Lake Forest Real Estate Sales Report December 2008

Home sales in Lake Forest, California, slowed down a bit in December compared to the prior few months, but still finished 79% ahead of the miserable number (29 closings) from December 2007.  The 52 closings were split exactly down the middle with 26 each of condos and single family homes. 

Condo sales ranged in price from $102,900 to $355,000, with an average of $198,965 at $194/sqft.  In 2007, sales of condos totaled 7, representing less than 25% of the total, but the average price was $294,628 @ $292/square foot!  At that time, 5 out of the 7 units were bank-owned, one was a short sale and there was only one traditional sale.  Comparing $/sq foot, condos have fallen about 34% in the last 12 months! 

Single family homes in December 2008 ranged from a low of $310,000 to a high of $975,000 with an average sale price of $481,611 at $239/square foot.  Compared to 2007, our average sale price ranged from $449,900 to $905,000, with an average sale price of $605,600 at $301.51/square foot.   Comparing $/sq foot, the SFRs have now declined a bit over 20% in one year.


Homes in Lake Forest California: MLS Extremes

Of the 204 active homes in the Lake Forest California MLS today, there are 37 that are bank-owned (REOs), 107 that are offered as short sales (subject to lender approval), 47  that (I think) are over-priced, and 13 that are in the range to sell within the month. 

The current average list price in Lake Forest is $418,441 at $265/square foot and has been on the market for an average of 109 days. 

Out of curiosity, I sorted all the active properties in Lake Forest to check various highs and lows.  Here are the extremes at the far ends today: 

  • The least expensive home is a one bedroom condo offered at $107,500. 


  • The most expensive is a large re-built home on the lake front at $1,650,000.  This house also has the most square feet of 3850, the most baths with 5, and is the newest built in 2006. 

 Most Expensive Home in Lake Forest

  • The smallest property is a one-bedroom condo of 610 square feet, priced at $162,000. 

Smallest 610 sq ft

  • The highest price per square foot ($562) is another lake front home  priced at $1,295,000. 

 Most Expensive per square foot

  • The lowest price per square foot ($138 ) is a 2 bedroom condo at $140,000, which is a short sale. 

 Lowest $/square foot = $134

  • The oldest listing came on the market in October 2007, and is a short sale.  The price started at $485,000 and is now down to $420,000.   (This is a classic case of “chasing the market down”.)

 Oldest listing

  • The one with the most bedrooms of 6, is a short sale and listed for $375,000.

Most Bedrooms

If you would like to check my statistics, or do your own research, please click this link to  Search ALL the homes for sale in the Southern California MLS  (there must be at least one that you like!)

Don’t miss the next exciting update to this blog – click on the envelope to be notified by email!  )

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Thanks for visiting!

Vicki Lloyd

Happy New Year 2009!

I can tell already that this will be a good better year for Southern California real estate.    To start off, it didn’t rain on our parade (Rose Parade) on New Year’s day, and our University of Southern California (my school) Trojans won their Rose Bowl game under sunny blue skies!  I think this is always a good start for the year, and like to think that all the people living in cold places will suddenly decide to move to California!

 Sunny Southern California!

I’m still gathering all the statistics from 2008, and will be posting my final analysis along with my predictions for 2009 in the next few days.  I already know there were more total sales in 2008 than in 2007, but we were still under the numbers for an “average year.” 

I just updated my “Vic’s Picks” with the better valued foreclosed homes available today, so if you are looking for a bargain, start there.  Almost all of the properties on the list are offered at less than 60% of their last sale value! 

If you don’t like any of the foreclosures  You can Search ALL the homes for sale in the Southern California MLS  (there must be at least one that you like!)

Don’t miss the next exciting update to this blog – click on the envelope to be notified by email!  )

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Thanks for visiting!

Vicki Lloyd

Year End Report Card

A year ago today, I posted my predictions for the Orange County real estate market in 2008.  Today, I can look back and see that I got some right, and some wrong.  (Isn’t that how it always is?)Report Card

Some things I got right :

The volume increased, (but not as much as I hoped.)  As of today, there have been 24,237 closings in the MLS since 1/1/2008 in Orange County.  It is about 20% above the 2007 volume of 20,000, but I had predicted it to come out between 25,000 and 30,000.  Since there may be some more closings tomorrow, and many of the recently closed sales won’t get reported until the listing agent remembers to update the MLS, it is still possible to hit my “25,000” mark, but it won’t go much higher than that.  I’ll admit that I was  optimistic.

Prices decreased – even more and faster than I thought they would!  The median price for a single family resale home now stands at $430,000 (off 34.4% from November 2007) and the median for a condo is $260,500 (off 38%).  See the DQ News Chart

There were a lot of foreclosures, and there will be more to come.  The big bailout, and help for homeowners has been a bust.  Very few delinquent borrowers have been able to modify their loans and keep their homes.  The foreclosures have slowed, but that is probably only due to the new California law that lenders have to document that they have worked with the borrowers prior to foreclosing.  There will probably be a big flood of new foreclosures that will hit the market around March.

A lot of real estate agents have left the business.  Final numbers won’t be available until late January, but I know many agents who have found other jobs and will not be renewing their local Association of Realtor®s  memberships.

The Real Estate Industry has become more “transparent.”   Let’s face it – there are too many places for consumers to do their research and credibility means a lot!   If you aren’t honest and open with your advice and opinions, buyers and sellers  will find someone else who will be.  

Nobody is going to buy a house simply because they see an ad that says “Now is a good time to buy or sell!”  DUH!   Actually, I have gritted my teeth recently when I saw a full page newspaper ad that declared “Work with a Realtor® because they know your market!”  The truth is, some do and many don’t!  To become a Realtor®, you need to have a license and pay dues of $115 per year.  You also agree to abide by the Code of Ethics, but there is no required education or additional testing to maintain your membership.  I am a dues paying member of the National Association of Realtors, and I abide by the Code of Ethics and enjoy some benefits like access to research reports, and publications, but membership alone does not give me any knowledge or authority, and I hate that they waste my dues paying for ads like that!  ( End of rant.)

The parts I got wrong: 

The mortgage market has still not settled down completely.  The FHA loans have made a big come-back, after being close-to-obsolete in California for the last few years, but they have also tightened up on their qualifications for many borrowers, and won’t approve a loan for a property that has changed ownership in the last 90 days.  This puts investors in a riskier position if they want to buy a foreclosure, fix it and put it right back on the market.  Loans of over $417,000 are difficult to approve, and the interest rates are substantially higher.  This is causing problems for buyers (with good credit and documented income)  to buy homes in the higher price ranges.

The lenders are pricing their inventory to get rid of it.  I never would have guessed that they would take this agressive approach.  I’ve been seeing REO properties come on the market at 10% below the most recent comps.  This has created a frenzy for buyers who can’t resist what appears to be a real bargain.  Multiple offers have become the norm for many of the REOs, and buyers have been bidding them up to an average of 102% above original list price.  The REOs and short sales, especially at the lower end of the price ranges, have made up 42% of all sales for 2008.

Overall, my predictions weren’t too far off, so I’ll give myself a B+ for getting close.   In the next few days, I will make my new predictions for 2009 and this time I will be more specific and try to get closer to actuals.

Best Deals on Bank Owned Homes

Foreclosure sign

The bank-owned (REO) homes in South Orange County are still looking like the best values available.  I picked out a list of about 15 that are seriously discounted below their last sale price. 

I am planning to resume posting my “Vic ‘s Picks” on a more regular basis – probably once per week.   This week, the list features homes in Coto de Caza, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and Tustin.  These are all bank-owned and offered for somewhere between $200K and $800K below the last market sale price! 

If you would like to see the actual location on these, click on the little airplane, on the right side of the listing sheet, and it will give you an aerial view of the property.  Some REO agents provide very few photos, so this can help guess what the home may look like.  I’ve also noticed that several of them like to include shots of the bathrooms with the toilet seat up (one is even sideways!)   

Open toilet!

If you have any interest in seeing any of these, please give me a call at (949) 457-0281, and we can go check them out together!

You can Search ALL the homes for sale in the Southern California MLS  (there must be at least one that you like!)

Don’t miss the next exciting update to this blog – click on the envelope to be notified by email!  🙂

 Click here to receive updates by email

Thanks for visiting!

Lake Forest Market Update – November Sales Report

November 2008 sales in Lake Forest are up 233% from last year’s dismal numbers, but sale price per square foot is off by almost 26%.  Prices ranged from a low of $110,000 up to $724,900.

First time buyers were the driving force behind the improved sales volume, since they didn’t have to unload a previous property in order to buy.  FHA loans with 3.5% down payment were the favorite financing method used in the majority of these sales.  Condos accounted for 61% of the sales.

The “average” condo sold for $231,587, after 59 days on the market with the range running from $110,000 up to $385,000.  Of the 38 condos sold, 12 went for more than the list price.  Most of those were bank-owned and were aggressively  priced well below average @ $185/sqft versus the overall average of $206/sqft. 

Single family homes ranged from a low of $335,000 up to $724,900, and averaged $268/sqft after 61 days on the market.   Of the 7 homes that sold for over list price, 5 of them were bank-owned and sold quickly for an average of $272/sqft and spent only 28 days on the market!

There are currently 218 properties in the “active” status on the MLS, split exactly down the middle with 109 condos starting at $114,000 and 109 single family homes ranging from $335,000 up to $1.650 million.   With single family pricing starting at $335,000, it’s very difficult to get any attention for the townhomes above the $390,000 mark, no matter how large or nice they are! 

The good news at this time is that gas prices are affordable again, interest rates are approaching historic lows, and pricing is getting much closer to “fundamentals” where the cost of owning is only slightly higher than the cost of renting a similar property.  I expect after the first of the year, and particularly after the new administration takes office, that volume will pick up substantially in the lower end of the price range and a lot of renters will become buyers!

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The Most Expensive Bank Owned Homes in Orange County Today

There are 7 bank-owned homes in Orange County that are priced over $2,000,000 today.  While they all appear to be very nice, they will still sell “AS IS” with no repairs to be made by the seller.  If you decide to buy one, make sure you have your inspections done by a qualified professional home inspector!

Click Here to See the Bank-Owned MacMansions

Related posts:
Buying Homes from the Bank
You Want to Buy a Foreclosure?

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