Santa Maria Valley’s Distressed Real Estate Market

distressed_salesEvery week on Mondays I report on sales for the prior week.  Today I am sharing information about the “distress market” in our area.  In the world of real estate, “distressed” properties refers to bank-owned properties and short sale properties; both types played a major role in recent years, creating what is generally known as the “housing crisis” in the United States.  Lenders used very broad strokes when approving loans some ten years or so ago, leading me to wonder sometimes if only a pulse was required to get a loan approved.  And as a result, as everyone knows, the market crashed in 2006.  It’s now improving, and our local market area of Santa Maria and Orcutt is pretty balanced at the moment.

Here is a look at our current distressed properties.

REO – bank owned foreclosures listings

Active: 9

Pending: 4

Sold: 12, since January 1, average sale price: $226,000, average original list price: $217,000, average days on market: 33

Short Sale listings

Active: 16

Contingent (waiting for lender approval of the short sale): 22

Pending (lender approved, going through escrow): 11

Sold: 14 since January 1, average sale price: $256,000, average original list price: $261,000, average days on market: 133

Total, REO & Short Sale, 2014

Active: 25 or 13% of a total 192 properties (all property types inc. mobile homes)

Contingent: 22 or 67%  of 33 contingent sales (there are very types of contingencies allowed; the remaining 11 are based on the sale of the buyer’s home)

Pending: 15 or 11% of 138 pending sales

Sold: 26 or 13% of a total 205 sold listings since January 1, 2014

Total: 88 properties

There will be more REOs and Short Sales, to be sure, but knowing that just a few years ago this category was over 70% of our market, we can all be grateful it has vastly improved, and there really is light at the end of the tunnel!

If you are in the market to buy or sell, please give me a call — I’d love to help you!  (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Thanks!



Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

GraphicThings are very stable in the real estate market area of Santa Maria and Orcutt.  A few more new listings, thankfully, since the prior week’s report, and 23 vs. 30 sales transactions.  A look back at this time last year is always interesting for comparison, so I am posting the stats for the same time frame in 2012, and check out the difference between “distress sales” for 2012 vs. 2013!


Oct 6 - Oct 12  2013









Oct 7 - Oct 13  2012









Overall, our local market is moving along well, considering these insecure times with our government.  Interest rates are still in the range of 3.5% – 4.75% depending on the loan program and buyer qualifications.  Prices are continuing to rise, however, so don’t be a fence-sitter!

If you are ready to buy or sell, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or send a message on the Contact form below — I’d love to talk to you about your plans!


Is Real Estate in the Santa Maria Valley Healthy?

Market HealthHave just returned from a trip to the Heartland, my hometown of Topeka, Kansas!  Guess what I was asked, over and over, by friends and family alike — “how’s the real estate market?”  I was looked at askance more than once, when I responded that it seems pretty good to me, considering our prices are up about 10% over this time last year!  You see, back there, the overall increase from 2012 is less than 3%.

I was asked about our supply of “distress” properties, which in the past few years made up so much of our inventory — but the new reality in real estate is that they are now a much smaller part of our market.  When they do come on the market, they are priced at market value in most cases, and the lenders who own them expect them to sell for full value.  Lenders are dribbling their foreclosed properties into the market, and it is not expected that they will ever dump them in quantity again, as apparently they learned an important lesson!  Short sale properties also can easily go for market value or more.  The perception that REOs and short sales are a huge bargain is misguided.

Distress properties in Santa Maria – Orcutt

distressed_salesOf the 105 Active listings here in Santa Maria and Orcutt, only 2 are REO bank-owned foreclosures, and only 6 are short sales.  Folks, that is only 8% of all Active listings!

There are 205 listings that are either Pending or Contingent, but are considered “off-market”.

Of the total 205: 154 are Pending sales (under contract, in escrow) and of those, 13 are REO and 32 are short sales for a total of 45 distressed, or 22% of the total off-market properties.    Of the 205: 51 are Contingent sales, and short sales total 42, or 20%.

The total of all distressed off-market sales currently is 87, or 42%.  Normal or traditional current transactions are 58%.   A year ago, it was 62% of total sales.

Chart  10-3-13The difference between the two categories?  A Contingent status indicates a stage where something else must happen to solidify the transaction and put it into Pending status, and that is most typically bank approval of a short sale.  (Other possibilities that keep a transaction in Contingent status before progressing to Pending are court approval for probate/estate/trust sales, allowing a buyer to sell their current home in order to buy the new home and bankruptcy court procedures.)  The status of Pending means escrow has opened and the buyer and seller are progressing in a normal fashion towards closing and transference of title.

Closed sales YTD: 2012 vs. 2013

In 2012, from 01/01/12 to 10/03/12, there were 1004 closed sales, and 62% were “distress” sales.  This year to date, there have been 823 closed sales, of which distress sales represent just 34%.

Closed Sales 2012-revised  2013 sales

We are as close to a healthy, normal market as we have been in years.

A year from now, you may be sick about not jumping into the market and buying that bigger, better home!  Even in 6 months, you may realize the “ailing” market has rebounded beyond your ability to purchase.  The time to buy is now, so give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below, and let’s get going up the recovery road!


Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

GraphicA little bit more inventory this past week — and every little increase makes it just that much better for buyers, many of whom are quite weary of the battle!  Since sales typically slow after September, maybe it will give our local Santa Maria Valley market a chance to catch up a little bit and decrease the intense competition for homes.  There are still a lot of “all cash” sales, meaning investors are still out there looking for a “deal”, but as prices are continuing to rise, surely they will start to look elsewhere.

Here are the sales for last week, with a total of 30 new escrows over 17 for the prior week!

Sept 15 - Sept 21  2013








Readers of this blog will note that the Contingent Short Sale and Contingent REO columns have continued to have very low figures.  According to California Association of REALTORS® Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in an August report about July statewide stats:

“The continuing decline in short sales indicates more previously underwater homes are moving into positive equity as home prices remain on an upward trend.

The share of REO sales also continued to fall, dropping to single-digits for the fourth straight month.  REOs made up only 5 percent of all sales in July, down from 6.6 percent in June and from 17.7 percent in July 2012.  The July 2013 figure was the lowest since September 2007.”

Good news all around, indicating a return to a normal market with more equity sellers than distressed!

For assistance with your real estate needs and goals, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below, and I’ll be happy to help!

Mobile Home Market in Santa Maria – Orcutt

Currently there are only 38 mobile homes listed in our Santa Maria Multiple Listing Service.  These range from a low price of $13,999 to a high price of $99,500 — not a single unit over $100,000.

Orcutt Parks Activity

Of the 38 homes, 18 are in the Orcutt area south of Betteravia.

Orcutt Ranch in the southwest, near Old Town Orcutt, has 2 homes for sale, my beautiful listing at $67,500 and one at $53,000.

Sunny Hills in southeast Orcutt at Clark and Hwy 101 has 6 listings, from $20,000 to $64,900.

Knollwood Village, off of Bradley near Santa Maria Way in the northeast area, has 5 ranging from $39,500 to $99,500.

Del Cielo on Santa Maria Way has only 1 listing, priced at $14,500.

Quail Meadows East, located on Bradley in the northeast area of Orcutt has 4 listings priced from $68,400 to $89,900.

Santa Maria Parks Activity

Casa del Rio, in the northeast part of Santa Maria, near Marian Medical Center, has 7 listings ranging from $24,750 to $69,000.

Casa Grande Estates, on West Taylor Street in the northwest,  has 6 listings ranging from $24,750 to $39,000.

Rancho Buena Vista Estates, off Railroad around the corner from Casa del Rio, has 2 listings: $54,900 and $74,900.

La Maria Estates, centrally located on South Thornburg, has 4 listings ranging from $13,999 to $25,000.

And last, there is one located on West Main listed at $47,000, name of park unknown, no age restriction.


The average list price for the 38 listings: $48,063.  Average cost/square foot: $35.  Average days on market: 134.  Average square footage: 1376.

High vs. Low

What does top dollar get?  A triple wide in Knollwood Village, with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1728 square feet, built in 1981, 2 car garage, space rent of $766/month.  It has been on the market for 103 days at the same price, $99,500.

Knollwood Village - $99,500

The bargain basement price of $13,999 will get you into La Maria Estates: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 871 square feet and it looks neat and tidy. Space rent is $594/month.  Age of this home is 1968 so you can pay cash or put it on your credit card!

La Maria Estates - $13,999

All of the parks named above are age restricted, 55+ parks except the one in Santa Maria on West Main.  There are very few in our area that are “family” parks.  Quail Meadows West is one, where the land comes with the home, but there are none available at this time.

Please call me if you have any questions about any of the parks or if you would like to see any of our mobile home listings! You can reach me at (805) 937-5777 or send an email.






Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

Santa Maria - Orcutt Real EstateWe are down on inventory once again, reflecting buyers desires to buy but sellers reluctance to sell.  Of course, many homeowners have no equity so cannot really contemplate selling, unless absolutely necessary.   Here is the chart for last week, showing all activity in the Santa Maria – Orcutt market!









Interesting to note how quickly the short sales and REO (bank owned) listings were snapped up!

For listing or buying questions, give me a call at (805) 937-5777 or you can also send an email.