By Bruce Cathcart

Happy New Year!  It is estimated that every New Year approximately 70% of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions that the overwhelming majority NEVER keep.  Last year I made the simple resolution to lose 5 pounds in 2015.  I jumped on the scale before sitting down to write this week’s article and discovered that I only have 10 pounds to go!  Let’s be honest, diet, exercise and losing weight are probably on everyone’s list but might be the toughest of all resolutions to keep.  This brings me to the topic of this week’s article.  This New Year I am suggesting a few resolutions that, for under $25, you can make for you and your home that are easy to keep.  If you choose and accomplish just one of them, both you and your home will be better for it!

I’ll get to these resolutions in just a moment, but first let’s take a quick look at the real estate sales activity for the Coachella Valley for the month of December and a quick recap of 2015.  As it turned out, the challenge for this year was to meet or exceed the number of home sales that we had last year (2014).  At the end of November we were only 29 home sales behind last year.  Here is what happened in December.

According to the Desert Area MLS (as of 12/31/15) there were 617 pendings of residential properties here in the Coachella Valley in December.  There were 700 pendings in the previous month (November) showing a seasonal decrease that is usually blamed on the holidays.  Looking at the pendings from December of last year (2014) there were only 574 pendings.  This is another year over year increase in pendings activity for 2015 representing continued improvement in sales activity over the same time period last year.   In November there were 700 solds and in December we had 641 solds.   Was this enough to exceed last year’s total sales?  Sadly, no, as we closed 653 sales in December 2014 putting us even farther behind last year’s total number of sales.   Checking the year end statistics for 2015 and comparing them to last year’s numbers in the Desert Area MLS I discovered that not only did we sell fewer homes this year, but the average home price actually went down 1.5%.  2015 is now the second year in a row where are total sales volume was approximately 1,000 fewer homes than our 5 year average from 2009 – 2013.  It appears that the 2015 data for the Coachella Valley Real Estate market has confirmed a new trend of fewer overall sales at lower average sale prices.


Our inventory of homes for sale was up slightly this month with 5,247 homes available as of December 31, 2015 compared to only 5,168 as of December 1, 2015.   That follows our seasonal pattern of increasing inventory at this time of year and shows 641 MORE homes on the market today when compared to the same time last year.  This represents both a monthly increase as well as a year over year increase meaning that we have an adequate supply of houses to meet the current buyer demand.  Hopefully we will have a strong selling season this spring and reverse the downward trend in 2016!  Now, about those resolutions for the New Year…

In 2016 instead of just watching the “DIY” shows about home improvements, actually Do It Yourself!  Don’t roll your eyes and jump ahead of me on this… I am not suggesting that you remodel your bathroom or kitchen.  As I promised, these are resolutions that you can keep for under $25 and a little bit of your own labor.  Resolution #1 – Paint something.  You can get a can of good paint and a brush for under $25 that will cover a front door or window sills and frames or a front gate.  You will be amazed at what an hour’s worth of effort on your part can do to improve the appearance of the front of your home.  Resolution #2 – Plant a citrus or fruit tree.  Here in the Coachella Valley we have ideal weather for citrus trees (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangelos, etc.).  These trees can usually be purchased for under $25 and take about 20 minutes to plant.  The same goes for a variety of fruit trees like peaches, mangos, figs and many more.  In a couple of years you will be rewarded with your homegrown produce as well as shade and attractive landscaping.  Resolution #3 – Fix something.  If you are like me, there is always some little thing that needs fixing that you never quite get around to doing.  JUST DO IT!  Maybe it’s a mail box, or address numbers, or an outdoor light.  I am not suggesting that you can fix them all for under $25… but pick one and fix it!  Not only will you enjoy the feeling of accomplishment for completing an item on the honey-do list but you will join the elite ranks of those relatively few who actually keep their New Year Resolutions!

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

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