BY BRUCE CATHCART
As we begin the “Dog Days of August” many Coachella Valley residents are still reeling from the 120+ degree days that we have already experienced in both June and July of this year. This is my 38th summer here in the Coachella Valley as a full time resident having moved here in late June of 1981 where my new bride and I were greeted with 120 degree temps the day we arrived at our condo in Indio. Our outdoor cats quickly became indoor cats and I immediately had a better understanding of the phrase “gone to hell!” To this day my family, friends, heck even complete strangers ask me how we survive in 120 degree temperatures here in the desert. Depending upon my mood that answer ranges from, “I stay inside the air conditioned house sitting naked in front of a fan and find interesting ways to amuse myself with ice cubes” to “It’s just like a snow day… only in reverse!” The truth is that a positive attitude is all it takes to not only survive but thrive on those 120+ degree days here in our Coachella Valley. At this point you might be asking yourself “What does all this have to do with Real Estate?” Not a darn thing. But if you follow my articles each month you know that I always sandwich the real hard data about the Coachella Valley Real Estate market between helpful tips, tactics and education about all things real estate. This month it is just too hot for that. Which brings me to the first reason to celebrate 120 degree days here in the Coachella Valley… it is the PERFECT EXCUSE to NOT do anything! (You see what I did there?) Your spouse not so gently reminds you for the 10th time that the lawns need mowing… “Aw honey I would, but it’s just too hot today!” This works for anything and everything because when it 120 degrees outside it’s just too hot to argue!
Before I get into some more reasons to celebrate 120 degree days let’s take a look at the data for the month of July and see how the Coachella Valley real estate sales market is doing. Just recently there have been several articles in the main stream media talking about the impending crash of the Southern California real estate market and as they say, as the So. Cal market goes, so goes the nation. The gist is that the total number of sales are down (by over 10% year over year), prices are up and inventory is down. While these are the “facts” in several So Cal markets I don’t think that they lead to the automatic conclusion that the market is crashing… but let’s see if we are one of those markets before leaping to any conclusions.
According to the Desert Area MLS as of 8/1/18 there were 846 pending transactions of residential properties here in the Coachella Valley in the month of July. That follows our seasonal pattern being down from the 933 pendings in the previous month (June) but that is roughly the same when compared to the same time last year when we had 860 pending sales. In June there were 913 solds and again, following our seasonal sales pattern, we were down (only slightly) in July with 878 solds. That is actually UP when compared to home sales in July (2017) when we sold only 809 homes. July’s sales figures were good enough that our year to date solds for 2018 still lead last year’s year to date sales at 6,582 compared to last year’s total of 6,417. These statistics show that the Coachella Valley real estate market is NOT going the same way that most Southern California real estate markets are trending. But does that mean we are doing the opposite of “crashing”? One thing we can say for the short term is that we are definitely doing better than last year and last year was the best year in terms of total sales and dollar volume since 2005! It was a GREAT year for the Coachella Valley Real Estate market. So once again we have reversed the trend of fewer sales with fewer homes for sale… but I am not sure how long we can this up. Eventually if our inventory of homes for sale here in the Valley continues to shrink this will catch up with us and despite a good demand from buyers we may not be able to sustain the lead over last year’s sales figures for very much longer.
Case in point, our inventory of homes for sale went down again this month with only 2,676 homes available on August 1, 2018 compared to 3,100 homes available on July 1, 2018. Last year at this time we had 3,292 homes available for sale. Inventory this year has been off by over 20% and so far it has only affected our June sales. The drop is seasonal, but with only 2,676 homes for sale we’ll have to keep a close watch on both sales numbers and the inventory of homes this coming month.
Did you know that fleas and ticks cannot survive in a dry heat that exceeds a mere 95 degrees? And that Cockroaches die off between 115 and 120 degrees and bed bugs are goners at 120 degrees? We are talking FREE pest control here when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees! And speaking of goners, even the heartiest of SNOWBIRDS are long gone by the time the temperature gets to 120 degrees. That means no need to make reservations at the best restaurants in town… and the restaurant staff actually look happy to see you when you show up without making them. And driving without having to dodge the snowbirds on the road… YES! 45 MPH speed limits actually mean 50 MPH and not 25 MPH! 120 degrees also means no visits from out of towners like mother-in-laws or unwanted family and friends. They always think that they are smarter than us anyway and so to prove it they refuse to come for a visit when it’s 120 degrees here (well, maybe they have a point there). But we do get BRAGGING RIGHTS! You know when the rest of the nation is like, “Oh, it’s so hot here; it was almost 90 degrees in Montana today!” And we’re like, “Pffft, 90? Are you kidding me? You know it was 122 degrees here yesterday (Snowbirds!)”
If you stop and think about there are lots of other reasons to celebrate 120 degree days here in the Coachella Valley but it’s just too hot for me to come up with any more today (see there, I did it again!). I’ll just leave you with one more thought. The best reason to celebrate 120 degrees is that it makes the average 108 degree August day seem “cool”!
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 or visit his website at www.laquintapalmsrealty.com.