Friday, September 15, 2006

Notes from my housing bubble scrapbook

I love being a collector of real estate paraphernalia and taking the pulse and temperature of public psychology in this crazy market! This week another good sentiment indicator literally landed on our apartment doorstep - more real estate brochures.

I've gotta say, there are some realtors out there who are pretty astute and hustling while there are some markets still worth hustling. Take a look at the invitation we received below to attend a real estate talk at a local Redondo Beach realtor. These flyers showed up yesterday, the 14th. I couldn't help but notice that the line "Please RSVP by September 15" had a line drawn through it. A good Redondo Beach realtor right now, this minute will need to welcome potential buyers with open arms, RSVP or no!

The thing that leaped out at me with the second flyer below is that none of the properties being touted are in north Redondo or any of the other highly desirable beach cities. Nope, they are in the "affordable" areas, like Gardena, Lawndale, and Inglewood, where the markets are still hot. I've blotted out the agent's name, but that realtor is pretty smart striking while her housing market is still thriving, fishing for buyers in the areas where they are priced out. Don't get me wrong. I'm not about to buy that crappy box for $3/4 of a million. But these affordable markets are the last strongholds. Their strength will probably start turning down soon because the properties are at equally preposterous valuations and buyers will soon come out of their comas and realize that, so the realtor probably figures she better rake it in while she can.

Today I checked the sales for 90278 (north Redondo) in Melissa Data for September. To put it mildly, Redondo sales suck. Then I checked 90260 (Lawndale). The Lawndale market is still on steroids. Realtors are still making a good living in places like Lawndale.

I imagine we will be seeing some in the real estate industry in the same predicament as the fellow in the cartoon below. Should that happen, let's try and be charitable. If it's as bad as I think it could get, people in many industries, not just real estate, will be hurt, even those who have been watchiing this coming and have taken steps to try to protect themselves from the economic mess we are in. We'll be infinitely better off if we try to be nice to each other.

On another note, I've been doing some research into foreclosure activity in this area. What I am turning up is not so much a proliferation of foreclosures as there are delinquent taxes. Yes, the property across the street from me with the "alien realtor" could be a tax delinquency, rather than an outright foreclosure. Now why anybody would put in a heroic struggle to make their house payments, but neglect their property taxes, is a mystery to me. I guess coming up with an extra $3K-$4K annually on top of the monthly $4K+ payments is a bit much. It doesn't sound they build the property tax payment into the monthly mortgage payment the way it was done when I once owned a condo many years ago. But stopping property tax payments is just an alternate path to the same destination (loss of home), isn't it?

The market ain't dead yet; some flipper suckers must still be standing. There will be yet another real estate wealth expo in Anaheim this November, with Donald Trump of course. Note that the keynote weekend pass is marked down to $129 from $179. Also be sure to check out the hot blonde babe in the left column talking about her passive six-figure income!

Actually, attending a real estate expo would be kind of fun, it's just not an immediate priority for me. I don't recognize the names of any other speakers. I actually have a grudging respect for Trump - from what I've heard of him and read about him, he's a great project manager - just a lousy market timer. Maybe if one of you bubble blog readers decides to attend, you can give the rest of us a full report.


Blogger speedingpullet said...

Wow, the Inglewood place on the flyer looks as if they haven't even finished the paving outside the back door...

8:56 AM, September 16, 2006  
Blogger Darrell said...

My wife just saw a ReMax TV commercial boasting something like, "We have MORE LISTINGS to choose from than EVER BEFORE!"

Spin is inevitable, I suppose, but WE know what it really means.

2:52 PM, September 16, 2006  

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