Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sacramento is king of real estate appreciation once again.

The gaudy numbers look familiar – giving long time Sacramento residents a case of real estate deja vu; home prices have risen by 26% compared to the same time last year.  Those are the kind of white-hot appreciation numbers the region enjoyed during the boom, from 2003-2007, as Sacramento was one of the fastest appreciating markets in the country.  Now, after so much has happened with the real estate boom and bottoming of the market, it claims the top spot again.  According to a survey by the well-respected and conservative CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index, Sacramento’s year over appreciation numbers are the highest of all 380 markets in the country.

Las Vegas trailed Sacramento at #2, with 25% appreciation; Oakland was #3 with 24%, and San Jose and Los Angeles also in the top 5.  Those appreciation numbers dwarfed the nationwide average of 10% during the same period. 

We certainly look at those numbers and glean that the market, formerly one of the most distressed in the nation with a rash of foreclosures, short sales, and defaults following the mortgage crisis, has found its equilibrium.  But if the past teaches us anything, it’s that white-hot appreciation isn’t always healthy in the long run, either.  But analysts expect the region to see a gradual cooling over the next year to numbers more in line with the national average.  Since last November, inventory is up 71%, median asking prices are up 21%.  Investors have taken a step back from the over-saturated rental market as prices rise and REO’s and distressed sales are harder to come by, and new homes are being built at a faster clip. 

That all adds up for a leveling of the appreciation rate to normalized, healthy levels, but for now, Sacramento still wears the crown for #1 in the nation. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sacramento’s got a new king of Kings in Shaquille O’Neal.

This week a startling announcement came out of the NBA, documenting that Shaquille O’Neal has bought into the Sacramento Kings.  O’Neal, hall of fame center for the Magic and Lakers and Heat, racking up championship rings, sound bytes, and monster dunks along the way, became a minority owner, injecting instant credibility and cool points into the most beleaguered franchise in the league.  The pairing of an ex-King nemesis and the Sacramento “Queens,” as he often called them, is so ironic it’s perfect.  His name added to the marquee, even as an owner, will add stability to the franchise similar to Magic Johnson’s involvement with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

As the Kings look to build a new arena under new ownership to Vivek Ranadive and 24 Hour Fitness mogul Mark Mastrov – and look to stay put in Sacramento – the fact that the king of marketing himself is onboard she bring advertisers, sponsors, and investors in droves.  Tickets sales will explode and national media coverage will reignite.  On the court, his presence will make it a viable option for free agents and bring a championship aura of accountability.  Just as important, O’Neal’s first order of business is to take off his owner suit and lace up his kicks for an appointment with DeMarcus Cousins on the practice court, his prize employee who desperately needs some tutelage – and maturity lessons – from a big brother figure who he’ll actually listen to. 

Things are looking up for the Kings like no time since their own playoff success a decade ago.  It’s nice to see there’s still plenty of room on the Kings band wagon, even for a 7-foot tall former Laker.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sacramento crime and neighborhood safety by the numbers.

We like to feel safe.  It’s one of humankind's most primal urges, especially if we are raising a family or making a big investment by purchasing a home.  But how can we really tell if a neighborhood is safe?  We can talk to our neighbors, or pay attention to the headlines in the newspaper, but is that really the kind of empirical evidence you need to find out how safe our community really is? 

At Blue Water Credit, we live, work, and raise our families in the same communities that you do.  We understand that for all of us to feel safe in greater Sacramento, it takes not only the effort of the police force and sheriffs department, but the vigilance and caring of every individual.  To be of assistance, we’ve compiled some accurate data on crime, safety reports, and resources for you to do your due diligence as a considered citizen. 

First off, let's look at a report that sets a crime index for each city in the country from 1-100.  Sacramento received only a 9, meaning it is safer than only 9% of the cities in the U.S.

In terms of violent crime, the national median is 3.9 instances per 1,000.  California is at 4.11 and Sacramento comes in at 7.18, meaning you have a 1 in 139 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Sacramento.
With property crime, the national median is 29.1, California 25.84, and Sacramento at 43.21, giving you a 1 in 23 chance you'll be the victim of a property crime in Sacramento.
What about the density of crime per square mile?  The national median is 39.6, California 85, and Sacramento a whopping 238 crimes per square mile!
Of course all these numbers need to be placed in context of if things are getting better or worse.  We see that crime has risen 83.22% since 1990, but declined 13.92 % in the last 5 years.  However in the last 12 months, a concerning number.  
To look at the appreciation rates of crime over a one year period (from May 2012 to May 2013) in Sacramento, we see that Motor Vehicle Theft, Larceny, Aggravated Assault, and Rape have gone down, while Homicide, Robbery, and Burglary have increased.  
Another study puts Sacramento's violent crime rates at 4.33 per 1,000 for assault, 2.48 for robbery, and .029 for rape, while the national average is 2.41, 1.14, and .27 per 1,000, respectively.
The same report on property crimes states that in Sacramento, motor vehicle thefts are at 9.22 per 1,000, theft 25.09, and burglary 8.90, while the national averages are 2.3, 19.77, and 7.02, respectively
Here's another quick snapshot of violent and property crime that compares Sacramento, Sacramento County, and California statistics.

But what about our individual neighborhoods?   There are some detailed crime mapping services available online, like SpotCrime.com and CrimeReports.com  They utilize Google Maps cross referenced with crime reports to deliver maps neighborhood safety and crime hotspots.  This is one that shows the clusters of crime in the city.

Here is a more detailed crime mapping report per instance, courtesy of the SacPD.com/crime/beats.com, and you can also go to Sacbee.com.crimemapper.com to research your individual neighborhoods.

In summary?  It looks like we have some work to do in order to keep our city safer.  Certainly awareness is the first step, and then getting involved with neighborhood watch groups, communication with the local police and politicians, common sense initiatives (like not leaving valuables in plain sight in your car,) becoming friendly with your neighbors, and coming together as a community.

Look for part 2 of this article coming soon, where we break down the safest neighborhoods in Sacramento.

Please contact Blue Water Credit if you'd like more information or need some help.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sacramento real estate by the numbers - market statistics as of August 2013.

We love Sacramento, the capital city known for its trees and rivers, the NBA's Kings, and real estate volatility.  It's true, the 916 and surrounding areas enjoyed white hot growth during the real estate boom, and then went "thud" with equal fervor when the bubble burst, launching it into some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.  But a few years later, it seems the market has righted itself and Sacramento again is enjoying measured, and cautious, growth.

Don't take our word for it - here are some statistics that reveal the true state of the real estate market in Sacramento and surrounding areas, including average price, inventory levels, days on market, and comparisons to the same indicators last year.

Thanks to Movoto.com and TrendGraphix.com for this information.

Friday, June 28, 2013

6 BIG questions about our Sacramento real estate market.

Have you heard the news?  No, not that Kim and Kanye named their new baby after a point on a compass, or that the government is looking at all of our emails (can we ask the government to please delete some of our spam?) but that the Sacramento real estate market is on the move.  Things are heating up like the temperatures this summer, but there are some aspects to the market that are truly remarkable.  So what 5 questions might we have about the current Sacramento real estate market?  Here they are:
1. Is Sacramento still plagued by defaults?
The Notice of Default rate continued to increase modestly month over month and year to date.  Important to keep in mind these numbers are well below 2012 at the same time. We have seen a decline in total notices, depending on county, of 40% to 50%.  The strain of distressed properties is being alleviated as the market absorbs the inventory and lenders finish up their modification, short sale, and foreclosure process. 
2. Will rising interest rates slow our local market?
The last couple of years, we’ve enjoyed historically low interest rates and a tight supply of properties, which led to increasing home prices.  That’s great news!  However, with the recent jump in rates, we’re left wondering if that will cause a slow down in our local market?  Not necessarily. Rates are still amazingly low in context, and home prices at reasonable levels.  Lenders are expected to speed up the process of handling underwater and distressed properties, which will provide us some much-needed inventory.
3. Will first time home buyers get in the game?
Currently, first time home buyers only account for 29% of home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Normally that would be around 40% of home purchases, so our first-timers are lagging.  Many would-be buyers are being squeezed out as they try to compete against investors.  Hopefully, as rates rise, the investor portion of the market will slow down a little, giving us a more balanced market picture and opportunity for first time buyers to get in the game.
4. Will the decline in distressed properties slow down the investors buying frenzy?
The past year, real estate was seen as the ideal investment for landlords, REITS, and big institutional investors.  Prices were low and they had cash to spend, interest rates were rock bottom, and there were so many defaults and distressed properties that they could scoop up blocks of homes like they were playing Monopoly.  With a bump in interest rates, fewer defaults, and rising home prices, I anticipate the investor frenzy on real estate will cool a little.
5. What other factors impact our local real estate market?
Employment is still key to long term healthy growth.  Builder confidence is high once again, which will bring much-needed inventory into the market.  There has been chatter about the Federal Reserve tapering down their support of the mortgage market and our economy, and we need to see a future where our economy is more normalized without these supports.  But Obama’s administration is also urging banks to make loans available to borrowers with less-than perfect credit, opening up home ownership to first-timers, young people, and those who were hit hard by the recession, but back on their feet.  Hopefully, we’ve learned our lesson that non-qualifying mortgages without equity is a recipe for disaster. 
6. Have we weathered the storm?
Over the past years, the financial and emotional strains of the recession affected most of us.  A healthy real estate market is fundamental to our local and national economy, and the good news is that I anticipate a stabilization of the market as interest rates normalize, supply and demand is balanced, and consumer confidence grows.   As we move to a more stable market I hope we do not forget the mistakes of the past that led us down this path.  
Do you have questions about our real estate market?  We’d love to answer them for you!  Touch base with us here.