YAWN!! Another Week Has Passed

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised

 The sleepy real estate market in the Lake Oroville area continues to hit the “snooze”  alarm as the market seems to be sleep walking through yet another month.

When a market turns as this one has over the past few weeks some may think that the buyers are beginning to leave the market. If the recent activity in our office is any indication what is going on in overall home sales activity in the Oroville real estate market, that thinking would be incorrect. For example, I have shown more buyers Oroville homes for sale in the past couple weeks than I have at any other time this year. The buyers are not sitting on the sidelines worrying about interest rate increases. The fact is that Oroville buyers are now shopping more cautiously, and are beginning to consider  the actual value of the homes at which they are looking, not wanting to overpay for their next home.

So how do more Oroville homes get sold at a quicker pace? Continue reading

An August Not To Remember

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised

I know that as of the posting of this blog the month of August is not quite done yet.

But I hereby make a motion to put the memory of this month’s Lake Oroville real estate market sales numbers behind us and never look back again!

With another paltry week of Oroville real estate sales in the books and with just a very few sales yet to be logged into the Oroville area multiple listing service, the number of Oroville homes that sold this month will be the fewest number of homes sold in nearly 4 years. Yes, you read that correctly, not since Nov.  2009 has the pace of Oroville area home sales been this slow.

Although interest rates are still  extremely low, the recent increase in the rates coupled with the lack of reasonably priced homes has apparently caused a pause in buyer demand.

There are however, a couple of bright spots in this weeks Oroville area home sales data. Continue reading

What’s Happening???????

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised


So do you ever wonder how a real estate agent reacts to a weekly market report like this one after being through 7 years of career challenges like the Lake Oroville real estate market  has presented?

The answer lies in the 1982 movie “Poltergeist” Click on the image to get the answer.

Continue reading

More “Help” For The Market?

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised


The number of buyers who are searching for their next home in the Lake Oroville real estate market is about to increase putting further pressure on home prices thanks to FHA.

Under this new program, which runs until September 30, 2016, someone who has lost their home due to an “Economic Event” or has filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy due to an “Economic Event” can qualify for the purchase of a home with an FHA loan in as little as 12 months after the loss of their home or discharge of their bankruptcy.

What is considered an “Economic Event” under the FHA guidelines? According to Mortgagee Letter 2013-26 it is defined this way: 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

Market Activity Update

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised


Here is the latest market activity report for the Lake Oroville real estate market.

I apologize that I am not leaving much in the way of comments today. I have a pretty full schedule today that forces me to keep my comments to a minimum.

If there is one number to look at over the past couple of  weeks it is the pending sales numbers at the bottom of the chart. After running in the 80-90 range for the past few weeks it is now below 70 for the past 3 weeks. Look for August closing of Oroville homes to be lower than last year. The overall economy is still facing an uphill battle and the real estate market will continue to reflect this.


MLS Stats for Oroville Area Week Ending Week Ending Week Ending % Change
7/18/2013 7/26/2013 8/1/2013 Previous Week
# of Total Sales 9 12 16 33.33%
# REO/Short Sales Sold (SS) 2 5 6 20.00%
% Sales that are REO/SS 22.22% 41.67% 37.50% -10.00%
Avg. List Price $112,156 $180,675 $141,419 -21.73%
Avg. Sold Price $110,622 $170,692 $137,390 -19.51%
Sold Price % of Listing Price 98.63% 94.47% 97.15% 2.83%
Avg. Days On The Market 46 90 49 -45.56%
Total Sales Volume $995,600 $2,048,301 $2,198,237 7.32%
# of Single Family Listings 195 195 183 -6.15%
# Foreclosed On Market 22 25 19 -24.00%
% of Foreclosed on Market 11.28% 12.82% 10.38% -19.02%
# Short Sales on Market 9 8 7 -12.50%
% Short Sales on Market 4.62% 4.10% 3.83% -6.76%
Days of Inventory Left 152 114 80 -29.62%
# of Pending Sales 67 63 65 3.17%

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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Coincidence?…..I Think Not!

By: Mark Wisterman

My 2013 Photo-Web-Revised


 This is a little difficult for me to write as I have never been one to speak in any type of open forum about why things like I am about to relate to you happen. 

In the past I would chalk up things like this to “coincidence” or “luck.” But I do not think those things anymore. I think it is much bigger that. And I do mean BIGGER!!

This is just the latest in a series of events that have occurred to me over the past few months that can only be described as, well, indescribable.

This afternoon  I received an Estimated Settlement Statement for my buyer. For those of you who don’t know, these statements are issued by the escrow companies in order for buyers and sellers to see what the financial implications of their sale or purchase is. In this case the estimated statement called for my buyer to bring in a check in the amount of about $6,400 for the balance of their down payment and other closing costs. As I always do, I reviewed the statement before e-mailing to my client for her review. There was nothing that stood out to me as being wrong or out of the ordinary.

About an hour later she called me very confused and concerned about the amount that she was being required to bring in when she signed her loan documents. I do not want to get into the details as to why she thought what she thought about the amount, but she was assuming that she only had to come up with another $3,000 to close the transaction. We talked about it for a few minutes and then I called the loan officer’s assistant to review the numbers with her. Nothing in the numbers had changed since the buyer signed all the lender disclosures.

I called the buyer back to further discuss it with her. Although she still did not quite understand what had happened she said that she had  the additional $3,400 that was needed thanks to her husband’s parents who, by the way, are also co-buyers of the home.

Here is how the part of the conversation went leading up to the reason for this post.

Me: So you have discussed this with your husband’s parents?

Buyer: Yeah. Thank goodness they have the money to help. They have been very supportive. If I had to turn to my parents I would not be able to come up with the money because they could just not do it.

Me: That is great that they are so helpf……..

Buyer: Oh my god!!

Me: What’s the matter?

Buyer: My husband just opened mail from my parents and they sent their wedding gift to us. It is a check for…………………………$3,500.

Me: Are you kidding me.

Buyer: No…… I think I am going to cry.


By the time the conversation was over my client was barely able to speak as she was trying to hold back the tears. I hung up the phone and just sit quietly at my desk for a minute or two contemplating what I had just been a part of. All I could think at the time was…WOW!

Like I said, in the past, I would  use words like coincidence, luck, spooky, crazy, etc. But no more. It is events like this and the others that I have witnessed lately that now move me to use words such as, grace, intercession, miraculous, blessing, etc. There can be no other way to explain these things.

To those of you who have long ago had your faith training wheels removed this is probably no big news. But to someone still learning to get my faith-feet on the ground I am still more than a little amazed at what just happened.

Today God provided, in His own time,  and just in time, to my buyer. But He also provided something more to me during a day when I was struggling to get from one hour to the next.

It was this message:

Do everything that you can do and He will do what you can’t.



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Lake Oroville Home Sales Weekly Review

Here are the numbers for the Lake Oroville real estate market for the week ending 6/6/2013.


If you only look at the percentage change from the previous week you would think the Oroville market was crashing. But, fear not. It looks like that we just cleared up some inventory of homes that had been on the market for what now is an unusually long amount of time.  Most of what sold was REALLY distressed property that would not qualify for any type of institutional loan, and, that I am guessing, investors picked up with cash purchases.

Last week was the first week in a LONG LONG time that bank-owned homes for sale in the Oroville real estate market numbered in the single digits. There were only 9, that’s right NINE, bank owned homes on the greater Oroville real estate market when I ran the report. Not having begun tracking this number until 2009, which was the depths of the Oroville real estate market downturn, I don’t have any data to support what a “normal” level of Oroville bank owned properties on the market should be.  But, if this trend continues I would speculate that by the end of the year, or the first part of 2014, these REO properties will be a non-issue. The wildcard is whether or not there actually is the dreaded “Shadow Inventory” lurking around the corner.


MLS Stats for Oroville Area Week Ending Week Ending Week Ending % Change
5/23/2013 5/30/2013 6/6/2013 Previous Week
# of Total Sales 16 16 14 -12.50%
# REO/Short Sales Sold (SS) 8 3 7 133.33%
% Sales that are REO/SS 50.00% 18.75% 50.00% 166.67%
Avg. List Price $145,563 $144,269 $87,729 -39.19%
Avg. Sold Price $140,741 $141,119 $77,704 -44.94%
Sold Price % of Listing Price 96.69% 97.82% 88.57% -9.45%
Avg. Days On The Market 54 41 98 139.02%
Total Sales Volume $2,329,000 $2,257,899 $1,040,350 -53.92%
# of Single Family Listings 151 150 150 0.00%
# Foreclosed On Market 14 10 9 -10.00%
% of Foreclosed on Market 9.27% 6.67% 6.00% -10.00%
# Short Sales on Market 8 8 9 12.50%
% Short Sales on Market 5.30% 5.33% 6.00% 12.50%
Days of Inventory Left 66 66 75 14.29%
# of Pending Sales 109 87 87 0.00%
Data compiled from the CRMLS multiple listing service for single family homes in the
Greater Oroville real estate market area including the areas of Oroville, Palermo, Concow,
Forbestown, Bangor, Berry Creek, Brush Creek, Honcut, Yankee Hill
Information deemed reliabe but not guaranteed.
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Almost Weekly Sales Report

By: Mark Wisterman

 I know, I know, I can’t keep calling it the weekly Lake Oroville housing report if I don’t actually report WEEKLY.  So, my phrase of the day is: Better late than never.

On the whole, there is not anything too earth-shattering in the Oroville real estate numbers over the past couple of weeks.  Unit sales are remaining fairly steady and the inventory of homes for sale in the Oroville market is sustaining the low levels that we have seen for a few months now. Oroville buyers are still having a tough time dealing with these low inventories in the face of rapidly rising interest rates, while sellers continue to hold back from listing their homes for sale waiting for the market values to climb higher.

And speaking of sellers: Continue reading