CA median home price sets another record high. (click on title)

January 2024 market stats

MARCH 2024

California sees housing inventory jump double digits  

California home sales and inventory made a strong rebound at the start of this year following months of sluggish activity, according to new sales data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (C.A.R.). The number of homes sold statewide in January jumped 14.4% compared to the previous month of December, marking the highest level of activity in six months. In addition, the number of new homes listed for sale increased for the first time in 19 months.

"It's encouraging to see California's housing market kick off the year with positive sales growth in January," said C.A.R. President Melanie Barker. "While we'll likely experience some ups and downs in home sales in the coming months as (mortgage) rates continue to fluctuate, the lending environment is expected to be more favorable in 2024, so the market should see more pent-up demand translate into sales."

36% of homebuyers don't know they can negotiate real estate fees

According to CNBC, homebuyers and sellers negotiated commissions with their real estate agents, according to a report by LendingTree. Of those people, 64% successfully reduced their fees. However, about 36% of homebuyers and sellers said that they were not aware that they could negotiate a real estate agent's fee.

More real estate agents are having upfront discussions about how they get paid, and homebuyers and sellers should feel free to ask questions about what they are charging and why. Real estate agents "are doing a lot of work behind the scenes that often isn't immediately apparent, "says Jacob Channel, a senior economist at LendingTree. Agents are often familiar with local housing market trends, know how to sell a property for a higher price or negotiate a fair price for a purchased property, and are familiar with the extensive paperwork involved in the transaction. An agent's rate often depends on factors such as property type and how easily they think it will sell.

New rules for scoring mortgage borrowers coming in Q4 2025

Lenders who want to sell mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac next year will have to begin using the new FICO Score 10T and VantageScore 4.0 scoring models by the fourth quarter, but they'll also be allowed to submit two credit reports instead of three when calculating credit scores. To accommodate an "aligned transition," the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is instructing Fannie and Freddie to publish VantageScore 4.0 historical data early in Q3 2024, instead of Q1 2025 as originally proposed.

"Synchronizing bi-merge credit reporting with the implementation of the new credit score model requirements will reduce complexity for market participants, which is a key objective of our transition efforts," FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson said, in a statement. "The release of historical data on tens of millions of Enterprise loan acquisitions affirms the commitment of FHFA and the Enterprises to a robust, transparent implementation process."

In a study released in October, VantageScore claimed its new scoring model could help 4.9 million additional borrowers qualify for a mortgage, and that delays to implementation would impact "creditworthy people of color." Adoption of VantageScore 4.0 "is making a significant positive impact in addressing the racial homeownership gap, as well as improving the safety and soundness of the mortgage finance system," VantageScore's Senior Vice President of Industry and Government Relations Tony Hutchinson said in a statement Thursday. Read the complete article here:

Negotiating Tip 31: Easy Money

Are you getting good deals or are you paying full price so someone else can get the good deal? Here's an interesting article I found on Consumer Reports. Call Your Shot! In a recent edition of Consumer Reports magazine, an interesting statistic was reported.   A survey of their subscribers revealed that only 10% of people buying small appliances and only 33% of major appliance purchasers tried to negotiate a better price.

Oh, here's the rest of the story.  That same article shared that of those that did try to negotiate a better (appliance) purchase price, 75% got a $50 - $100 better deal.  Do you realize, that's easy money, just for asking. Good News - Bad News

The obvious bad news is that way too few are actively seeking a better deal. But here's the good news - if everyone did seek that 'better deal', vendors and store owners would be less likely to give them.  Put another way, thank goodness that so few are asking for a bargain.  Those small numbers (10% and 33% in the appliance example) are therefore more likely to get that price concession than if everyone was asking for them.  I don't want to seem too selfish here, but I kind of like it when everyone else is paying full price.  It greatly enhances my (and your) chances of getting a discount.

So what's your reminder, your prompt, your tickler file to ask for that better deal?  Here are my two.   Anytime I get either of two things from my pocket, I'm reminded to ask for a better deal, a discount or some courtesy.  The two things?   A dollar bill or my credit card.

Good negotiators know that when these two items make an appearance it is BARGAINING TIME.  Before you hand that cash to the clerk or slide your credit card through their machine slot, pause, flinch and ask for a better deal. Most people won't do that.  (67% to 90%)  That's good. 75% of those that do - get a better deal. What's the worst thing that can happen when you ask? Remember the old negotiating axiom, "You never get anything you don't ask for".  Good negotiators - use your cash and your credit cards as the visual reminder to Keep Negotiating.

Will February surpass January for Santa Cruz, Monterey & the Bay Area?

Comments: As predicted, new listings across all 3 counties improved. Sales did the same although not as high a percentage. The medium price always tells the story and in this case they were up in Santa Cruz and Monterey and down in Santa Clara. I sign of things to come?? Days on the market up as interest rates and inventory continue to hold the market down.  Aptos and Scotts Valley drove up the list to sale price in Santa Cruz, while Carmel did the same in Monterey County. In Santa Clara, it seems Cupertino and Los Gatos had the biggest change. The one number not on this spreadsheet is that the total amount of cash sales in Santa Cruz County 0increased to 44% from 40% in December. Monterey was only 29% all cash and Santa Clara 22%. (Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS)