Two days ago we looked at the latest troubling development in US home price trends: a new bubble appears to be emerging in all the “usual suspect” places. As we noted on Thursday, “home prices in markets that bubbled over back in 2006/2007, like Las Vegas and San Francisco, got cut in half in 2009 but have since doubled again of their lows. Meanwhile, markets like Denver and Dallas that didn’t participate as much in the 2007 mania are now surging to all-time highs, with Dallas prices up 55% over the past 5 years.”
The Wall Street Journal added that some of the home buying behaviors of consumers, like paying prices well above appraisal values and waiving home inspections, are starting to be eerily reminiscent of 2006:
In some markets, bidding wars are breaking out. Agents said some buyers are kicking in extra cash when properties don’t appraise for the asking price, and some are waiving their right to home inspections.
“It can’t be sustained,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance and a former chief economist at mortgage giant Fannie Mae, referring to the frenzied buying. “It can’t go on forever.”
Other signs of overexuberance have emerged, including surging levels of licensed Realtors all chasing a quick buck.
The number of licensed Realtors has jumped by nearly 25% since 2012, hitting a nine-year high in 2016 and sitting just 9% below the peak in 2006, according to real-estate consultant John Burns. In Denver, homes are selling briskly. The median number of days that homes spent on the market declined to eight in the first three months of the year from 61 in 2012, according to Redfin. Home prices rose 8.5% in Denver over the year ended in February, according to Case-Shiller.
Nicki Thompson, an agent in Denver, said she recently had a listing that was on the market for two weekends at $1.2 million and she received multiple all-cash offers above the listing price.
“It’s just crazy,” she said.
And for a practical example of just how crazy it truly is, take this renovated 2-bedroom, 1,948 sq. ft house first built in 1951 in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles, which was listed in mid-March for $699,000, was estimated by Redfin at $780,000, and sold yesterday for $980,888 (more than $500/sq foot) and 40% above asking, just over a month after it was first listed.
Maybe it was the house’s profile “description” that unleashed the buying frenzy:
In the 1960s-80s drums played on some of the most famous pop songs known (Good Vibrations, Mrs. Robinson, A Little Less Conversation, to name a few) were built in this garage in our beloved Eagle Rock. A. F. Blaemire and his wife, Kirsten, filled this home with music and creativity for decades, and now it’s ready for its next inspired owner! With freshly refinished hardwood floors and repainted interior, 5208 Monte Bonito is a blank canvas with great potential. The rooms are bright and spacious, including a downstairs recreation room perfect for a jam room, art studio, den (or all of the above!). The two-car garage has direct access to the house and an additional storage room. The back yard has plenty of space for entertaining and gardening – there is already an avocado tree, an orange tree, and a pitaya to get you started! Views of the Eagle Rock from the master bedroom, and sunset views from the front porch make this the ideal setting to call home.
Then again, maybe not.
So what do you get for just under a million in LA these days? Not much: two bedrooms, less than two bathrooms, a 2 car garage, a decorative fireplace, a rec room, and a 7,195 sq foot lot.
Here are some photos showing what a “million dollar house” looks like in the latest US housing bubble.