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!

Sept. 13, 2023

Finding Your Perfect Nest: A Strategic Guide to Choosing Your Ideal Home Location

Choosing the right location for your new home is arguably one of the most critical decisions you'll make during the home-buying process. The location of your home not only influences your living experience but can also have a significant impact on the future value of your property. Here, we delve into the various factors you should consider to make an informed decision when choosing your house location.


1. Understanding Your Lifestyle Needs

Family Dynamics
If you have a family or are planning to start one, consider proximity to good schools, parks, and family-friendly amenities.

Career Considerations
For working professionals, a location with easy access to the workplace or well-connected public transportation can be a priority.

Leisure and Recreation
Think about the proximity to leisure and recreational facilities that align with your hobbies and interests.

2. Safety and Security
Safety should be a top priority. Research the crime rates in different areas and consider choosing a location with a low crime rate to ensure the safety of your family.

3. Infrastructure and Amenities

Healthcare Facilities
Ensure the area has nearby healthcare facilities for easy access during emergencies.

Shopping and Dining
Consider the availability of shopping centers and dining options in the vicinity.

Public Transportation
If you rely on public transportation, check the availability and connectivity of the same in the area.

4. Real Estate Value
Future Developments
Investigate any future developments planned in the area, as this can influence property values.

Historical Data
Look at the historical data of property values in the area to gauge potential future trends.

5. Natural Environment

Green Spaces
If you are a nature lover, you might prefer a location with parks and green spaces.

Climate
Consider the climate of the area, especially if you are moving to a different region.

6. Community and Neighborhood

Community Engagement
Explore the community engagement in the area. A neighborhood with a strong sense of community can offer a more fulfilling living experience.

Noise Levels
Consider the noise levels in the area, especially if you are looking for a peaceful and quiet environment.

7. Personal Visits
Before making a decision, visit potential locations personally to get a feel of the neighborhood and see if it aligns with your expectations.

Conclusion
Choosing the right location for your house is a multifaceted decision involving various factors that can influence your quality of life. By considering the above aspects and conducting thorough research, you can find a location that not only meets your current needs but also holds promise for a comfortable and prosperous future.

Remember, the perfect location is one that aligns well with your lifestyle, preferences, and long-term goals. Happy house hunting!

Sept. 13, 2023

A Shift in Market Pace: A Comprehensive Real Estate Update

In recent times, we have witnessed a noticeable shift in the market pace, with the expected market time experiencing a significant increase. This change can be attributed to the rise in rates above 7%.



A Glimpse into the Current Economic Landscape

The current economic landscape has seen a surge in various expenses, from gas prices soaring above $5 per gallon to a noticeable increase in dining and grocery costs. This surge has led to a change in spending habits, with many individuals opting to cut back on extra errands or nights out.

Similarly, the real estate sector has not been immune to these changes. Home affordability has been under pressure, especially with the 30-year fixed rate experiencing a steep climb from 3.25% in January 2022 to over 7% in the latter part of the year. This trend continued into the new year, with mortgage rates hovering around 5.99% in February. Despite a slight ease in April, the rates have been on an upward trajectory, reaching a peak of 7.49% on August 21st, a rate not seen since December 2000. This has inevitably stretched buyers' budgets, making home ownership a distant dream for many.

Analyzing the Orange County Market Trends
In April 2023, the Orange County market witnessed its hottest period, with an expected market time of just 37 days, thanks to a dip in rates to 6.16%. However, as mortgage rates gradually increased, surpassing the 7% mark in May, the market began to cool down. Despite a steady demand, the inventory saw a slow yet consistent rise, leading to an increase in the expected market time to 39 days, a trend that continued into the subsequent months.

By August, the rates were nearing 7.5%, causing a further dip in demand. Even though the inventory began to decrease, the market time extended to 49 days, adding nearly two weeks compared to April. This period, although still considered a "hot market", necessitates careful pricing strategies and a sympathetic approach towards buyers who are grappling with the high mortgage rate environment.

Economic Forecasts and Their Implications
Earlier in January, economic experts had predicted a drop in mortgage rates below 6% by the end of 2023. However, the persistent strength of the U.S. economy, characterized by robust consumer spending and a resilient job market, has led to a revision of these forecasts. It is now anticipated that the rates will remain high until at least the second half of 2024.

As we move forward, the market dynamics are expected to change, with mortgage rates potentially seeing a decline if there are signs of a weakening U.S. economy or a significant drop in inflation. Until then, sellers are advised to adopt a more calculated approach to navigate the housing market effectively.

A Closer Look at the Current Real Estate Scenario

Currently, the active listing inventory has seen a 2% decrease in the past few weeks, settling at 2,385 homes, the lowest since the beginning of July. This trend indicates a potential record-low number of available homes as we enter 2024.

On the demand front, there has been a 7% decline in the past couple of weeks, marking the largest drop of the year. This decline is largely due to the near 7.5% mortgage rates witnessed on August 22nd, which has limited the number of qualifying buyers. As we move past the peak seasons of spring and summer, a gradual decrease in demand is expected, which will further intensify during the holiday season.

In terms of market time, there has been an increase from 46 to 49 days over the past few weeks, the highest since February's start. This trend is quicker compared to the previous year and significantly faster than the pre-COVID 3-year average.

Final Thoughts
As we navigate through these changing times, it is crucial for both buyers and sellers to adapt to the evolving market dynamics. Sellers, in particular, need to be more strategic in their approach, considering the high mortgage rate environment and its impact on home affordability.

By staying informed and adapting to the current trends, individuals can make well-informed decisions, ensuring a successful outcome in the real estate market.

Sept. 13, 2023

How to Prepare Your House for Fall

As the golden hues of fall approach, it's time to prepare your home for the cooler temperatures and changing scenery that this season brings. From ensuring your heating system is up to par to safeguarding your home against potential pests, here are some essential tips to get your home fall-ready.



1. Inspect Your Heating System
Before the cold weather sets in, make sure to inspect your heating system. Schedule a professional maintenance check to ensure everything is functioning correctly. Don't forget to replace the furnace filters to improve air quality and efficiency.

2. Clean the Gutters
Fall means leaves, lots of them! Ensure your gutters are clean to prevent water damage and ice dams in the winter. Consider installing gutter guards to keep leaves and debris out.

3. Seal the Gaps
Inspect your home for any gaps or cracks that might let in cold air. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal any gaps around windows and doors to keep your home warm and energy-efficient.

4. Prepare Your Garden
Fall is the perfect time to prepare your garden for the next season. Remove dead plants, prune perennials, and mulch your garden beds to protect them from the winter cold.

5. Check Your Roof
Inspect your roof for any signs of damage or wear. Repair any loose or missing shingles to prevent leaks and further damage during the winter months.

6. Pest-Proof Your Home
As the weather cools, pests like rodents and insects look for warm places to nest. Seal any holes or cracks in your home's exterior to keep pests out. Consider scheduling a pest control service to safeguard your home.

7. Safety Checks
Fall is a great time to perform safety checks around your home. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries if necessary. Review your family's emergency plan and update it if needed.

8. Cozy Up Your Living Spaces
As the days get shorter, make your living spaces cozy and inviting. Add warm throws and pillows to your furniture, and consider switching to heavier curtains to keep the cold out.

9. Prepare Your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, fall is the time to get it ready for use. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected to prevent fires and ensure it's ready to warm your home on chilly evenings?

10. Organize Your Garage
Before winter sets in, organize your garage to make room for your car and winter gear. Clean out any clutter and make sure your snow removal equipment is easily accessible.

By following these tips, you'll ensure your home is ready to face the fall season head-on, providing a warm and safe haven for you and your family. Happy fall!

Aug. 23, 2023

Canyon Crest Market Update - August 2023

Houses For Sale Right Now are like Toilet Paper in 2020

 

Housing Inventory is non-existent, as you can probably tell from the lack of for-sale signs in Canyon Crest and throughout Orange County. There are currently just 2 active properties on the market in Canyon Crest - both have been on the market for over 2 and 3 months, respectively. Frankly, the only reason these two active properties haven’t been purchased is because they are priced at higher price points and need updating. There is also one property that is coming soon on Shadow Ridge. Based on its current listing price and location, I anticipate it will sell quickly. 

 

The status of the market isn’t much different than it was at this time last month with the exception that mortgage rates have increased slightly. Overall, sales are low and inventory is low. We had roughly the same amount of active listings during the COVID-19 lockdown that we do right now. 

 

 

Why is there a lack of inventory? 

The majority of homeowners have an interest rate of 5% or lower, and the thought of losing that rate is horrifying - especially when you realize that interest rates are now hovering around and even above 7%.  A person/family has to be very motivated to sell right now to incur that increase in monthly payment. As a result, homeowners are hunkering down even though they may want a home with different features, sizes, or locations. 

 

The Silver Lining: 

  1. This lack of inventory is maintaining home values. While home values did drop in the second half of last year, they have steadily increased this year and are hovering just below the peak prices of May 2022. (Did you see that a house on Ashton just sold for $2million!?!) That means a vast majority of homeowners have seen a great appreciation in their homes.
  2. If you are thinking of selling, now is a great time. The seller holds ALL the power. Buyers can't buy what doesn't exist. As a result, buyers are gobbling up any property as soon as it comes on the market provided one key requirement is met: The home is priced at a fair market value according to its condition in comparison to similar properties.
  3. If you have the ability to hold on to your current property while maintaining a low interest rate, think about renting it. Properties in Canyon Crest have rented for $4900 (for 3 bedrooms) to $7000 (for 4 bedrooms) per month. Keeping your home in Canyon Crest or anywhere in Mission Viejo is a great investment and can be a great source of passive income. {Click here to see active and leased rental properties in Canyon Crest}

 

With non-existent inventory and plenty of buyers wanting to live in Canyon Crest, there is ample opportunity for homeowners to cash in on all the equity that has accumulated over the past few years and beyond. Sellers will achieve success if they prepare their homes properly for sale and price it at fair market value. (And if they hire The Swan Team, of course!)


See for yourself what is going on in the Canyon Crest market:

 

What's currently for sale?

Click here to see properties that are currently active

 

What properties are in escrow (under contract or pending)? 

Click here to see properties that are currently in escrow

 

What properties have sold in the past 60 days? 

Click here to see properties that have sold in the past 2 months

 

What properties have sold in the past 6 months? 

Click here to see properties that have sold in the past 6 months

 

Many of you have asked, “But where am I going to go?” That is a very good question. It is also something I can help with. Contact me now to create a comprehensive plan of where you are, where you want to go, and how we are going to get you there.

 

I don't merely market, list, and sell your home. I am a consultant who helps you understand your options, helps create a plan that accounts for your particular wants and needs, and then executes the plan with a precision that exceeds your expectations.

If you are thinking of selling your house in the next 2 years, please contact me. Now may be the best time to get the most return on your investment. Call me at 949-444-1601 to find out more information and get the ball rolling.

Aug. 10, 2023

August 2023 Market Update - Cruel Summer

 

You may have heard that an up-and-coming artist named Taylor Swift was on tour for the past several months. If you didn’t, you were likely in a cave somewhere because she affected the economy, traffic, and even seismic activity wherever she went. I was fortunate to attend the concert with my Swiftie teenager seen singing in the video above.

 

The current state of the real estate market reminds me of her song, Cruel Summer, with buyers as the heroine crying “like a baby coming home from the bar” and inventory as the love interest looking “up grinning like a devil.” 

 

Why is inventory still so low? 

With interest rates in the 7% range, it doesn’t make sense for sellers to sell unless they absolutely have to (ie. Relocating, divorcing, loss of job, downsizing, etc.). 87% of Californians who have a mortgage have rates of 5% or less, so sellers aren’t selling. Plain and simple.

 


The inventory started off in January 46% below the 3-year average before COVID (2017 to 2019). The difference grew as the year progressed, and the supply failed to rise much at all. Today is 63% lower than that average, sitting at 2,475 homes compared to 6,753 when Orange County felt normal. Today’s level is the lowest inventory for a start to August since tracking began in 2004, even slightly lower than 2021. The low supply in 2021 led to a historic low start to 2022. Similarly, if nothing changes for the remainder of the year, 2024 may break that record low. 

 


Demand has been squeezed by both sky-high mortgage rates and a lack of available homes to purchase. This combination has resulted in demand readings at record-low levels all year. From January through July, demand has remained at its lowest level since Reports on Housing began tracking in 2004. Current demand is at 1,580 pending sales, down 13% compared to last year, and down 40% compared to the 3-year pre-COVID average of 2,630 pending sales. 

Low demand has led to the lowest monthly closed sales since tracking began in 2004. Through July, there have been only 11,577 closed sales, down 26% compared to last year, and 34% compared to the 3-year pre-COVID average of 17,434 closed sales. 

 

In terms of closed units, housing is experiencing a recession. Nearly anyone that works within the real estate industry, from REALTORS® to mortgage lenders to inspectors to termite companies, has felt the impact of fewer sales and transactions.

 

Who is benefiting from the current state of the market? 

In terms of values, the homeowner is definitely benefitting from this lack of inventory. 

Sellers who decide to put their property on the market are once again seeing multiple offers which is driving prices up. The days it takes to sell a home is nearly half the time it was at this time last year. While home values are still not quite what they were in April of 2022, they are getting pretty close, at least here in South Orange County for homes priced below and around $2 million.

 


Many analysts predicted that rates would go down by the end of this year, but as we roll into mid-August, they haven’t really dropped. And that is actually a good thing for buyers waiting on the sidelines for rates to drop. Why? Because as soon as rates start to drop, prices will likely increase - unless inventory increases. So we are in a chicken/egg situation. 

 

As a buyer, your best bet is to buy a property now at albeit a higher interest rate, but a lower purchase price. As a homeowner, you can never change the price at which you purchase a property. But you most definitely can change the interest rate of your mortgage. For example, if you close escrow on a $1 million property at a 7% interest rate today and rates go down to 6.5% tomorrow, two things will happen:

  1. The value of your property will increase because buyers will have more purchasing power and comparable homes will sell for more 

  2. You will be able to refinance your mortgage at a lower rate (typically you do have to wait 6 months to refinance but check with your lender on rules regarding refinancing)

If you are thinking of selling, buying, or both, contact me today. I can help walk you through all of your options and help you determine what the right course of action is for you. Contrary to popular belief, I am not going to always tell you to sell. In fact, in several cases over the past few weeks, I have told potential clients to look into remodeling instead of selling and buying something new. I want to help you do what’s best for you.

 

Call me at 949-444-1601 or email me at leslie@theswanteamoc.com. 

 

Data in this report courtesy of ReportsonHousing.com and video courtesy of Leslie Swan {hence the low-quality cinematography}

Aug. 7, 2023

2nd Annual Canyon Crest Ice Cream Social

Sunday, August 13th from noon - 4pm


Yes, free ice cream for you!

 

As a thank you to the neighborhood for all of your support over the years, I want to share with you a little something to help beat the summer heat.

 

Listen for the Music of the Ice Cream Truck as we drive down each street in the community from noon - 3 PM starting at the Clubhouse. We will park at the Clubhouse from 3 - 4 PM for anyone we missed!

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me at 949-444-1601.

*This event was approved by HOA Board and is provided by Leslie Swan of The Swan Team and Alan Ouye of Guaranteed Rate.
Aug. 4, 2023

Real Estate Term of the Day: "Show-ready"

Real Estate Term of the Day: "Show-ready"

 

July 20, 2023

2nd Annual Ice Cream Social in Canyon Crest

Mark your Calendars for the 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social - Sunday, August 13

Yes, free ice cream for you!

As a thank you to the neighborhood for all of your support over the years, I want to share with you a sweet treat that will help beat this heat.

Listen for the Music of the Ice Cream Truck as we drive down each street in the community from noon - 3 PM starting at the clubhouse and going down Cantebury. (We know we missed you last year and don't want to do that again!) 
At 3pm we will park at the Clubhouse for anyone we missed...and we will be there until 4 PM.

If you have questions, please feel free to email or call me at 949-444-1601.

*This event was approved by HOA Board and is provided by Leslie Swan of The Swan Team and Alan Ouye of Guaranteed Rate.

Posted in Canyon Crest
July 20, 2023

Canyon Crest Market Update - July 2023

 

 

Slumping Sales and What It Means for You

 

Since the beginning of 2023, just 11 homes have sold in Canyon Crest. That is 27% fewer and 70% fewer in 2021 and 2022 for the same periods, respectively.  

 

Why are sales so low? 

Lack of inventory. Plenty of buyers are just waiting for the right property to come on the market. Unfortunately, there are just 2 properties currently active on the market in Canyon Crest right now. Frankly, the only reason these two active properties haven’t been already purchased is because they are priced at higher price points and need updating. 

 

Why is there a lack of inventory? 

Like me, you may have refinanced when rates were at all-time lows in the 2-3% range, and the thought of losing that rate is horrifying - especially when you realize that interest rates are now hovering around 7%.  That’s a hard pill to swallow even if served with the finest champagne. As a result, homeowners are hunkering down even though they may want a home with different features, sizes, or locations. 

 

The Silver Lining: 

  1. This lack of inventory is maintaining home values. While home values did drop in the second half of last year, they have steadily increased this year and are hovering just below the peak prices of May 2022. That means a vast majority of homeowners have seen a great appreciation in their homes.
  2. If you are thinking of selling, now is a great time. The seller holds ALL the power. Buyers can't buy what doesn't exist. As a result, buyers are gobbling up any property as soon as it comes on the market provided one key requirement is met: The home is priced at a fair market value according to its condition in comparison to similar properties

With non-existent inventory and plenty of buyers wanting to live in Canyon Crest, there is ample opportunity for homeowners to cash in on all the equity that has accumulated over the past few years and beyond. Sellers will achieve success if they prepare their homes properly for sale and price it at fair market value. (And if they hire The Swan Team, of course!)


See for yourself what is going on in the Canyon Crest market:

 

What's currently for sale?

Click here to see properties that are currently active

 

What properties are in escrow (under contract or pending)? 

Click here to see properties that are currently in escrow

 

What properties have sold in the past 60 days? 

Click here to see properties that have sold in the past 2 months

 

What properties have sold in the past 6 months? 

Click here to see properties that have sold in the past 6 months

 

Many of you have asked, “But where am I going to go?” That is a very good question. It is also something I can help with. Contact me now to create a comprehensive plan of where you are, where you want to go, and how we are going to get you there.

 

I don't merely market, list, and sell your home. I am a consultant who helps you understand your options, helps create a plan that accounts for your particular wants and needs, and then executes the plan with a precision that exceeds your expectations.

If you are thinking of selling your house in the next 2 years, please contact me. Now may be the best time to get the most return on your investment. Call me at 949-444-1601 to find out more information and get the ball rolling.

July 17, 2023

5 Irresistible Reasons to Choose South Orange County as Your Home

 

Are you on the hunt for your dream destination to settle down and experience the quintessential Southern California lifestyle? Look no further than South Orange County! This vibrant region offers a perfect blend of coastal beauty, excellent education, safe neighborhoods, ample job opportunities, and a diverse range of recreational activities. In this blog post, we'll explore five compelling reasons why South Orange County should be at the top of your list as your ideal place to call home.

 

1. Coastal Bliss

South Orange County's stunning coastline is a paradise for beach enthusiasts. From the iconic Laguna Beach to the surfers' haven of Dana Point, the region boasts an array of pristine beaches, providing ample opportunities for sun-soaked days, beach volleyball, water sports, and peaceful sunset strolls. The sound of crashing waves and breathtaking ocean vistas will become a part of your everyday life, fostering a sense of relaxation and serenity like no other.

 

2. Top-Tier Education

Families with children will find solace in South Orange County's exceptional education system. The area is renowned for its top-tier public and private schools, offering a comprehensive and enriching learning environment. With dedicated educators, well-rounded extracurricular activities, and cutting-edge facilities, parents can rest assured that their children's educational journey is in good hands.

 

3. Safety and Community

Safety is a top priority for anyone looking to establish roots in a new area, and South Orange County excels in this regard. Cities like Irvine, Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita consistently rank among the safest places to live in California. This sense of security creates a tight-knit and welcoming community, fostering a warm and friendly atmosphere where neighbors become friends and residents feel a true sense of belonging.

 

4. Thriving Job Market

South Orange County isn't just a picturesque haven; it's also a hub of economic opportunity. With a diverse range of industries, including technology, healthcare, education, and tourism, the region provides a wealth of job options to suit various career paths. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned professional, or a recent graduate, South Orange County's flourishing job market has something to offer everyone.

 

5. Culture and Recreation Galore

When it comes to entertainment and recreation, South Orange County leaves no stone unturned. Immerse yourself in a vibrant cultural scene, with art galleries, theaters, music festivals, and cultural events happening year-round. For outdoor enthusiasts, the region offers an abundance of recreational activities, including hiking trails, biking paths, golf courses, and nature reserves, ensuring that adventure is never too far away.

 

In conclusion, South Orange County stands as a picturesque haven, where coastal charm meets educational excellence, safety, career opportunities, and an abundance of recreational activities. With its enviable combination of features, it's no wonder that many individuals and families find their forever homes in this idyllic slice of Southern California. So, why wait? Embrace the South OC lifestyle and unlock the true essence of Southern California living today!

 

For information on South Orange County and how you can make it your home, contact us at 949-444.1601 or email us at info@theswanteamoc.com.