Category Archives: Real Estate

Translating Real Estate Agent/Broker “speak”

Frederick Warburg Peters, the chief executive of Warburg Realty, has a framed New Yorker cover hanging in his office of an enthusiastic broker standing with a hopeful couple on a balcony. Clutching a clipboard and grinning, she points to a sliver of the Hudson River peaking out through a wall of buildings. In a carefully crafted listing, such a view might be described as a “partial river view.”

“It’s what I call a two-person view,” Mr. Peters said. “If one of you hangs out the window and the other one holds onto his legs, you can see” a tiny bit of the river or whatever view is being touted.

Brokers use all kinds of verbal gymnastics in blurbs that could be applauded if there weren’t a potential buyer at the other end of these colorful but ultimately obscure paragraphs. Since “the possibilities to create your own piece of New York are endless,” according to one TriBeCa listing I came across recently, your imagination could really take you anywhere, maybe even to one of the listing photographs of a virtually staged bedroom with walls where none currently exist.

There’s a reason for the euphemisms. Listing agents work for sellers, not buyers, and they have a delicate dance to do. They must simultaneously avoid offending their client while also conveying to the buyer that, say, although the kitchen was recently updated, the seller’s penchant for flamingoes may have led to some interesting wallpaper choices.

Brokers are also bound by federal and local rules that require them to use inclusive language instead of phrases like “great for families,” which might imply that those without a family would not be welcome. So, if you want to let a buyer know that an apartment would be an ideal space for children, you might list the nontoxic paints the seller used in the bedrooms, giving a nod to anxious parents.

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San Diego Median home price at $549k, sales down

Home sales dropped in February for the 10th month in a row, but there were signs the market might be picking up, real estate tracker CoreLogic reported Wednesday.

February sales were down 8.1 percent compared to the previous year, but that was not as severe as the last few months when sales dropped 10 percent to 22 percent. At the same time, the median home price for the month, $549,000, was up 2.6 percent in a year.

Chris Thornberg, economist and founding partner of Beacon Economics, said it was ridiculous to think home prices would not rebound with lowering interest rates and home inventory at historic lows.

“The market was going to move again, regardless,” he said. “It takes a big mess to cause home prices to fall. I don’t just mean a mess in the housing market. I mean an economic mess.”

After months of slowing sales, there are more homes on the market for potential buyers, said the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. In February, there were 6,362 homes for sale, up from 4,636 at the same time last year and 4,415 in 2016. Still, February’s inventory was smaller than the recession when there were more than 9,000 homes for sale through much of 2009.

He said there will likely be an increase in sales in the typical buying seasons of spring and summer, but will be modest compared to the past few years and might not last as long.

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San Diego home prices gains slowest in nation for 2nd month

Home prices in the San Diego metropolitan area are going up, but slower than everywhere else in the United States.

San Diego metro’s home prices increased 1.3 percent in a year as of January, said the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices released Tuesday. It was the smallest increase of the 20 cities covered in the index for the second month in a row.

Home price increases are slowing across the nation, with many experts citing increasing mortgage rates. The most expensive markets are seeing the biggest slowdown.

Before last month, San Diego had not been in the bottom of the index since October 1996 (when the index was 19 cities). The last time San Diego’s annual increases were so slow was July 2012.

Former top metros in the index were among the bottom. Los Angeles was up 2.9 percent in a year and San Francisco up 1.8 percent in a year.

Low-cost markets posted the biggest gains: Las Vegas was up 10.5 percent in a year, Phoenix up 7.5 percent and Minneapolis up 5.1 percent.

“In 16 of the 20 cities tracked, price gains were smaller in January 2019 than in January 2018,” wrote David Blitzer, managing director of the index. “Some cities were prices surged in 2017 to 2018 now face much smaller increases.”

Last year at this time, San Diego home prices were up 7.4 percent.

The indices evaluate home prices by more than just price, tracking repeat sales of identical single-family houses as they turn over through the years. Prices are adjusted for seasonal swings. The median home price for a resale home in January was $588,000, said CoreLogic.

West Coast markets were hit especially hard by rising mortgage rates because already high prices meant small interest rate changes were devastating for some potential buyers, said Steven Thomas, founder of Orange County-based Reports on Housing.

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