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  • Cathi & Ben Walter
  • Sales & Marketing Specialist, Realtor
  • 44530 San Pablo, Suite 101
  • Palm Desert, CA 92260
  • P: (760) 218 – 5752
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  • E: Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com
  • DRE# 01346930
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A Message From Cathi & Ben...

We hear similar stories repeated in different ways from our clients; At first, they look forward to stolen weekend's to golf & relax in the desert - they gradually discover they're crafting ways to spend more time here until it becomes clear, life just doesn't get any better than this."

Once that realization hit's, the process of change begins... We know what an extraordinary commodity your home is - buying or selling a home can be one of the most important decisions you will make and having the right team on your side will make the difference.

We specialize in homes throughout the Palm Springs Valley including Palm Desert Real Estate & Homes, Indian Wells Real Estate & Homes, La Quinta Real Estate & Homes, Rancho Mirage Real Estate & Homes, Palm Springs Real Estate & Homes& Indio Hills Real Estate & Homes. Whether you want to buy or sell an estate, lock & leave property with income potential, a resort property, land to build your dream home, or a property located in a country club or golf community we know the desert and are here to help. Our motto, If its important to you, it's important to us, guides us as we help our clients buy or sell a home in the desert.

Thank you for visiting DesertAreaHomeFinder.com, we hope you find our site helpful and we look forward to speaking with you it's easy, just click on the picture of a cell phone in the upper right corner of this web site and it will ring our cell phone directly.

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Barker Dam Trail: Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam, is a water-storage facility located in Joshua Tree National Park in California. The dam was constructed by early cattlemen, including CO Barker, in 1900. It was raised in 1949 by rancher William F. Keys. It is situated between Queen Valley and the Wonderland of Rocks near the Wall Street Mill. It is a gathering place for desert wildlife, including many species of birds and Desert Bighorn Sheep.

 

Barker Dam TrailVisitors can reach the Barker Dam via a short trail from a nearby parking lot and can see Native American petroglyphs a short distance to the west. There is also good bouldering on side trails near the dam. The park offers a Barker Dam Nature Hike led by a ranger.

The lowest 9 feet (2.7 m) of the dam, the original portion, was constructed of concrete surfaced with stone on the downstream side. The height of the dam was raised an additional six feet with concrete in 1949–1950. The dam has several indentations. An inscription at top reads: Big Horn Dam Built by Willis Keys, W.F. Keyes, Phyllis M. Keys, 1949–1950.

Barker Dam Trail

The start of the trail is well marked, and if you are driving in your car, there are signs around the park that will direct you to the area where the trailhead starts. There is also a large parking lot by the trailhead and this area is busier if you come on a weekend, as it is one of the most well known and family-friendly hikes in the park.

The trail itself is less than a mile and half round trip, and it is a loop so that you never see the same thing twice. As soon as you get out of your car and start the trail, you immediately enter into an area with large rocks surrounding you on both sides.

Barker Dam Trail

The trail winds around for a little bit before dropping you out in a wide open area that makes up Barker Dam. The Barker Dam itself was really cool, primarily because it was so old and was still in working condition. I also enjoyed seeing the sign right at the top of the dam that was carved in the concrete from the brothers that helped build it.

DIRECTIONS: Turn east off Park Boulevard on Barker Dam Road towards Hidden Valley Campground. The turnoff is located 9 miles south of the west entrance station and 1.6 miles north of the intersection with Keys View Road. Continue on the paved road for 2.8 miles to a large parking area.

For current park conditions
visit JTNP Website or Call 760 367-5522

Desert Real Estate Market Update

The Coachella Valley Real Estate Market is Strong. 

When we look at prices now compared to one year ago, we see that detached home prices are up 4.6% and attached home prices are up 7.3% from last year.  Eight of Nine Valley cities saw a price increase.

Detached and Attach Home Prices by City

The total number of sales have slowed a bit from last year, down about 5.3%. Detached homes were down about 4% while Attached homes, which saw a bigger price increase, has had a bigger dip in the number of sales, down about 7.6%.

Number of Home Sales for Detached and Attached

When we look at the number of sales by Price Range, we see that the majority of the sales are between $200,000 – $500,000.  The largest dip in number of sales is in the $800,000 – $1m price range, then picking up again over $1m.  However, when we compare the number of sales year over year by price bracket, we see that the largest dip in the number of sales in 2019 was below $400,000. From $500,000 and up the number of sales were at about par over last year.

Number of Sales by Price Range

Currently there are about 3,600 homes listed for sale in the Valley, about the same as this time last year. This is a seasonal market; you can see the pattern on the chart below.  We reach our lowest inventory levels in September every year and gradually increase to an annual peak in February and March.

Housing Inventory

Breaking down the inventory levels; it’s no surprise that the lowest inventory levels are in the $200,000 – $400,000 price range.  The month’s supply starts climbing over $500,000. Based on the current number of homes listed for sale divided by the number of sales each month, if no new inventory entered the market, we see there is a 6 month supply in the $500,000 – $600,000 range.  About a 7 month supply for homes priced between $700,000 – $900,000 and a 13 month supply for homes priced over $1m.

Months Supply by price range

Based on price trends, the number of sales, inventory levels and low interest rates, we can say the Coachella Valley Real Estate Market is Strong.  The trends we see suggest that we will continue to see a strong real estate market throughout 2019 and into 2020.

If you would like more detailed market information about your city, your community, or your home specifically, give us a ring – we’re on standby to help.   (760) 218 – 5752

Desert Real Estate Market Report

DESERT REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT
2018 Year in Review

As we start 2019, it’s time to take look back at how the Desert Real Estate Market performed last year and look for developing trends.

Home Prices are Up

In 2018, there were 5,836 single family home sales throughout the Coachella Valley. Those homes sold at an average of $610,300 and an average of $260. / Sq Ft.  Homes that were priced correctly for the market, sold on average in 89 days.  The highest sale price in 2018 was $12,000,000 for a home located in The Madison in La Quinta.

With those statistics, we compared 2018 sales to the previous year and found that while the number of sales were down slightly overall, (2%), Selling Prices were up 10% and the price / sq ft was up 8%. The time it took to sell was down 10% from the year prior.  The highest priced home sale in 2017 was $8,700,000. for a home located in The Vintage Country Club in Indian Wells.

When we look at the performance of each individual city; prices are up across the valley with two stand-outs – Palm Desert had a 20% price increase and La Quinta had a 15% price increase.

While prices are up, inventories remain low as compared to this time of season in years past.  Historically when the  inventory of homes for sale is low, prices tend to rise due to the pressures of supply and demand.

Interest rates also play an important role in how markets perform; rates are still low despite the fact that the Fed gave us 4 rate increases in 2018.  As rates increase, buyers can afford less house for the same mortgage payment, which ultimately puts downward pressure on home prices.

But good news, rates pulled back a bit this week. Conforming loans, (up to $484,350) for a 30 year fixed rate is still just 4.47%.

The Coachella Valley has long been viewed as a destination for the soon to retire and already retired home buyers looking for an active lifestyle, but with the increase in mobile commuting, people can work from anywhere.  We’re also seeing more young home buyers who are looking for a quality lifestyle, moving to the Desert full time.  Easy Freeway and International Airport access makes that possible.

Combine the Lifestyle that only the Coachella Valley offers along with affordable home prices – the Valley is and will continue to be a destination for both full time residents, second home buyers and

We have a strong and steady real estate market here in the Coachella Valley.

If you would like more detailed information about your neighborhood specifically, drop me a line – we just finished our  2018 “Year in Review” Market Report, I’m happy to send you a copy.

Cathi Walter
Broker Associate with Bennion Deville Homes
(760) 218-5752
Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com

 

The Real Estate Corner Desert Market Update

The Real Estate Corner Desert Market Update

NUMBER OF SALES
September_2018_Home_Sales_by_City

Home sales are up Valley-wide.  The total three-month sales are up 2.9%.  On a city by city basis, six cities show higher sales, with three; Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs showing the largest increase in sales.

The three cities with the largest sales declines are Indio, Indian Wells and Cathedral City.

INVENTORY OF HOMES FOR SALE

September_Inventory

While home sales are up, inventories are down.  Typically our inventories dip to to their lowest point every year toward the end of September, but this year inventories are even lower.

Low inventory acts as both a positive and negative; it’s positive for sellers and future home sellers as it tends to move home prices higher.  But, it’s also a negative in that low inventory puts the brakes on the number of sales. If interest rates continue to increase, that can put a damper on sales as the cost of borrowing money for a mortgage becomes more expensive.

MONTHS SUPPLY OF HOMES FOR SALE BY CITY

Months_of_Supply

The month’s of supply ratio is down valley-wide compared to one year ago in every city.  Most have less than 4 month supply except two; La Quinta which currently has a 4.5 month supply and Indian Wells with a 6 month supply of homes to sell.

MONTHS SUPPLY OF HOMES FOR SALE BY PRICE BRACKETS
When we look at the supply of homes by price category, we see the supply is lower across all price brackets compared to one year ago.  The biggest change is homes priced above $800,000.  Last year the higher price points were taking 7.5 months – 1 year to sell.  Now, it’s taking on average 5.3 – 8 months

Months_Supply_by_Price_Range

The tipping point when using this metric is 6 month’s.  6 months is considered a “Balanced Market”, not particularly favoring either Home Buyers or Home Sellers.  Less than 6 months, the market is tipped in the Sellers favor, otherwise known as a “Sellers Market”.  More than 6 month supply is viewed as a “Buyers Market”.

As home prices or the cost of buying a home, (rising interest rates), increase – sales will start to slow putting downward pressure on pricing.  Markets are always in a state of flux, moving from one market to another and rarely stopping at “balanced” for long.

While there is typically a lag period between market shifts, the lag time is shorter as the number of sales are increasing.  Home sellers quickly see an improving market and strive to maximize the price they can ask.  When prices increase too fast or too far ahead of sales, potential home buyer’s become reluctant to make offers, fearing they could be buying at the peak.

DISCOUNT FROM ASKING PRICE

Sale_price_discount_from_asking_price

In 2018, when negotiating a sale price with buyers; home sellers are discounting their listed price an average of 2%.  One year ago, sellers needed to discount an average 2.4% off their asking price to close a sale.

For example, this ratio means if a home is listed at $400,000 it’s selling at an average of 98% of their asking price, or $392,000. a discount of $8,000. This metric also shows a strong and improving real estate market here in the Desert.

When we look at the story each of these metrics are showing for the Desert Real Estate Market, we can see an improving but pretty balanced market.  In addition, we can see that the market has had and continues to show sustained growth. Making now the right time to be a participant in the market.

The Desert Lifestyle is unlike any other, as we head into our season now is a great time see what the Desert has to offer.  Check out these FAB Desert Homes!

 

Summer Desert Market Report

Desert Summer Market Report

Summer Desert Market Report  – Median home prices rose for the 8th straight month. Up 9.6% from last year. The hottest cities for sales by volume were Palm Desert (233), Palm Springs (213), La Quinta (156), Indio (131), Rancho Mirage (97). Each city and each community has its own story some communities have seen huge growth, while others are relatively flat. The cities that had the largest price increases, have seen the number of sales flatten, which tells us that prices were getting ahead of the market.

Inventories are down again putting upward pressure on pricing. Overall the desert has seen a decline in the time it’s taking to sell, nicely presented homes in a good location and priced well are selling quickly. Currently there is a 3 month supply of homes for sale in the desert, which puts us in a “Sellers Market” as we head into season.

The Fed has indicated there will likely be two more interest rate increases before the end of the year, which could start to weigh on the market and slow sales until the shock is absorbed.

Southern California and specifically, the Coachella Valley continues to be a sought after destination for a second home get a way.

As we head into our “Season”, we expect to see continued strong home sales and price appreciation valley-wide.

How’s your neighborhood doing?  Send me an email, I’ve got the details!

1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors

What is a 1031 Exchange and can it work for you?
Thanks to IRC Section 1031, a properly structured 1031 exchange allows an investor to sell a property, to reinvest the proceeds in a new property, and to defer capital gain taxes.

1031 EXCHANGE FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS – THE BENEFITS  
Whether an investor’s property is owned free and clear or encumbered, the benefits of a tax deferred exchange can be significant. The tax dollars saved by doing an exchange can be used to buy additional investment property.

An investor who exchanges is able to defer the capital gain tax and buy a replacement property worth more than the investor who simply sells and reinvests with after tax dollars.

1031 Exchange for real estate investors provides one of the best tax strategies for preserving the value of an investment portfolio.  By using an exchange, the investor is able to defer the recognition of capital gain taxes that would otherwise be due with the sale of an investment property.  To qualify as an exchange the relinquished and replacement properties must be qualified “like-kind” properties and the transaction must be structured as an exchange. 

1031 EXCHANGE FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS – NON TAX BENEFITS  
In addition to deferring the capital gain tax, tax deferred exchanges provide the investor with a wide range of non-tax opportunities that may suit an investor’s portfolio

  • Reposition assets
  • Change property types
  • Increase leverage
  • Increase depreciation deduction
  • Reduce management obligations
  • Provide for estate and retirement planning
  • Allow for relocation
  • Improve cash flow
  • Achieve property consolidation or diversification
  • Eliminate or create joint ownership

THE EXCHANGE PROCESS
Most exchanges, involve three parties: the investor, (exchanger), who is doing the exchange, the buyer who is buying the exchanger’s old (relinquished) property, and the seller who is selling the exchanger a new (replacement) property.  To create the exchange of assets and to obtain the benefit of the “Safe Harbor” protections of the tax code, it is wise to employ an Exchange Accomodator, or Exchange Facilitator.  This qualified intermediary becomes a fourth party principal in both simultaneous and delayed exchanges.

1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors

1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors

The steps for completing an exchange are relatively simple with qualified intermediary:

  • The exchanger signs a contract to sell a relinquished property to the buyer.
  • Exchanger enters into an exchange agreement with a Qualified Intermediary and assigns rights in the sale contract to the intermediary, including the right to receive the exchange funds.
  • At the closing of the relinquished property, the exchange funds are wired to the intermediary and the intermediary instructs the settlement officer to transfer the deed directly from the exchanger to the buyer.
  • The exchanger has a maximum of 180 days in the exchange period to acquire all replacement property.
  • Unless the exchanger can acquire all replacement property within the first 45 days from the close of the relinquished property, the exchanger must identify possible replacement properties in writing to the intermediary within the 45 day identification period.
  • The exchanger signs a contract to buy the replacement property with the seller and the exchanger assigns the exchanger’s rights in the purchase contract to the intermediary.
  • At the closing of the replacement property, the intermediary wires the exchange funds to complete the exchange and the intermediary instructs the settlement officer to transfer the deed directly from the seller to the exchanger.

EXCHANGE REQUIREMENTS
As a general rule of thumb, to avoid paying capital gain taxes in an exchange, the investor should always attempt to:

  1. Buy a property of equal or greater value, (net sales price).
  2. Reinvest all of the net equity in replacement property
  3. Obtain equal or greater debt on replacement property.
    *Exceptions: A reduction in debt can be offset with additional cash from exchanger, but increasing debt cannot offset a reduction in exchange equity.

Do you own an investment property and thinking about selling it to buy another that might have more cash flow or less management headaches?  We can help.  Give me a call or send me an email, let’s talk about what’s possible for your situation.
Cathi and Ben Walter
Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com
(760) 218 – 5752

 

How much income you need to buy the average home in each state

Ever wonder how much income you need to buy an average home in other areas of the country?

@HowMuch.net just published a map showing How much income you need to buy the average home in each state in the U.S.

They collected average home prices for every state from Zillow and then plugged that information into a mortgage calculator to figure out monthly payments. The interest rates used varied from 4 to 5% depending on the market, a 10% down payment, and total cost of housing not exceeding more than 30% of gross income. Using this rule as the benchmark, they calculated the minimum salary required to afford the average home in each state.

The Top Three Places Where You Need the Highest Salaries to Afford the Average Home 1. Hawaii: $153,520 for a house worth $610,000 2. Washington, DC: $138,440 for a house worth $549,000 3. California: $120,120 for a house worth $499,900 Here’s a quick snapshot of housing affordability across the United States.

Home much income do you need to buy the average home in each state; Check it out!Home much income do you need to buy the average home in each state

What the Dodd- Frank Rollback Means for Real Estate

What the Dodd-Frank Rollback Means for Real Estate

Rollback On May 22nd, Congress passed reforms to the Dodd-Frank Act, the massive financial reform bill enacted in July  of 2010 in the wake of the 2008 US financial crisis.

The current bill could have a big impact on the real estate and mortgage lending. Economists believe the rollback of the Dodd-Frank regulations could lend a hand toward partially solving the industry’s inventory crisis.

“This is a win for the financial industry,” said  Chief Economist Nela Richardson, who worked on the bill as an economist for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “These are community banks, credit unions, a lot of them are in rural areas. They do a lot of mortgage lending. This will help consumers in that the banks will be able to free up some credit.”

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun echoed Richardson, adding that a loosening of Dodd-Frank rules may lead to a rise in regional construction.

“The regulations placed on small-size community banks were terrible because it hindered small-sized homebuilders from obtaining construction loans,” he said. “As the homebuilding industry has become more dominated by large corporations, now we have this relief, which means that, small-time homebuilders will have better access to capital to build homes.”

Economists seem to agree, that the economy is not on track to repeat the financial crisis of 2008, since big banks were at the center of the collapse a decade ago. Richardson explained that the only way to eliminate all risk is to make everything as onerous as possible.

The legislation will also require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to consider the use of alternative credit scoring models, which could help borrowers with thin credit files receive a mortgage. But Gardner said he’s concerned, ultimately, we need to remain aware of looser credit restrictions so the country does not repeat the acts of the last financial crisis, where homeowners were given loans they could not pay back.

 

Palm Desert Vision San Pablo

PALM DESERT VISION SAN PABLO

Vision San Pablo

The City’s newly updated General Plan identifies San Pablo Avenue as a key area for transformational change to facilitate the creation of a downtown/city center. The mile-long corridor connects shopping, restaurants, and other commercial services at El Paseo and Highway 111 with residential neighborhoods and The Civic Center including Civic Center Park, City Hall, College of the Desert, and eventually the CVLink.

Conceptual plans for the corridor call for a “road-diet” that would remove one vehicle lane in each direction on San Pablo and add enhanced walkways and buffered bike and golf cart lanes.

In May of 2016 the city set up a mock Vision San Pablo for 6 weeks.  The city striped San Pablo reducing the road by one lane in each direction. They set up golf cart, bike and pedestrian lanes and created a round about at San Pablo and San Gorgonio.  They brought in large boxed trees to line the center island and asked the community to use it and give feedback.  The responses were overwhelmingly positive and the city adopted Vision San Pablo into their Updated General Plan.

They are currently working on updating the construction plans and surveyors are working now with ground breaking expected this summer.

THE CORRIDOR PLAN

Palm Desert Planning

A central goal of the 111 Corridor Plan is to systematically
evolve the physical design and functional characteristics of 111 to a 21st Century City Center Boulevard. The transformed 111 Corridor will provide an aesthetically cohesive, practically connected, safe and welcoming city center that emphasizes pedestrian activity and community life, balanced with and not dominated by high-speed automobile traffic. The 111 Corridor will become the city’s primary gateway as an iconic arrival point and a major hub for civic and commercial life and future developments in the Coachella Valley. In addition to 111 itself, the Corridor is supported by key districts and streetscapes.

The primary focus area

Palm Desert City Center Plan

Approximately 1-mile of the 111 corridor between Highway 74 and Portola Ave. and includes seven cross streets, San Luis Rey, Larkspur, San Pablo, Las Palmas, Lupine and Sage.  These areas are targeted to implement the city’s new urban design standards designed to increase the flow of vehicular, bike and pedestrian circulation for future development and open spaces.

Second Focus is along San Pablo  between El Paseo and Civic Center, with street-scape renovations and traffic calming which will bolster connections to the larger community and Civic Center.  In particular, San Pablo Avenue will feature a future roundabout at its intersections with San Gorgonio Way. This will allow the City and future developers to introduce and incorporate active and passive open spaces such as the existing community gardens and other public frontages.

Third Focus is San Alessandro, to incorporate several vacant lots that will be linked and transformed into a “Woonerf” District, which is a walkable flexible-use arts district pioneered to integrate live-work developments with the surrounding community and bolster cultural institutions and businesses.

Want to see more of what’s cook’n in Palm Desert and the New Updated City Plan, drop me a line, I’m happy to provide a copy of the whole report. Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com.

 

 

 

The Real Estate Corner

Market Watch Fall 2017

Market Watch

Here in The Real Estate Corner, we’re keeping an eye on the Desert Real Estate Market.

Leading Economist, Michael McDonald, is one of the principals in Market Watch, LLC. Michael along with his partners, study real estate markets, the US, and International economies and specialize in evaluating all aspects related to the real estate market including outside factors that play into how our market performs with cause and effect.

Twice a year Michael presents his report to the Top Real Estate Agents in the desert with their analysis of the local real estate market, where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

There are really two markets in the Desert; Full-time Residents who make up The Local Market vs The Second Home Market, and the Supply and Demand equation is quite different between the two.

“The health of the Valley housing market in the low, summer period, often indicates its performance in the spring.” Currently, there is a 4.4 month supply of inventory for all property types, which is down from 6.1 months supply one year ago. Indicating tight supply going into the season. There are positive sales and inventory numbers in all price brackets.

The leading measure for how much house you can buy is Median Household Income, it’s been up an average of 4.5% each of the past three years.  The inflation-adjusted household income broke above the high of 1999 and is now at all-time highs.

The past six years of the housing recovery has been driven by low-interest rates on mortgage loans; now it’s getting help from higher wages.

Since the peak of the market in 2006, the percentage of people who own a home in the valley declined from 66% to 61.5%.  As distressed homeowners who lost their homes in the downturn, move from renting back to homeownership again we will start to see an upswing in home sales over the next four years.

2006 marks the high point of the valley real estate market and 2011 marks the low point. Market Watch, LLC evaluates the market based on “Median” price as opposed to Average price, because average price is biased by a single large high-value sale, skewing the chart for the whole city. In their Median Price analysis by city we see:

La Quinta – Median Price $455,000
Up 85.7% from the low
Down 33% from the high

Indian Wells – Median Price $830,000
Up 53.7% from the low
Down 31% from the high

Palm Desert – Median Price $376,000
Up 31% from the low
Down 31% from the high

Rancho Mirage – Median Price $600,000
Up 41.8% from the low
Down 37% from the high

Palm Springs – Median Price $592,000
Up 76.7% from the low
Down 33% from the high

Indio – Median Price $305,000
Up 92.4% from the low
Down 19.8% from the high

The market continues to improve, gaining strength and momentum each quarter.  As we move into our new season, they are projecting an increase in the number of sales and if inventories remain low, we will start to see upward pricing pressure.

Get In Touch

  • Cathi & Ben Walter
  • REALTOR ®
  • 44530 San Pablo, Suite 101
  • Palm Desert, CA 92260
  • P: (760) 218 – 5752
  • E: Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com
  • CalBRE# 01346930

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