Real estate market bounces back

The regional real estate market is bouncing back thanks to low interest rates, a steadily-improving economy, and a depleted foreclosure inventory, industry leaders said in reports, press releases, and interviews.

The rebound prompted an owner of a local real estate company to describe the current conditions as “a most dramatic improvement in the market.” Chris Hasvold, an owner and partner of Coldwell Banker Landmark Group in Fallbrook, said some sellers are now receiving multiple bids on appropriately-priced homes under $750,000.

“We haven’t been in a seller’s market since October 2005,” Hasvold said, adding that he is beginning to see an inventory shortage in homes within that price range.

“We still have a buyer’s market in the $750,000 to $1 million price range,” Hasvold said. But even that market segment is seeing an uptick, he noted.

Those observations are being echoed throughout the region. The once-dormant industry is surging back to life as many real estate agents are reporting brisk sales and some home construction crews are starting to gear up.

“Yesterday we had three realtors walk in and they joined (our group),” Alice Sullivan, president and chief executive of the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, said in a recent interview. “They’re coming in.”

A recent press release issued by a prominent southwest Riverside County real estate and land development company stated that “Optimism is on tap at Rancon Group.”

“There are indications that the economy as a whole is improving in California and especially here in southwest Riverside County,” said Jeff Comerchero, Rancon’s chief executive and a member of the Temecula City Council. “Jobs are being created and the attitude in the business community is that a recovery is just around the corner.”

Southern California’s housing market continued its gradual rebound in November, posting the highest sales in six years amid strong demand from investors and move-up buyers, according to DataQuick, a San Diego-based real estate information service.

The median sale price rose about 17 percent from a year earlier, the result of rising prices, an ongoing shift toward fewer foreclosure sales and more mid- to high-end activity, firm officials reported on Dec. 12.

“The government’s offered people an amazing gift in the form of extraordinarily low mortgage rates,” John Walsh, DataQuick’s president said in the release. “But that’s not the only thing fueling these sales gains. Investor activity and cash purchases remain unusually high, and more buyers feel confident about their jobs, the economy, and the likelihood housing prices have bottomed and are likely to rise.”

That release said Riverside County’s sales volume increased 10.2 percent in November compared to last year and the median value climbed 17.4 percent to $183,000. In San Diego County, the sales volume increased 22 percent in the same period and the median value jumped 13.7 percent to $358,000.

An Oct. 17 news release by the firm noted that the number of loan default notices filed in Riverside County dropped 27.3 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to 2011. San Diego County’s default rate dropped 26.2 percent during the same period, the release said.

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