When looking at the state of the market for La Crescenta homes it is hard not to hit the panic button. We don’t have low inventory- we have negative inventory. In December we had more homes sold than listed. That is remarkable.
In fact, inventory is down by 73% from last year, December. Boy, if there was ever a time to consider selling, now would be it. But I digress into sales talk. Let’s keep digging into the numbers.
Have We Recovered?
No. Right now our median price is about where we were at the end of 2004. Incidentally, if you’ve owned your home for 10 years or more, you’re doing quite well! In 2002 our median price was $389,000 vs the $550,000 of today. That’s a 30% gain overall. Not bad considering our recent economy!
How was 2012?
Great for homes sellers, difficult for home buyers. Starting on January 1 we saw the number of sales increase and the number of listings decrease. This inverse relationship continued all year long ending with more sales than homes. While inventory has been difficult all over the Foothills, the problem is most severe in La Crescenta.
Then prices are up?
Yes- but not as much as you might think. Most media pundits like to compare months,and if you do that in La Crescenta you get the very depressing news that our median price fell by 10%.
Fortunately, I think media pundits are chumps and I analyze price by comparing quarters. If you compare the last quarter of 2011 to the last quarter of 2012 the median price actually rose by 5.3% ($533,000 vs $563,250), a more accurate (and happier!) number.
Why is there such a huge difference?
We have a healthy number of nice, big homes sprinkled through out La Crescenta. These homes tend to sell in clumps of 3 or 4. That is enough to really wrack a given month’s average and it is why our pricing graphs look more “roller coaster-y” than most. Exercise deep caution when reading Market Reports by someone who is not familier with our corner of the world!
What should we do in 2013?
First quarter will belong to anyone who can get their home on the market. Today we have 20 homes on the market and last month 19 people bought homes- at the height of the holidays, no less. It seems like a sure bet that any home listed today will sell.
Buyers – I am sorry. There is no way to sugar coat this. It is going to be tough for the foreseeable future. Any home that is decent will have multiple offers and will probably go over asking. I can’t know how much prices might rise in 2013 but we know they rose about 5% in 2012. Don’t allow yourself to get pushed into anything you can’t afford, but think ahead. If you offer within, say, within 5% of the current value, you might get a house you love, at an interest rate that completely rocks, enjoying the tax benefits while other buyers are scrambling madly, always a tiny bit behind the curve.