Friday, April 1, 2011
Super Spring Selling Season® Inventory Update
Sadly, as anyone actively looking for a house can attest, there isn't much to report.
Same old shit, bigger pile.
Here is the November update:
...and the most recent inventory:
Sad. Just further decreases leading up to the (Supposed) Super Spring Selling Season®. Looks like this year is going to be a(nother?) total dud for prospective buyers.
Not only is inventory not ramping up in anticipation of selling season, it's down 4% from January (and down 14.5% from February 2010)!
But the dismal lack of inventory (let alone quality inventory) has only emboldened sellers and their wildly optimistic pricing. Check out the substantial jump in list prices (blue line) during the last few weeks:
Yes, I realize a $14 differential between List and Sold prices isn't that dramatic, but you have to compare it to 2010 when the List/Sold tracked within a few bucks.
What's more interesting is how late-2009 buyers -- who listened to the hype about "the bottom is definitely in" and gobbled the free government cheese without stopping to think how all that free first-time homebuyer cash was distorting the market -- now look like total boobs. They happily paid $273 per square foot only to see it drop to $248 just a year-and-a-half later.
That means if 2009 buyers bought a 1,500-square-foot home, they are now -$37,500 underwater. Just like that.
And, to be fair, they're living in a house and reaping tax benefits while I continue to rent and get slaughtered every year at tax time (...and live by the beach, save stacks of money each month, sock away retirement money, get my sink fixed for free, and drive an awesome car...but I'm digressing from my point).
My point is that there are other, largely intangible, reasons for buying a house with total disregard for timing the bottom precisely. I get that. But man, if you bought in '09 you must feel pretty foolish looking at these numbers. You overpaid big time and interest rates haven't changed that much. You would be in a considerably better position had you just exhibited a little patience.
But hey, maybe you don't even look at this stuff anymore. Frankly, that's a blissful ignorance that I'm looking forward to.
But, alas, with each round of bad news my dreams of buying in Long Beach fade even more. I'm just losing enthusiasm. And, as was the case when I started this blog years ago, Orange County provides so much more value for the money. And that has never been more abundantly clear than right now given the piss poor choices in LB. That's not an LA vs. OC thing -- it's just a fact.
I mostly want to buy so I can retire this blog that I love so much and move on with my life. It's no surprise to any loyal reader that I've recently undergone some significant life changes that affect the frequency of new posts. More job responsibility, new writing projects, more focus on friends and family and, of course, the most common impetus for reevaluation and change, heartbreak, have conspired to force The Long Beach Housing Blog to the back burner.
But, I truly miss the excitement of publishing a few posts per week that a bunch of people (some as far away as China and Australia) will read and hopefully get something out of. And of course I always look forward to the insightful, funny, informative comments.
But, alas, life is about stages.
And I sense that RE in the LBC's exit to stage left is fast approaching.