By Bruce Cathcart 

Happy New Year!  For many the New Year is an opportunity for a whole new start… out with the old and in with the new.  For others it is more like finishing a chapter in a book and anxiously awaiting the start of the next chapter.  Most of us will have made and broken our New Year’s resolutions by the time you read this article.  I guess the really cool resolution this year is “to try and be a better version of yourself”.  Honestly we would all have a better chance of succeeding if we tried to be a “bigger” version of ourselves.  I’m like the joke about the fitness center named Resolutions.  It is only open for the first two weeks in January and then reverts back to being a Bar and Grill for the rest of the year. 

New Years is a time for looking both back over the previous year as well as looking forward to the year to come.  We’ll do both in this article as I will post the year-end sales data for the Coachella Valley real estate market and then share one of my resolutions as well as a prediction for our local real estate market in 2017.

According to the Desert Area MLS (as of 12/31/16) there were 702 pendings of residential properties here in the Coachella Valley in December.  That’s down from the 790 pendings in the previous month (November) and typical of the market during the holiday season.  It does represent a big gain compared to last year when we had only 617 pending sales.   This bodes well for a great start in closings in January 2017.  In November there were 620 solds and in December we had 702 solds, an increase which is typical for the season as everyone tries to close either before Christmas or prior to the end of the year.   This was another significant increase over last year when we sold only 641 homes in December 2015.  So the final tally for 2016 was 9,275 homes sold compared to only 8,647 homes sold in 2015!  The total number of homes sold in 2016 was approximately 7.5% more than 2015.  For those of you still reading this part of the article, the average sale price last year was $402,882.00 and the average sale price this year was $413,110.00 (up approximately 2.55%) and the median sale price last year was $295,000.00 and the median sale price this year was $303,000.00 (up approximately 2.7%).  Remember, these are Valley wide averages and medians, some individual markets showed much higher gains and losses!  Overall however, the Coachella Valley real estate market continues to improve both in sales volume and in higher home prices.  Our inventory of homes for sale remained stable this month with 4,738 homes available on December 31, 2016 compared to 4,767 homes available on December 1, 2016.  At this time it is neither a Buyer’s nor a Seller’s market… as the overall supply of homes has been keeping up with the demand.

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is quite simple and one that I plan to keep.  I resolve to act on the advice that I have been giving in these articles!  This year I will install water conserving plumbing fixtures (two low volume toilets) and energy efficient light fixtures throughout my home!  I already purchased the toilets and light bulbs so I am half way there.

And as for predictions for 2017, I don’t need to rely on my degree in economics or my crystal ball to predict that Coachella Valley housing will become more expensive in 2017.  The Federal Reserve has already raised the interest rate once and promises to do so three more times in 2017.  In addition, the minimum wage in California increased on January 1st by another 5%.  Vacant lot and land prices have been rising over the last few years as has the cost of new construction.  Rental rates for entry level homes have risen by 20% or more in the last 6 months.  If you do not currently own your own home make a resolution to figure out a way to buy one!  If you currently own your own home but have a variable rate mortgage, consider converting it to a fixed rate while interest rates are still reasonable.   While this may sound like self-serving advice the handwriting on the wall is clear for those who are willing to read it.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous 2017!

Join me each month this year as we keep a close eye on our Coachella Valley real estate market.  If you have a real estate question or concerns please email me at the address below. 

Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “Your Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at bycathcart@laquintapalmsrealty.com or visit his website at www.laquintapalmsrealty.com.

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