Thursday, February 01, 2007

Real Estate $$$ Transacted through January 2007

ARRGGH! Melissa data did it to me again - publish data very late! Their late update has affected the data here, so ignore my comments until I do a REPOST. Stay tuned. - The Bear

UPDATE. OK, I will leave the comments here but I am deleting the charts and the YOY rankings. Go to my REPOST for more accurate charts and data.

The absolutely best thing I can say about the data for January is that, on a raw number basis, 90291 and 90293 exactly matched their sales volumes from January 2006, while 90066, 90278, 90293, 90404, 90502, and 90503 exceeded their sales volumes from a year ago. If I were looking for a "bright spot" in this market, as realtors and the L.A. Times so much like to do, I could say that there were more real estate commission opportunities in these zip codes compared to a year ago. That's all I can spin about this market.

In a number of places the sales volume is easily cut by 50% or more, on a raw basis. What really got my attention while plotting January's data is that even in the "affordable" areas which have been held up as the salvation of Los Angeles county real estate, there are lots of lines plunging sharply down in January. A few places, like Rancho Park (90064) have paused for breath. In some places the sales volume was so low that I was sure that Melissa data was not done with the January updates. That is always a possibility, so I will fix anything I miss in the February charts.

You're going to see pretty soon that there are increasingly few places where the %YOY change on the moving average of dollar volume is not below 0. By this measure, this area is bleeding.

The bubble denialists may try to tell you that the super cold weather we've had kept people at home so they weren't buying houses. Seriously, is 90278, which did OK in terms of sales volume, that much warmer than 90277 or 90254, which had very weak sales volume? The bubble denialists may tell you that things will be much brighter in February and March. When looking at these historical charts, I would have to agree that the January-February timeframe is when dollar volume tends to bottom for the year. So if we're going to have a rebound, it'll be starting from here or from February if the pattern of the last several years holds. We'll see some uptick in sales volume, and in dollar volume. We might even see median price flatten or start wobbling back up. But, in spite of what CAR is saying about reductions in inventory, I've got 550 records of Redondo Beach SFRs and condos for which there were listings since early last year, and with no sales recorded. By *new*, I mean, a new listing or a property that hasn't been relisted since before the end of September, when I started my own inventory tracking experiment. Since New Year, the new inventory number has been growing by about 3 a day. If inventory growth continues to outpace sales as it has been, I have every confidence that reluctant buyers will continue to wait. And I haven't even bothered counting the RB properties that have been relisted since the end of September.


I've been thinking about recent articles in the L.A. Times that have upheld the "affordable" areas of Los Angeles county as the "bright spot" of the county's real estate market. So what I thought I would do is make a comprehensive graph of all the zip codes I cover, south of the 10 and west of the 110, excluding 90247, 90274, and 90710 (they have wacky data I don't understand). This aggregation includes some of the "affordable" areas as well as the more affluent westside areas. As you can see, whatever is going on in the "affordable" areas in southwest Los Angeles county is not enough to prop up this region. The graphs are shaped remarkably like those for the four beach cities.


I'm starting to wonder if the %YOY change rankings have any relative value. Most zip codes have dipped below 0% by this point. Realtors who had gotten used to the good life have got to be feeling this bleed, and I'm sure NAR plans to keep dropping $40,000,000 on more full page ads to keep their members in business. A few formerly hypercharged areas, like Playa Vista, are now down YOY, though it does not mean anybody is feeling any pain yet. I would expect the places that are chronically down to be in the most pain.

YOY rankings deleted

Details for a specific zip code are available in the Beartopia tracker. Another version of the tracker is in our Google map tool. By the way! It looks like I forgot to upload a modified .php page last month, so you weren't able to see the new charts that replace the old column format charts. Sorry about that! That is fixed now.


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