Though blogging isn't my typical forum for writing about the state of our real estate market, since I also send monthly newsletters, I figured the more I can get my word out there, the better educated my potential buyers and sellers will be - and this enables me to work with you on a much more realistic level - your expectations for what you can get for your home aren't way out there, and as a buyer you will understand what the current market looks like - and you can spend accordingly and feel good about it!
I offer a few really amazing tools on my website; one is the market snap shot tool. If you visit http://www.thousandoaksdreamhomes.com/ and click on the market snap shot link, it will take you to a SHORT FORM that asks for a little bit of information you will need to enter, such as your criteria, and by doing this you are essentially subscribing to the market report for your specific zip code (buyer) or address (seller). I have to say that this report puts all other information available (such as the always inaccurate Zillow) to shame.
My website itself is also a tool, in that it provides tons of information necessary for first time buyers to understand the process, reminders and updates for buyers making their 2nd and 3rd trips down buyer's lane, tips for sellers on selling their home as well as posting current homes available throughout Ventura and Northern LA Counties.
The market in the Conejo Valley for the most part is stable; while we have been hit with foreclosures and short pays, it is not at all like the other cities throughout the state (or the nation) as we are insulated from what affects others - lack of employment, bad schools, gang activity, proximity to major cities, beaches, etc. We do have a few amazing companies here such as Amgen, Blue Cross, Dole, Baxter to name just a few, and while everyone has heard about the Amgen lay-offs, in my opinion, this is a temporary blip and will correct itself in time - as we all know they are an amazing company and their support of Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas has been immeasurable.Besides the local businesses and industry, we also have excellent, top rated schools throughout our community.
Oak Park, for example, has experienced, overall, an increase in home prices since 2005 - not the decrease other areas are experiencing. I believe that this is due to the school system and people who can afford to, will pay whatever it takes to be able to live there. Agoura also has an amazing school system and I have not seen a decrease in prices there either - again, overall - and as with
Oak Park, since 2005, we have also experienced a slight increase!Other areas, however, have not been quite as lucky, such as Dos Vientos and Wood Ranch/Long Canyon; to be perfectly honest, I am not sure why this is happening in these lovely, newer communities! Dos Vientos has long been the type of community boasting the highest prices and the fewest homes on the market but that all has changed in 2007. With the sales experiences I have had in Dos Vientos this year, divorce seems to be the primary reason for selling; one can also assume that the divorce was due to financial stress - lay-offs, etc - and thus we are seeing a larger number of homes for sale.
I have not seen the same pattern in Wood Ranch, however, and am truly at a loss for why homes that are priced well below market are not selling. Well, that is not exactly true; I do have a feeling of what is going on and that is that the interest rate increase, as well as the decline of the secondary market - and get this, now BofA and others are doing away with stated income loans - is truly what is having the biggest impact of all - well, now that I think about it - the media doesn't help either, with their biased opinions of what is going on in the real estate world, comparing CA to other depressed areas, and spreading their scare tactics across the nation! One would assume that these so-called journalists may also own a home and have a financial stake in the real estate market as well and rather than cause paranoia among homeowners and buyers alike, maybe instead they should be pointing out the benefits of owning a home, the fact that there are ways to get a lower interest rate and most of all - point out that we do - at least here - still have a very strong market!But I digress - as usual! To back up a minute to the interest rate increases and the HUGE changes in the lending world and its overall effect on the market - traditionally, rate increases will bring prices down a bit - however, when you think about it, your payment is essentially the same. I do have clients who have expressed a desire to wait to buy until the rates jumped up - and subsequently, bring housing prices down. However, as I always point out, the end result is the same - and now some who chose to wait no longer have available to them the loan they originally qualified for, due to the banks tightening up (and who can blame them?). The flip side is that we all know that the rates will eventually come back down - and you can always re-finance into a better loan - if the cost of doing this makes sense of course. So much to think about! The bottom line is this: I continuously educate myself; I study the market and its trends, in order to better help you determine whether or not this is the right time for you to buy or sell. Let's face it folks - people want to live in our lovely community and we all know why since we came here for the same reasons people are still coming. Because of this, sellers will ALWAYS sell, buyers will ALWAYS buy and with exception to the few bleeps in the system, it will remain status quo!