Friday, March 25, 2011

Rossmoor Activity May Not Pick Up For Summer.

Listing volume for Rossmoor homes remains at incredibly low levels. Rossmoor residents don’t know what kind of market we are going to see moving forward. One thing is for sure…with a scant thirty properties currently listed, Summer could be a very interesting season indeed.
As of today, there have only been two closed sales this month. Both homes having been located on Martha Ann and not having sold for more than $750K, doesn’t really provide much confidence for the higher end market. These homes continue to sit on the market for quite some time. In fact, properties listed at over $1,000,000 have averaged well over ninety days on the market!
It looks as if the lack of available jumbo financing (Greater than $729,750) has made it significantly more difficult for buyers to get into the Rossmoor neighborhood. The real issue comes with small business owners. When you combine the changes to mortgage guidelines with health law changes, inflation and a fairly unfriendly business climate across the board, many business owners are choosing to wait it out and see what happens.
Help may be on the horizon. A number of mortgage lenders are now doing what they can to open up the market for self-employed borrowers. Union Bank, Wells Fargo and Met Life have reintroduced the portfolio loan. Rather than using the standard Fannie Mae rules, they use standards that are more suited to the self-employed borrower. With any luck, these changes will make home loans more accessible for these potential buyers.
The return of the real estate market is virtually inevitable, but the lack of homes for sale in Rossmoor has both buyers and sellers very nervous. Even with the best best efforts by the government and area Realtors, economic conditions have created a very soft market for home sales. With that in mind, we may want to temper our enthusiasm about the coming summer. It could be the quietest one we’ve seen in quite some time.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Little Things

Normally, I write this blog about Rossmoor homes, but today something is bothering me to where I need to speak a little bit off topic. It's about how important it is to stand up for the things that we feel strongly about, and how even small things can make a difference. About a week ago, Palestinian terrorists broke into an Israeli family's home in a West Bank settlement and brutally slaughtered a mother, father and three of their children. Naturally, I was horrified beyond all imagination at this kind of event, but it goes a little bit deeper. Following the return of the Palestinians to their own neighborhood, their deeds were celebrated in the streets and candy was passed out to their own children.

Unfortunately, these kinds of events are so terribly commonplace in that region, that we are almost numb to their brutality. The worst part of the whole situation is the absolute powerlessness that we feel to have any kind of impact on the situation. In the United States, we are generally reviled throughout the Middle East and our policies really do not change the way they operate. When I am looking at my own children and thinking how lucky I am to live where I do, I often find myself wondering what I can do to help.

I found inspiration in the most unusual place, Sprouts grocery store. To be more specific, it was when I was looking at organic grass fed beef. The label on the beef indicated that it was the product of Uruguay. You may ask yourself why that is important. Well, Tuesday (The day the horrors above took place), the government of Uruguay officially recognized "Palestine" as a sovereign state. That's right, the same folks that were dancing in the streets upon hearing word that a three month old infant was butchered while asleep in his father's arms was rewarded with recognition from the country of Uruguay!

I know there isn't much I can do about diplomatic events around the world, and far greater minds than mine have failed to bring any kind of reason the that part of the world; but, there is at least one thing that I can do. I can stop buying food at Sprouts, and let them know why. In fact, I can tell all my friends, and anyone that cares to read this that they may want to do the same. I do this not for reasons of punishing Sprouts (They have the best lamb around by miles!), or even to punish the ranchers in Uruguay. The fact is that they have nothing to do with these kinds of decisions, and are probably completely unaware they were even made.

I do this because if I can move enough people to make our local Sprouts stop buying that meat. Then, just maybe, Sprouts cancels their contract with that importer and the ranchers approach their local politician in Uruguay and they take action to rescind that recognition. Ultimately, I know that won't happen, but it doesn't hurt to try. And if I fail to make any kind of change other than the one I make at home, at least I know that my children will be consuming good food with a good conscience. In a different world, I could have been that poor father whose last breath was taken as his son died in his arms.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rossmoor Homes Could See An Interesting Spring

Although Spring is one of the hottest sales seasons for Rossmoor homes, with a very sparse inventory, 2011 could be a different story. In an area noted for its quality schools, buyers like to begin their home search with plenty of time to be able to get their family all moved in with plenty of time to register for the fall school year. Right now, there are only thirty homes for sale in Rossmoor. This could be a very tough market for families looking at homes for sale in Rossmoor. Despite poor real estate conditions across the country, now could still be a great time to sell your Rossmoor home.

Generally, there should be about six months of active inventory to make for a healthy real estate market. While this isn't an absolute rule, the current listing volume represents a number more commensurate with half that time period, which akes for a very tight market. I think this has more to do with the uncertainty of real estate in general than any local factors. Homeowners selling property right now, are doing so because of need rather than desire. Most folks are opting to wait for better market conditions, instead of trying to sell in this fairly dismal economic climate.

Usually, this would represent a sound strategy. "Buy low. Sell high." is a mantra everybody would like to follow. But in today's market, there is  so much uncertainty with employment conditions, taxes, national debt, health care and the like that nobody knows if things won't get worse before they get better. It pays to look on the, but an increase in interest rates coupled with five dollar gas prices could derail a very tepid housing recovery!

That doesn't mean that it's time to cut and run, though. While I have a lot of experience in the real estate industry (I was quoted on just last week!), I don't like go out on a limb and predict market conditions without the necessary supporting information. I have been using terms like "soft" and "muddy" when desrcibing our current real estate climate. There just hasn't been enough sales activity to be able to spot any definable trends.

Truly, either decision will probably work out to be just fine. Rossmoor is a fantastic community with a great deal of intrinsic value. With that in mind, desirability should never present an issue. People with children want quiet streets, high quality schools and safe neighborhoods. Selling a Rossmoor home now allows for the opportunity to capitalize on tight market conditions and reduced levels of competition, making for higher perceived value. Holding out for better general market conditions could pay dividends by simply making sure that the value of your home is higher when you choose to test the market. Just make sure that you have the ability to wait out a time period that could be much longer than you may expect.