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The Real e-State: Sure looks like a seller's market

We are a few months into 2012 now, so how is the year looking for real estate in Southern California and San Diego County, specifically?

As a Realtor in San Diego and as a columnist, I am challenged to bring clients and readers a balance between hard numbers and facts, as well as new perspectives outside your current field of vision.

Any professional in this field who only focuses on statistics, people, or classes, is missing something and is not serving you. These should all play a part in a Realtor’s effectiveness.

The latest numbers released by California Association of Realtors (CAR) dated Feb. 12, show some of the current market trends and the median price for single family homes in San Diego County, as compared to last year.

San Diego County median price of existing single-family homes sales

February 2012: $362,470
January 2012: $350,680
February 2011: $367,770

February 2012 month-to-month percentage change: 3.4%
February 2012 year-to-year percentage change: -1.4%
February 2011 month-to-month percentage change: 13.1%
February 2011 year-to-year percentage change: 21.1%

As you can see, the median price is up from last month by 3.4%.

This reflects a normal change and pick-up in a healthy market. Prices year-over-year looking at February 2011 and February 2012 have fallen, but the change is fairly insignificant, down 1.4%. This further supports that we are bouncing along the bottom and will probably continue to wiggle some (both up and down) as the economy recovers.

What I am encouraged by are the year-to-year increase in sales, a change of 21.1%.

This is partially spurred by a much quicker response time on short sales, allowing for more sales in a shorter period of time, as well as some changes in lending and the lower rates that have only just begun to rise, some.

Looking at the information below, you will see the county's unsold inventory.

This is the time it would take (in months) to sell though all the current inventory. A normal San Diego market using CAR’s data is between five and six months. Market times are also down, meaning that listings are selling quicker and the market is becoming more competitive.

San Diego County unsold inventory

February 2012: 6.3
January 2012: 7.1
February 2011: 8.9

San Diego County time-on-market

February 2012: 59.0
January 2012: 62.6
February 2011: 62.9

I used the data from CAR to better compare year-over-year differences and trends.

The numbers vary, depending on where your data comes from, but what doesn’t vary are the changes. Inventory is down, market times are down and rates are creeping up.

Any agent who is actively looking with buyers will tell you this: Inventory IS TIGHT and it is competitive out there for buyers.

This, my friends, sure looks a lot like a seller's market to me.

Realtor Bo Bortner offers his sound advice and personal knowledge of the industry as a successful agent with Team Metro Real Estate. He is well-versed in Hillcrest, North Park, University Heights, Mission Hills, Golden Hill and downtown, but his clients come from all over. He gives back to the community through his involvement with Mama's Kitchen, The Trevor Project and University Christian Church. He can be reached at (619) 840-2981 or online at his website.