Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Jan. 12, 2022

What Will Happen to Real Estate in 2022?


If you have any questions, please contact us at 949-444-1601 or

Jan. 6, 2022

Homeowners: How Prop 19 will Help You

Prop 19 gives homeowners over the age of 55 even more reason to sell right now. Watch as Leslie explains how you can benefit from Prop 19.




If you have any questions or would like to discuss Prop 19 with The Swan Team, please contact us at 949-444-1601.

Posted in seller information
Dec. 22, 2021

December 2021 Real Estate Market Update

December 2021 Market Update


2021 has been an incredible year for real estate appreciation. Clients who bought earlier this year have already seen comparable homes sell for tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars more than their purchase price.  


How long can this last? 

Supply is the main issue is affecting the real estate market. Compared to previous years, there were essentially 50,000 properties missing from the market in both 2020 and 2021. 


So Cal Active Inventory


2020 started with 21,368 homes on the market in Southern California and we thought 2021 starting with 14,580 was frightfully low. However, 2022 is set to start with just 12,100 active homes on the market. As long as supply and interest rates stay low, demand will remain high and prices will continue to increase. 


So Cal Demand Year Over Year


The demand is evident in the graph above where you can see that the average days on market is below 30 days for all of Southern California - just 20 and 21 days in San Diego and Orange Counties, respectively. 


so cal market time year over year


And while the average in Orange County is 21 days, the reality is that anything remotely desirable is selling even faster with multiple offers - we are talking within 4 days with 5-10 offers.


What’s even more astounding is how the luxury market is exploding. 


luxury sales


In Orange County, luxury properties are defined as anything over $1.5million. (To put things in perspective, at the beginning of 2020, luxury was defined as anything priced over $1.25million)


Housing price ranges


Many people feel that home prices can’t keep going up. But there is no other place for them to go. The costs associated with leasing are at an all time high and are pushing more renters towards buying - fueling demand.


rent costs skyrocket


For renters/potential buyers, it all comes down to what you can afford monthly.


Taking a closer look at monthly payments and where they stand today, for a $1 million home and 10% down, a buyer is looking at a monthly payment of $3,843 at today’s 3.1% rate. When rates were lower this year, at 2.75%, it was a savings of $169 per month or $2,028 per year. The 5-year savings would be $10,140.


monthly mortgage payments


Many expect rates to rise next year to 3.5%. That would be an additional $198 more per month compared to today, or $2,376 per year, or $11,880 over 5-years. At 4%, it would be an additional $5,448 per year, or $27,240 in 5-years. In November 2018, rates reached nearly 5%. That would be an extra $988 per month, or just under $12,000 annually. In 5-years, it accumulates to almost $60,000. 


What does all of this mean?


If you are a renter/buyer, now is still a great time to buy. You will need to make sure you have realistic expectations and understand that patience is key. 


If you are a seller, you are in the driver’s seat and it is a great time to put your property on the market. But it isn’t just as easy as putting a sign up in front of the house. Zillow tried that and failed miserably (see last month’s update for more details).  There is planning and work that needs to be done to ensure you get the most return on your investment, the highest sales price possible AND the most convenient terms for you (ie. when you move out, repairs, etc.). 


That is where The Swan Team comes in. We are here to make the process the most profitable, convenient, and stress-free process it possibly can be. If you or a loved one are thinking about selling, please contact us. We are here to help answer any questions and are happy to share our strategies and plan for your success.


Contact us today by simply clicking on the phone icon at the top of the screen. Or you can always dial us at 949-444-1601. 


Happy Holidays!

Sept. 15, 2021

Home Appreciation is Skyrocketing in 2021. What about 2022?

One of the major story lines over the last year is how well the residential real estate market performed. One key metric in the spotlight is home price appreciation. According to the latest indices, home prices are skyrocketing this year.

Here are the latest percentages showing the year-over-year increase in home price appreciation:

The dramatic increases are seen at every price point and in all regions of the country.

Increases Are Across Every Price Point

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, each price range is seeing at least a 19% increase year-over-year:

Increases Are Across Every Region in the Country

Every region in the country is experiencing at least a 14.9% increase in home price appreciation, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA):

Increases Are Across Each of the Top 20 Metros in the Country

According to the U.S. National Home Price Index from S&P Case-Shiller, every major metro is seeing at least a 13.3% growth in prices (see graph below):

What About Price Appreciation in 2022?

Prices are the result of the balance between supply and demand. The demand for single-family homes has been strong over the last 18 months. The supply of houses available for sale was near historic lows. However, there’s some good news on the supply side. reports:

“432,000 new listings hit the national housing market in August, an increase of 18,000 over last year.”

There will, however, still be a shortage of supply compared to demand in 2022. CoreLogic reveals:

“Given the widespread demand and considering the number of standalone homes built during the past decade, the single-family market is estimated to be undersupplied by 4.35 million units by 2022.”

Yet, most forecasts call for home price appreciation to moderate in 2022. The Home Price Expectation Survey, a survey of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for a 5.12% appreciation level next year. Here are the 2022 home appreciation forecasts from the four other major entities:

  1. The National Association of Realtors (NAR): 4.4%
  2. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA): 8.4%
  3. Fannie Mae: 5.1%
  4. Freddie Mac: 5.3%

Price appreciation is expected to slow in 2022 when compared to the record highs of 2021. However, it is still expected to be greater than the annual average of 4.1% over the last 25 years.

Bottom Line

If you owned a home over the past year, you’ve seen your household wealth grow substantially, and you’ll see another nice boost in 2022. If you’re thinking of buying, consider buying now as prices are forecast to continue increasing through at least next year.

Aug. 3, 2021

August 3, 2021 Real Estate Market Update - Lack of Sellers

Lack of Sellers


Even though home values are appreciating to record levels, fewer homeowners are choosing to sell.


During the Great Recession, homeowners across the nation watched the housing market take a brutal pounding as their equity vanished in a blink. Many lost their homes to foreclosures or short sales. Everybody was either personally burned or they knew somebody who experienced the painful sting of the downturn. No one wants to go through that again. As a result, homeowners remain in their homes for a lot longer. They are content in keeping their home. There are fewer homeowners who opt to sell every year, and even with record home values, the trend continues. 


From 2000 to 2008, there were an average of 1,347 more homes that came on the market every single month compared to the past 10 years. That is an extra 16,158 sellers every year, 39% more. That has been the storyline for more than a decade, not enough homes are offered for sale. It is not just an Orange County phenomenon or isolated to just Southern California. Nor is it unique to the state of California. A lack of sellers has been a national issue that has plagued the real estate market and made it very difficult for buyers to find a home. 


The lack of supply and years of red-hot demand, fortified by record low interest rates (especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic), has resulted in homes appreciating to record levels in Orange County, erasing the losses of the Great Recession entirely. This more than a decade long trend is now the norm. Homeowners are not moving as often as they used to. 


Based upon 2020 closed sales, the turnover rate for the Orange County’s housing stock is once every 24 years, down slightly from 2019’s once every 25 years. It has bounced between 20 years and 25 years for the past decade. Remarkably, only 4.1% of all homeowners opted to sell their homes last year. 



There are many reasons why homeowners in Orange County and across the nation are opting to stay put. After feeling the burn from the Great Recession, many are turning their homes into “Forever Homes.” Most homeowners have refinanced to historically low interest rates, some as low as the mid-twos, making moving a lot more challenging as rates eventually rise.


Most baby boomers plan on staying put instead of downsizing after retirement. Even with the tax basis benefit created by Prop 19 this year, they are not moving like many had originally anticipated. They have been selling at a much slower pace than prior generations. This may be due to a longer life expectancy and a healthier lifestyle. They are happy just aging in place. And builders have not been building homes in the lower price ranges like they did in prior decades. These factors combined have contributed to the low turnover rate in the housing stock. 


COVID-19 intensified the trend of fewer homeowners opting to sell. Last year in Orange County, 6% fewer homes were placed on the market compared to the prior 5-year average from 2015 to 2019. That translates to 2,535 missing FOR- SALE signs. That paved the way to 2021’s lowest active listing inventory since tracking began in 2004. Today, it is not COVID that is keeping homeowners from selling, it is the lack of replacement homes after selling. Many are pointing to the fact that if they sell there will be “nothing to buy,” limiting the number of homeowners willing to participate in a market with such an anemic level of available homes to purchase. In the first half of 2021, 8% fewer homes were placed on the market compared to the 5-year average from 2015 to 2019 (intentionally excluding 2020 due to COVID skewing the data), 1,829 fewer FOR-SALE signs. 


Buyers must understand that the low turnover rate in the housing stock is here to stay. The pandemic did not help the issue either. This trend is here to stay, which means that the low housing inventory is not going to change much for the rest of the year and into 2022 as well. Most homeowners are simply content with staying put.


As a buyer, waiting for a lot more choices is futile. Buyers that opt to wait will be kicking themselves down the road. Instead, cashing in on today’s historically low rates now is the right move. The housing market has the legs to continue at its current trajectory for quite some time. 



Active Listings
The current active inventory was nearly unchanged in the past couple of weeks. 

The active listing inventory added 9 homes in the past couple of weeks, nearly unchanged, and now sits at 2,537 homes, its highest level since January. This year is following a normal, cyclical, seasonal pattern with an increase in the active listing inventory during the Summer Market. Typically, during the Autumn Market, which starts at the end of August with the kids going back to school, fewer homeowners opt to place their homes on the market. It is more disruptive to a family in placing a home on the market after school resumes. This year may be a bit different as many homeowners may decide to take advantage of housing’s strength, which would mean that the active inventory would continue to climb and peak later in the year. The inventory typically peaks between July and August, but this year may be an exception. Only time will tell. 


Last year at the end of July, there were 4,590 homes on the market, 2,053 additional homes, or 81% more. The 5-year average from 2015 to 2019 (intentionally omitting 2020 due to COVID skewing the data) is 6,916, an extra 4,379 homes, or 173% more. There were a lot more choices for buyers compared to today. 



Demand increased by 2% in the past couple of weeks. 


Demand, a snapshot of the number of new pending sales over the prior month, increased from 2,761 to 2,812 in the past couple of weeks, adding 51 pending sales, up 2%. It is still down 11% since peaking back on April 1st at 3,162 pending sales. Demand will continue to slowly descend from now through the Summer and Autumn Markets. It will then pick up steam and fall at a much faster pace during the Holiday Market beginning the week prior to Thanksgiving. As opposed to last year, Orange County demand is following a normal cyclical pattern this year, peaking during the Spring Market and then slowing dropping after reaching its peak. 


Last year, demand was at 3,200, 14% more than today, with the arrival of a very late Spring Market due to COVID. It is better to compare today’s market to the 5-year average for demand from 2015 through 2019, which was at 2,682 pending sales, 145 fewer pending sales, or 5% less than today. 


With the inventory rising slightly and demand rising as well, in the past two-weeks the Expected Market Time (the number of days it takes a home to go from active to under contract) remained unchanged at an incredibly low 27 days, albeit its highest level since the start of February. It's still an extremely hot sellers market - which means there are a ton of showings, sellers get to call the shots during the negotiating process, multiple offers are the norm, and home values are rising rapidly. Last year the Expected Market Time was at 43 days and dropping. The 5-year average from 2015 through 2019 was at 78 days, much slower than today, but still a Slight Seller’s Market. 


If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a property, please contact us today at 949-444-1601. Our team is here to help you every step of the way - that includes figuring out where you want to be, logistics of moving, cleaning up and preparing, helping with financing, and anything else you may need. Taking care of our clients (not just the transaction) is our #1 priority. 

June 30, 2021

Real Estate Market Update - June 30, 2021

Top 5 Trends in Housing

Now that half of 2021 is over, it is fair to say that specific trends have developed; and it's important that we learn from them.


The real estate market is one of the many hot topics discussed these days as we find ourselves looking in the rear-view mirror on COVID-19. And everyone seems to have an opinion about it. With many of us witnessing the housing crash in 2008, it's hard for people not to think that we are in a housing bubble right now and that a crash is looming. It is important to know that similar to stocks and other investments, the real estate market has its peaks and valleys.  With the ever-increasing home prices, it is fair to say 2021 is a peak year for real estate.  To know what is coming next, it is important to understand trends that are forming around us.


  1. The number of available homes to purchase is finally starting to rise. The unprecedented, ultra-low inventory has been the story for over a year now. At the start of last year, there already were not enough homes on the market, and then COVID-19 made things worse when many homeowners opted to not sell their homes. Ultimately, that led to this year’s anemic historically low level of available homes. In fact, today’s inventory is 64% less than the 5-year average of 6,702 homes (from 2015 to 2019 excluding 2020 due to COVID skewing the data). Yet, finally, now that summer has arrived with all of its normal, cyclical distractions, the inventory is on the rise, adding 174 homes, up 8%, within the past couple of weeks, its largest gain of the year. This new trend will continue throughout the summer months.

  2. Demand, the number of new escrows over the prior month, is on the decline after reaching a peak in early spring. Demand typically peaks between April and mid-May. This year, it peaked at the very start of April in Orange County. Many expect the market to behave differently and ignore the seasons because housing is so hot, yet society seemingly likes its routines. Spring is the hottest time of the year in terms of demand. It downshifts during the summer with the kids out of school, planned vacations, and plenty of fun in the sun. Since peaking on April 1st, demand has dropped from 3,110 to 2,906 pending sales, shedding 204, down 7%. Within the past two weeks alone, it dropped by 151 escrows or 5%, its largest drop of the year. This trend should continue throughout the summer months. 

  3. Closed Sales are at its highest level since 2005. Through the first five months of the year, there were 14,469 closed sales. Disregarding last year because COVID skewed the data (35% fewer last year), closed sales are up 22% compared to the 5-year average from 2015 through 2019, an extra 2,627. That pace is the highest since 2005. With demand continuing to outpace prior years, 2021 will be the strongest year for closings since prior to the Great Recession.

  4. Fewer homeowners are opting to list their homes for sale. This trend started last year with the onset of COVID, but dissipated and reversed its course in August last year. When the inventory reached a record low at the start of this year, many homeowners were nervous about selling and worried that there would be nothing for them to buy after selling. Combine that with the knowledge that home values were soaring, many homeowners were more than happy to wait on the sidelines while their equity quickly grew. During the first quarter, there were 3% fewer homes that entered the fray compared to the 5-year average from 2015-2019. In April, there were 10% fewer FOR-SALE signs, 413 fewer. In May, it was 15%, or 641 fewer. In the first two weeks of June, it was off by 19%, or 405 fewer. This trend will continue as long as the inventory remains muted and mortgage rates remain at historic lows below 3.5%.

  5. Pressure is building for mortgage rates to rise, which will impact affordability and demand. During the first week of this year, mortgage rates reached an all-time historic low, 2.65% according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®. It reached 3.18% on April 1st, but reversed course and dropped below 3% by the third week of April. It remained below 3% until June 24th when it rose from 2.93% in the prior week to 3.02%. It had remained at 3% or lower for 8 straight weeks, but pressure on rising rates had been mounting with inflation readings climbing. Even though the Federal Reserve has been stating that the inflation is “transitory,” or temporary, the U.S. economy is getting a lot hotter, and many are coming to the conclusion that the Federal Reserve needs to slow down their stimulus. They have been purchasing mortgage-backed securities, every day loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, since the onset of COVID. This has resulted in mortgage rates dropping by an additional quarter percent (approximately). Had COVID not occurred, rates would be around 3.75%. By year’s end, they will rise towards 3.5%, and then settle around 3.75% sometime next year. Demand will fall towards trend levels from 2015 through 2019, the inventory will rise to more normal levels, and the market time will slow from its crazy levels of today to a normal Seller’s Market.

The best advice for buyers and sellers: Follow an economic model that relies on facts and data rather than listen to everyone's opinions. Ultimately, an economic model will reveal trends that will help in understanding the characteristics and direction of the current housing market and properly set expectations for buyers and sellers.



Active Inventory has increased by 8% in the past 2 weeks


Active Inventory in Orange County year over year


Of course, those 2,388 homes are just half of what was on the market at this time last year; but it is the largest rise in active inventory in 2021 and its highest level since February. Traditionally, the summer months are slower because of families being active with vacations and outdoor activities. The "re-opening" of California seems to have enhanced this excitement to get out of the house and go places, see things and do things. Sellers are more comfortable putting their homes on the market and allowing people to tour through them. All the homeowners who have been sitting on the sidelines since March 2020 are finally starting to list their homes.


Demand has decreased by 5% in the past 2 weeks


Demand in Orange County year over year


Demand dropped by 151 pending sales in the past two weeks, moving from 3,057 to 2,906; bringing demand to its lowest level since February. Again, summer is traditionally when demand starts to drop. Add the state re-opening and buyers are going to have more on their minds that just buying a home. As summer continues, buyers should find themselves in a better position than back in March or April. For example, there might be only 8 offers on a property instead of 15 or 20. 

With an increase in the supply and a drop in demand, the Expected Market Time, the number of days to sell all Orange County listings at the current buying pace, increased from 22 to 25 days in the past couple of weeks, its highest level since February, but still an extremely Hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days). It was at 47 days last year and rapidly getting hotter as 2020’s delayed Spring Market had begun. 



What about the distressed market? Everyone asks about short sales and foreclosures. 

Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, made up only 0.4% of all listings and 0.3% of demand. There are only 5 foreclosures and 5 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, 10 total distressed homes on the active market, no change from two-weeks ago. Last year there were 29 total distressed homes on the market, slightly more than today. 

Have Questions?

Please contact us at 949-444-1601 or

{Thanks to Reports on Housing for this invaluable information.}

Posted in Buyer Information
May 11, 2021

Buyers: What are Your Chances of Getting an Offer Accepted in Today's Market?

The real estate market is downright brutal for buyers right now. But some buyers are getting their offers accepted while others aren't. 

Why is that?

Call them motivated, aggressive, savvy, etc. When it comes right down to it, they are ready, willing and able to answer YES to as many of the following questions as possible:

  • Are you willing to make the highest offer?
  • Are you willing to offer an escalation clause as part of your offer?
  • Are you able to pay all cash?
  • Is your earnest money deposit at least 3% of the purchase price?
  • Are you able to put more than 20% as your down payment?
  • Are you willing to waive the appraisal contingency?
  • Will your lender guarantee closing in less than 30 days?
  • Are you willing to rent back the property to the seller at no charge for at least 30 days?
  • Are you willing to waive all contingencies?
  • Are you willing to buy a home that needs work?

The more questions you answered YES, the greater likelihood you have of getting your offer accepted. Willingness to make the highest offer, paying all cash, and waiving all contingencies make your offer a shoe-in of getting selected.

However, what if you don't have $900,000 in cash and/or you don't want to waive all contingencies (which we wouldn't recommend you do anyway)?

Then you have to strengthen the other parts of your offer. 

Any seller would tell you that price is the #1 determining factor of the offer they choose. The price you offer has to meet or exceed their expectations. In many cases, it also has to exceed all of the other offers submitted on the property. 

With 10-30 offers being submitted on a property, price is no longer enough. You have to sweeten the deal with other terms like a shorter escrow period (aka seller gets their money quicker), waiving contingencies like the appraisal, and having as much money in your down payment as possible.  

Sellers can be incredibly picky in today's market, and unfortunately, buyers cannot. Buyers have to be prepared to pay more for a property that probably even needs some updating.  

Yes, it is crazy! We talk about it every day. But the sooner you embrace the crazy train and hop on board, the sooner it will bring you to your stop which is your new home. 

Have questions? Contact us at 949-444-1601 to find out how to become the most successful buyer in your particular situation.

Posted in Buyer Information
May 11, 2021

May Real Estate Update - Raising Rates is the Answer

The Question: What is going to slow down this crazy seller's market?

Ask any buyer what it is like attempting to purchase a home in today’s housing market and the responses will be same. It is frustrating, overwhelming, exhausting, and disheartening. We know that inventory is a huge issue right now. There are half the homes on the market today than there were this time last year. In Orange County, there are approximately 2300 homes on the active market right now and there are just over 15,000 in all of Southern California.

We hear from so many people, "I am just going to wait it out." 

Our answer, "You are going to be waiting for quite awhile." 

Which takes us back to our question and answer. What is going to normalize or balance this hot seller's market?

We can look back at 2013 when we had a similar situation. The following graphs tell the story best.



In 2013, rates and inventory were both low for the time - similar to today. As a result, we saw prices rise quickly as demand exceeded supply. But as rates started to increase, we saw demand drop. As much as buyers don't want to pay higher interest rates, they do want to see interest rates increase if they are going to have a chance at homeownership.



To put this all in perspective, as you will see below, back in 2013, the average days on market got down to a low of  about 40 days on market. Right now we are dealing with a market time of just 24 days! The direction of days of market determines the direction of home prices. As days on market decrease, prices increase - and vice versa.


Because prices have been on the rise for about 9 months, people think prices are going to have to drop soon. But here's the truth of the matter: overall prices will not start dropping until the average days on market for a property is over 120 days (or above the red line in the graph below). Notice how far away we are from that red line:

120 - 24 = Prices not dropping anytime soon. 


What does all this mean for you if you are buyer? It means that you need to be aggressive and secure a property now.  Always keep in mind that the one you let get away will be the newest comparable for the next active listing in the neighborhood. In all likelihood, this new listing will be offered at an even higher price than the one you weren't willing to pay.

Perhaps all of this craziness deters you from buying. That's ok.  The experience is part of your homeownership journey. If the stress of "overpaying" now is too overwhelming, then definitely wait.  When taking into account your purchase price and interest rate in the future, you will certainly be paying more than you are today, however, if the experience is less frustrating, then it is all worth it.  Know who you are as a buyer and what stress you are willing to take on.

What does this mean if you are a seller? It means that you hold all the cards - within reason. We have seen some "market testers" who are listing their properties well over market value and those properties are sitting. If you are looking to sell, first, find the right representation (duh, The Swan Team!). Then let your representation help you determine an appropriate list price that will get you a maximum return.  Of course, if you are selling, you most likely have to buy a new place to live. When it comes to making offers, you have to remember those amazing offers you received. What goes around comes around in all aspects of life, including buying and selling real estate.

Want to learn more about the market in your specific area?

Contact us now!

Posted in Market Updates
April 9, 2021

Real Estate Update - Waiting will be Costly


Housing will become more unaffordable as homes continue to rapidly appreciate and mortgage rates rise.



Ask any buyer what it is like attempting to purchase a home in today’s housing market and the responses will be same. It is frustrating, overwhelming, exhausting, and disheartening. 


While it may be discouraging for buyers to continue the pursuit in purchasing a home, diving into the consequences of waiting will keep them motivated. It is important to focus on the monthly payment in purchasing a home today and compare it to delaying until the end of the year. An $875,000 home purchased today with a 20% down payment yields a monthly payment of $2,999 at the current interest rate of 3.125%.



With a record low supply of available homes to purchase paired with unstoppable demand powered by historically low mortgage rates, home values are anticipated to continue to increase at a pace of about 1% per month through the end of the year. That equates to a home appreciation of 8% from now through December. At the same time, the United States economy is revving its massive engine now that it is emerging from the depths of the pandemic. Excellent job reports, increased travel, a massive personal savings surplus, and a return to some semblance of normal life again will ignite the economy and translate to a rise in mortgage interest rates. It is already occurring. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, rates started the year at 2.65%, an all-time record low, and have since risen to 3.125%. That is nearly a half a point higher in just a few months. By year’s end, rates are forecasted to hit 3.75% or higher. 


That means that the $875,000 home example above will appreciate to $945,000 in December. Match that up with the expected 3.75% mortgage rate, and the monthly payment blossoms from $2,999 to $3,501 per month, an increase of $502 every single month for the life of the loan. That is $6,024 per year or $30,120 in five years. This example only factors the increase in the principal and interest payment. The 20% down payment for $945,000 is an extra $14,000 down. Property taxes go up too. With the average tax rate of 1.1%, that amounts to an additional $770 annually. 


In the end, it all adds up to a lot more out of pocket expense on waiting until the end of the year to pull the trigger on a purchase. There is a definite cost to waiting even though the current market is extremely frustrating from a buyer’s perspective. There is a higher monthly mortgage payment. Down payments are larger. Property taxes are higher. 


There are some who believe that when rates rise to 3.75% that the housing market will reverse course and become a buyer’s market. There are plenty of YouTube videos that promote this explaining that a 1% rise in rates translates to a 10% drop in prices. Yet, that did not occur in 2013 when rates rose from 3.34% in January to 4.5% in July. It did not occur in 2018 when rates rose from 3.95% in January to 4.94% in November. Home prices did not fall. These theories are not rooted in fact. Instead, they are click bate for views, after all, that is how YouTubers are paid. 

It is better to look at supply and demand. While demand will decrease when rates rise to 3.75% or 4%, it will not shut off demand completely. The current number of available homes to purchase is at a record low 2,240. The five-year average (from 2015 to 2019 and intentionally excluding 2020 as the numbers were skewed due to the pandemic) is 5,552, or 148% more. That is an extra 3,312 homes on the market. Current demand (a snapshot of the last 30-days of pending activity) is at 3,162 compared to the five-year average (2015 to 2019) of 2,796, or 18% more. That is today’s trend in housing, an ultra-low supply of available homes matched up with fiery, hot, insane demand. With rising rates, the inventory will finally rise from its unparalleled, low level, and demand will decline from its torrid pace. The result will be a market that is much more manageable to navigate, yet still a Hot Seller’s Market. Homes will still appreciate, just not at its current unparalleled pace. There will still be multiple offers, just a few generated on each property compared to the double digits of today. 



The active listing inventory in Orange County has already been at a record low level and it would be hard to imagine it dropping even further, but that is exactly what materialized. In the past two weeks, the inventory shed another 109 homes, down 5%, and now sits at 2,240. It is the lowest level since tracking began in 2004. Yet, more homes are finally entering the fray. In March, there were 19% more homes that were placed on the market compared to February. Now that spring has begun, expect more homes to come on the market from now through July, with May being the peak month. Many of these homes will be gobbled up as quickly as they come on due to the ferocious pace of demand. But that will evolve as mortgage rates climb and some buyers end their home buying search with the realization that their monthly payments are increasing too much. The inventory will rise a lot more noticeably during the Summer Market.


Comparing year over year data will not be accurate for the remainder of the year due to COVID-19 skewing the statistics last year. Taking the prior 5-year average from 2015 to 2019 is a far better comparison. During March, there were 342 fewer new FOR-SALE signs in Orange County, 9% less than that 5-year average. This trend started in January and has resulted in 611 fewer homes on the market during the first quarter of 2021, 6% less. It is due to the lack of available replacement homes that have many homeowners alarmed about selling. They are fearful that there will be “nothing to buy,” limiting the number willing to participate in a market with such an anemic level of available homes to purchase. Yet there are strategies to avoid getting burned in selling and then purchasing a replacement home. A bridge loan, a rent back, and accepting an offer contingent on finding a replacement home are a few sound strategies in navigating today’s insanely hot market.



Demand, a snapshot of the number of new pending sales over the prior month, climbed from 3,110 to 3,162 in the past couple of weeks, adding 52 pending sales, up 2%. This is the strongest start to April since 2012. Demand is surging due to mortgage rates in the low 3% range. While rates may have risen to 3.18%, its highest level since last June, if it were not for the pandemic pushing rates to historically low levels, today’s rate would still be an all-time record low. Demand will continue to be juiced until mortgage rates eclipse 3.5% and continue to head higher later this year. That will occur on the backs for great economic news on the horizon. Until then, it will be more of the same, homes that enter the fray will procure way too many offers and home values will continue to soar. 


Last year, demand was at 1,584 due to the start of the pandemic, that is 1,578 fewer pending sales compared to today, or 50% less. The 5-year average from 2015 through 2019 was at 2,796 pending sales, 366 fewer pending sales, or 12% less. 


In the past two-weeks the Expected Market Time (the number of days to sell all Orange County listings at the current buying pace) dropped from 23 to 21 days, its lowest level since tracking began in 2004, and is a very Hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days) where there are a ton of showings, sellers get to call the shots during the negotiating process, multiple offers are the norm, and home values are rising rapidly. Last year the Expected Market Time was at 79 days, slower than today. The 5-year average from 2015 through 2019 was at 60 days, much slower than today, but still a Hot Seller’s Market. 


The table below gives you an idea of just how quickly a property (based on its price) will go from active on MLS to Under Contract/In Escrow today versus last year.  



These numbers are mind-blowing! Anything under 30 days is considered a red-hot seller's market - and pretty much only homes over $2million might actually sit on the market for longer than a month.  

We hear it time and time again from buyers: "Maybe I should just wait out this crazy sellers market right now". But unless you are willing to wait a few years, pay a higher purchase price than today and pay much higher interest rates, it's best that you get in the game now! And with the best team in real estate representing you, you already have a better shot of getting your offer accepted than the other buyers.

Sellers: you hold all the cards. However, many of you are concerned where to go next. That is where The Swan Team comes in.  We can develop a plan that allows you to maximize the profit from your sale, maximize your leverage as a buyer, and only move ONCE!

Contact us today at 949.444.1601 to discuss and develop a real estate plan that is right for you!

Posted in Market Updates
March 4, 2021

Property Values Rising with No Top In Sight

Values Rising

The market velocity is extremely fast, and it is a Hot Seller’s Market where values are rising swiftly and multiple offers is the norm.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, everybody rushed to their local supermarket to purchase toilet paper. Similar to toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there are not enough homes on the market to keep up with today’s intense buyer demand. There is a run-on housing. Homes are flying off the market faster than they are coming on, and the inventory has been dropping further as the year has progressed. Housing’s momentum lines up strongly in favor of sellers. In looking closely at the housing economic model of supply, demand, mortgage rates, affordability, buyer demographics, and market velocity, the data illustrates that the current trajectory of the housing market is not going to change anytime soon.

At the start of 2020, prior to any lockdown measures and the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, mortgage rates had dropped from 3.75% to 3.5%, an excellent level that had only been reached a few times since 2013. Throw in an increase in buyer demand due to the strongest demographic patch of prime first-time home buyers, 32-year-olds, in 26 years (which will continue for the next 4 years), it was no surprise that the market was hot in February 2020. The inventory was at its lowest level since 2013, a crazy year for housing, demand was at its hottest point since 2017, and the velocity of the market was the strongest since 2013. Then the pandemic hit, demand stalled and so did the inventory. Yet, as rates dropped to record levels, 16 record lows last year, demand heated up and the inventory continued to drop. The lower rates dropped, the hotter the market became. In fact, the market dropped to its hottest point by year’s end with an Expected Market Time (the time between hammering in the FOR-SALE sign to opening escrow) of 37 days.

With mortgage rates remaining below 3%, a level never reached prior to last year, today’s housing market is one of the strongest on record, and it has everything to do with supply and demand. The current number of available homes to purchase is less than the current demand readings. The active inventory today is at 2,438 homes, and demand (last 30- days of new escrow activity) is at 2,863 pending sales. There are 425 fewer homes available to purchase compared to current demand. Homes are flying into escrow as quickly as they are coming on. The Expected Market Time is at 26 days, less than one month, the lowest level since tracking began in 2004.

For proper perspective, last year there were 4,030 homes available, and demand was at 2,479 pending sales. There were 1,551 more homes available to purchase than demand. The Expected Market Time was at 49 days, for mid-February, only 2013 was stronger. In 2013, the prior hottest year in decades, the inventory was at 3,272 and demand was at 2,887. There were 385 more homes available to purchase compared to demand. The Expected Market Time was at 34 days, the prior record level.

With an Expected Market Time of 26 days, homes priced close to their Fair Market Values procure a swarm of activity, multiple offers, 10, 20, or even 30 offers, and ultimately sell for a bit more than the asking price, and in some cases a lot more. It depends upon the home. Buyers worry about paying too much, often the record for a development. Everyone’s head immediately retreats to the last time there was a comparable buyer frenzy in housing, the years leading up to the Great Recession. However, there were over six times the number of homes available to purchase in 2006, a year before the start of the Great Recession, 16,000 homes. Homes were far less affordable with mortgage rates at 6.5%. Lender qualifications were loose with a disproportionate number of subprime, zero-down, and pick-a-payment loans, tons of cash- out refinances, and fraudulent lending practices. The transgressions of the real estate industry ultimately led to the deep recession where values plummeted. In contrast, today’s housing has an extremely strong foundation with years of tight lender qualifications, large down payments, plenty of nested equity, and limited cash-out refinances.

Buyers should not worry about paying too much in today’s environment. Mortgage rates are below 3%, demand is unbelievably powerful, the supply of homes is at record low levels, and values are lined rising swiftly. The underlying ingredients that make up today’s housing market are not going to change anytime soon. Instead, buyers should look at their family budgets and determine how much they can comfortably afford, and then aggressively pursue a home. Waiting is not really an option as home values are on the rise and mortgage rates are slowly rising right now as well.

A Tip for Buyers: In competing against a multitude of offers, sharpen your pencil, make the offer as agreeable as possible, and pack your patience. Sometimes an offer above the listed price is necessary to be the winning bidder. Stretching an offer by an additional $10,000 may be enough to get past the finish line. At today’s 2.81% mortgage rate, the additional $10,000 means that the monthly payment goes up by $41.14 and the down payment slightly rises as well. Remember, only one buyer wins the bidding war. For everybody else, it is back to the drawing board.

Active Listings
The current active inventory shed another 2% in the past couple of weeks.

The active listing inventory shed 55 homes in the past two weeks, down 2%, and now sits at 2,438, the lowest inventory level since tracking began in 2004. The low mortgage rate environment is going to continue to thrust this market forward. Homes are not coming on fast enough to satisfy current demand levels, which is why the number of available homes is dropping right now. Homes are coming off the market and into escrow faster than they are coming on. This will continue until the start of the Spring Market next month. More homeowners ultimately wait for the spring than any other time to place their homes on the market. With today’s ultra-hot housing pace, spring cannot come fast enough.

Active Listings in Orange County

There are fewer homeowners coming on the market compared to the 5-year average. During January, there were 169 fewer new FOR-SALE signs in Orange County, 6% less. This new trend is the same across Southern California. It is not COVID-19 that is currently suppressing homeowners from selling their homes; instead, it is the lack of available replacement homes that have many spooked about selling. Many are fearful there will be “nothing to buy,” limiting the number of homeowners willing to participate in a market with such an anemic level of available homes to purchase. Yet, there are great strategies to counter this argument. Sellers can agree to an offer to purchase contingent on finding a replacement property within a specified period of time. They can also rent back for a couple of months. With the market lining up so favorably for sellers, it is a lot easier for a seller to find a buyer willing to agree to these terms.

Last year in mid-February, there were 4,030 homes on the market, 1,592 additional homes, or 65% more. There were plenty more choices for buyers compared to today.

Demand continued to soar by 11% in the past couple of weeks.

Demand, a snapshot of the number of new pending sales over the prior month, climbed from 2,590 to 2,863 in the past couple of weeks, adding 273 pending sales, up 11%. This is the strongest mid-February demand reading since 2013 when it reached 2,887, virtually identical to today. Mortgage rates below 3% are instigating today’s unprecedented demand levels. Since demand is a snapshot of recent pending sales activity, if there were more homes coming on the market right now, demand would be much higher than where it is today. The lack of available homes to purchase is limiting today’s escrow activity. Demand will continue to rise as more homes become available over the next couple of months and more homes come on the market during the spring. It will most likely peak sometime in May.

Last year, demand was at 2,479, that is 384 fewer pending sales compared to today, or 13% less.

Posted in Market Updates