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C.A.R. Report

by The Barringer Team


California Realtors Release '08-'09 Housing Market Report
Carrie Bay | 12.18.08

Rising home sales, declining home prices, stricter loan underwriting standards, and the financial market meltdown all contributed to a turbulent year in California’s housing market, according to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.). The association released its “State of the California Housing Market 2008-2009” report this week, in which it noted that approximately one in five home sales in the state were the result of foreclosure, short sale, or borrower default.

Sales generally improved over last year in all parts of the state, with significant price declines leading to sharp increases in the Central Valley and Southern California, C.A.R. said. Following two years of steep declines exceeding 20 percent, annual sales in the California housing market are expected to increase 12 percent to a total of 395,600 in 2008, with a further 12.5 percent annual increase projected for 2009, the state's Realtors said. The increase in sales can largely be attributed to the growth in the absorption of distressed properties with mark-downs in prices.

Consistent with this increasing trend of distressed sales, 19.8 percent of sellers (or almost one in five) sold their property because the property was in foreclosure or default, or through a short sale alternative to foreclosure, C.A.R. said in its report. That's a 6 percent increase from the figures the association recorded in 2007.

“Many home sellers sold their properties at a loss, as price declines eliminated equity gains,” said C.A.R. VP and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The number of sellers who sold their home with a loss almost doubled from 11.9 percent in 2007 to a record-setting 22.2 percent in 2008, well above 1.9 percent in 2006, and almost triple the long-term average of 7.7 percent,” Appleton-Young pointed out.

Homes in the mid-to-upper price range were less likely than lower-priced homes to suffer a loss from a sale, C.A.R. said. Twenty-eight percent of sellers with homes valued under $500,000 had a net cash loss in 2008; twenty percent with homes valued between $500,000 and $999,999 sold for a net cash loss this year; while million-dollar home sellers who had a net cash loss from their home sale dropped from 8 percent in 2007 to 5 percent in 2008.

In addition, sellers who owned their properties for a longer period of time, and did not refinance or cash out, were less likely to experience a loss from their home sale, C.A.R. said. While only 3 percent of sellers who owned their homes for more than five years had a net cash loss from their home sale – unchanged from 2007 – 47 percent of sellers who owned their homes for less than three years had a net cash loss in 2008 – an increase from 34 percent in 2007. Thirty-three percent of sellers who owned their homes between three to five years had a net cash loss in 2008, a jump from 7 percent in 2007.

California' median price for existing homes, including single-family homes, condos, and townhomes, declined by 17.8 percent to $440,000 in 2008, compared with $535,000 a year earlier. The decline is the largest drop in price since the inception of C.A.R.'s study, surpassing the record decline of 10.2 percent set in 1995.

According to Appleton-Young, “The market will continue to experience large year-to-year decreases in the coming months before leveling out in 2009. The statewide median price is expected to decline 31.7 percent to $381,000 for 2008, the first decline since 1996. The statewide median price will further decline by 6 percent in 2009 to $358,000.”

Affordability increased dramatically in 2008 resulting from the decline in median home prices, the California association said. C.A.R.’s First-Time Buyer Housing Affordability Index, which measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase an entry-level home in California, rose to 53 percent during the third quarter.

Despite an increase in affordability, the ratio of home prices to household income remained high for many first-time home buyers, C.A.R. said. More restrictive lending standards and the credit crunch also resulted in many first-time home buyers’ inability to qualify for a mortgage loan. Resulting from the ongoing turmoil in the financial market, many financial institutions declined loans that were deemed risky, especially jumbo loans with amounts too big to be guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Restrictive loan underwriting standards also led to a decrease in the use of second mortgages, C.A.R. reported. Second mortgages dropped from 32.7 percent in 2007 to 9.3 percent in 2008, the first time it was below 10 percent since 1999 and well below the high of 43.4 percent recorded by C.A.R. in 2006.

As conventional loans became more difficult to obtain and the credit crunch contracted further, the percentage of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans as a first mortgage increased significantly in California in 2008, the Realtors association said. Home buyers utilizing an FHA loan increased to 18.8 percent in 2008, compared with 1.2 percent in 2007.

C.A.R. attributes this significant gain partially to the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which temporarily raised the conforming loan limit in high-cost areas from $417,000 to $729,750 until December 31, 2008. FHA loans typically require lower down payments and have less rigid credit-qualifying guidelines than conventional loans. According to C.A.R., loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also increased, from 0.3 percent in 2007 to 2.7 percent in 2008.

Reflecting the fall out from the subprime mortgage meltdown, the share of adjustable rate and hybrid loans among all new first mortgages continued to decrease, declining for the third consecutive year, C.A.R. said. The market share of these mortgages tumbled from 20.2 percent in 2007 to 7.5 percent in 2008. The market share of fixed-rate mortgages increased sharply from last year’s 74 percent to 91 percent in 2008.

Other key findings from C.A.R.’s housing market report include:

- Distressed properties sold during 2008 had a median sales price of $330,000, a median price per square foot of $197, and a median size of 1,600 square feet.

- More than half of the distressed properties sold were REO (54.8 percent), almost one-third were short sales (31.2 percent), and the remainder were foreclosures (14.1 percent).

- Non-distressed properties had a median price of $541,000, a median price per square foot of $315, and a median size of 1,766 square feet.

- Four of five homes (80 percent) sold were discounted in 2008, an increase from 76 percent in 2007. The discount between sales price and list price increased from 4.3 percent in 2007 to a record setting 7.5 percent in 2008, more than double the long-run average of 2.8 percent.

- One of five properties (20.3 percent) fell out of escrow in 2008. Primary reasons include: buyers could not secure a mortgage (33.3 percent); buyer changed mind and decided not to buy (33.3 percent); and buyer could not come up with the down payment (10.8 percent).



by The Barringer Team


It May Be Time to Think About Buying a House


Five or 10 years from now, when the financial crisis has ended and housing prices are up smartly once more, we will look in the rearview mirror and realize that we missed a golden age for first-time home buyers.

Then, everyone who sat on their down payment savings accounts for a few years too long will kick themselves for not taking advantage of what may turn out to be the buying opportunity of a lifetime for those who can qualify for a mortgage.

Unfortunately, we do not know when this golden age will begin, because we will be able to identify a bottom to the housing market only with the benefit of hindsight. But as it does with the stock market, the moment will probably arrive when everyone is feeling the most pessimistic.

That moment is certainly getting closer. Housing prices have fallen drastically from their peak levels in many areas of the country. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are already close to 5.5 percent, and this week there were suggestions that the federal government might try to drive them down to 4.5 percent, a truly incredible figure to be able to lock in for three decades.

Meanwhile, first-time home buyers have the same advantage they have always had, which is that they do not have to sell their old place before buying a new one. That is an added advantage in areas where many available houses simply are not moving, because the people trying to sell them will not be bidding against you.

If you’re hoping for a recovery in the housing market, you ought to be cheering on the first-time home buyers. When they purchase homes, their sellers are free to move on or move up, stimulating further sales.

But if you are a potential first-time buyer yourself, or lending or giving the down payment to one, you are probably as frightened as you are tempted by all the “For Sale” signs that have become “On Sale” signs. So let’s quickly review some of the still-grim pricing data in certain areas — and consider the reasoning offered up by first-time buyers who have forged ahead anyhow.

As is always the case with real estate, much depends on location. One study, “The Changing Prospects for Building Home Equity,” tries to predict where today’s first-time buyers in the 100 biggest metropolitan areas may actually have less home equity by 2012 as a result of continued price declines. The verdict was that buyers in 33 of the markets could see a decline by 2012, including potential six-figure drops on an average home in the New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle metropolitan areas.

This is obviously scary. (I’ve linked to the study, a joint effort of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, from the version of this article at It’s worth noting, however, that these predictions came before the government made its most recent move to reduce borrowing costs.

Also, the price projections in the study are based, in part, on the fact that the ratio of purchase prices to annual rents is still higher in many areas than the historical average, which is roughly 15 times rents. While past figures may well have some predictive value, I have never been convinced that first-time buyers compare a home that they could own and one that they would rent in purely or even primarily economic terms.

When Jaime and Michael Proman moved this fall to Minneapolis, his hometown, from New York City, they craved a different sort of life after two years together in a 450-square-foot studio apartment. “We didn’t want a sterile apartment feel,” said Mr. Proman, who is 28 (his wife is 26). “We wanted something that was permanent and very much a reflection of us.”

The fact is, in many parts of the country there are few if any attractive rentals for people looking to put down roots and enjoy the sort of amenities they may spot on cable television home improvement shows. Comparing a rental with a place that you may own seems almost pointless in these situations, especially for those who are now grown up enough to want to make their own decisions about décor without consulting the landlord.

Still, for anyone feeling the urge to buy, a number of practical considerations have changed in the last year or two. The basics are back, like spending no more than 28 percent of your pretax income on mortgage payments, taxes and insurance. Even if a lender does not hold you to this when you go in for preapproval, you should hold yourself to it.

You will also want to start now on any project to improve your credit score because it may take several months to get it above the 720 level that qualifies you for many of the best mortgage rates.

John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for, a consumer credit information and application site, suggests starting to pay down and put away credit cards months before you apply for a loan. That is because the credit scoring system could penalize you if you use a lot of credit each month, even if you always pay in full. Also, check your three credit reports (it’s free) at and dispute errors.

While no one can easily predict the likelihood of losing a job, Friday’s startling unemployment figures suggest the need for caution if you think you might be vulnerable. A. C. Panella, who teaches communications at Pasadena City College in California, waited until she had a tenure-track job before buying a home in the Highland Park section of Los Angeles with her partner, Amy Goldman, a lawyer for a nonprofit organization. “We could afford the mortgage payment on one salary, were something to come up,” Ms. Panella, 31, said. “It’s really about being able to stay within our means.”

For many first-time home buyers, that philosophy stretches to the down payment, too. Ms. Panella and her partner put down 20 percent when they bought their home in September, as did the Promans when they bought their home in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Alison Nowak, 29, put just 3 percent down on a Federal Housing Administration-backed loan last month when she and her partner, Lacey Mamak, bought a $149,900, 800-square-foot home several miles south of where the Promans live. “Anything that is an opportunity also has a bit of risk,” she said. Her house was in foreclosure before a plumber bought it and fixed it up. “One way we mitigated it was that we bought a really tiny house in a very good neighborhood.”

One other strategy might be to buy new instead of used. Ian Shepherdson, chief United States economist for the research firm High Frequency Economics, says he believes that a steep drop-off in inventory of new homes is coming soon, thanks to a rapid decrease in home builder activity.

Since prices generally soften in the winter, it may make sense to start looking seriously once the mercury bottoms out. “If you look at new developments next spring, you may not have the choice you thought you would have or be in the bargaining position you thought you would be,” Mr. Shepherdson said. Also, if you wait after June 30, you will miss out on a $7,500 federal tax credit for income-eligible first-time home buyers that works like an interest-free loan.

Finally, allow yourself to consider how it would feel if you bought and then prices dropped another 10 or 15 percent. It might not bother you if you plan to stick around. Plenty of people seem to be making a longer commitment to their homes. According to a survey that the National Association of Realtors released last month, typical first-time buyers plan to stay in their home 10 years, up from 7 last year.

Perhaps people are more aware that they will not be able to build equity as rapidly as others did in the real estate boom. Or they simply have more confidence in hard, hometown assets now than in other markets.

“We wouldn’t let another decline bother us,” said Michael Proman. “You can never time a bottom. This is a long-term investment for us, and it truly is the best investment we have in our portfolio right now.”

Ready to buy, or waiting it out? Post a comment at or write to

Tracy Area Market Report 12/1/08 vs. 11/3/08

by The Barringer Team

The following information is from the local MLS database, as of December 1, 2008 and is compared to (Novmeber 3, 2008).  If you are interested in a little more market information feel free to give us a call, we are always happy to talk about the market.


Tracy, CA


Total # of residential properties for sale in the city of Tracy: 704 (652)

# of REO (foreclosures): 290 (298)

# of Short Sales: 304 (287)

Average # of days on market: 88 (69)

The median price of all homes for sale in Tracy: $249,900 ($245,000)

The average price of all homes for sale in Tracy: $347,957 ($266,381)

Lowest priced home: 1bd/502 sq. ft./$68,900

Highest priced home: 7bd/8,065 sq. ft./$2,950,000



Number of properties currently under agreement: 407 (397)

# of REO: 288 (322)

Average pending price: $251,273 ($246,664)

Average pending home is 4 bedrooms, 2,090 square feet at a price of $251,273 that stays 43 days on the market.

SOLD Status

Residential property sold over previous 30 days: 174 homes or $43,949,960 in sales (163 homes or $42,527,215 in sales)

REO's sold in the last month: 154 (136)

Avareage sale price: $252,586 ($260,903)

Median sale price: $239,450 ($255,000)

High: 690K (6bd, 4,508 sq. ft. home)

Low: 56K (2bd, 632 sq. ft. home)



Mountain House, CA


Total # of residential properties sold in the city of Mountain House: 115 (109)

# of REO (foreclosures): 20 (16)

# of Short Sales: 79 (78)

Average # od days on market: 65 (70)

The median price of all homes for sale in Mountain House: $362,400 ($369,900)

The average price of all homes for sale in Mountain House: $366,711 ($374,854)

Lowest priced home: 3bd/1,327 sq. ft./$209,900

Highest priced home: 5bd/3,975 sq. ft./$588,900



Number of properties currently under agreement: 58 (55)

# of REO: 38 (41)

Average pending price: $319,642 ($331,183)

Average pending home is 4 bedrooms, 2,501 square feet at a price of $319,642 that stays 38 days on the market.

SOLD Status

Residential property sold over previous 30 days: 12 homes or $4,149,300 in sales (20 homes or $6,768,400 in sales)

REO's sold in the last month: 10 (17)

Average sale price: $345,775 ($338,420)

Median sale price: $344,400 ($348,450)

High: 463.5K (5bd, 3,634 sq. ft. home)

Low: 258K (3bd, 1,669 sq. ft. home)



Lathrop, CA


Total # of residential properties for sale in the city of Lathrop: 240 (260)

# of REO: 119 (138)

# of Short Sales: 96 (99)

Average # of days on market: 74 (65)

The median price of all homes for sale in Lathorp: $199,900 ($209,900)

The average price of all homes for sale in Lathrop: $228,248 ($235,831)

Lowest priced home: 2bd/871 sq. ft./$78,900

Highest priced home: 6bd/4,165 sq. ft./$1,275,000


Number of residential properties currently under agreement: 158 (169)

# of REO: 129 (143)

Average pending price: $215,832 ($214,359)

Average pending home is 4 bedrooms, 2,293 square feet at a price of $215,832 that stays 44 days on the market.

SOLD Status

Residential propert sold over previous 30 days: 60 homes or $12,384,777 (51 homes or $11,243,040 in sales)

REO's sold in the last month: 54 (46)

Average sale price: $206,413 ($220,452)

Median sale price: $205,000 ($230,000)

High: 380K (6bd/3,870 sq. ft. home)

Low: 85K (2bd/1,040 sq. ft. home)



Weston Ranch, CA


Total # of residential properties for sale in Weston Ranch: 258 (284)

# of REO (foreclosures): 135 (156)

# of Short Sales: 104 (105)

Average # of days on market: 63 (58)

The median price of all homes for sale in Weston Ranch: $159,000 ($161,200)

The average price of all homes for sale in Weston Ranch: $163,342 ($172,396)

Lowest priced home: 1bd/868 sq. ft./$44,900

Highest priced home: 6bd/43,650 sq. ft./$420,000


Number of properties currently under agreement: 181 (186)

# of REO: 147 (166)

Average pending price: $154,612 ($157,110)

Average pending home is 4 bedrooms, 1,961 square feet at a price of 154,612 that stays 44 days on the market.

SOLD Status

Residential property sold over previous 30 days: 59 homes or $9,368,244 in sales (59 homes or $10,067,563 in sales)

Average sale price: $158,784 ($170,637)

Median sale price: $150,150 ($165,000)

High: 280K (6bd/3,153 sq. ft home)

(260K (5bd/3,000 sq. ft. home))

Low: $95,444 (3bd/1,079 sq. ft. home)

(112K (3bd/1,120 sq. ft. home))

Below are links to previous Tracy Area Market Reports:

2/2/09 vs 1/2/09

1/2/09 vs. 12/1/08

11/3/08 vs. 10/1/08

10/1/08 vs. 9/2/08

9/2/08 vs. 8/1/08

8/1/08 vs. 7/9/08



 4/4/08 vs. 3/4/08

3/14/08 vs. 2/14/08

3/14/08 vs. 2/14/08

2/14/08 vs. 1/11/08 

2/14/08 vs. 1/11/08


Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




Contact Information

The Barringer Team
Century 21 M&M and Associates
912 W 11th Street
Tracy CA 95376
Fax: 209-229-7426
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