From The Trenches: Better Times In Housing Market

By Gina Garcia

LA MESA -- In an election year, you will hear a lot about the economy. Both sides will spin the facts to their advantage. Truth and facts can seem malleable.

For me, working in real estate, there are measurable indicators that reveal facts that rise above -- or at least apart -- from politics and seem to be months ahead of the talk TV economic prognosticators.

Right now, life in the trenches of the American economy, suggest the housing market in and around La Mesa is at least for now improving.

In most categories, there are few homes for sale and, with interest rates at historic lows, there are increasing number of buyers in the market.

In the 91941 zip code, for example, today's Sandicor figures (San Diego County Regional Multiple Listing Service) shows only 80 detached homes for sale and only 13 of those are in the more accessible $200,000 to $400,000 range, none of them foreclosures/short sales. The 91942 zip code is worse. MLS figures show only 29 detached homes on the market in that area.

Buyers now out in the market -- and their agents -- are having to act as though the real estate boom is on again. Many homes have multiple offers (see California Association of Realtors chart above).

Still, the national and local media continue to base their stories off longer, slower national trending data that clearly lags behind the facts on the ground. They are talking and writing about foreclosures and gluts of homes in some areas and filtering much of their analysis through the politics of the looming national election.

But to those of us out looking to help clients reach their American Dream, things seem far different than the pundits are describing.

What does that practically mean for home buyers and sellers? Well, both need to fully appreciate the market in which they are participating.

Buyers need to:

-- Be prepared to move quickly when they find a home they want. That means being pre-approved for financing. If moving up, don't count on a "contingent'' sale of current home; sellers will have other, less encumbered buyers ready to move now.

-- Work with your real estate agent to clarify your goals and tastes and your spouse's tastes as much as possible before heading out to look at homes. A home you want can be gone before you sort out your thinking.

Sellers need to:

-- Work closely with your real estate agent to understand the relative merit of prospective offers; price is a powerful element in this decision but in these days of complex transactions and complicated financing, attention to detail here can make the difference between a quick, successful sale and a slow, arduous process.

-- Continue to maintain the property and keep the home in the best condition possible; there may be many offers coming your way, but competition for the best buyer at the best price remains an important part of the final outcome of the sale.

In a few months you will start reading stories and seeing TV news reports about the tightening housing market and logically an upturn in prices.

                                                                                                                                         Search June 5, 2012 (9:45 a.m.) Sandicor MLS


Gina Garcia, publisher of, is a Realtor working with Windermere Real Estate serving buyers and sellers throughout San Diego County,, e-mail: California DRE Lic. #01704251.

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Tags: City of La Mesa, Gina Garcia, Gina Garcia On The Homefront, La Mesa, La Mesa Active homes, La Mesa Homes for sale, La Mesa Real Estate, On the Homefront, Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate


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