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Pete Flint’s Blog

A blog from Trulia's CEO and co-founder

By Pete Flint | Home Buyer in Noe Valley, San Fran...
  • August 2009 National Housing Sales & Price Data

    Posted Under: Market Conditions  |  September 24, 2009 7:54 AM  |  4,470 views  |  3 comments
    I was reviewing the latest national housing numbers and thought I'd summarize some of my thoughts on what is going on.
    Firstly the data:
    • The recent rally in home sales has slowed, down 2.7% for July to August, but up 3.4% over the year
    • Home prices also fell down 2.1% month to month, down 12.5% for the year
    • 30% of sales are from first time home buyers, 31% are distressed properties
    • Inventory levels are falling down to 8.5 months, down from 9.3 in July 2009 and 10.6 from a year ago.
    Some charts:




    My perspective:
    • Sales Volume: I don't think the month to month dip in sales is a significant negative for the market as a whole. As you can see from the above numbers, July was a surprisingly strong month, driven no doubt in part by the first time home buyer tax credit expiring at end of Nov. It feels like we're making slow, but steady progress towards recovery and these month to month variations are natural. I don't expect a big jump in the near term.
    • Sales Prices: With so many challenges in the overall economy, it is tough to expect any significant positive changes in prices in the near term. The recent run up has stopped and I can see prices bouncing along the bottom for some time to come. I'm positively surprised that months inventory has fallen to 8.5 months, which means that excess inventory that has been pushing prices down is being taken off the market. We are not far from bottom, but with so many foreclosures to hit the market and large amounts of negative equity and unemployment, home prices will probably fall a little more before stabilizing.
    All this said, national real estate data is not that useful for home buyers and sellers, it is the local real estate data that give the real picture. So go, check out Trulia's local real estate statistics.
  • Now Search by Price Reduction

    Posted Under: Using Trulia  |  April 25, 2009 9:01 AM  |  4,360 views  |  No comments

     

    Last week Trulia launched a price reduction search tool allowing users to filter by price reductions and view history. We got a good amount of coverage across the mainstream press.  Below are some of the quotes and articles and the press release at the bottom of the post.

    We’re constantly adding new features to improve the search experience and site functionality. Watch this space for more useful tools and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any new ideas for us.

     

    “As the housing bust finally bites the Big Apple, more sellers are slashing prices in the U.S. financial and cultural capital than in any other big city in the country, according to data from real estate website Trulia.com.”-Reuters


    "The financial crisis has hit the New York real estate market late in the cycle, but extremely hard," said Trulia chief executive Pete Flint."There's been a dramatic increase in the number of price reductions over the last six months."-Reuters


    “Today Trulia.com, a real estate search site, reports, “27 percent of homes currently on the market across the United States have experienced at least one price cut.” The cuts range from $30,000 to $295,000. Trulia is now offering the ability for users to search listings that have undergone price cuts. Again, buyers only want the bargains.”-CNBC


    “Trulia has recently added a tool that allows potential buyers to see price reductions for each property listing on their site. Buyers can also narrow their search to include only homes that have seen price cuts.”-Wall Street Journal


    "If it's not on sale, I'm not buying it." “We've been hearing that from people shopping for everything from ball gowns to canned tuna, and evidently it's the motto of a lot of home-seekers as well. Today Trulia is launching a new search filter on its site to allow shoppers to look for only those homes that have had a price reduction. Folks at Trulia say 25 percent of the listings in the District have had at least one price reduction, by an average amount of $81,318.”- Washington Post 

     

     

    MORE THAN ONE IN FOUR HOMES ON THE MARKET HAVE CUT THEIR PRICE

    Trulia Announces New Price Reduction Tool to Help Consumers Find Best Value in their Home Search

     

    SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2009 – Trulia, Inc. (www.trulia.com), the best place to start your real estate search, today announced the ability for users to search for listings that have undergone price cuts since first coming on the market. Trulia’s research has found that 27% of homes currently on the market across the United States have experienced at least one price cut. Across 15 major cities, including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta, the average price reduction for homes ranged from $20,000 to $295,000. Specific data for major markets is included below. 

    “It doesn’t matter if your price point is $200,000 or $2 million, in these difficult times people are searching for the best deals they can find on homes,” said Pete Flint, Trulia CEO and co-founder. “Our new price reduction functionality makes it easier for people to find the home of their dreams without laboring through unwanted results.”

    Trulia is the first and only real estate site to provide consumers with the ability to use price reductions as a search filter in their quest to find a deal in today’s market. The new Price Reduction feature can be accessed from the Trulia homepage and is deeply integrated into the existing search experience on the search results page and via the advanced search tab.  Detailed information regarding multiple price reductions and prior sold data is now available on each property listing page.

    As the spring buying season approaches and the real estate market continues to be increasingly competitive, price reductions are becoming more prevalent.  Providing home buyers with access to price reduction data will help them be better informed as they decide which home to purchase and will help ensure consumers get the most home for their dollar.  It will also help home sellers price their homes competitively as more homes come onto the market.

    Rank

    City

    Listings with Price Reductions

    Average Listing Price

    Average Reduction

    Average Reduction Off Original Price

             1

    New York City

    39%

     $          2,090,851

     $              295,194

    14%

             2

    Los Angeles

    33%

     $          1,012,041

     $              143,307

    13%

             3

    Phoenix

    32%

     $              367,308

     $                43,829

    12%

             4

    San Francisco

    30%

     $          1,253,618

     $              174,516

    13%

             5

    Las Vegas

    28%

     $              346,102

     $                48,013

    16%

             6

    Boston

    28%

     $              706,739

     $                57,056

    8%

             7

    Houston

    27%

     $              312,266

     $                20,318

    6%

             8

    Albuquerque

    26%

     $              293,967

     $                22,559

    7%

             9

    Chicago

    25%

     $              446,775

     $                36,291

    8%

           10

    San Diego

    25%

     $              647,910

     $                65,388

    9%

           11

    Miami

    25%

     $              403,074

     $                58,579

    15%

           12

    Philadelphia

    22%

     $              328,953

     $                24,880

    8%

           13

    Atlanta

    21%

     $              451,495

     $                49,617

    11%

           14

    Seattle

    20%

     $              636,564

     $                49,605

    8%

           15

    Denver

    18%

     $              436,791

     $                30,205

    7%

     

     Users can access the price reduction search tool from multiple areas on Trulia.com: 

    • Trulia.com Homepage – with one click, users can see how any homes have been price reduced in their cities from the Trulia Homepage Local Newsfeed. 
    • Search Results Page – users can select Price Reductions as an option in Refine Search located on the left side of the page, to only see homes that have undergone price reductions.  Users can also sort their search results by the size, percentage or date of the home price reduction. 
    • Home Details Page - detailed information regarding all price reductions and prior sold data for each home is available on the property listing page.
    • Advanced Search – Price Reductions can be selected as an additional search filter.

    Charts are available for download at: http://www.trulia.com/info/pricereductions 

    About Trulia, Inc.
    Trulia, Inc., has revolutionized real estate search by offering a rich, intuitive user experience to help consumers find homes for sale, track local price trends, compare properties and neighborhood data all at the hyper-local level.  

    Methodology:  All price change data is from live listings on Trulia.com, as of April 13, 2009 and tracks all price reductions from April 13, 2008 to April 13, 2009.  This data does not include foreclosure properties.  Trulia obtains its listing information from brokers, agents, third party aggregators and MLSs.  The percentage of listings with price reductions includes any non-foreclosure property on Trulia.com that has experienced at least one price reduction since it was first posted on the site.  The city level data is for listings within the city boundary, and not for metro areas

  • Home builder consolidation: Pulte Homes to buy Centex

    Posted Under: Market Conditions  |  April 8, 2009 6:42 AM  |  4,681 views  |  2 comments
    New from the WSJ . With all the troubles in the home builder market, some consolidation was inevitable. Pulte said the deal would result in cost savings of around 350 million dollars a year.

    Pulte Homes Inc. (PHM) will acquire Centex Corp. (CTX) in a $1.3 billion stock deal that the companies say would form the largest U.S. home builder, as the sector looks to stay afloat amid the still-worsening housing market.

    Home builders have been struggling to navigate the worst downturn in decades, made worse by rising unemployment and the financial crisis, which has weakened the availability of credit for would-be buyers and hurt consumer confidence.

    New home sales unexpectedly climbed for the first time in seven months in February, the most recent month with data available, but prices continued to tumble. Sales were still 41% below a year earlier as rising layoffs push people from making big purchases and inventories remain high.

    The combined company will be the largest U.S. home builder by market capitalization and volume. Pulte and Centex said Wednesday that the combined company would have a market capitalization of $4.1 billion, beating out D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI), the largest home builder by volume, with a market capitalization of $3.4 billion.

    Consolidation is no surprise given the massive reduction of new home sales, see chart below:

    New Home Sales Annual Sales Rate, Seasonal Adjusted

    Chart via Census Department

    As the Industry adjusts to a very different market, these changes are very natural.

  • Where are all the newspaper advertising dollars going?

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  March 27, 2009 11:32 AM  |  4,799 views  |  2 comments
    I saw this morning that the Newspaper Association of America released the 2008 figures for advertising revenues. Here is the news:
    • Total newspaper advertising revenue fell 16.6 percent in 2008 over the previous year to 37.8 billion dollars.
    • Print advertising revenue fell 17.7 percent to 34.7 billion dollars while online advertising revenue dropped 1.8 percent to 3.1 billion dollars.
    • Classified advertising revenue continued to plunge falling 29.7 percent to 9.97 billion dollars in 2008.
    • Real estate classified spend fell 38% to 2.5 billion dollars.



    More charts below.

    Many people have been asking where the advertising dollars are going? Scott Karp has a great post on this using the recent closure of the print edition of the Seattle PI as an experiment. He says:

    Logically, one or a combination of the following will happen to the newspaper’s advertising dollars:

    1. Vaporizes, i.e. the advertiser stops spending the money — given the economic crisis, this seems likely for some advertisers
    2. Shifts to Seattlepi.com — which is hiring its own sales force following the dissolution of the joint operating agreement with the Seattle Times
    3. Shifts to another newspaper, i.e. Seattle Times — through the JOA, the same sales force sold ads for Seattle PI and Seattle Times, so it only makes sense that some advertisers will shift some or all of their spending to the Times
    4. Shifts to competing local online media, e.g. The Stranger, West Seattle Blog
    5. Shifts to non-local media that can target local audiences, e.g. Google, Craigslist (inc. Trulia.com)
    What do you think will happen?



  • San Francisco Luxury Condo Market

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in SoMa  |  March 15, 2009 2:37 PM  |  5,377 views  |  3 comments
    I had dinner with some friends last night and one of them had just put in an offer for a 2 bed condo at the The Infinity in San Francisco and I thought I'd do some research on how the market was doing and get your opinions. His rationale for making the purchase at this time was the following:
    We all pretty much agreed, that while San Francisco condo prices could well fall in the next 12 months, the upside of low rates, quality of life and good prices made 2009 a good time to make this sort of purchase.

    Chart of SoMa price per square foot.


    That said, I'm sure there is more to the story and if you're not concerned about losing your job and can afford one of these luxury condos in San Francisco, what else should a prospective home buyer be thinking about.

    I looked around on Trulia Voices and found the following insights:

    From this question on sales at Infinity 2, it looks like there is a lot of demand and some discounting going on:
    "prices are quite competitive actually and are lower than when Tower 1 first started out" From Mark Choey
    And the views on diffierent units seems to make a big difference in demand/quality:
    "Be care of what your unit will look out on as new construction is planned for the west side and Tower Two's best side is East for views. Be sure to ask about south side of building as well." from Sally Roesenman
    "There are significant differences among prices in the corner stacks between the 5th and 30th floors. The fifth floor is just above street level, while the 30th offers great views..." from Jason Chapin

    While my friend is buying a place at the Infinity, what about all the other buildings in the area? I'm curious about the pros/cons of different buildings like One Rincon Hill.
  • Follow me (Trulia's co-founder) on twitter

    Posted Under: Using Trulia  |  March 14, 2009 7:14 PM  |  4,690 views  |  3 comments

    So, I've (finally) started using twitter. I'm @peteflint and my page here: http://twitter.com/peteflint.
    I'll talk later on what I mean about "when private conversations turn public" and no it's not something in my personal life... but more what happens when conversations you used to have in private forums (offline) are now happening in public forums (online, e.g. twitter and www.trulia.com/voices and other places). Interesting things happen!

    Feel free to follow me and if you are a fellow twitterer add a comment and I'll follow you too!

  • Finding bargains in Detroit's real estate market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Detroit  |  March 9, 2009 2:51 PM  |  5,175 views  |  2 comments

    I stumbled across this article this morning about the detroit real estate market and how International investors are moving in to snap up detroit foreclosures and short sales.

    From the article:
    "Welcome to Landlord Nation, where foreclosure notices are plentiful and for-sale signs offer at least 1,800 homes for under $10,000 that once were worth at least 10 times more. In extreme cases, homes are on sale for $1 or less, which has enticed investors to Detroit from as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia."

    “Despite a stagnant retail housing market, real estate sales of foreclosed homes are booming. Shannon regularly fields calls from eager prospects, and recently sold 30 homes in one day to one buyer. A trio of U.K. investors has bought a half-dozen and plans many more.”

    “Outside buyers are the latest in a long line of landlords taking over the deteriorating housing stock of a city that because of its once mighty auto industry boasted one of the highest owner-occupied housing rates in the U.S. And unlike many large cities, Detroit's single-family homes dominate its landscape, not high-rise apartment buildings.”

    From AP

    So, I wondered if there was truth in the story?

    Absolutely! Just check out these recent questions from Trulia Voices:

    Adrian in Ireland asks:

    Hello, I'm from Ireland&I'm looking to purchase 5 or 6 properties to refurbish & rent out in Detroit.

    I will be looking for 3/4/5 beds that will provide a good rental yield when refurbed. Where should I be looking and what areas should I avoid? Are the taxes based on the property value or set by the county / state?

    Ian from the UK asks:

    Hi all im from uk an looking at property investment in detroit. Spent alot of time working for investers

    fixing there houses up!

    Could anyone provide a list of current houses in detroit for sale please?

    Mikem asks:

    Investing in Detroit Property

    i am looking to buy an invesment property of two in detroit. can anyone give me an idea of some the nicesuburbs to buy into and worth looking at?

    John Gitre responds with:

    Mick, we have a lot of homes priced from as low as $1,000 or less up to $50,000 and above. Detroit is not the only place with very well priced homes for investors. How familiar are you with the Detroit area? When do you plan on coming here? With so many properties in such a large area you would be best served by looking at them yourself. If you could send me your criteria for the type of property you are interested in, I would be glad to provide you with some assistance. You may contact me through my Trulia profile. Thank you and good luck.

     

    So while there are tough times in the Detroit economy overall, it looks like prices are so low that investors are coming in, do you think this signals the bottom for Detroit house prices?

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