Market Update

Rates are low, but buyers aren’t going nuts.

Rates and inventory are really low, so on paper it seems like the market should be booming. But it’s not. The truth is sales numbers are down despite rates doing the limbo below four percent again. It’s like the market looks hot on paper, but it’s also a bit lackluster in some ways.

Photoshopping & price per sq ft in real estate

I have a new way to explain how price per sq ft works in real estate. It’s helpful but maybe a little creepy too. No matter what, we need word pictures in real estate to explain concepts, so let’s chat.

Normalish spring market

I have a huge market update to talk through the kinda sorta normal spring market.

How much is that new roof & AC unit worth?

“I paid $25,000 for a new roof and AC unit. How much is that worth in an appraisal?” I get questions like this all the time and my answer can be frustrating as I say, “It depends.” Here’s my thought process though and why I can’t just rattle off a quick number. Anything to add?

It might not be an appraiser at the inspection due to new “hybrid” appraisals

It’s happening. It might not be an appraiser who shows up for the appraisal inspection. I’ve been talking about the potential of “hybrid” valuations like this, and now they’re here.

The problem of giving too much weight to previous sales (or not enough)

It must be worth more than it sold for in the past, right? In many cases, YES. But sometimes NO. Let’s talk through some things to consider when pulling comps and noticing a previous sale. I find many of these points coming up lately in conversation, so I hope this is helpful.

How do we value a house with a HUGE non-permitted addition?

What do appraisers do when there is an enormous non-permitted addition? Imagine a 1,300 sq ft house with a 1,000 sq ft addition. What the? Let’s talk about this.



SALES VOLUME SLUMPING: On a different note, here are some graphs I made yesterday to tell the story of sales volume slumping 11% in the Sacramento Region. I included a graph from 2005 also in case you’re wondering what volume did when the housing market imploded.

The real estate left behind after a fire

December 19, 2018

Last month the Town of Paradise, CA was destroyed during the Camp Fire. The flames showed no mercy as they took lives and leveled nearly 14,000 homes. The devastation is simply unreal and hard to fathom.

Get rid of appraisers while nobody’s looking


Did you hear the news? There’s a proposal from the FDIC, Federal Reserve, and others to not require appraisals for some mortgages under $400,000. This is a big deal and I have some thoughts. Actually, Ken Harney in the Chicago Tribune penned a fantastic piece about this today (I was quoted too).

Slumping volume & rising inventory

October 11, 2018

Volume is down and inventory is up. Is that a problem? It sounds like a question for a high school Economics class, but here we are talking. Today I want to kick around two quick thoughts and then dive deeply into trends. I hope this helps – whether you’re local or not. Anything to add?

What the? Yes, the market is softening, but prices saw an uptick from August to September. That might seem confusing since we’re talking about the market cooling, but it highlights exactly what I’ve been talking about lately in that you don’t often see a market changing by looking at prices. You see change first in the listings and sales volume – and then prices eventually. This is exactly what’s happening right now. 

Big local monthly market update for May - June 2018


Spring is feeling fairly normal so far. In fact, May was actually a pretty strong month. What a difference from the doom we felt in 2018. Let’s talk about it.

Who is coming & going? A huge question to ask in real estate

It’s probably not surprising to hear, but California lately has been having more residents leave than come. Of course other states are feeling this too because they’re now welcoming (or not) West Coast refugees. Let’s talk about this. Here are a few things on my mind.

When the best comps are four years old

Do appraisers have to use comps from the past 90 days? Nope. Of course not, but this idea is still pretty common. The truth is sometimes the best comps are much older. Usually they’re not four years old, but they were in this situation. Let’s talk about it. Anything to add?

It’s just NOT a cash market like it used to be

Investors are playing the market like Monopoly and buying everything in sight… Well, that’s what many sellers think. But it’s not true. Like many markets across the country, in Sacramento we’re actually seeing significantly less cash today than during the heyday of investor activity a few years back.

That place where insurance & real estate collide

Insurance can make a huge difference in a real estate market. We don’t often think much about this, but it’s something to watch in areas of California where we’re seeing insurers pull out of the market in light of disastrous fires. This is a big deal, so let’s talk about it.

The fore-closure wave

February 27, 2019

 I have some new graphs to help tell the story of the foreclosure crisis.

More owners, less sales, & confidence

I have a few things on my mind. Let’s talk about more home owners, slumping volume, confidence, and outliers. Anything to add?

Will buyers step on the gas or brakes in 2019?

January 10, 2019

It’s the big question right now. Will buyers put their foot back on the gas pedal or will they continue to put on the brakes? For the past couple quarters in many markets around the country buyers seemed to show some resistance to prices and back off the market a bit. So we saw more sluggish sales volume, and now we’re wondering if it’s going to continue into the new year. I have a few quick thoughts and then there’s a big monthly market update for those interested.

An underrated metric & slumping volume

December 12, 2018

There’s a stat that doesn’t get much love. It’s not sexy, nobody really writes about it in the newspapers, and most people don’t even know what it is. But it’s really important because it helps us tell how hot or cool the market is. I’m talking about the sales to list price ratio. Oops, did I lose you? I know, a topic like this sounds painful, but let’s consider why this actually matters. Then if you’re interested I have a huge local market update below to discuss slumping volume and slowing momentum. Any thoughts?

Talking real estate cycles at the dinner table

November 19, 2018

Let’s talk about real estate cycles. Are we at the top of the market? Lots of people are wondering, so I figured I’d throw out some charts to help fuel conversation. My goal here isn’t to say YES or NO, but to focus on stats for the sake of discussion. Well, and if you need something to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner besides politics…

6 ways buyers have changed since the housing bubble

September 25, 2018

There’s lots of focus on how home prices have changed since the previous “bubble”, but let’s talk about how buyers have changed. Here’s some observations. What else have you noticed?

1) More picky: During the previous housing “bubble” buyers seemed so desperate to purchase that they pulled the trigger on about anything, but they’re much more discerning these days. Of course let’s remember underwriting has changed dramatically though too. In the past many properties flew through the loan process without hardly any scrutiny, but lenders today are incredibly strict, which has certainly propelled a more picky feeling in the market.

Slow is not a dirty word in real estate

 Let’s talk about slowing down in real estate, and then for those interested, I have a huge market update below. 

Change in neighborhoods

Neighborhoods change. Sometimes they end up growing in a positive direction and other times they go downhill in a big way. Today I want to share a quick example of what I mean.

Two things to understand about Zillow’s accuracy rate

How does Zillow’s accuracy rate work? Let’s talk about two important points. I’m not writing because I’m angry, but only because the public places enormous trust in this brand, and I see this accuracy rate quoted everywhere. Well, let’s at least know the fine print so we can have informed conversations.

The booming FLAT market & rate addiction

The market is getting hotter, but it’s also pretty flat. Let’s talk about this as well as low rate addiction. Then for those interested I have a huge local market update.

Is the market good or bad right now?

People ask all the time. Is the market good or bad? I have some quick thoughts and then a huge market update for those interested. 

The players in the market & normal pendings

Who are the players in the market? Who is buying and selling? Who is coming? Who is going? These are questions we have to ask to grasp a local market. And for real estate professionals, knowing who the players are helps us serve clients well and sometimes even make future business plans. 

Price per square foot, and the Governor’s new digs

January 21, 2019

PRICE PER SQ FT: Here’s a look at price per sq ft trends in a few local areas. I plan to share more graphs like this throughout the year if people like them. 

Real estate trends to watch in 2019

January 3, 2019

What’s the real estate market going to do in 2019? Let’s talk about some of the bigger emerging trends in Sacramento and beyond. You can quickly scroll or spend a few minutes digesting things. Anything to add?

Seven years of price increases

December 3, 2018

Here’s some images for four counties (Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, & El Dorado). What I like is we see price trends for seven years on one graph. It may take a moment to figure out how to digest these images, but look for changes in price and volume over time. So far people who have seen these have noted rising prices and definitely vanishing affordability. Keep in mind they don’t include most of December for 2018, and that could change the look slightly by next month. 

What do you see?

Is it just me or is the market slowing?

November 12, 2018

The market is slowing. We’ve been hearing that all over the place lately and it’s been a common clickable headline. But it’s not just hype because there’s some truth to it. Today I want to show this reality with a few visuals, mention three takeaways, and unpack a huge Sacramento market update for those interested. I hope this is helpful – whether you’re local or not.

Last year the fall season felt more flat than not, but this year is a different story. We are definitely having more of a dull seasonal lull that reminds us how the market felt in 2014 when the fall season was definitively soft. Here are some of the things I’m watching right now. I’d love to hear what you are seeing. 

Bottom Logo and me 4


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