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It’s November in Palm Springs: Election, Covid, Home Prices – Oh My!

Home Prices, Election, Covid-19, Oh My!

It’s been quite a November and we’re only 13 days into it.

Many of us thought after November 3rd the Democrats and Republicans would stop their constant fighting and we’d know who the Presidential candidate would be sworn into office in January. To add to our worries, Covid-19 high positivity rates smacked us again.

But there is a bright light in our housing market.

People from around the country are buying homes where they’ve been vacationing. They’re buying homes in leisure destinations as permanent residences and as secondary homes. Our Palm Springs area is one of those destination hotspots.  And we locals know why; weather, beautiful scenery, lifestyle, and fabulous homes at fantastic prices.

2020 has proven to be a very big year in the real estate market in the Coachella Valley. Buyers who had been waiting for “the right time” to purchase a home found this year to be that right time.

Our residential inventory is still very low in all prices points, with the exception of the uber high-end properties. If a property is priced correctly, based on its location, sun exposure, floor plan and other factors in its community, it will sell – and sell quickly. But even in this hot market, sellers must remember that buyers set market prices, not sellers. It is a sellers’ peril if they disregard this reality. If they do, they won’t sell their homes.

As we approach the holidays, realtors would generally see a slight slowdown before our January to April active season. However, since Covid-19 people keep streaming into the desert searching for their ‘desert dream home’.

There’s been a huge surge of sales in the detached home market.  In the past 1-1/2 months, home sales experienced a 39.3% increase year-over-year. The average home sale is a tick over $600,000.  In the $700,000 to $800,000 price bracket, sales increased 96%. In the million-dollar and over price bracket, sales went from an average of 45 units to over 110 units a month, an increase of 144%.

Entry level homes priced between $250,000 to $350,000 are very hard to find. If a single-family home comes on to the market in this price range, it won’t list for long. In this price range it’s easier to find a condo.

With the start of our selling season, we anticipate seeing more homes hit the market, which may ease some of the upward pressure on home sales.  However, as with everything else this year, nothing is running its usual course.

Stay tuned.  Stay connected.

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When will the desert real estate market boom end?

It’s the first week of September and our hot desert weather will begin to slowly cool down. But that’s not the case with our real estate. It appears the coronavirus has created ideal conditions for dramatic spikes in Coachella Valley home sales. With so many working from home, people have realized they can live anywhere. In comparison to pricey, prime areas of California, our desert communities look extremely attractive.

Another component adding to home sales are low interest rates. But recently Freddie Mac and Fannie May threw a curve ball and unexpectedly announced a new finance fee of 0.5% assessed for cash-out and no-cash-out refinances. Many in the mortgage industry voiced opposition to this new policy so Freddie Mac/Fannie May announced the fee will be postponed from Sept 1 to Dec 1 and that loans under $125,000 would be exempt. So, it you’re thinking of refinancing, do it very soon.

Did you know that almost half – 45% – of people who bought a home in the past year made an offer on a property they hadn’t seen in person? That’s up from just 28% during the same period last year. Sight-unseen offers will likely to continue to climb in the coming months. The pandemic has changed the way many people view homes. With that in mind, make sure photos of your home and property are photographed by a professional before you list it in the MLS. You are selling in a competitive market with low inventory.

Speaking of listing, we’re seeing a significant number of home appraisals come in below the selling price. When that happens, it requires buyers and sellers to come together to renegotiate. This is going to continue to happen when we’re in an environment where appreciation is rapidly happening. As inventory shrinks, buyers are increasing their offers.

So how long can the market ride this wave? Nobody knows. Many people are buying now because they’re afraid they’ll miss out and will have to pay more in the near future.
In the meantime, Sellers are quickly receiving buyer offers.

So, if you’re thinking about selling, let’s talk about your home’s current value. And if you’re thinking of buying, let’s talk about the homes that fit within your price.

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A Message From HomeSmart Real Estate Agent Darlene Harwick

Corona Virus Palm Desert Real Estate

As we face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, my first priority is the health of my clients and the communities we live and work. I’m committed to supporting my clients through this challenging time.

People are still out looking at homes, putting their homes on the market, writing contracts, and closing on life’s biggest transaction. In order to continue to provide the same high level of support, we realtors have had to adapt, adjust, and work together like never before.

Real Estate in Times of Uncertainty

Much of the news these past few weeks has been regarding the unfortunate events and circumstances caused by COVID-19. Day-to-day and hour-to-hour news is changing how we best address the COVID-19 matter.

As your trusted realtor, I’ll stick to real estate and defer to experts like the CDC for how to best address your health and safety. I don’t want to minimize the effect this current situation has on other aspects of life, but I wanted to offer some insights and reassurance regarding my expertise and experience – real estate.

You might be worried about your home value at this time of economic upheaval. That’s understandable and completely valid. The good news is that for most homeowners, the best course of action, as well as the easiest, is to do absolutely nothing. Just sit tight, be thankful that you have a nice place to gather with your loved ones, work from home, or even self-quarantine if needed. At times like this, it becomes abundantly clear that your home is so much more than just an investment.

Fortunately, real estate has historically proven to be a relatively stable and sound investment in times of crisis. For example, Dr. Marci Rossell, a leading economist who specializes in real estate, noted that the housing market remained stable in the aftermath of 9/11. 

In the days and weeks following 9/11, there was a real sense of panic and uncertainty. Airlines completely shut down, conferences and events were canceled, oil and stock prices became hyper-volatile, and news stories predicted economic activity could grind to a halt for quarters if not years. Remember?

Fortunately, the shock that 9/11 delivered to the world economy was short-lived. It was a classic V-shaped economic deceleration characterized by a rapid decline followed by a rapid recovery. Unlike the stock and bond markets, real estate markets move slowly. At a time of economic uncertainty and volatility, based on past events it’s a pretty safe bet that real estate will remain a bastion of stability.

For those who are active in the real estate market currently and wondering how the pandemic will affect buying and selling:

Buying a Home

  • We live in a digital age of real estate where information is abundant and available at your fingertips, without even leaving your home.
  • This current COVID-19 crisis will actually slow down the market enough for an active buyer to have a greater opportunity to secure a home purchase, with less competition from other buyers.
  • The recent rate reductions and questions about how the economy will impact a buyer’s purchase is valid. It’s more important than ever to have a trusted mortgage partner to help guide through these times. Fortunately, I can introduce you to an expert.

Selling a Home

  • I’m a firm believer in cutting-edge real estate marketing technology. In times like these forward-leaning marketing tool and strategies are helping sellers even more than anticipated.
  • My selling system incorporates the abilities for home buyers to view your home digitally in every manner possible. I know buyers are searching voraciously online and I will ensure your home stands out in their searches.
  • In days and weeks ahead, we may see buyers making offers on well-marketed homes without physical showings. Virtual showings are becoming commonplace in today’s challenging time.

The Impact of Federal Reserve Actions on Mortgages

  • The Federal Reserve has recently made some large interest rate cuts. However, it is important to remember that these cuts do not necessarily impact mortgage rates.
  • We should hopefully see rate lock options stabilize. The question looms where mortgage rates will settle, but we should hopefully see the large swings slow down.

In these days and weeks ahead as news continue to come out about COVID-19, I want you to know that as your trusted real estate advisor I am on the front lines of the market. There are a lot of unknowns, but I will closely monitor the situation and am always available for any of your real estate needs, questions, or concerns.

In closing, please wash your hands and stay your distance from others. Give me a call. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance!

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Cities Near Palm Springs

If you’re thinking about moving to the Palm Springs area, you may not know that Palm Springs is just one city of nine in the Coachella Valley.

Visitors often refer to our desert cities as Palm Springs. True, just about everyone throughout the world knows about the city, so it’s easy to understand why the name ‘Palm Springs’ is synonymous with the region. As popular but not as well known, are nearby cities that attract both visitors and home buyers. Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta offer what Palm Springs became famous for; majestic desert mountains, beautiful weather, sunshine, tennis, golf, and more…

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Promoting Your Home to Sell in the Palm Springs area

Have you ever wondered what it takes to market and sell a home? In the “olden days” of real estate, the home would get listed in the classified section of the newspaper, and flyers and postcards would be mailed out. These days, however, require significantly more sophisticated ways of marketing homes for sale. In this video, Darlene Harwick, Realtor in the Palm Springs area, give tips about successful home marketing.

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5 tips to consider if you’ve been thinking about buying a home in a golf course community

Tip 1:

While living across the street from the fairways offers a homeowner additional privacy (no neighbor in front), it also provides a bird’s-eye-view to golfers – especially those wandering through your yard to retrieve balls. Choose your location within the golf community carefully. Homes along the right side, nearest to the tee box, are statistically at higher risk for wandering golfers searching for errant balls and the damage those balls can cause. You may want to play the course to help determine if the home you have your eye on is ideally located.

Tip 2:

I stress the importance to all homeowners interested in purchasing a home in a managed community to read the HOA documents thoroughly, it’s even more critical when considering a home on a golf course. Is netting prohibited? Are there rules against entering the course from your property?

Tips 3:

While golf participation throughout the country is stabilizing, and fewer courses are closing, keep in mind that it’s still a buyers’ market in many communities in this real estate niche. You are in the drivers’ seat, by and large, in negotiations.

Tip 4:

You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy golf course living. In fact, it’s estimated that only about a quarter of residents who live on or near courses play the game. They purchased the home to enjoy the scenic view, the enjoyment of not having a neighbor’s home facing theirs and the peaceful evenings.

Tip 5:

If you do play, you may want to restrict your search for a golf course home for sale to communities that offer other amenities as well, such as tennis courts, walking trails, swimming pools.

Thinking of selling your golf course home?

Realtor.com analyzed listings of homes for sale in 273  U.S. counties. They found that those listings that included the word “golf” took, on average, 75 days to sell. These homes eventually sold for 14 percent more than the median sale price for the area and nearly 30 percent more than the nationwide median home price.

Of course, all real estate is local and markets change so the “mileage” here in our area may vary.  Feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary, no-obligation determination of your home’s likely market value.