Buyers Beware

If there was ever a reason to use the time-tested phrase of Buyers Beware, this is it.

This type of thing has been going on for a long time, and not just in the real estate market of the Lake Oroville area. Just think how much money these type of companies are coaxing out of unsuspecting new homeowners. If they only get a 10% participation rate they would be raking in millions of dollars. Don’t fall for it folks.

Sunrise

What In The Realty World is Going On Here?

One of the biggest challenges for anyone thinking of buying or selling real estate in any market across the country is determining the condition of the market in their particular area. Certainly the same holds true for the Lake Oroville real estate market.

But where in the world of realty can you get accurate market  information? Zillow? Trulia? Maybe the nightly news.? Or better yet, how about Facebook? After all, if it is on Facebook, it must be true, right?

Your best resource for LOCAL market conditions is right here on this blog site. Over the past 5 years I have brought market updates, real estate advice,  and sometimes some fairly provocative opinions. It is, and always will be, my opinion that there is a HUGE need for accurate local real estate market information in the Lake Oroville real estate market. I also believe that there is a drought of such information out there. This is why I make providing real estate market information the top priority of this blog site. I am always looking to bring information to you in a variety of ways and from different perspectives so that you know what is REALLY going on.

Which brings me to my latest graph. This graph  illustrates the changes in the inventory of Lake Oroville homes for sale over the past 8 months at different pricing levels. What spurred me to research this is the fact that , although prices of homes that have sold has admittedly increased, the number of homes that are selling in the Oroville real estate market is on pace to be the first year since 2009 that the market  will be selling fewer homes in the current year than the previous year. Yes, you read that right. Regardless of what the “salespeople” are telling you about how “busy” they are, the truth is the home sales in the Oroville market are significantly behind last years numbers.

Because the “numbers guy” in me is always looking to explain what would cause this to happen, I jumped into the database to see what I could glean. The graph below is the result of my research and is the basis for the following opinions: Continue reading

Lake Oroville Real Estate Market Week In Review

Well, with every technology upgrade comes a little bit of a learning curve.

It took me a little while to figure out how to report the Lake Oroville real estate market home sales report with the new blogging site that REALTY WORLD provided, but I think I got it figured out for this week at least.

I know that it has been a long time since I reported on market activity for the sale of Oroville area homes and the current levels of Lake Oroville area active listings on the market. Hopefully this new format is a little easier to digest.

What we are currently seeing in the Lake Oroville real estate market is Continue reading

Bitten By The Back-To-School Bug?

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised

 

Sorry for being a few days late with last week’s sales information for the Lake Oroville real estate market.

I got caught up in “reporting” on the current fire situation in the foothill area just outside Oroville. What turned out to be taking a few photos of the fire turned into an hourly Facebook posting with updates from CAL-FIRE which took up most of my weekend.

In any event, here are the numbers for the week. One of the biggest challenges with reporting the Lake Oroville real estate market activity is that we are a fairly small market. As a result the weekly numbers have a tendency to be somewhat volatile making it difficult to really get a feel for what is going on.

As we have discussed here many times before , the week to week, or month to month, or even the year over year numbers tell only a small part of the story of the market. In my view, it is the TREND that is important to watch when attempting to gauge the market.  To help you spot how things are trending in the Lake Oroville home sales market, Continue reading

Look Ma, No REO’s!

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised

 

Well, well, well what do we have here in the Lake Oroville area? The end of the Oroville foreclosure market?

Looking at this week’s home sales data for the Greater Oroville area you might draw such a conclusion being  there was not ONE foreclosed property that sold in the past week. (see the red highlighted stat).  To bolster your conclusion you may also point to the fact  that this is the first week since I have been tracking this number dating back to October 2009 that there has not been at least one bank-owned Oroville home that has sold.

As I prepared to share this week’s Oroville real estate information with you my plan was to caution you that we should certainly expect to see more foreclosure sales take place and that it is a little early to say the foreclosure market in the Oroville area has met with extinction.  However, as I was typing the first paragraph of this weekly editorial, and because I am such a great multitasker, I began think that I may be…..yes, wrong!

Maybe the “foreclosure market” IS over! Oh sure, there are still bank-owned homes for sale, but does the current inventory of Oroville bank-owned homes (19 homes, or less than 10% of the available inventory) actually constitute a “market?”  I wonder?

Here is another interesting fact this week: Continue reading

A Different Look At The Market

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised

One of the more difficult things to measure in the Lake Oroville real estate market, and quite frankly just about any market that has any type of diversity in the make up of homes, is how much  values may be increasing or decreasing as the case may be.

Your everyday, run of the mill real estate agent usually falls into the trap of using price per square foot to value properties. If the agent thinks that homes are selling for $100 per square foot and your home is 1500 square feet then your home gets valued at $150,000.  Now this may work great in area where there are plenty of cookie cutter subdivisions in which  there are only 3 or four different floor plans. But,  in the more rural areas like the Lake Oroville real estate market, this valuation approach is not reliable. Valuations in a town with such diverse property types can be quite the challenge which is why sites like Zillow and Trulia are sometimes very  inaccurate in our area when it comes to their estimates of values of homes in the Oroville real estate market.  There are just too many variables to consider if you are trying to take a simplistic approach to valuations.

Today I have a chart that takes a little different approach to looking at how prices are changing for homes in the greater Oroville area. This chart shows the behavior of home prices for active listings as a percentage of the overall market over the past year.  For example, on February 1 2013, thirty percent of the homes on the Oroville market were priced between $100,000 and $149,999.  On July 12, 2013 the number was 23%.  I have broken values down into 8 different price ranges and I am recording these number on a semi annual basis in the hopes that it will provide more insight into what is happening with asking prices of homes in the Oroville market.  There is definitely a shift going on. The big question is, will the shift result in fewer buyers being able to buy homes?

For a full screen look at the chart just click on it.

Inventory Chart

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A Taxing Situation

By: Mark Wisterman

 

Here is an illustration of how the assessed valuation calculation works when you have been awarded a reduction in your assessment.

We are going to assume the following:

1. Joe Homeowner has just had the assessed valuation on his Lake Oroville home reduced from $300,000 to $225,000
2. For the sake of keeping this discussion as straightforward as possible, Mr. Homeowner will make no improvements to his Lake Oroville home.
3. Over the next 5 years  the value of his Lake Oroville home rises 10% per year

Under Prop 13 rules Mr. Homeowner’s assessed valuation, before the reduction can only increase a maximum of 2% per year. Without the reduction, under Prop 13, in the next tax year, Mr. Homeowner’s assessed valuation could be no more than $306,000 ($300,000 + the 2% increase of $6,000).

While still enjoying the benefits of the reduced assessment, the  2% Prop 13 limitation does not apply. In the tax year following the reduction a reassessment is done to reflect the 10% valuation increase. The new assessment becomes $247,500 ($225,000 + 10%).

The following year the assessment will be increased to $272,250 ($247,500 + 10%)

Year 3 will be $299,475 ($272,250 + 10%)

Which now brings us to year 4. And here is the twist:

Notice that the year 3 value is still below the $300,000 pre-reduced assessment. Does this mean that the county can increase the assessment another 10% to $329,423 ($299,475 +10%), or do they assess it at the $300,000 from 3 years ago.

The answer is: Neither.

During the time that the reduced assessment is in place there is a running calculation kept of what the assessed valuation would have been WITHOUT a reduction ever taking place. This is called the Factored Base Year Value. The current assessment cannot exceed this Factored Base Year Value. In our case, the year 4 assessed value can be no more that $324,730. Which is the equivalent to adding 2% per year to Mr. Homeowner’s $300,000 original assessment.

If you are now thoroughly confused, I do not blame you. Here are a couple of websites for you to visit that have more detailed information. But, with values on the rise, it is important for you to know how it will affect you in this regard.

 

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Lake Oroville Election 2012

Time to voice your opinion for your favorite candidate in the Lake Oroville Real Estate market.

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There Goes The Neighborhood?

In the nearly 18 years that I have been actively negotiating on behalf of buyers and sellers in the Lake Oroville real estate market, I have been involved in numerous transactions involving property located in the Kelly Ridge Subdivision.

 For those of you unfamiliar with Kelly Ridge, it is a nice community overlooking Lake Oroville and Bidwell Marina; with a 9 hole golf course intertwined among many of the homes. For the most part it is a quiet neighborhood and pride of ownership is evident as you drive through the community’s winding roads.

As with nearly all subdivisions of this nature, there is an active homeowners’ association (HOA) there, as well as a document called Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions. (CC&R’s) recorded on each lot in the subdivsion. These CC&R’s are basically a set of rules established as a means of insuring a certain conformity among the homes in the subdivision, which in turn protects the integrity of the subdivision and helps in maintaining property values. For example, most CC& R’s that I have read over the years set minimum lot sizes, minimum square footage requirements, prohibit livestock, require that your RV be parked out of view of the street, and so on. For the most part, the CC&R’s in this area are not as restrictive as they are in the more urban areas, but are just restrictive enough to do the job they were intended to do. Continue reading