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Rich Toscano on BTR with Jim the Realtor

  • Broadcast in Real Estate
Jim the Realtor

Jim the Realtor


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Rich Toscano is a San Diegan who runs the blog, www.piggington.com.  Since 2004, he has provided detailed analyses of real estate and economic data, helping readers make sense of the local market.

The blog has a very active forum, with a community of regular commenters who share their personal stories and observations too.


0:43 Jim the Realtor

Hello everybody and welcome to Blog Talk Radio. This is Jim the Realtor with Rich Toscano. Rich, say hello.

0:54 Rich Toscano

Hello Jim the Realtor and everyone else.

0:57 Jim the Realtor

Welcome Rich! Rich has been running the blog piggington.com now since 2004, and really, let's make sure we acknowledge his day job. In fact, Rich, I want you to describe what you do for a regular work to get started.

1:18 Rich Toscano

Regular work. Uhm, regular work, I'm a financial advisor with a firm called Pacific Capital Associates, and mostly, we manage people's investment and dispense financial advice. It's off by weekend and night job, it turns out like worthwhile.

1:42 Jim the Realtor

Alright, good. And in your spare time, a little spare time that you have, you've been very diligent in working the blog and providing great analysis about the real estate market and recently talked about shambling towards affordability back in November and you had some great thoughts and graphs, describing our current state of affairs current statistics. Do you want to go into that a little bit and help introduce that?

2:12 Rich Toscano

Sure, sure. So, this is only I've actually been doing since the beginning of the blog. As a matter of fact, that's where I kind of got the whole thing. So, it was just this idea of looking at home prices in San Diego compared to some kind of underpinning fundamental because they used to say that and say, "Oh, everyone wants to live here," and so the prices will keep going up and, sure, everyone wants to live here, but you have to kind of -- you have to kind of compare that back on what's going on in the economy. And so what I would do is look at the ratio of home prices to local incomes and that kind of tells you how expensive housings are compared to how much people -- how much money people have if available __2:55__. And then, I also look at the price-to-rent ratio, which is basically your typical home price divided by the average rent in San Diego and that tells you how much premium there is to home ownership, how much more people are paying to put a loop over their head that they own versus one that they rent. And so both these things kind of give you a good read on house expensiveness. And if that -- not surprisingly, they end up having very similar results so I kind of locked them in together when talking about them. So, anyway, that's what I did back in that day. Of course, the price income and price-to-rent ratios were sky-high back in the mid 2000, yeah, much higher than they have been, almost double. Yeah, kind of historical medium. And then when we saw the bus, then they started to come back down. And so, what I've been looking at is where are we now __3:52__ and where we are now is we're actually -- well, San Diego may seem expensive to all of us paying the sunshine tax. In aggregates, San Diego homes are less expensive than average, than the typical historical expensiveness when you compare them with either local incomes or rent.

4:15 Jim the Realtor

What would you say the norm is on that?

4:21 Rich Toscano

Well, you can't -- some people say, "Oh, it should be three times income or something." It doesn't really work that way because I'm just taking a per capita income like -- well, I'll tell you. I'll answer the question. The typical ratio has been about eight so eight times per capita income. But here is why that it doesn't exactly that -- if you're trying to figure out whether that map on to your situation individually. So, one thing most people are buying is a household so household income would be dependent __4:51__. It's just that household income doesn't go as far back historically so I couldn't give that. I mean it gives you the same result in terms of the trend and where we are compared to the average, it just makes the number higher, you're looking at -- the other thing is this is using single family home and of course a lot of the housing stocks like condos go back. So, the ratio is eight for what it's worth, but it's really not really worth anything, except to compare it to what it's been in the past. So, right now -- yeah now we're much below over seven, yeah and not the same as the price-income there. Yeah, and we're about 7.3 or something like that and it was maybe 8.1 with historical -- we're roughly 10% below the historical price/income ratio. We're about 4% below the historical price-to-rent ratio. So, we're in undervalue historically, not dramatically so, but we're there, which is -- now, we just king of __5:55__ might want to buy houses.

5:58 Jim the Realtor

Yeah. Now, a Temecula guy asked a question on the blog about the specific stat and overshoot because you noted that in 1997, we overshot by 21%, and today, we're at 10, and his question was how far do you see prices falling after this level that was two to three times bigger than the last level.

6:26 Rich Toscano

Right, right. What a great question and I wish to have a great answer, but I don't. You know, the thing is if you -- and everyone can go to Jim's site right now and he actually just clicked the chart up on the front page here so you can all look at it if you want. What you see is this is a very kind of reverting kind of anything, where it goes up and then comes back down then it goes up and comes back down, and it tends to overshoot this kind of -- the red line in the chart has been kind of roughly eight fair value typical ratio and it goes way up and then it goes way down. It tends to do that. So, this last time around, it went really far off so the question is what we're going to overshoot way down to the -- it could be even lower than having passed __7:13__ and just to put that in perspective by the way. Looking at the price-to-income ratio in mid 80s, the lowest they've got was 14% below the medium, and even in the mid 90s, which is kind of bad, having butchered, the lowest they got was 21% below the medium. So, right now, we're 10% below. We still haven't reached where we were in that higher box. So, you can make a case if there's further to go and then you can make a case that -- not only just because of this kind of overshoot tendency, but also because of just some of the fundamentals out there. All the proposals still be processed, the fact that we've kind of a weak economy, potential for rising rates. There are a number of reasons to think it could go lower. However, evaluate -- I'm talking of evaluation period. It's not the actual price, it's more of the ratio. The thing is that in none of those other thoughts is we have this just massive globalization of dominant resources that try to help out the housing market ratio.

8:17 Rich Toscano

In some sense, it's a little different this time because obviously ___8:24___ and evaluation just dropped to nothing. So, that's one -- that's one of having out there. The other one is, you just never know. I mean, the way I look at the concept of evaluation is, when something is really overpriced, it's probably going to go back to normal. And when it's really underpriced, it's probably going to go back to normal. But if it's slightly underpriced, you're stepping much further out on a whim to say, "Oh yeah, It's going to be probably even more overpriced." I mean, it could, there are some reasons to believe it might, but it's much less of a high confident forecast and it would be like when you are back in 2006 and say, "Oh, we're up here in the stratosphere, it's going to go back down to earth at some point." So, unfortunately, that's kind of a non-answer, but it's a great pleasure, but one that really can't be answered, but then it is so much essential.

9:21 Jim the Realtor

Alright, good. I don't have -- just so you know, I don't have a way to control your volume and your volume is not that high.

9:29 Rich Toscano


9:30 Jim the Realtor

So, if you would mind speaking up just a little, I think it would help people to hear.

9:37 Rich Toscano

I can do that.

9:40 Jim the Realtor

When you look at that chart, it would seem to be obvious just based on past history that there's a lot of overshoot to come, that this recent boom was so much more dramatic than everything in the past, but it has to be about equal because in the past, that's where it went.

10:07 Rich Toscano


10:08 Jim the Realtor

Could it not happen?

10:10 Rich Toscano

Yeah. I think it could potentially not happen.

10:13 Jim the Realtor

And would that be just because of government intervention? Because I'm not so sure -- I think they're helping. I'll give you my two stands and I think that it's helping kick the can down the road to use that old tired phrase. It sure is dragging that out, but I think what's also happening is that there have been enough buyers in the mix that just timing wise. People want to start buying houses again and it just kind of happens that here we are, and if there's enough people who can afford it now that are looking, we could start seeing some extended demand happen and more sales just because of the calendar, just because of age. People are getting older. If you've been old and if you saw the bubble happening in 2002 and 2003, you've been waiting for 10 years. The clock is ticking and you got families and you're really anywhere from 30 and up age wise when that started and now you're 40 and up, you're kind of thinking, "I'd better get on this," and I think that is playing a role as much as anything with people getting __11:28__ about buying. Do they feel comfortable enough about buying based on price, where could say prices have come way down, have they come down enough, is there more to come. Well, I think another part of the equation that is really hard to figure is what happens when there are so few sales. We're seeing the sales -- the amount of sales to be about half of what they were at the peak and that could really sway things in either direction price wise. And I don't think I've seen anybody describe that on a graph or show how that could have impact because if you're just looking at price only and the sales have dropped in half or even worse.

12:13 Jim the Realtor

I think we're going to see -- I think the sales have been pretty steady over the last few months, no big dramatic ups or downs. But I think it's certainly possible with the government deciding that they're going to support it, they're going to rent out REOs, they're going to sell them to investors to run them out. If they just turn off the foreclosures at Piggott and end that supply chain and anyone who has that __12:44__ they just don't want to sell because they're going to wait until it goes back up. We could literally have even fewer sales than we have right now, which is a lot less than it used to be, and I don't know really how to gauge, how that will play into it.

13:00 Rich Toscano

No, no. That's tough. I mean it's a problem with this kind of -- county-wise stats are -- just looking at price, there are a lot of new ones in there that you capture and you're kind of boots on the ground approach that I'm not getting looking at stuff like this.

13:19 Jim the Realtor

I'll give you a great example that just happened today for people, who are watching around Carmel Valley. There's a new listing that hit today on Willowmere for 1.2 million on the canyon, it's 2900 square feet. Coincidentally, the guy who owns it paid 1.2 million in 2006 so he has listed it for the same price that he paid for it in 2006, which was really the peak, I think, __13:52__ Carmel Valley. Now, if you just look at statistically on this chart, you think the guy is off his rocker. He's not paying attention because it should be a lot less than that. But I called the agent today on it and he is already getting overwhelmed by calls. I don't know if that means he is going to sell, but there are so few houses for sale in Carmel Valley that are on the canyon, bigger houses, South of 56, Sage Canyon and Ocean Air School District. It kind of looks like he's got all the game in town and I think he might sell it. And for people who are thinking a way to overshoot, overshoot, this guy is overshooting all right, but he's shooting up not down, just because of the lack of inventory.

14:49 Rich Toscano

Yeah. You've identified another issue which is the kind of geographical disparity. There is a place like Oceanside, which is in your beat and which was down like 60% or something and there's Carmel Valley, which was relatively unscaved, compared to everything else. So that's not going to get captured here. So that's kind of another thing you have to keep in mind when looking at stuff like this for sure.

15:17 Jim the Realtor

Some people on either side of that because if you just look at this graph, you can say, "Well, I'm not buying that out for 5 years then look, obviously we've got overshoot come in, probably got a good two or three years and okay, the game." But certainly...

15:34 Rich Toscano

Let's get back to your question, your asking the first. I don't, I don't, there are only three boom-bust cycles on here, right? So you can't -- I mean it could be a coincidence, but it went that way last time. You can't really -- this is a very clear causal relationship of why would a boom or a bust overshoot to the same degree that the boom side did. You can't really depend on that happening. So that's what it could happen. But if you're banking on that happening, you could absolutely lose that gamble for sure. You know, whether you're in Carmel Valley or Oceanside or whatever.

16:10 Jim the Realtor

Let's now -- while we're talking about this chart. You got mortgage rates on here too that in 1990, 30-year fixed rates were around 10% and in 1994 or 1995, it was down to around 7%. So there had been a pretty good drop in the rates so if you're factoring in how the mortgage rates played into it, I'd say it's pretty similar from the last bust to this bust that they've come down dramatically. This time, I think there were a little more engineered to come down by the fad and this rates whatever who think that and how does that play in really, because if you look at that gray line on there that you have on the graph...

17:01 Rich Toscano

Gray? Yeah. If people are looking at the visual aids, you can click over to the original article and I've also got some monthly payment income ratio. So basically, it's just combining the home prices and the rates to come up with the statistical monthly payment and divide that by income and then by rent. You could see that unlike they are just sale price income and rent which are kind of slightly below median value, we're actually below as we've ever been in terms of the monthly payments. It's like 45% below the median or something ridiculous like that for priced income. So of course that effects -- I mean, rates are going to affect the effect to the homebuyer's equation. The rent versus should I rent or should I buy. Absolutely, rates affect that. I think that some people are too hung up on the idea that if rates go up, prices have to go down to the exact same degree to keep monthly payments constant. I don't think that's true. No longer do I think that there is any historical evidence for that really because ways can go up or down for a lot of different -- it's not just in the vacuum, it's the whole economy going up on out there __18:20__. So you can't really say, "Oh, please go up a little. Prices must therefore go down". However, it's certainly the case that really low rates, which will lead to low monthly payments, it just takes the buyer versus rent comparison a lot more appealing and people who wants -- you know, a lot of people will buy or would might not have otherwise. So if that's what helping out and that in other reason, to think we'll -- maybe we'll not going to overshoot to the downside like we did on another side. I mean we never had a rate environment like this. There is just a lot going on.

18:56 Rich Toscano

It's different in each cycle and you just don't want to try to be too overconfident about predicting stuff. Again, unless you have that severe overeval or undervaluation when you can just say, "Well, it's probably going to go up with fair value". Other than that, we really don't know what's going to happen. Now, there is a website of that, rates were so low. If they go up, that could be, that could put down the pressure on home prices and that could help the cost further overshoot the downside. (Crosstalk).

19:35 Jim the Realtor

Yeah. I could try to take some calls. I'm going to encourage people to call in the number (877) 317-7373. If you have questions or comments, feel free to call in (877) 317-7373. I'd put that on the blog to see that house payment being commercial on there and those rates sure are helping.

20:06 Rich Toscano


20:07 Jim the Realtor

I think if you were to combine the -- if you wanted me to make a case wider that wouldn't be the kind that overshoot the dramatic continuance of overshoot, it would be because rates are so low. People are thinking, "I've got to get interest rate that low". To think I just saw 10 years go by on the calendar and they're thinking, "These prices sure are a lot less than they used to be and I've been hearing -- Jim The Realtor keeps talking about the bidding wars," and I keep sharing there are more and more people out there who are looking. Oh, I see. It's nothing but lousy-looking houses online. So, I guess the good ones must begin to snap up and if anybody who's listening is on the sideline wondering what the real market conditions are, I've encouraged it to test that out and go look for houses and you'll see, you'll see nothing but what's been picked over by everyone else. It's very discouraging and you'll think or say I'm right. There's just nothing but junk out there. But then keep an eye out because every once in a while, you'll see something good come on and boom, it just goes flying off the market and in almost every case around North County Coastal, there's more than one person interested in it and it's a race. That's such a different set of stuff going on at the same time. It's very hard to negotiate. Rich, have you been out looking yourself a house lately?

21:44 Rich Toscano

I have, yes.

21:47 Jim the Realtor

What did you find?

21:49 Rich Toscano

I didn't find much that I like. Like you say, maybe I was a bit picky. I don't know really -- but yeah, we've only found a couple of places that we are really kind of excited about and everything else is -- It's like you've always wanted that stuff. It's been on red stand or whatever. I mean, it's been listed for a month and of course those are the ones that are just sitting there. And then, one will come up with a pretty nice price reasonably and a week later, it's pending. So there was a lot of that going on.

22:29 Jim the Realtor

Have you found any you like?

22:31 Rich Toscano

Well, yeah. I bought one actually.

22:35 Jim the Realtor

You bought a house. Thank you for mentioning that.

22:37 Rich Toscano

I bought a house.

22:39 Jim the Realtor

I think that's probably a sign. There should be a sign or a suggestion on personal wants and need at this point.

22:49 Rich Toscano

I don't think it should be that much of a sign and I've always said, when I wasn't buying a house, I would say that to you because for a while, I've been writing about -- interest rates are really low. We'll come back to my house thing in a second, but just __23:01__ on that. When the rates are really low and monthly payments are so low that you're basically act on rental parity in a lot of places. I think it makes sense to buy as long as you're going to stay in that place. The problem is if you, if you want to move out or you have to move out in a few years, the rate didn't really matter. What matters was what happened to the price. But if you're going to stay there for a while, the price matter is a lot less. What really matters is locking the -- Oh, and your financing. I'm sorry, assuming you're financing most of the property. Then what really matters is that monthly payment and just getting that as low as possible, and as long as you are going to stay there for a while. I've been writing that for a while but I kind of haven't really found a place that I wanted to stay in definitely. But after this last length at rates, we went around looking again and we did find such a place and so it made sense to buy in that case. I don't think it's -- it's not a real market call. If it's any kind of market call, the market call and interest rates because I just said I can't stay away any longer. Rates are going to -- I'm so convinced rates are going to go up and it was locked in at this pretty low monthly payment especially considering that this is getting a little bit further. But I think we're going into a period of dollar evaluation were money won't buy as much as it did and basically, everything will go up in price except your mortgage, if you have a fixed rate mortgage. And so that's kind of -- it's kind of a good time, I think, to be locking in payments on anything you've been locked from then on and obviously housing is a big part of people's expenses.

24:47 Rich Toscano

So it just made sense -- it's partly a call in the interest rate but partly just my own situation revolved around to making sense for me to do it.

24:58 Jim the Realtor

It sounds like you think inflation is on the horizon.

25:05 Rich Toscano

Well, on the horizon implies like a timing thing and I'm terrible at timing, of course not much, but I do think it's going to happen in the years ahead at some point and maybe not anytime soon. But I don't think there's any other way around it. I mean we just have -- we have too much debt. We have more debt that we can really grow a way out of it at this point. So the only alternative is to cut everyone's standard of living, which I don't think the politicians are going to do, and that at least printing nearly out of the debt and making the debt worth less by making dollars for that. I don't see any way around that really, any politically feasible way to avoid that outcome so I don't know when it's going to happen. But I feel that's kind of my highest compliment in forecast at this point is if that's going to happen and so if you do find a place where you can stay, I could stay here for a good decade or whatever and it's affordable to you and you know you will be able to service the debt. I think it financially makes a lot of sense actually to borrow at this ridiculously, artificially low subsidized wage and just kind of lock in that aim and then back and let the eventual inflation happen.

26:25 Jim the Realtor

You've actually mentioned here you said the landmark mentioned that we've got bad noise on Rich's connection. I think if you just speak up make an effort to speak up so people will be able to hear you.

26:45 Rich Toscano

Alright. Yeah. Let me try, I will use a headset thing, let me just get that. Hold on.

26:50 Jim the Realtor


26:52 Rich Toscano

Okay, what's with that?

26:54 Jim the Realtor

Alright. It's good.

26:55 Rich Toscano


26:56 Jim the Realtor

That's excellent yeah, a lot better.

26:58 Rich Toscano


26:59 Jim the Realtor

Could you just repeat what you just said the last 10 minutes.

27:01 Rich Toscano


27:05 Jim the Realtor

Well, we will have it on the transcript that takes a day or two to get, but we can also read it and also I hope they got it all down. So you bought a house. Did you find that the house you found Was your house on the market at short time or long time?

27:27 Rich Toscano

A short time.

27:28 Jim the Realtor

Short time. Was that hardly contested or was it mellow?

27:34 Rich Toscano

Actually once, we are buying like a dead -- it's absolutely a dead zone as well we put on our offer. I think there might have been like some other offers, but definitely I wasn't at bidding or anything like that. But we also knew just looking at what was happening out there and we were pretty confident that you don't jump on this, someone else real, quick so we did and unfortunately for us, I think it was early December or something. It was right after Thanksgiving, reading on this so everything was just dead so I think we kind of snuck in there and see what's next then.

28:12 Jim the Realtor

Good. Congratulations and I'm sure that there is people starting to count it up here, Osie Renner bought a house like that a couple of years ago.

28:22 Rich Toscano

Yeah. Yeah.

28:23 Jim the Realtor

__28.23__ bought a house, a Temecula guy, there's a lot of people now that can say they jumped in. What do you think about this? Could there end up being that everyone bought and we run out of buyers?

28:43 Rich Toscano

No. I don't think so because all that's happening is there's a pool of bubble sitters, it's slowly being drain, but when you look back, there was never bubble sitters before in this cycle rate, right? I mean the housing marketing do find without a huge pool of people in the sideline waiting to buy. Of course, that's helping the fact that there has now been an influx of skeptical buyer over time, that definitely helped. But I don't think that's necessary to prop up the market. I think we are fairly small contentions anywhere really. If we had been bigger, the bubble wouldn't happen like it did I don't think. I don't think the bubble airfares were moving the market that much actually in any case.

29:37 Jim the Realtor

Yeah. I think the access to all market knowledge to the Internet has really helped people. I think they are able to track the market conditions a lot better in either direction and I wish that they had more data on pendings, because like on red stand or any others, once it goes off the market, it's kind of easy just to forget about it and not really track them. There is really -- I don't know if I'm putting more burden on you in Piggington. Have you tracked either, contentions or pendings, listings at all?

30:32 Rich Toscano

I do. Yeah. I do pendings every month. Just a number though, you know.

30:43 Jim the Realtor

Is that what you're going to try? Yes. I think I might try and do more of that myself, because that's really your leading indicator of what's coming down the pipe. If you'll just go up closely only, that's kind of a history lesson and really from when people were making their offers, it's two or three months old. And trying to track pendings would give you more current market conditions, but it's not that easy to follow because stuff falls out. You got to literally follow each house. And it's like an encouragement to get the people who are listening how to gauge the market and if there's going to be issues, we've tried to track those local pendings right around you. If you see a house go off the market, see if it closes and track it and see what the difference was between list price and sales price that will tell you a lot about the fever pitch and what happened when it's sold. Let's say there is more than one -- let's say in themselves for a lot less, it probably wasn't anybody else looking, the sellers were desperate. If it ends up selling at a least price or higher, than you know it got a little crazy. I think those are probably the things for people who are wondering what can I watch? I'm thinking about getting in but I don't know if it's right yet. What are the best indicators? I think that and then the market time, if you see how they're blowing off the market the first week they are on the market then I think people are getting excited. People are jumping and the demand must be at least high. It's got to last, that's the thing. You can go and hide in cold stuffs. I think we've seen it where like right now, I'll say Carmel Valley that the inventory has been so thin that I think the demand is still top. You're going to probably see the next few lessons that come on and are popping the first week.

32:45 Jim the Realtor

Yeah. It might not last. It might get exhausted within two, three or four listings. And you are going to look at the sustainability of that to really get a good read on it.

33:00 Rich Toscano

Yeah. (Crosstalk).

33:04 Jim the Realtor

Do you see the -- we have seen the Federal Government have a lot to say and a lot of impacts. Did you see anything about local governments, state or county or city have an impact? Because there is a lot of thread right in there.

33:23 Rich Toscano

Yeah. I don't -- I haven't seen much really. I mean, you know they have done something to -- they are buying up foreclosures or definitely about that. But I don't really see a much impact from that really. I don't know. The State -- the homebuyer tax credit, the State had one. I believe you were calling it double cheese or something like that back in the era and I think that made a difference. I mean you know, the market was definitely hopping at that point. So it seems like that might have been the calls. But other than that, yeah, you haven't seen them your whole life, that made a difference. I haven't really been looking. I don't make too much of that though.

34:11 Jim the Realtor

Your latest post talks about jobs?

34:15 Rich Toscano

Yes jobs. Jobs in San Diego. Surprisingly, given all the gloominess -- and I am telling you, you are in the same boat as me, Jim. You know, you can't win. No matter what you write, someone will be upset. Either at affairs, either that bulls are yelling at me or the bears are yelling at me. I am just putting up the data up on a chart. But yeah, in San Diego we actually had quite a robust year of job growth, if you can believe that. Year-over-year rate of employment growth was the highest it had been at any time since the dot-com boom, I believe. So you know, of course it's just you know -- we're coming back out of the abyss here. But still, it was a pretty brisk rate of job growth, which is nice, and employment growth -- when you adjust for the seasonal factors, employment growth is pretty very steadily throughout the year and actually even kind of kicked in to gear a little bit at the end of the year. So there's a lot of people calling for a potential recession. There is a lot of kind of gloominess. But whatever else is going on, assuming these numbers, they're all estimates and they do get revised. But as of right now, it looks like we had pretty good job growth in the region which is -- it's nice to have some good news from time to time and obviously, that's going to help the housing more and get-us-back kind of thing continues.

35:46 Jim the Realtor

Yeah, I think it helps more in the consumer confidence than anything because people keep saying we need jobs. Well, now you're starting to see it. I don't know if there's anyone who just got a job and won't buy house the next day. I don't think there is a direct effect, but I think for people just trying to get a better feel for the economy, that's a pretty good sign.

36:10 Rich Toscano

Yeah, it all kind of tied in together, more jobs and more confidence and people are more likely to buy home and they are more likely to feel like they can make that fund. So, yeah, it all ties together. I mean, the thing is that some indicators are more leading and some are more lagging and the jobs are more lagging indicator so what this means is -- well, it's a good news for what happened in 2011. It isn't really predictive of what's going to happen. So it doesn't mean like, "Oh, now the economy is going to be strong just because job growth is good, right?" Because job growth is kind of the last one, they're the last things to react typically. So we just have to make that disclaimer, it's doesn't mean it will necessarily -- that there won't be problems in the near future. But it means that at least looking back, we had some nice solid growth which is -- you don't usually see this kind of just clearly positive thing. There's no even caveat it seems in everything. So, that was a nice way to close out the year.

37:18 Jim the Realtor

I think it probably corresponds a little bit as far as just consumer confidence goes that we've at least seen some kind of, maybe not the end, but at least some kind of leveling on that job market and hopefully some continued growth and same thing with housing. We've seen some leveling that's still bouncy that's going to be rocky. It's going to be up and down. But at least it's not plummeting like it was especially with housing and I think that could just -- that literally could be enough for some people to at least feel good enough about buying a house just to see that things aren't plummeting. Consumer confidence, I think, has a lot to do with whether or not people at least gets off the fence and go drive around __38:12__ because once you get to that point where you're actually looking. Then that's when you going to realize, "Man, this is a lot tougher than I thought" and I think people really need to plan that is going to take a while. Six to twelve months is not outrageous to buy a house because the reality of it, you don't want to believe it, how can it be this hard. __38:41__ is terrible, I should be __38:43__ buy a house. But they are not just lying around not selling. The ones that aren't selling are the ones that are too high priced. There's plenty of those, but no one buy them. Everyone's heading in the internet. They know what the values are and I think you can literally be as little as 5% to 10% too high on your price of the seller and be out of the game.

39:12 Jim the Realtor

But that's how sensitive and how good buyers are at evaluating your price. And if you're a buyer and you go around, you see all these guys were crazy on price and you keep looking at __39:25__. It's going to take a while before you can say you've even seen a few that were the right price and you're going to probably say, "He kind of bluff the market, didn't he?" Well, I'm going to keep looking and you're going to keep seeing that happen if he keeps going away, it's gone since this early March 2009 where things have been popping and if it continues, it makes it tough to get up the speed. They're really getting the game and win some bidding wars to get the good ones. And 6 to 12 months, I think, is pretty realistic and I think for some people, it's going to take two or three years.

40:06 Rich Toscano

That sounds awful. (Crosstalk).

40:10 Jim the Realtor

It's frustrating. It's painful. You've bought black car in a day. You can go out and buy anything else off the internet with a couple of clicks. What do you mean Jim? Come on men, youthful year. It's not going to take me take a year. Oh, go try and talk to one of these sellers of their price. They are really committed in getting their money. They think they're right on price and they can sit there for months and years and if they don't need to sell, it doesn't matter what you think. Then you got the agents, are the agents going to be able to talk him down if they'd been on the market for months? I don't know if they are. I don't know if they are willing to or able to, which is more frustrating too. I think the -- the frustration and that uncertainty makes people want to give up too and trying to hang in there and keep going when you're not having much luck, then you get to the point where you're going -- well, this looks pretty good. I guess I'll make an offer on this one or you've made a couple of offers and you're getting more frustrated when it didn't happen. The seller won't come off his price or all of a sudden, you lose a bidding war too and that frustration I think needs to be managed. Then if you have some pretty good expectation. I like talking about it and bring this up so I think if you have an expectation for that, you won't get as frustrated and you don't know what's coming and it's probably a little be easier to deal with.

42:03 Jim the Realtor

Why __42:03__ I should ask for callers. We haven't taken a call yet, I don't have any callers in queue so call in at (877) 317-7373 if you're listening and if not, what I'm going to say, congratulations to Rich for buying a house (877) 317-7373.

42:28 Rich Toscano

I'm trying to get my mom to listen, but she is busy. I bet, she would have called in though. She would have called in for me to say hi. Yeah, when you think that's going to end -- I mean, you've talked for years at this point about the kind of delusional seller thing where they just sit there. I mean, what do you think is going to end? Just one by one, the sellers have to sell or pull it off the market and gives off. What do you think will happen? To see like an exciting incident that will kind of get things back more to normal.

43:10 Jim the Realtor

Well, the thing that would really help is if they start foreclosing on people because at least they'll get to the defaulters. That turns them into REO listings or Flipper listings one way or the other. And that would at least provide some supply, make it a little easier for people because anyway, there's more to pick from now. We've get some REO listings out here. But I'm just getting more and more convinced that they are just shutting it down. They're not going to foreclose anymore. They're going to try and push everybody at short sale and hope that works. __43:48__ notorious for this. It's usually right about this time of year, the last three or four years. __43:58__ through their employers or some rumor mail that all they're going to start ramping up the REOs and they never do. I'm way down on the totem pole. I'm not a big time REO listing agent, but I do get the very last trickle and there's just nothing coming our way. We're on with Fannie Mae. There is just nothing coming from Fannie Mae. They are ones that have more than anybody in San Diego County and I don't know what they're doing. I guess they're just kind of starting to pack some up and getting ready to rent them. They sent out the request for proposals. Was that six months ago or eight months ago for people to send in their ideas about how to rent them and I think they're going to do it. I think they're going to rent. I think they are going to sell in bulk investors who -- I think that intention is for them to rent them. I think they're going to be tempted to sell them if they get a big discount on them.

45:00 Jim the Realtor

They'd be happy to sell them. But for a guy that has been signed up with Fannie Mae, it's been about a year. I have a dozen of listing in a year and I'm not complaining. I'm glad to have had the ones I have but I thought I had been getting -- come on it's Fannie Mae. That's going to be 5 or 10 at a time, doesn't it? No, it's one at a time if you're lucky and that's frustrating. It's frustrating for me personally in business-wise. But just overall, it's frustrating that you don't see a nice supply coming on. And that's why I'm more and more convinced that people would gobble them up. This listing I got on the people, I'm looking at 554 Meadowbrook, it's on the same thing that all of them are where you have owner occupants, get the first crack at it for the first two weeks, and we end up having our owner occupant take it the day before the investors. They're going to open up to investors and we had five or six cash offers from investors at right at least price and a little above, standing by, waiting and some occupier got it. $175,000 for a house, it has got blown out windows, not much of the kitchen, not really had __46:35__ and there's a lot of demands for those and if this is Mrs. Fannie Mae that's listening, go ahead Ma'am, you can start selling you're REOs. There's lots of them and I had five or six offers from investors. I probably had 30 phone calls from other people representing investors. They wanted to buy it.

46:59 Jim the Realtor

If Fannie Mae decides, "Oh, let's just flood the market, but at least in San Diego, they're going to find that there's plenty of demand, and if there's demand for the junkers like that, there's going to be lots of owner occupiers to buy the ones that are in better shape. So, I think that's a pretty even blend of demand and we're never going to really know how deep it is and how solid it is unless there is supply. And it's very frustrating to really not know. We're really never going to know at this rate.

47:36 Rich Toscano

It seems like there just not going to -- like what you said, if they're going to somehow prevent the foreclosure from getting out in bulk. It's for me seeing that way. As soon as she said bulk, that confuses with bulk sales. I mean, the so called tsunami, it will just never happen. I mean at this point it doesn't seem like it's never going to happen and they control the flow. So they don't want there to be a tsunami, so it doesn't appear that there is any tsunami coming.

48:10 Jim the Realtor

I would like them to test that theory in isolated markets. Please start with San Diego because I am convinced of it and I think if there is -- the demand I think there is and they start seeing more properties coming on. They can only heighten their awareness and get them more on the edge of the seat about buying them and if there's six or seven written offers for each property and the $175,000, if that's what it is, that was higher to my bid though. It's not like they're giving either way. They're selling them for full retail and retail plus and if there is that many people that want them and more of them starts selling and might exhaust the demand, but more and more I think it may bring people in, who aren't even playing right now, thinking, Oh, it all it's getting hot man. There is more and more sales." And if there's more people getting in -- prices I think have a reasonable chance of going up and I know I'm a realtor, and realtors always say that, but I think if you look at that neutrally and logically, the more sales that that there are -- you've got to start with the sales. If the sales are on the rise, prices could follow. Theoretically, that is how it would happen and I think it has a lot to do with -- has everything to do with sales and they had number of sales. If you can get some momentum going with those sales, but we're never going to test that at this rate. Nobody who has equity wants to sell even though I think it's a great time to sell because there is no competition. If you got a good house and a good location and you want to just take a reasonable price for it, and you watch, everybody listening, you watch that house publicity for the guy in Willowmere, in Carmel Valley, I think he's going to get his price pretty close the price that he paid in 2006. That is insane when you think about it that that could possibly be and in fact, we may also note because I looked it up the previous price of that house was a year earlier just over 1.2. So, that was the peak price, the peak value and two people paid it in 2005 and 2006 and if someone pays it in 2012, that's kind of really screw up your graphs, Rich. They're good, if we could just make a graph of one, one big point. That's going to be a flat line, it won't be any deep and that be so.

51:03 Rich Toscano


51:07 Jim the Realtor

I better wanted to ask because I got to make note of this for hours, I've been a few minutes here. _51:16_ did send me a private email pointing out that I was wrong in the previous Blog Talk Radio with Bill saying that the Case-Shiller index excludes sales at less than 12-month intervals and I looked it up, he was right. It's 6 months not 12 months. He said I was not only wrong, I was very wrong on that issue, but I want to also say that I did look up some of the 2010 Flippers, and he said it was not worthy for him because he's on the bay area where the average turnaround time for Flippers is about seven months. I looked up Flippers in 2010 and the majority of them were flipped in a less than six months.

52:06 Rich Toscano


52:07 Jim the Realtor

Of the how I looked at about 30 sum up. But if that's the case, those people are not part of the Case-Shiller index. Do you think the way they figure that Case-Shiller index has hold in it?

52:25 Rich Toscano

Well, I mean yeah, definitely. It's an impossible thing to do with position, you know. So of course, there's -- then he wrote some really good stuff on this I think on your blog about potential home, so one of them is the flipping right. So, if it's been within six months then exclude that second sale, but count on the first one, right? Because that was maybe years after the prior sale and you know, if there was a flip then there's a good chance that it's all beat up and stuff and that doesn't really get accounted for, right? They're kind of assuming that the quality of the property stays constant. That's really not much of an adjustment although foreclosures, they got their cabinets ripped out and stuff. So, yeah, that's one issue. I mean, to me, that's dwarfed by just the kind of regional issue where Carmel Valley has held up so well compared to other areas just to you know think of that example out again. So, that's another problem where just the idea that you're combing all these places. But even if they were homogeneous, yeah you've got issues with -- depending on the area, there are a lot more foreclosures, in some areas the foreclosures got crashed, areas that where older don't have as many foreclosures, the properties are in better shape. If there are all kinds stuff that just needs in the numbers that you can't see and so I absolutely think that should be considered. I mean, I really do think it's a valuable data series.

54:05 Jim the Realtor

Yes, especially for the track and the trend.

54:08 Rich Toscano

Yeah, definitely the directional although you're think about the short sale that might even effect the trend, but you could be realistic about it and say, "Well you can't measure anything, so let's just not even try." But I mean, I think there's value in saying, "Oh, this is the best indicator there is, but we can see what it said", but then I think it's really healthy to be __54:27__ and say, "What about this scenario," and a sort of scenario where it might change the outcome. I mean, another one that's similar to that is just what gets old, right? It's only measuring what's gets old. It's not measuring what doesn't get hold.

54:42 Jim the Realtor


54:43 Rich Toscano

I'm sure you could analyze certain types of properties that are selling more than other types and so those are skewing the index. So, it's not perfect but it's a valuable piece of the puzzle to look at.

55:01 Jim the Realtor

TJ and the Bear has got a question for you. He starts off by saying, you two are not describing a healthy housing market given that Rich has charted the relative affordability and rates are historically low, why are the vital signs still so weak? And what do you attribute to such buyer's sensitivity? Why are the vital signs still so weak?

55:29 Rich Toscano

So why the vital signs are still weak in spite of really low rates?

55:33 Jim the Realtor

Yeah, and the second question was talking about national instead of just San Diego. I think if you're looking at national vital signs and why they still look so weak, it's because of a lot are following national stats stuff but also it's because of who's reporting them.

55:56 Rich Toscano

Yeah, that was a few weeks ago. The national stats stuff. I'm much more punched in than the San Diego stuff. Yeah, it's a good question why we shouldn't do all market screening with rates if this is ridiculously low and I think that's a good question. It's also a bit handle by the way as good as 70s TV reference, I always appreciate it. But you've got to look at the other side of things too. Yeah, there're really low rates but there's also -- we're going to be high on employments. Income has taken a big hit and you're point about people getting a job and going out the next day and getting a house that's true, but in the end it's income that are really fitting in to home prices and the more people have jobs, the more income is being made. And for that, that's taken a real hit either. Then there's the consumer confidence issue that you brought up and you know, one of those things by the way being people fearing rates going up and not wanting to buy until that happens if they have cash in some cases. So, I mean I think there is the foreclosure issue and the concerns about the foreclosure issue even if it wasn't happening I think that's keeping some people on the sidelines. So, there's a lot that are kind of negative things going on right now and some positive things and one of the positive things is being straight, but you know there are lot of moving parts.

57:22 Jim the Realtor

Oh, I'll add that it might just be a matter of time. The vital signs may be quick right now, six months from now, 12 months for now they might look a lot better, then we're just really getting started here. You got jobs just recently than the last 12 months trying to get better around San Diego. The other thing is if, for whatever reason, more sellers either got the price right from the beginning or during the listing period actually sold instead of not selling and/or there were some additional supply that there was actually foreclosures or another thing that might happen that could really help is they make short selling easier for people. They are paying sellers. They're paying defaulters to short-seller house not millions but we've seen it. There is $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 go on the people to get them to cooperate and short sell their house. If that really ramp up, it'll be a great not that I think they should, I don't think they should, but it would be great for the supply. We would get more people short selling and being cooperative about it, making those short sale close, easier and faster and the buyers will start hearing that, they're going be more loan, to buy more short sales and here's more supply, more deals happening, we're starting to get some momentum. That could straighten some weaker vital signs as having more sales. TJ and the Bear also asked about how, what we've been seeing because there has been but still like 25% or 30% cash offers, are buying houses these days around here and big down payments with a lot of the other ones.

59:23 Jim the Realtor

He suggests that, that means the market belongs almost entirely to the strong hands. I would definitely agree with that and there appears that there are enough strong hands out there that, for the amount of supply, they're able to buy them up. I think the Flipper crowd, if you look at Adam, who is a great example, he flipped 10 or 15 houses and now he's pretty much gone out of it. There's a cycle of Flippers that I've gone through and it's revolving doors when some people check out there's somebody else coming in who just thought, "Hey, I was listening to that Blog Talk Radio the other day, I think it's time for me to start flipping houses and that's an incredible sign and it appears to be lots of strong hands, lots of people willing to come in with either all cash or substantial cash to make deals happen and we didn't catch on yet but rates being so low on your deposits is definitely causing people to want to go flip houses.

1:00:39 Rich Toscano

Yeah, yeah.

1:00:40 Jim the Realtor

I think that's an unattended consequence that really worked out for the fed. I don't know if they sat around they're table one day and said, "You know if we just crank those down to about zero, how many people will be buying houses?"

1:00:55 Rich Toscano


1:00:56 Jim the Realtor

To make income.

1:00:57 Rich Toscano


1:00:58 Jim the Realtor

And literally, they are fueling the flipper crowd by keeping rates low on your deposit because they want to make something --

1:01:06 Rich Toscano

But it's not just __1:01:07__ either.

1:01:09 Jim the Realtor

Yeah, everybody.

1:01:10 Rich Toscano

Without trying out those flippers like all investors who are -- these guys are investing all cash. I mean, they're basically just trying to get a return, but they can't get in the bank.

1:01:19 Jim the Realtor

Yeah, they're happy just to rent them out because they're going to make rents after making 3, 4, 5% return.

1:01:29 Rich Toscano


1:01:30 Jim the Realtor

On a rental property, manager B said, "0.25 I was getting, let's go for it."

1:01:36 Rich Toscano

Yeah. I mean, that's actually on a valid point of the low rates. And one of the stated purposes of this is to get people out on the risk spectrum as they say, to get people out of the bank and into riskier assets which have a higher rate of return but which you know, which you'll take more risks on for. And so they're basically trying to force people to take on more risks and that's a way of kind of propping up asset market.

1:02:06 Jim the Realtor

It's working with San Diego, I thought I would qualify and I think it's mostly lower end. I'm not going to say people are buying million dollar houses to rent them out and make a living. I just do not -- you don't see it in the higher end but those Fannie Mae properties and other ones that are under $500,000, those are going to make for some pretty good rentals if you can find some good ones. It's very frustrating from an agent standpoint trying to help people who want to buy those because there's so many people looking. You get your head bags in --

1:02:40 Rich Toscano

Right, right.

1:02:41 Jim the Realtor

In the bidding wars and then the good ones and...

1:02:45 Rich Toscano


1:02:47 Jim the Realtor

Even the ones not so good. Well, it's 9 o'clock. We had TJ and the Bear's question. TJ, thank you for checking in. Sometimes the people would ask him are you TJ? Are you the bear? Or can we just stick with both? I guess we'll just stick with both. TJ and the Bear, thanks for chiming in. Yeah, okay we're good on the studio screen. I'll just check to see if there are any other questions on, check with the risk. They're getting into some politics there, that's good. We think --

1:03:38 Rich Toscano

Great interview last week with Phil by the way.

1:03:41 Jim the Realtor

Thank you.

1:03:41 Rich Toscano

That's really good.

1:03:44 Jim the Realtor

I would like to chime in about politics. I think they're going to provide a real distraction for the real estate market and cause people to want to wait more and I think that will be one of those contributors to weaker vital signs, that there's really people that would want to buy but they're wondering where this whole political thing is going to go, who's going to end up -- because I think as you get closer, it starts to get clear who the two main candidates are, two or three. I think it's natural to start wondering how's that going to affect the housing market once one of these guys get selected. Is it going to change? Is it going to be the same? Well, we went from George W. Bush to Barack Obama which I think most people said those are, at least on the beginning, appeared to be pretty different cats but managed their fields the same as far as how it ended up to housing in particular. We got lots of government intervention, not really any dramatic game changers, just a lot of delay tactics, kicking the can and just kind of embarrassing really, you would think if I put my foot down and vote for one side and the other, it'd make a difference and I'm kind of wondering if they would, it doesn't seem like it at this point.

1:05:17 Rich Toscano

I agree. I mean, their different on some things but when it comes to financial, more of housing, the housing, the banking industry either virtual identical as far as I could tell. I mean they're both incredibly inappropriately, in my opinion, supportive of the financial industry and propping up asset prices and they're all the same. Anyone who is electable is all the same. I don't think that's -- I agree with you that the uncertainty kind of hooks people up some times, but in this particular question, I don't really think the answer is going to make a difference. Whoever it is that gets in there is going to still be trying to prop up the housing industry, still we're trying to prop up the bank, wanted to keep rate low and at the start, where are you going? I mean they all want to do the same stuff. They're all getting contributions from the same people too.

1:06:23 Jim the Realtor

I don't know how much you're involved with the Europe thing. Is anything there that has any impact on housing in San Diego?

1:06:35 Rich Toscano

Not really direct impact on housing. Not that I could see it really. There's an indirect impact on the financial market which is -- the Europe thing has been -- what's really been scaring people, it's been -- one of the two things that has been spooking people lately. The other one being just -- you know recessions going on or potentially going on in various places around the globe. And so the Europe thing is definitely freaking people out and if they could kick that can far off down the road to use that phrase yet again, that could be just another one of those confidence and do same things that will make you say, "Okay, you know, it's safe now" and I guess of course if you go the other way, maybe people will hold off, hold off for longer. I have a suspicion they may have kicked it down the road for a while with __1:07:36__ long term with financing operation, where they basically just gave the banks a bunch of money and said, "Here, play with this for three years and we're going to give you more in February" and that is at 1% or something. So, they just inject a huge amount of money into the system and that whenever you do that back and really do __1:07:56__ markets and risk-taking. So, that could happen and then there's always knock-on effects and it might make people more confident, of course that might make rates go up to since treasuries are the inexplicable safe haven.

1:08:10 Jim the Realtor


1:08:11 Rich Toscano

And you're right rates might go up, but if rates start to go up, people might think, "Oh, it's time. I got to jump before rates go up." So, there could be a surge. But then once they actually do go up, as they do, that could actually be kind of a negative for having housings. I guess, you could say in the sense the Europe situation has helped out housing just because that's good and rates are low and the people piled into treasuries and more of the traits moved along with them. Yeah, so that's probably actually helped out in a kind of perverse way.

1:08:46 Jim the Realtor

I thinking about the government. I put on, previous to the post about the show tonight, the summary of that panel talking about the future mortgage financing and I think those -- I haven't done the math on it, hopefully he did. He is a CEO of a mortgage company on the government redlining. He is a managing director and director of its related real estate investment trust. He said that the reason how you can guarantee fees at Fannie and Freddy essentially keeps them around for another 10 years. So, there's another example where we thought Fannie and Freddy was going to be closing their doors and a possible melt down I'll call it in the mortgage market because they're 90% of the purchases, well what are we going to do with that, well here is another prop for you. Well these raise the fees and get the hang around another 5 or 10 years and the creativity of the government to come up with ways that prop up the housing market have been pretty fascinating.

1:10:08 Rich Toscano

They have gone pretty nuts. And yeah, as long as the government can keep just spending immense amounts of money, they could find a way to prop up anything pretty much right and so, the whole thing for me, I mean they just need to change the rules some times and they're happy to do that. I mean they did that all the time. It's actually when you are in a crisis, no one is really so worried about the rules. They're just saying, "Oh please fix it, whatever it takes so, I think that until such time as our government kind of gets some pressure on it to -- like the actual serious pressure to cut back spending. I know, I'm not talking about the kind of showmanship that goes on in our own political scene, but rather our foreign creditors say -- kind of cutting us off. Until that happens, they can prop up housing just fine. That's why people were looking for another crash or a really big leg down. I just don't think anything like that is going to happen anytime soon. I mean, they could certainly continue to grieve down here, but another big decline. I'm just not seeing it unless rates go up and that would be kind of part and parcel of the whole creditors telling us to go to hell and all that.

1:11:27 Jim the Realtor

TJ and the Bear was checking in. This is the time to address the questions. Demand is there, but not supply. Why are less than ideal homes sitting? It's because at this rate and there's still I think pretty conservative environment especially perhaps a buyers instead of being very particular about what they buy and a few or less than ideal even if your price is starting to get attractive. People are holding out for a better house. He was not aware of the people that normally get those. Well, those people didn't use to be so picky because back in the frenzy days, there were really wasn't that many people who are overly picky at that rate when prices have went up like they are. You were flying just buy in a house that will last a year or two.

1:12:32 Rich Toscano

Right, right.

1:12:33 Jim the Realtor

If you could just go ahead and sell it. Nowadays, people are saying, "This might have to last me not only 5 or 10 years, it might have to last me the duration," and that's a different house than a house that you really don't care if it will only last a year or two. I think that's the underlying foundation of why people are picky. The houses have to last them longer, but it's also because people are being conservative and they want something nice. "I'm going to stay on the fence until I find something good. Something that's really worth it." And I think more people have joined that thought process and are willing to wait and without -- you've made a good point Rich. What happens when rates start going up? Is that going to cause people to jump in and not out? I think that's when some of the people who are kind of on the edge of the pickiness might say, yeah, let's just go, we'll pick one that is not quite that great and we will see a little surge and after that happens that we'll really know where we're we going.

1:13:47 Rich Toscano

Yeah. You know another thing is that it has become just more acceptable both socially and kind of financially to just rent for as long as you need to. So, there is less pressure. People could say I'm just going to wait it out until I find something I like whereas I think before -- there was what you said which is like, hey if it'll only last a year that's fine. But there is also this thing of like, "Oh, I have to -- you know you have to buy a house. You got to get in the market, get on the ladder and they don't really feel that pressure anymore. So, buyers can be a lot more patient I think now.

1:14:25 Jim the Realtor

Well, I appreciate you about spending your Monday evening with us, very enlightening and congratulations on that house buy. We should do this again on a regular basis if you don't mind.

1:14:40 Rich Toscano

That will be great. That was a lot of fun.

1:14:44 Jim the Realtor

I want to mention that coming up next.

1:14:45 Rich Toscano

(Crosstalk) next time.

1:14:47 Jim the Realtor

We're going to get mom involved next time. We're going to make her call. I want to have -- at least I have penciled in every -- well it's second and fourth Mondays of every month. I'm hoping to do Blog Talk Radio coming up. I only have -- the next one scheduled coming up on February 13th, Tom Tarrant, house flipper, extraordinaire. He's going to be with us talking about real estate, his strategy on it, his house flipping, the projects he is working on and answer your questions about buying and selling real estate short term. So, I'm looking forward to having Tom, that's Monday, February 13th, same time, 8 o'clock. And Rich, thank you very much for being on with us.

1:15:33 Rich Toscano

Thank you Jim.

1:15:34 Jim the Realtor

And let's do it again soon.

1:15:36 Rich Toscano

Sure thing. Thanks a lot.

1:15:38 Jim the Realtor

All right. Thank you. Thanks everyone for listening. I'm Jim the Realtor.