Harcourts Conference 2014-Notes from CAR’s Chief Economist We just returned from our annual conference energized and focused after being acknowledged as part of the top 30 agents in the company's U.S offices for 2013. We enjoyed 2 full action packed days of Keynote speakers and economic breakouts. Our own Nicole even took part in a Rock-Star Agent Panel to share tips with new agents to the industry. We also spent a day golfing for charity and raised over $3,000 that was later donated to Operation Smile, Braam Malherbe our day 2 keynote Speaker's foundation for children with cleft palates. It was our privilege to be able to meet in a small breakout session with Leslie Appleton Young, our California Association of Realtors VP and Chief Economist. Throughout the discussion, the statement she made that resonated with us is that this market “could not possibly be a ‘bubble’ because there are so many buyers purchasing with cash”. With the government tapering and Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac purchasing over 80% of the mortgages in 2013, by December 2013 85% of all sales in California were equity sales. For a market that was 60% REO’s back in January 2009, we have seen a huge improvement to distressed sales with only 5% being REO currently in California. In 2009 over 35% of homeowners were underwater which has now decreased to 13%. Overall absorption in Ca is at 3 months, which is still not a balanced market but is heading there. Delinquency rates are back to long term trending. In 2013 82% of investment purchases were turned into rentals versus “flipped”. In San Diego our median price is up overall by 15%. In California there is strong foreigner purchasing presence, with 30% of buyers from China, 13% from Mexico, 9% from Canada, and 6% from India. 38% of these foreign transactions were done in cash. Dollar volume decreased 60% from 2006 to 2011 and has been sturdily improving the past 3 years. The overall message? Don’t miss out on the current opportunity to purchase with rates historically low! The increase in rate will decrease individual purchasing power because payments will be higher and loans will be harder to qualify for.