Saturday, September 15, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot September 15, 2007

Price Ranges Manhattan Beach September 15, 2007 ( click to enlarge) The graph with numbers will be posted after Market Snapshot

The last few weeks have been interesting as predictions of a market crash of 50%-60% in the Beach Cities and especially in Manhattan Beach persist. While expectations remain high by those hoping to buy at a significantly lower price... reality so far just isn't being very accommodating. Volume has declined but not by drastic numbers compared to sales from last year during the same period. Manhattan Beach homes that are selling seem to either be under $2m or over $3.2 m. A number of expensive homes have come on the market and many have sold fairly quickly. Pricey homes that have been on the market for a bit are also seeing sales as buyers seem to be deciding that now is a good time to pick up homes in the better locations.

Inventory under $2m appears to be increasing slightly as homes in the $2m-$2.2 range are seeing prices lowered. This is not necessarily a sign of price reductions from market value but rather in many cases a wake up call to real market value as opposed to wishful market value. Sellers are finally realizing that if nobody loves you after 2-6 months it might be because the house is over-priced.

One thing to note is that the market this year is different from the one last year at this time. Inventory is much lower and there are a lot of buyers. They are taking their time to make a decision... but they are out looking at homes. Open Houses are busy and buyers are even hitting the Broker Open Houses in hopes of catching a good property before other buyers get in the door.

Over at our local consumer blog.. MB Confidential I noticed there was a question about inventory this year and last year... these posts from my blog last year may be of interest... I wrote an article about making Home Buying Decisions based on Headline News.. concerning inventory in Manhattan Beach.. On October 1, 2006 there were 215 homes(no townhomes included) listed for sale in Manhattan Beach.. today there are 118. That's a huge difference in inventory. Interest rates, after being very high over the summer, dropped in the fall.. as it appears they will do this year.

In that article I issued a challenge about what would happen if sales increased slightly from October to January 2007. In January I wrote about what had actually occurred in the Manhattan Beach Housing market from the end of October 2006 to January 2007. Inventory in January 2007 was almost half the number of homes listed as of October 1, 2006. At this time inventory is slightly higher then in January 2007 but only by 15 homes and it's less then last year by about 100 homes.. which tells us that for the last 9 months inventory has been pretty stable. For this market to crash you would need to see huge increases in inventory and it isn't happening. If rates drop over the next two months I think we will see a similar buying pattern to last year...however inventory is lower and you could see some competition for well priced homes.

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot September 15, 2007

Manhattan Beach : Market Snapshot Price Ranges September 15, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot August 25, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot July 18, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot June 25, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot June 2, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot May 6, 2007

Manhattan Beach: Market Snapshot April 23, 2007


Anonymous said...

From Professor Robert Shiller of Yale University:

"Shiller noted that 50 percent declines in the worth of some cities' homes wouldn't be unprecedented. Prices in London and Los Angeles fell by almost that amount from the late 1980s to mid- 1990s."

Which areas will be affected (is Manhattan Beach immune)?

"Still, Shiller said it's 'not improbable' there will be big declines stretching over many years in cities that saw large increases during the boom, he said."

Professor Shiller is not tin foil hat-wearing paranoid schizophrenic. He and professor Karl Case created the widely referenced Case-Shiller home price index.

I don't think one good month of sales data makes the case that Manhattan Beach won't see serious price declines.

Kaye Thomas said...

Anonymous.. The problem with Shiller is that he uses data on same house re-sales.. nor does he include new construction. It may work very well for areas where the homes don't change much other then new tile, cabinets and floor coverings... But I'm not sure how that equates in our area where we tear down older homes to build new ones and do extensive remodels to a point that the original house is unrecognizable. I don't think the Shiller model tracks these types of homes... yet they make up a large part of our inventory.

I agree.. one month of good sales doesn't make a market.. but that's not what we are seeing. What we are seeing is a market that is slowing a bit in volume. Prices seem to be fairly flat or decreasing slightly with the exception of prime properties in "A" locations.. At this time this is not the sign of a market that is about to lose 50% of its home values.

Anonymous said...

OK. Rather than looking at data (effect), let's look at the root cause of our troubles. You may not completely agree with this assessment, but it's something you have to think about.

“Do you think China’s gonna forget?”

"When asked if the housing market is going to 'come back' he frankly said, 'never.' The reason? 'Do you think China’s gonna forget [how screwed they got]?'"

Kaye Thomas said...

Anon-The link didn't work.. so I'm not sure what you are referring to.. and from your comment not sure why you think housing will not come back or how it is related to China?

Anonymous said...

Here's something you can listen to:

Here's something by Professor Ed Leamer who heads UCLA's Anderson Forecast:

"Leamer said in an interview today at Jackson Hole that some former 'hot markets,' such as pockets of California, may see declines of 30 percent to 40 percent."

I think MB would definitely qualify as a "hot market."

Anonymous said...

Here's the full link:

Kaye Thomas said...

Anonymous: 7:58.. I've heard Leamer's interview.. and I agree that we would qualify as a "hot market" but two things strike me..

1. Leamer has been predicting a 30% price drop since 2001... and he was wrong every single year...

2. We are not seeing the huge build up in inventory that we should see if we were getting into major trouble.. Last year there were 215 listings ( homes ) for Sale in MB as of October 1, 2006.. As of today( September 17,2007) there are 117...less then when I posted this article... that's a major reduction in inventory not an increase..

Kaye Thomas said...

Anonymous: 8:00 am- Wish you would pick a fake name.. I think you are the same anonymous for all comments but I'm not sure.. How about Anonymous #1...
OK... back to the serious stuff.. Morgan has an interesting take on this.. as do the people who commented on his post..

One thing to remember is that the Chinese are compulsive gamblers and gamblers always go back and bet to make the big score.. so perhaps they will be back.. Don't kid yourself about what has been happening in these markets... people are betting and taking very high risks and that's gambling....

One of the aspects of gambling is that you must accept the risk associated with your actions... these guys want to make the big bucks but they also want to do it risk free and that's just not how the game is played..

Anonymous said...


I think you've missed a major point of the Blown Mortgage post. The mortgage-backed securities sold to China AND THE REST OF THE WORLD were AAA rated (fraudulently). That's the highest possible rating - as good as money in the bank. Look at it this way - do you think you are gambling when you deposit money in your savings account? These investments were touted as the safest of the safe. So, I don't think you can really apply the gambling analogy (to the Chinese) - especially when so many countries got into the act. I'm sure you know France, Germany, Australia and Great Britain were recently stung by our mortgage-backed securities (BNP, IKB, Basis Yield Alpha Fund, Northern Rock, etc.). The Blown Mortgage post focused on China because they are the biggest investors but they are far from the only takers.

No, the bottom line is that Wall Street committed massive fraud and the world will be very reluctant to ever finance our mortgage debt again.


PS. You may want to reconsider your comment about the compulsive gambling. Some may find it overtly racist. No one would blame you if you took those comments off your blog.

Kaye Thomas said...

Anonymous- I didn't miss the inference I just chose not to address it.. while I'm not crazy about what goes on within our financial markets I'm not sure what they did was intentionally fraudulent.. misguided and stupid are words that come more readily to mind ...

As to gambling in China.. this has nothing to do with race and I'm sorry you would ever think that ..I've been to China a lot and also to Macao.. gambling is part of their culture as much as it is part of ours.. poker anyone? I don't see gambling in China to be much different then I do gambling on Wall street or in Vegas..

Truthfully I find the Stock market to be the ultimate place for those who like to wager.. the only real difference between Vegas and Wall Street.. is that in Vegas if you lose .. it's your fault.. If you lose on Wall Street.. it's someone else's fault.