A New Year Story

Many economists say the housing market is likely to continue to ease gradually, rather than fall hard as it did a decade ago. Existing home sales posted their largest annual decline in seven years in November but climbed 1.9% compared with a month earlier. That suggests the market is stabilizing, albeit at a lower level than its heyday in 2017.

In much anticipated cheerful fashion, the 2019 ball has dropped leaving experts to evaluate how things may shift for housing going through the new year based on a rear view of 2018. Going forward, housing is certain to have its brighter moments if not for some dreary days due to lingering slippery conditions. Mainly though, all are hopeful for an energized housing environment ahead despite the notion that the “divergence between housing and economic performance has persisted for much of this year, defying predictions that healthy economic growth would pull housing out of its slump,” as stated by the Wall Street Journal. These days, experts are looking at factors including pending home sales, home-price growth, affordability, and inventory when making predictions for how housing players will fare in 2019. In terms of differing effects on buyer and sellers, the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “Price growth is set to end the year on a more muted note than it began, with prices growing by more than 6%. The slowdown has unnerved sellers, as many have been forced to cut prices after putting their home on the market…But more moderate price growth is a relief for many first-time buyers, taking the edge off higher mortgage rates.” While at first glance this seems like an uphill battle, experts are careful to note that there are two sides of the coin to consider when looking at home prices. On this, Zillow senior economist, Aaron Terrazas, suggests, “Slowing home price appreciation can be read by many as an ominous sign – a kind of canary in the coal mine – for a more general downturn to come. But for now, it represents a return to more balance between buyers and sellers.” That said, pages of the housing story are indeed turning leaving all to wonder how the chapter will end.

During the closing months of 2018, home sales across the country experienced a downturn. To this tune, the Wall Street Journal reports, “The recent decline in home sales reflects a lack of inventory and the rising cost of homes, which has priced many buyers out of the more desirable markets. Home prices are now at all-time highs and inventory levels in recent months have begun climbing back from their lowest level in three decades. Rising mortgage rates, which nearly touched 5% late this year as they climbed to their highest level in more than seven years, are the latest blow.” Further, given this, certain experts aren’t afraid to point the finger. In terms of the national drop in home sales, some suggest that the West is to blame given its pinch in affordability due to sky-high prices that have risen quite quickly. To this point, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yun, points to sales stating, “All four major regions sustained a drop when compared to one year ago, with the West taking the brunt of the decrease. The West crawled back lightly, but is still experiencing the biggest annual decline among the regions because of unaffordable conditions.” With all of this, 2019 is already proving to be quite the page-turner.

Blog post courtesy of JMJ Financial, Dru Bertagni Mortgage Banker NMLS # 1068471 dbertagni@jmj.me

Recap of our current Orange County Real Estate Marketplace


Good Monday and the heat is on in-regards-to the weather and to our Real Estate Market. Prices continue to rise, as does inventory and does days on market. To some that is worrisome, to others it is just a seasonal trend but to me it spells opportunity.

Below is a Core-Logic recap of our current Orange County Real Estate Marketplace for the 22 business days ending June 25th. Source; OC Register, 7/22/2018.

Home Prices
Resale Homes +5.3%, Resale Condos +4.1% and New Home Sales +15.8%
All totaled, OC home values are up +6.4% versus last year
Median OC home price is $742,500 up versus one year ago (ALL TIME HIGH)
$1,000,000 plus homes represent 43.4% of all OC listings

Sales Volume
Resale Homes -.8%, Resale Condos -5.5% and New Home Sales +4.5%
All totaled, OC sales volume is up -1.4% versus last year
Home sales volume is 3,769 down slightly versus one year ago
Inventory is at 6,579 up slightly from one month ago
OC Average days on market; 81 days (59 days just 1 year ago)

Interest Rates
30-year fixed Mortgage rate is 4.50%, down versus one week ago
15-year fixed rate is 4.00%, down versus one week ago
Average Home Payment is $3,530.74 up versus one year ago
ARM’s represent 18.5% of all mortgages

Did you Know?
US home ownership is at 64.2%
California home ownership is 55.2%
OC/LA home ownership is 51.9%, up from 50.1% versus 1 year ago
Riverside/San Bernardino home ownership is 61.2%, up from 61.0% VLY
California led the nation in 2017 with lowest vacancy rate at 8.3%
There were 37,881 homes sold in Orange County in 2016
It takes a $162,950 a year income to buy an OC median priced home?
614 homes sell every hour in the United States!

California median home price is $526,000
OC median home price is $742,500
LA median home price is $588,000
Ventura median home price is $559,000
San Diego median home price is $557,000
Riverside median home price is $381,000
San Bernardino median home price is $333,000
Millennials represent the largest homebuying audience

OC Rental prices average $1,939 a month! +29% versus 2010
LA Rental prices average $1,940 a month! +39% versus 2010
IE Rental prices average $1,334 a month! +29% versus 2010
OC home prices have risen 6 consecutive years
OC Has 8 zip codes in the top 100 for priciest homes sales in the Nation!
Only 1.19% of all OC properties currently listed as distressed
Only 21% of all OC earners can purchase a home

Chapman University forecasts a 5.6% price increase for OC in 2018
Fullerton University forecasts a 5.6% price increase for OC in 2018
Metro-study and other research companies forecast a 3.2% in OC for 2018

If you’re looking for the best Orange County Realtor® contact Danae Aballi: Primarily serving the communities of: Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach.
Thank you to: Robert E. Toffel of  WFG Title for emailing me this recap.

How’s The Market? Episode 2 (7/3/2018)

Today’s Episode is called “Your feelings can shape your real estate experience”Now more than ever your feelings matter. Some agents and clients I know are saying things aren’t selling as fast, their seeing more price reductions, the buyers are a bit more cautious, so what’s going on?”

The top four things you need to know:

  1. You can’t look at any one metric alone. You need to look at the entire picture. Have an agent who geeks out on the numbers and will play it to your advantage.
  2. Why the price reductions? Is there less demand, or did the seller price it too high over fair market value? You’ll find the price reductions are happening because they didn’t start at fair market value. Look at your specific neighborhood listings to see the facts.
  3. Let’s go with what it is; not what it could be. Live in the moment. Live in the now. National Association of Realtors recently report from their survey:
    1. 68% of the respondents believe now is a good time to buy
    2. 75% of the respondents believe now is the best time ever to sell a home.
  4. Hire a true professional, not the Pre-Madonna or Cousin Louie who lives an hour  away. Now more than ever you need someone willing to work hard and do the work. They pick up the phone, they door knock, they network and they work open houses. Get an agent who’s out there mingling with the buyers on a Sunday at open house for example.


Danae Aballi is a full-time realtor based out of Newport Beach, CA. Often working up and down the coast wherever she can be helpful to her clients, and also inland in Redlands where she grew up. She works with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. She’s known as “Newport Beach’s Best Realtor” and  many clients call her simply “The best real estate agent”. Reach out anytime for all your real estate questions.

How’s The Market – Episode 1 (6/27/2018)



Strategies for a shifting market – emerging buyer trends. Top 4 things you should know as of 6/30/2018. Each week I’ll give you a market update.. the number 1 question I always get is, “How’s the Market?” so I’ll answer that each and every week! In today’s episode:

1) Buyer’s attitudes are different than 2 years ago. They’re stepping into the driver seat, and their approach isn’t as desperate. They know they’re paying top dollar, and while the realize buying is a smart option, they’re not going to just lay down. They’re tuned into value, and want a turnkey property. They’re simply a little tougher on the seller now.

2) Don’t be an “Online Lead”. You can certainly start your search (for an agent) online, but choose your agent via a face to face consultation to choose the best! Online leads get treated as a statistic which is only 3% ever buy, and they’re usually not pre-qualified, and will not buy until 12-18 months. Online leads don’t get as much love as a real client who they’ve met in person.

3) Give an agent exclusivity, and they’ll give you 110%. Agents with an exclusive client will give you their all. Their customer service will rise to the top, and you’ll get them to dig up pocket listings, door knock, mail letters, whatever you need them to do.

4) You owe it to yourself to hire the best! Excellent negotiator, someone who knows their craft, and who will put in the energy to be your advocate!

Closing thoughts: As we enter this market shift, you can start your search online, but team up with the best and take the opportunity seriously. There’s opportunity everywhere if you (or your agent) know where to look.

For Sale By Owner

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics

FSBOs accounted for 8% of home sales in 2016. The typical FSBO home sold for $190,000 compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales.
FSBO methods used to market home:
Yard sign: 35%
Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 24%
Online classified advertisements: 11%
Open house: 15%
For-sale-by-owner websites: 8%
Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 13%
Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website: 26%
Print newspaper advertisement: 5%
Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.): 4%
Video: 2%
None: Did not actively market home: 28%

Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:
Getting the right price: 15%
Understanding and performing paperwork: 12%
Selling within the planned length of time: 13%
Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 9%
Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%
Source: 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Request a copy of the full report

An Email from lender, Jay Carr

I received this email from a lender I work with, Jay Carr. Good info about the California Real Estate market so I’m sharing with you all. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions.

I’m passing along a chart you may find interesting.  It’s OC Median Home Price Over Time .

With home values increasing  year over year since the big downturn in 2008 I was curious what the overall improvement in values has been over a long period of time. I’ve been in this business for over 20 years, and prices are much higher than when I started, but I was wondering if the increases are reasonable given expectations of appreciation in Orange County of 5%-10% a year. I downloaded the median prices of Orange County single family homes since January 1990 until today from the California Association of Realtors (CAR) site and compiled a graph.  Then I calculated the annual increase over the past 28 years.  It is just 4.775%.  That includes a pretty flat 1990’s market and includes the “bubble” from about 2002 thru 2007 – which is obvious on the graph.  I also did the math from 1997 – when the market started gradually improving to today, and the annual increase was 7.1%.  Then looked at the recovery from 2009 to today where we would expect the biggest increases, and that period of time was  7.8% .  That period has several ups and downs which would be expected in a recovery, but it levelled out to normal in about July 2013.  From July 2013 to today the annual increase is just 4.3%.

What this helped confirmed for me is that, although over a long period of time OC real estate values have increased quite a bit and have been a boon for OC homeowners,  the overall market today is on track with reasonable expectations of property appreciation.   That’s not to say we wont see prices level off or even drop slightly in the next 5 years before continuing their upward trend, but it does make it clear we are not in another “bubble”.   I analyzed other financial market statistics that support this, and am happy to share those too.  This graph I found most useful though. Median Price OC 2018.05


A video of Jay and Danae: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Na3jsNcY8jrCsUvCMnW4g