Hello, everyone, I hope you had a great holiday yesterday, I know I enjoyed taking a little bit of time off. This is our Southern California First-Time Buyer Market Update. My name is Stephen Meade with Domicile Real Estate where we are on a mission to help California's renters become homeowners. And we're talking about the end of 2023 as far as our entry level market goes here in Southern California.

So let's go ahead and get started. We're going to talk about where the market is. And then we're going to finish up with some predictions for the coming spring. So if we go ahead and take a look at our data going forward, let me open up our slides here. There we go. So first thing is closed prices. And I think this might be a little misleading. And if you've heard me talk about this before, this data is four to six weeks old, because this is based on transactions which have closed and closed transactions are transactions that went into escrow four to six weeks ago. So we're taking a snapshot in the rearview mirror. And what did we see, we actually see a real price drop here for our entry level single family homes.

Just as a reminder, for those of you who are either just tuning in or haven't heard this in a while, our entry level single family home is a 25th percentile, a three bedroom, two bath and LA and Orange Counties. What does that mean? It means that the median, or the 50th percentile is halfway between the cheapest and the most expensive. The first quartile is halfway between the cheapest and the middle. And that's meant to approximate an entry level home price. In Los Angeles and Orange Counties, we see a pretty big drop there, a little bit of a rebound on the condo numbers. But these are actually pretty soft. Prices, I don't want you to get too excited, because we've got some data to show you.

This is where the market was four to six weeks ago, not necessarily where the market is. And we're going to take a look at that in a second year. So you know, I think also this is very common for December, December tends to be the weakest month for home sales here in Southern California. So if we go ahead and we take a look at our monthly payment, this combined with lowering interest rates, I mean, look at what this has done. This has put us down here in this 5951 number for our entry level single family home. And just as a reminder, this is based on 5% down, it includes mortgage insurance, taxes, etc, that's 5951. That's really similar to the numbers we were seeing, gosh darn back in kind of the May time period here. So kind of rewinding the clock about six or seven months, kind of going back in time.

And if you've watched our last update, that was kind of a a theme that we had there are a market as a whole, we've kind of got a similar story here over in terms of our entry level condos, same thing kind of back into that may I am period. Now, as a consequence, this also means our minimum household income for these properties has also gone down I mean, look at this, the minimum income with no other debts in order to support this payment. Household Income is about $146,000 for that insurable single family home and $111,000 for that entry level, condo. But here is where the plot thickens. So it is not uncommon for our absorption rates to spike around this time of year. Right, we saw these kind of come up here.

But what's a little bit unusual is just how far they spiked. We are at around the 120/5 percent 125% level for absorption rate, that's a bit higher than we were at last year. And I'm going to tell you why I think this number is a little bit concerning for me, as far as opportunities for entry level homebuyers go. So if we take a look at our total inventory, this is the one that's especially concerning. Look at where we were last year around this time, inventory was dropping, but in this kind of gentle manner, heading towards the bottom that occurs sometime in the spring where and then it starts to bounce back up through the year, kind of a similar pattern that we see most years. Look at the slope on these curves are in show level condos here in blue, that inventory is taking it out.

So not only is this slope downward, but it's already at a significantly lower level than we were at last year. So I don't want to be, you know, the bearer of bad news. This is kind of a little bit of a preview of what we're going to talk about at the end. But I am expecting a very, very tight inventory spring. And I'll go into a little bit more about that as we reach the end here. So See, we've got this downward slope at a much lower level, I mean, we are below 1500 houses, cash for about 1250. Maybe for our entry level single family homes last year, at this point time, we're probably at about 800.

So you know, that is a third fewer homes than we were at last year. If we look at our percent still active, when this number goes down, it actually means things are more competitive. This is starting to look like summer numbers. But more importantly, let's reference this to last year, right? On the 27th of December, where were we last year, we were around 80%. For our entry level single family home, we're around 75%, much more like the summer numbers, is what we're seeing. And I think that should tell you a lot about where the market is at this moment in time. And I'm telling you, at this exact moment in time, this is a hot market at the entry level end of the spectrum. So finally, if we look at our relative supply of homes, that number is not quite as bleak, but it's also not heading in the direction that we'd like. Where were we last year again, at that reference point two days after Christmas last year, we're at 11 and a half weeks for our entry level single family homes 13 and a half weeks for our condos.

Where are we right now? Well, gosh, we're under 10 weeks of inventory for our condos. And we are under six and a half weeks of relative inventory for a single family home. So let's talk about what what this actually means. Right? What does this mean, if you're a buyer on the sidelines, I think it means, you know, we titled this video Ready, set? And of course, what's the next word that comes after that? Go. And I think that's what we're gonna see in our housing market, I think we're gonna see a very tight inventory spring, I think we're going to see, really multiple bids, especially on those more desirable properties, I think that's going to be commonplace, I think we're going to see hyper bidding, which we saw a couple of years ago, especially if these interest rates either hold where they're at or go lower.

Where are these interest rates, by the way, as of today, there are lenders offering a seven one jumbo, which means it's fixed for the first seven years at under 6%. At one point, so that is something available today out in the marketplace, our rates on mortgages in the fives, I think if that holds true, that's really going to kind of supercharge our spring. Now the other thing we're talking about right is if these rates are down, doesn't that also mean a lot of those dollars who are sitting on the on the sidelines, right? They're saying we want to move up to a bigger house, we want to do this, but you know, rates are too high, we have a 3% mortgage on our house, we don't want to go out there and get a 7% mortgage. Fear is the problem.

I think as these rates go into the sixes, and possibly into the fives, that is going to supercharge all the first time buyers are sitting on the sidelines, right, so they're gonna all come into the market looking for houses. The problem is, I think that while this will encourage some people who weren't going to sell at the end of last year are going to decide to sell the spring, I don't think that number will be nearly as big as the number of buyers who are jumping into the market based on these lower rates. And when you have that imbalance, that really is a recipe for kind of, like I said, some of that hyper pitting paper which of course, inevitably causes increases in prices.

You know, obviously, there are a lot of things that could change that this is just what we're seeing with the data we have available today, December 26. If those rates check back up that can alter the dynamics of this. But I think you know, generally speaking of if you were a buyer, and you thought I'm going to wait for rates to get lower, we told you that wasn't a good idea. I think that's not going to turn out to have been a good idea for you. Now, if you're someone who waited because you had job uncertainties, you have location uncertainty. You know, it doesn't matter what the rates are right? Like it wasn't a good time for you don't worry about that part of it.

So that's really what we're expecting in the next coming months, I think we're going to see, inventory levels are going to kind of plummet to maybe kind of kind of those 2021 levels, is what we might start seeing if I provide to a is this 2021 all over again, video because it's starting to feel a little bit like it was some of these macro economic effects. Josh, I hope everybody's enjoying a little bit time off. You know, somebody asked me, Why is it so difficult to buy your first home in Southern California? And I said, because it's worth it. And I still believe that that's true. I think the harder it is, the greater the reward for doing it.

And, you know, do we have clients where it's easy for them? Yes, we have clients who receive significant downpayment gifts from parents, we have clients who, you know, receive a restricted stock grant from their company that they can now cash in on. But the reality is most of our clients don't have those things right. Most of our clients receive either limited or no assistance from family members and they have to make it on their own. That's the reason And why we published our figures showing a 5% down payment. If you have more than that, that is awesome.

Anyhow, that's all we've got for you. Stay safe out there. Don't forget if you are interested in buying your first home or you know someone who shouldn't be buying the first home, we would love to lend you our expertise. It is our specialty, something that we do focus on here in Southern California. Don't forget to like subscribe and hit that notification bell and we will see you again real soon.

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