Negotiation Tips: How to Gain Leverage during Negotiations

posted Aug 10, 2018, 3:31 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Aug 10, 2018, 3:46 PM ]

Here is the latest in a series of occasional articles on “Negotiation Tips” from former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss who spoke at a previous Association educational program.

Life is filled with negotiations. Some are small negotiations, such as what TV show to watch or who should wash the dishes. Other negotiations are high-stakes, like major transactions or funding procurement. Learning the right skills, and practicing those skills, can improve your likelihood of success. Here are a few tried-and-true techniques for negotiations success.

1. Prepare to Succeed
Preparation is key in negotiations. If you don’t rise to the occasion, then you will fall to your level of preparation. It never hurts to know who you’re talking to. However, it’s important to include in your preparation some time formulating your communication strategy. If you master the right communication style and employ tactical empathy, then you can build trust just as fast as mentioning a shared hobby or industry detail to establish common ground.

2. Use Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to recognize their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It also means using emotional responses to build stronger and more trusting relationships, improve your conflict resolution abilities and, ultimately, improve your effectiveness as a negotiator. When it comes to negotiating a winning deal, we often view winning as achieving a set of criteria or a certain number of decimal points beside a dollar sign. However, in truth, the idea of winning is much more emotionally driven and not dependent on any predetermined set of criteria. Creating an agreement where both sides are better off doesn’t mean letting the other person “win” at your own expense. Rather, it means understanding the emotional drivers that are impacting your counterpart’s perspective and addressing them in your agreement. Using emotional intelligence to guide your negotiations will help you achieve what you set out to accomplish and to give you more flexibility to reach a beneficial agreement for both parties.

3. Listen Using Tactical Empathy
When you become an adept listener it will boost your potential influence and your negotiation effectiveness. Listening will help you pick up on their emotional triggers and you’ll respond in the most ideal way. If a conversation suddenly becomes heated, naming your counterpart’s frustration and demonstrating that you’ve heard what they’ve said can help reset the conversation and rebalance their emotions.

4. Listening Techniques.
So how do you demonstrate effective listening during negotiations? Consider these techniques, including “labeling,” “mirroring” and using “minimal encouragers.” “Labeling” involves recognizing an emotion or need that your counterpart has expressed and stating it to gain affirmation or clarification. For example, saying, “it sounds like you need x, y, and z” will help demonstrate that you’ve been listening and likely provoke a “that’s right” response. “Mirroring” means repeating the last few critical words that someone has said, thereby demonstrating that you’ve clearly understood them. “Minimal encouragers” refers to subtle verbal and nonverbal expressions of encouragement like eye contact, nodding, and short affirmations like “uh-huh,” or “sure.”

5. Use Time to Your Advantage
It’s natural to want to reach a resolution as quickly as possible in negotiations, but it may not be best. You’ll have more opportunities to achieve the solution you’re seeking if you use time to your advantage and don’t rush or force an agreement. Since we all have different processing speeds, it’s best to understand how your counterpart processes information, which will help you set the right cadence for your negotiation and bring about a more desirable outcome. You can use time to your advantage by slowing the pace of the conversation, which will give you more time to understand your counterpart’s negotiation style and respond most effectively. Allow uncomfortable pauses. Silence encourages your counterpart to speak and provide more insight into their thought process. Using effective pauses and a tone that sounds serious can help get the other person talking. It also prevents you from over-explaining or appearing defensive.

6. Understand the Power of Leverage
In a negotiation, having leverage means that you hold a perceived advantage that could give you the upper hand in achieving the agreement you desire. Leverage is a powerful feeling, which is one of the reasons why it is one of the four most emotional words in negotiation. In some negotiations, you may feel you have leverage. Maybe you’re in a position of authority or have access to more information or resources than the other person. Other times, the reverse is true or you may feel as though you have no leverage at all. Regardless of your position, your perception may or may not be the reality. You could be in a position of leverage and not realize it. Worse still, abusing perceived leverage could lead to broken engagements, poor implementation, or deals fraught with regrets. In every negotiation, you’ll either start from the point of leverage or you may need to acquire it. But even in negotiations that seem skewed in the other person’s favor, there’s always an opportunity to gain leverage (or at least make your counterpart think you have it). Here are some tips for gaining leverage.

  • Gaining Leverage: Summarize the Facts of the Other Person
    Identify facts, laws, policies, or other data that support and legitimize your counterpart’s position. When you demonstrate that you understand their position, you will increase the likelihood of a negotiated agreement. Human nature dictates that people love to have others understand their circumstances, dynamics, feelings, and environment. A summary is a great way to do that.
  • Gaining Leverage: Use Labels
    Labels and calibrated questions are tools that can help you discover what your counterpart wants and needs. Using a label, such as, “it seems like you have a reason for saying that…” can help you identify the motivation behind your counterpart’s statement. These verbal observations can be particularly helpful for extracting information from individuals who dislike being questioned. They also encourage a natural, honest response from individuals who don’t like to negotiate.
  • Gaining Leverage: Dealing with Inaccuracies
    You can capitalize on uncertainties or incongruence in your counterpart’s statements by using “what” and “how” questions in order make a comparison of the issues at hand. Asking “how” questions and using a bit of deference will make your counterpart feel in control. Even when you’ve identified an inconsistency, it’s important to avoid interrupting or making accusations. Doing so may be tempting, but can quickly lead the negotiation toward an argument or impasse.  
  • Gaining Leverage: Slow Down
    When you reduce your urgency, you’re sending signals to your counterpart that you’re not desperate to settle (or at least you’re less desperate than they are). So, take your time in the rapport building process. You know what your objective is and it will always be there. Don’t be in a hurry to get to it. The first part of your conversation should NOT about you, rather, it’s about them. You cannot rush demonstrating this. Delaying to save time may feel like taking the long route, but it’s often the fastest road to gaining trust-based influence.
  • Gaining Leverage: Saying No
    The power of “no” in the negotiation process cannot be overstated. Consider asking “no-oriented questions,” meaning inquiries that are designed to elicit a “no” response. Providing the counterpart with an opportunity to say “no” to something gives them protection. They feel safe because their autonomy is not threatened. “Yes” is a commitment. It’s an obligation, and generally speaking, we hate being obligated. This tactic is difficult but useful. In addition, there will come times when you need to say “no.” 

Avoid Legal Risks with the Right Sign Company

posted Aug 3, 2018, 3:10 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Aug 6, 2018, 8:27 AM ]
REALTORS® are especially susceptible and vulnerable to getting sued. With tons of details to remember, multiple parties and personalities to keep happy, complex legal documents and lots of money at stake, it’s unfortunate that accidents can happen and things can fall through the cracks.

Even the most diligent real estate agent can get sued. Real estate agents can get sued for a variety of reasons, including property defects, breach of contract and negligence in a variety of forms. Now, add to the list the possibility of liability relating to “for-sale” sign installation companies.

Imagine these nightmare scenarios: A brokerage hires a sign company to install a sign on an owner’s property and then an accident happens. Or, the sign installer falls and gets hurt on the job and sues the agent and the brokerage. Or, the sign installer forgets to pick up left-over debris and someone slips and falls on a sharp object and sues the agent. Or, the sign installer destroys something on the seller’s property and the homeowner sues the agent. Or, the sign installer breaks a water or gas line while digging and a utility sues the agent for the damage. The horror stories could be endless.

So, what can PSAR agents do to significantly reduce the risk of being sued when it comes to sign installation companies? How can you protect yourself and keep yourself out of the courtroom with unforeseen sign-related accidents?

A key is selecting the right sign installation company. Many sign installation companies use Independent contractors who are hired to install a sign on an owner’s property.

If an agent hires a sign installation company, do you know anything about the driver? Does the company know anything about their own driver? Could he or she be a criminal? If someone falls and gets hurt, or something is broken on an owner’s property, then who is responsible? Who would be the negligent party? While the real estate agent has little to with the installation, unfortunately, even small slip-ups on the installers part could potentially lead to big problems.

Fortunately, PSAR recommends a great way for REALTORS® to protect themselves against legal risks and provide peace of mind. It’s called California Signs and Marketing, based in San Diego. For printing, storing and installation, Cal Signs provides the professional service that your clients expect.

PSAR is an owner of Cal Signs. In 2014, PSAR acquired an ownership interest in California Signs and Marketing as a way to protect Realtors from liability, create competition in the business, and improve service to local REALTORS®, including all members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

It’s a win-win for PSAR members when they do business with a company of which they are part-owner. PSAR members receive exceptional service, plus if there is a profit, the Association receives a percentage of it, that can help support PSAR’s programs and services. 

Signage services for both residential and commercial properties include design, manufacturing, installation, and delivery of yard signs, open house signs, banners, vehicle lettering, business cards, stationery, dimensional signs and sandblast signs. Cal Signs is a reliable vendor who is willing to adapt as our industry changes.

Bob and Christi Browning are also owners of California Signs and Marketing. They have lived in Alpine since 1997. Their company was founded in January 2013. “We are ready to provide you with whatever signage you need to effectively market your clients’ listing,” said Bob. “Our drivers and installers are our employees and that makes a huge difference. Because we have our own employees, REALTORS® can take advantage of tremendous benefits.

“For example, we have the ability to take care of major issues immediately. Plus, we can change routes and installation times based on immediate customer needs. We have lettering on the sides of our vehicles with our company name. Customers know that they are being taken care of by a professional, not a fly by night contractor with an unknown background. We’re here to take care of our customers and protect our customers with liability insurance and Workmans Compensation Insurance. We help agents lean on the side of preparedness. However, if an agent uses an independent contractor, they are putting themselves at risk. When issues arise and stuff goes wrong, they won’t be protected.”

PSAR recommends that you keep your real estate practice out of a mess. Consider California Signs and Marketing for your sign design, printing and installation services. Learn more about California Signs and Marketing at

Disclaimer: This article is not to be construed as legal advice, but rather a collection of publicly available information on legal issues affecting the real estate profession. If you are seeking legal advice, consult licensed counsel.

Home prices 6% higher, sales down 8% from a year ago, says C.A.R

posted Jul 27, 2018, 2:05 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jul 27, 2018, 2:11 PM ]

The median price of an existing single-family home in San Diego County hit another new high, reaching $650,000 in June 2018, compared to $602,760 statewide, according to the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) in its June home sales and price report. June’s median price in San Diego was up 1.6 percent from May and 6.1 percent from June 2017.

C.A.R. also said San Diego County’s home sales in June 2018 were up 2.9 percent from May and down 8.6 percent from June 2017. However, other areas of the state experienced an even larger decline in June in year-over-year comparisons. Los Angeles dropped 10.8 percent, San Bernardino sales fell 10.2 percent and Riverside County sales plummeted 16.9 percent from a year ago. Orange County fell 9.9 percent while Ventura County experienced the largest sales decline in Southern California with an 18 percent year-over-year drop. The Southern California region suffered the largest home sales drop, falling 11.7 percent from May, according to the C.A.R.

“Every county within the (Southern California) region posted declines with all but Orange and San Diego counties experiencing a year-over-year, double-digit pullback,” said the C.A.R. report. “Even the Inland Empire, which had been buoyed by San Bernardino County for the past several months, experienced significant declines.”

“California’s housing market underperformed again, despite an increase in active listings for the third straight month,” said C.A.R. President Steve White. “The lackluster spring homebuying season could be a sign of waning buyer interest as endlessly rising home prices and buyer fatigue adversely affected pent-up demand.”

The statewide median home price of $602,760 in June marked a 0.3 percent increase from May and an 8.5 percent jump from the revised $555,420 figure in June 2017. June marked the fifth consecutive month that prices increased by more than 8 percent annually, indicating that price appreciation remains robust and is not showing any signs of leveling off, according to C.A.R. The median price is now 1.4 percent higher than the pre-recession peak and has been growing on a year-over-year basis for more than six years, said C.A.R.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totalled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 410,800 units in June, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2018 if sales maintained the June pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. June’s sales figure was up 0.4 percent from the revised 409,270 level in May and down 7.3 percent compared with home sales in June 2017 of 443,120. The year-over-year sales decline was the largest in nearly four years.

“Although home prices increased year-over-year in virtually every region of the state in June, at the same time, nearly every county experienced a significant contraction in home sales from a year ago,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “With the year-to-date sales tally now in negative territory, the back-to-back sales declines could be an early sign that the market is transitioning, especially since further rate increases are expected to hamper homebuyers’ affordability and put a cap on how much they are willing to pay for their new home.”

The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home remained low at 15 days in June 2018, unchanged from May 2018 and June 2017. Meanwhile, in San Diego County, the median number of days a home remained unsold on the market was 13 days in June 2018, compared to 13 days in May 2018 and 11 days in June 2017.

Other key points from C.A.R.’s June 2018 resale housing report included:

  • By price segments, sales in every price category under $1 million contracted, but lower-priced homes registered the largest sales decline as homes priced below $300,000 fell 23.8 percent from a year ago. At the other end of the spectrum, sales of homes priced $1 million and above increased 7.2 percent from June 2017. The very top end of the market, in particular, continues to post double-digits gains with homes priced over $2 million rising year-over-year by more than 13 percent in June.
  • Statewide active listings improved for the third consecutive month, increasing 8.1 percent from the previous year. The year-over-year increase was slightly below that of last month, which was the largest since January 2015, when active listings jumped 11.0 percent.
  • As sales declined from a year ago, the unsold inventory index, which is a ratio of inventory over sales, increased on a year-over-year basis as well. The statewide unsold inventory index edged up to 3.0 months in June from 2.7 months in June 2017. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
  • The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.57 percent in June, down from 4.59 percent in May and up from 3.90 percent in June 2017, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate, however, edged higher in June to an average of 3.82 percent from 3.79 percent in May and from 3.14 percent in June 2017.

In other recent real estate and economic news, according to news reports:
  • According to CoreLogic, San Diego County’s median home price hit another record in June, reaching $575,000, while sales hit their lowest point in years. The previous record was $570,000 in May, said CoreLogic. Home prices have been steadily breaking records all year, with prices increasing 5.5 percent in a year as of June. A lack of homes for sale has reduced sales significantly while pushing prices up. There were 3,927 home sales in June, down 9.4 percent from the same time last year. That’s the lowest in four years for June in San Diego County. “Affordability and inventory constraints are likely the main culprits in last month’s sales,” said CoreLogic data analyst Andrew LePage.
  • A study of housing conditions in the San Diego region predicts a “perpetual” imbalance between supply and demand that will cause companies to lose talented employees. The most significant finding from the study by London Moeder Advisors is that the region has built little more than 20,000 of an estimated 86,000 new units needed between 2012 and 2020. “There will be a continuation of high housing prices and rent increases fostered by an inability to bring to market sufficient new housing units,” the study predicted. “Without appropriate public policy action, demand will perpetually outpace supply.” The study, prepared for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, also said the housing crisis has led to longer commutes and greater congestion, resulting in employee and employer dissatisfaction, and threatening economic growth.
  • The real estate market and regulations that drive up the cost of housing are certain to be part of the California gubernatorial race between John Cox and Gavin Newsom. Cox recently appeared at a Studio City home that was used for exterior shots for “The Brady Bunch,” a 1969-1974 TV show. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom home was listed for $1.885 million. The house was last sold in 1973 for $61,000. “Mike and Carol Brady could not afford this house today,” said Cox, referring to the fictional architect and housewife raising six children in the TV series. “A family to afford this house would have to make over $300,000 a year because the annual cost of owning this house is over $100,000 a year. That isn’t going to work in California.”
  • San Diego is the country’s fifth best big city to inhabit, according to a study released by WalletHub. The personal finance company used 56 metrics to compile its “2018 Best Big Cities to Live In” list. The country’s 62 largest cities were evaluated. Data ranges widely and includes public school system quality, job opportunities and median annual property taxes, among other things. Seattle, Virginia Beach, Austin and San Francisco, in that order, claimed the top four spots ahead of San Diego. Rounding out the top 10 were Honolulu, Portland, San Jose, Colorado Springs and New York City. Of the 62 cities evaluated, WalletHub ranked San Diego’s quality of live and education-and-health systems fourth; its safety 10th; economy 15th; and affordability 51st. Virginia Beach has the highest homeownership rate of all cities considered: 63.18 percent, according to data. That’s more than twice as much as Miami, which has the lowest homeownership rate of 30.53 percent. Virginia Beach also has the lowest share of residents living in poverty, 8.2 percent, compared to Detroit, which holds the highest rate at 39.4 percent.

FREE! Now you can "Turbo Tax" the TDS, SPQ, AVID.

posted Jul 20, 2018, 12:48 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Aug 2, 2018, 1:35 PM ]

Today, PSAR is excited to announce the introduction of the latest member benefit.

PSAR has entered into a partnership with Glide Labs, Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of real estate software solutions, to provide PSAR members with the free use of the company’s popular Glide Forms application, an innovative system for completing the TDS, SPQ, AVID and other disclosure forms securely online. Glide Forms is distributed through a partnership with zipLogix™ and is embedded within the zipForm® Plus transaction management system. REALTORS® who are PSAR members can access Glide Forms free of charge via zipForm® Plus.

As REALTORS®, we’ve likely all experienced client disclosure form errors or slowness that adds an unwelcome hiccup to an otherwise agreeable process,” said Jan Farley, 2018 PSAR President. “We’re looking forward to incorporating the Glide Forms to alleviate those roadblocks and make the transaction process easier for clients. We’re proud to make available this tool to our members at no additional cost.”

My background outside of real estate includes working as an IT consultant and IT manager, so I will be interested to see how Glide forms can help us complete disclosures quickly and accurately,” said PSAR REALTOR® Mike White, chair, PSAR Technology Committee. “Sometimes, when forms are completed manually, important disclosure information can be overlooked, which is an issue that Glide is designed to solve.”

When a real estate agent’s client sells their home, the owner is required to accurately complete and submit a number of deal-critical disclosure forms. As agents know, this means that sellers are presented with forms containing complex legal language that often proves confusing and challenging to complete. As a result, these documents are commonly submitted with incomplete or inaccurate information, causing frustration and needless delays in the transaction process.

Glide Forms addresses these legacy issues through its TurboTax-style wizard that home sellers can use to accurately, quickly, and painlessly complete required paperwork, such as the Transfer Disclosure Statement and other California disclosure forms, through an intuitive all-digital interface. Glide Forms provides a TurboTax®-like wizard that allows sellers to answer questions in plain language and complete required disclosure forms more quickly and more accurately. The wizard asks home sellers questions about their properties in plain language, making it clear how to disclose important details through user-friendly, conversational interactions.

In addition to eliminating the frustration of often-confusing forms and delays due to missed questions, unreadable handwriting, and other common issues Glide Forms allows agents to track their clients’ progress and digitally receive the finished forms as soon as they are completed. The purpose-built solution is also optimized for mobile use.

We cannot wait to eliminate this massive headache for all PSAR members and their clients,” said Sebastian Tonkin, CEO, Glide. “Selling your home is hard enough without having to complete complex forms by hand. Now every association member has access to a free and reliable solution they can share with clients.”

Below is a video that also explains this new PSAR member benefit:

Completing the TDS and Seller Disclosures Online

Glide provides software solutions that help real estate agents simplify their transaction process, reduce risk, and close more deals with less effort. The company’s first release, Glide Forms, is integrated into zipForm® Plus and allows California home sellers to complete required disclosure forms electronically for the first time ever.

NEW Free PSAR Member Benefit Now Available!

posted Jul 19, 2018, 1:50 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Aug 2, 2018, 1:36 PM ]
Use Glide Forms to collect the TDS, SPQ, and other disclosure forms securely online.

As a PSAR REALTOR® member, you will now receive complimentary access to the new electronic system developed by Glide and zipLogix® that allows California buyers and sellers to complete their required disclosure forms online.  Glide Forms replaces today’s dense PDF and paper forms with an easy-to-use, step-by-step online wizard experience that offers several benefits to agents and clients:
  1. Ensure all required questions are answered
  2. Ensure all answers are neatly typed and legible
  3. Easily add overflow text and addendums for lengthy explanations
  4. Attach images and documents directly to each form
  5. See contextual help and definitions for difficult questions
  6. Easily update responses when new information arises
  7. Navigate step-by-step through each form instead of completing a dense PDF
  8. Monitor client progress as they complete each form

Glide Demonstration

Get started by registering at  Use Glide Forms for an unlimited number of disclosure forms by simply linking your zipLogix® account to generate your first set of completed PDFs.  

How I Saved the Deal: Expect to be Surprised with Surprises

posted Jul 13, 2018, 2:43 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jul 13, 2018, 2:45 PM ]

Here is the latest in a series of occasional articles by PSAR members on the topic:
“How I Saved the Deal.”

By PSAR 2018 President-Elect Robert Calloway

As a military veteran, I enjoy working with clients who are active duty, recently discharged or retired veterans. I believe that military-focused REALTORS® can best guide veteran buyers and sellers take advantage of a variety of benefits and advantages for those who have served our country. For example, VA loans offer unique eligibility requirements, which are familiar to experienced real estate agents with a military background.

Recently, I helped a young disabled veteran purchase her first home. The process wasn’t entirely smooth and I learned some valuable lessons along the way, but we saved the deal. Here’s what happened:

Because her available funds for the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) were relatively small, the deals we pursued didn’t work out. We kept getting upstaged by all-cash buyers. We started by targeting several specific neighborhoods but then continued to expand the search by adding more communities until we were looking countywide.  

One day I learned about an El Cajon condo complex that was receptive to veterans and, at the same time, trying to raise its owner-occupancy ratio. As you may know, when a condo development has a certain percentage of units occupied by owners, rather than owned by investors and rented to tenants, then Federal Housing Administration (FHA) rules for financing change favorably for the entire development. It is FHA’s position that owner-occupants serve to stabilize the financial viability of condo communities because owners are less likely to default on their obligations to homeowner associations in comparison to non-owner occupants. So, for my client, the prospects were looking good. But, then, came a few surprises, which prolonged the transaction.

The first surprise came when the condo developer selling the units required us to use their purchase contract forms and not the California Association of REALTORS® zip forms (yikes), which caused a couple of days delay, however, they did accept our offer. Then, the buyer changed jobs in the middle of escrow, which meant more delays waiting for her new paystub for qualifying purposes. Then, her disability rating was increased to 100 percent disabled, which meant she received a nice-size windfall. However, she decided to use the windfall to pay off her some of her debts instead of saving the money until the deal closed, which would have improved her financial situation, as preferred by the lender, this could have also lowered her interest rate and monthly payment.

The best advice I can offer to any REALTOR® who wants to save the deal is you can never communicate enough with your client. It’s best to over-communicate. Looking back, I would have advised her on the consequences of a job change and saving the extra money for a down payment.

Throughout this transaction, I also was reminded about the importance of preparing for surprises with several options in place. My own personal experience as a veteran, and good relationships with a team of trustworthy pros, including VA lenders and veteran-friendly home inspectors and appraisers, helped save the deal.

In addition, this client saved on her property taxes because the assessed value was reduced, thanks to County Accessor-Recorder-County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg, who has several special programs and exemptions available for veterans.

If you want to save the deal, have options ready and be expected to be surprised with surprises.

Paragon realignment and downtime.

posted Jul 6, 2018, 3:24 PM by Richard D'Ascoli   [ updated Jul 6, 2018, 3:27 PM ]

A major milestone in the path to realign the MLS membership in San Diego County is the relocation of the Paragon MLS system to the vendor’s (BK-REG / Black Knight Real Estate Group) own hosting facility.  


• READ-ONLY MODE: Saturday, July 21st at 4:00 pm to Sunday, July 22nd at midnight (32 hours). Read-Only mode means that no listings can be added, updated, or modified. In addition, during this period, any changes or additions to your Contacts, Saved Searches, CMAs or Agent Preferences will not transfer to the moved system and will need to be recreated after 8:00 am Monday, July 23rd.

• MAINTENANCE MODE: Sunday, July 22nd at midnight to 8:00 am Monday morning July 23rd (8 hours). During the Maintenance Mode, there may be intermittent access and interruptions. No listings should be added, updated or modified. In addition, you will not be able to save changes or additions to your contacts, saved searches, CMAs or agent preferences.

Other than the limitations as listed above, the Paragon MLS system will be available to search, email, create CMAs, and access the tax system, along with all of the other resources provided in Paragon.

Please prepare beforehand! Make all desired listing changes before Saturday, July 21st at 4:00 pm or after 8:00 am on Monday, July 23rd.

Please contact for more information.

PSAR REALTOR® Elected as State President of VFW Auxiliary

posted Jul 6, 2018, 1:42 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jul 6, 2018, 1:45 PM ]

During this patriotic Fourth of July week, PSAR is proud to announce a special honor for PSAR REALTOR® member Eleanor “Ellie” Mello. Ellie has been elected as 2018-2019 President of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary (VFW) for the State of California. Her term runs from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. She was recently installed at the 94th annual VFW state convention held in early June. Ellie will oversee the state’s 162 VFW auxiliaries in 16 separate districts with a membership of more than 21,200 members.

The VFW is a nonprofit veteran's service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. “We have VFW posts located from Chula Vista to the Oregon border. I’m expecting to add another 35,000 miles to my car over the next year since I will be traveling nearly every weekend for official visits,” said Ellie. “I have been in line to become state president for the past six years.”

Last year, the name of the Auxiliary was changed from “Ladies Auxiliary” to “Auxiliary,” which opened the door for males to be members.

It was 1997 when Ellie began her involvement with VFW Post #2111 in Chula Vista. “Since my husband was a member of the VFW color guard, I joined so that we could do volunteer work together, that’s my `why,’” Ellie said. “Volunteering is like fingers, once you get involved it grabs you because it’s so rewarding.”

Ellie’s assignment as state president over the next year will be to raise money for VFW programs benefiting veterans and their families, including scholarships for local middle and high school students, youth activities with Boy Scouts and youth groups and unexpected medical expenses and emergency relief grants for household repairs when a spouse is on deployment. “We raise money so we can give it away,” said Ellie. “My theme for this year is `360º Support for Our Veterans and their Families.’ The symbol I chose for my year is the compass. The colors I chose are all shades of purpose.”

Ellie’s special project, she said, is to collect donations in support of the VFW National Home for Children. Based in Eaton Rapids, Mich., the 80-acre VFW National Home for Children serves as a living memorial to America’s veterans by helping our nation’s military and veteran families during difficult times. The 58-acre complex with 42 single-family homes was founded in 1925 as a place where the families left behind by war, including mothers and children, brothers and sisters, could remain together, keeping the family circle intact even when their serviceman didn't come home. Ellie said today’s families face different challenges, including reintegration, post-traumatic stress, high unemployment and rehabilitation from battlefield injuries, and the National Home has evolved over our decades-long history to meet those changing needs. Recently, Ellie participated at a fundraising golf tournament for the VFW National Home for Children. She said $1,500 was raised at the tournament held at the Mt. Woodson Golf Club in Ramona.

“No one does more for veterans than the VFW,” said Ellie. “Our mission is to serve our veterans, the military, and our communities and advocate on behalf of all veterans. Our vision is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country. Our core values are to always put the interests of our members first, treat donors as partners in our cause, promote patriotism, honor military service, ensure the care of veterans and their families, serve our communities and promote a positive image of the VFW.”

Ellie and her three children, including twin boys Keith and Brian and daughter Samantha, are life members of VFW Post #2111 in Chula Vista. Ellie has five grandchildren.

Ellie is very proud of her Portuguese heritage. She was born in Newport, Rhode Island to Arthur and Elizabeth Mello. In her formative years, she had a Roman Catholic education and graduated from St. Catherine Academy, an all-girls private school in Newport, Rhode Island. Ellie has visited the Azores, a Portugal island, where she examined artifacts and learned more about the food and words she knew as a child.

Ellie has served on the PSAR board of directors. She also has served on the Grievance Committee and Finance Committee. She frequently attends the weekly marketing sessions.

Ellie has lived in San Diego since 1975. In 1976, she started her real estate career with a Forest E. Olson office. In 1996, she started her open company called Compass Real Estate and Property Management in Chula Vista. How has she survived more than 40 years in such a competitive business? Ellie replied, “You take one day at a time, never give up trying and thank God for your blessings. I surround myself with positive people, like the great staff at PSAR who are always willing to lend a hand. That’s how I learned the business and I hope I display that helpful willingness when I’m around newcomers.”

Reports from California Association of REALTORS® Spring Meetings, 2018

posted Jul 2, 2018, 1:22 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jul 3, 2018, 8:18 AM ]

Jeff Campbell: 
Broker/ Owner San Diego Estates
PSAR Past President,
REALTOR® of the Year
CAR Regional Chairman

Dear Fellow Members,

This year, CAR is going to bat for you more than ever. With the continued success of the new website with more features than ever before, members can access reports, FAQ’s and training with ease. With important issues, CAR has been able to mobilize funds and resources to issues such as rent control and tax portability. With new meetings, retreats and seminars such as WomanUp, the Center for California Real Estate think groups and Reimagine, CAR is bringing the learning and empowerment programs to all of California REALTORS®. 

As your State Regional Chairman, I am proud to bring you these CAR reports from a dynamic and caring group of volunteers who leave their business and families for up to 15 days a year to represent PSAR Region 30 across this golden state and various Northern and Southern California meetings.

Anthony Andaya:  
PSAR Past President
C.A.R. Director and Executive Committee

2018 C.A.R. Region 30 Director & 2016 Past PSAR President: 2018 Assistant Region 30 Chair, 2018 member of C.A.R.  Executive Committee, Home Ownership & Housing, as well as Young Professionals Network.  
I cannot say enough good things about Region 30 and our propensity for leadership.  During these meetings we all meet usually twice per trip for our regional caucus where we discuss hot topics, motions going to the board, organizing our region, and aligning our differences to have one voice as a region.  In doing so we discovered that our region has done an amazing job earning leadership positions within C.A.R. which elevates our Region (of which we are the only association in our region unlike others that may have as many as 7 different associations) and brings back more state recognition for our humble association.  At one point during caucus, one of the directors noticed that more than half our room had on blue name badges.  The blue badges are only provided to those who have earned a leadership position on committees, forums, and more.  We noticed the other half of the room who did not have blue badges on for C.A.R. had their own badges of pride such as being a president locally or a board of director at PSAR.  That said I am confident in our bench at Region 30/PSAR and it is nice to see that our challenging work and efforts have paid off.  We have truly set a new bar and we look forward to doing so again.  Who knows maybe one day PSAR will have its very own C.A.R. president.  If you want to roll with some of the best in the business I suggest you reach out to any of PSAR’s C.A.R. directors and ask them how you can become more involved.  

During these meetings, I personally had the honor of leading the entire body of over 1000 of the best in the business in the pledge of allegiance.  I was asked by C.A.R. president Steve White to discuss more than just the flag or what the pledge means which is often done, and instead infuse a bit of my life into the story.  This was no easy task as sharing your history with 1000 plus peer judges can be a bit nerve-racking.  When you mix that with the celebration of 50 years of fair housing as well as our focus which is to lobby our politicians for homeowner rights, you can quickly see how this task becomes more daunting.  In the end, I was fortunate to deliver an emotional 5-minute speech and somehow tie in all those aspects.  The honor was truly mine in the end because what I realized is REALTORS® truly do care.  I had folks coming up afterward letting me know that my story moved them which is all you can ask for and more when it comes to a task like this.  I also loved it because despite all our vast differences it never ceases to amaze me how we can all come together, have organized debates, and walk out of the room as one voice as I said in my speech, this is what keeps me coming back for more.  You must truly see it to believe it and I hope you too get the chance to witness C.A.R. in action…AMAZING!  

I was also glad that we got to bring up several 1st-time participants through scholarship and paid efforts of our association.  Watching members like PSAR’s current YPN chair Laurie MacDonald and a few other YPN’ers come up as I once did 5 years ago and having the light bulb of “this is why we do this” go off is an indescribable feeling that just builds that “we get it” type alliance and friendship.  When you see over 3000 REALTORS® in a room listening to the governor speak highly of our trade and its professionals, or when you march with that same group to the capital to take one huge picture before going to bombard politicians offices with our agendas, or lastly when you get the chance to hear from a political columnist who’s insight is beyond their years in knowledge of what our political future may look like, you tend to take a step back and realize that you are carrying out the good work for the betterment of all whom we serve such as  REALTOR® members, their clients, our nation, and our industry.  I hope that this inspires you to want to be next.  If you are interested in attending 2019 Legislative Day please email or reach out to the association so they can guide you.  Trust me when I say you won’t regret it!  

Lupe L. Soto: 
Legal Action Trustee, C.A.R. Director

Legal Action Fund Trustees and Defense Strategy Advisory Committee
Hot Topics:
  • Support Pets/Companion Animals – Finally, the people that creating fake certificates through the internet or other sources are being sanctioned. 
  • Escalation Clauses in the RPA and Buyer Counteroffers may not be the best interest of the Buyer if the Buyer’s agent is not careful with the language.  “I will pay $1,000.00 more than the highest price” This can expose the Buyer to pay more than they were anticipating because someone can bid $50-$100 thousand dollars more!  It is best to put a cap on what the Buyer is willing to pay- “…. not to exceed….”
  • Rebates to clients – It is a RESPA violation to pay finder fees.  It is not a violation to pay the Buyer a Rebate for closing cost if it is disclosed in the lender’s closing disclosure.
  • New Pool Law- Home Inspectors are now required to identify 2 of the 7 safety features in homes built after 2007.
  • Sex Offenders – Remember that we are not required to log into the Sex Offender’s website.  If you find information, then it becomes factual knowledge that you will need to disclose. A brokerage in San Diego ended up Buying back the property because the Realtor stepped outside of our required standard of care.
  • There is a high increase in litigation because the economy is better, and people now have money to pay attorney fees.
  • There are lots of new attorneys that are charging clients by the hour.  Their lack of experience is creating lots of frustration to the experienced attorneys.
  • Because of the low inventory, there is a high increase in non- contingent offers.  These terms are creating lots of problems because it may not in the best interest of the Buyer. 
  • Electronic Signatures problems are on the rise because agents do not explain the content of the documents prior to the client signing.  It is recommended that you send a PDF copy of the documents to the client and review the content prior to sending the documents via DocuSign.
  • Agents researching information from public records is on the rise and it is getting agents into lots of trouble.  The client is the responsible party to do the research and most important that the client makes their own conclusions as to the usage of the property and what is and what is not permitted. It is recommended that you provide a list of vendors that take care of looking into public records
  • Bold Acts by agents:
    a) Not presenting all offers 
    b) Agents double ending the transactions for their own financial benefit
    c) Not telling the broker about a transaction
    d) Agent using DocuSign and signing on behalf of the client
  • The Mid-Size offices (10 to 200 Agents) are struggling to get E & O insurance
  • E&O Insurance companies have not figured out how to underwrite Cyber Insurance
  • The Cyber Insurance coverage that is an “add-on” to the E&O policy does not add adequate coverage
  • An Independent (standalone) Cyber Insurance policy is much more favorable 

Norma Scantlin
CAR Director On Housing, Property Management, Risk Management, and Membership Committees
PSAR Past President

The Mid-Year Meeting always has an enormous amount of knowledge to learn. 

Meeting with our Legislative Members concerning our real estate issues had an emphasis on the 1) Housing Affordability Crisis – The Solution is Supply and 2) Specialty Licensing.   We visited the local legislative representatives and discussed each issue in depth.  

Everyone agrees that there is the Housing Crisis. Some suggestions that were discussed are as follows: 1) Streamline Permitting Process; 2) Fix CEQA to a Fast Track 3) Require Local Government to Implement Housing Needs Numbers 4)Fund Affordable Housing and 5) Defeat Proposed Laws that Discourage Rental Housing Construction.  

In regards to Specialty Licensing, there is concern that this bill AB2618 (Borta) will require brokers doing property management for others to acquire a special license to do this type of business.  As a delegation, we opposed this to the legislators.  This bill would not only be for those doing the property management but also for those that own rental units even if they have someone managing their property.  This bill will not be good for the industry. 

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There is a prospective ballot initiative to Repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.  This initiative was to create limits on local rental control ordinances by requiring vacancy de-control/re-control and exempting single-family property and new construction from local rent control.  A prospective statewide ballot initiative that would repeal the Costa-Hawking Rental Housing Act was cleared for circulation by the Secretary of State’s office on December 27, 2017.   This initiative will be harmful to the housing market due to the fact that rental prices will escalate along with housing (investment/rental) units.  Please read as many articles regarding this topic so that you will be able to educate those in your sphere of influence and oppose the Repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.  There are numerous articles on the topic at

Nikki Coppa:     
C.A.R. Director and Vice Chair of SPF
PSAR Past President

Three times a year, your Directors attend C.A.R. Business Meetings. We listen, we discuss, we debate, and then we take action on behalf of REALTORS® throughout the state of California. The unique thing about the Spring meetings is that Legislative Day is a part of the trip. REALTOR® advocacy is particularly important when the market is strong, as that is when we see many bills presented that would negatively affect private property rights. As expected, there was a great deal of discussion about fighting the possible repeal of Costa Hawkins. C.A.R.’s IMPACT trustees allocated $1.5M to allow our President-Elect Jared Martin to sit on the steering committee that will execute the plan to fight the repeal. We also learned that we gathered enough signatures for the Tax Portability Initiative to qualify for the November ballot. The Board of Directors voted to continue along the path to put the initiative on the ballot, while simultaneously pursuing a legislative alternative. The legislative alternative will likely be significantly less expensive, but it does mean that we likely will not see the adoption of the initiative until 2020. 

This year, I am the Vice-Chair of the Strategic Planning & Finance Committee. This committee is often referred to as the” brain trust” of the organization. We gather 6 times throughout the year to determine what strategies need to be implemented in order to best serve the membership. We discussed C.A.R.’s Pathway to Homeownership Project at length. A taskforce has been working with architects and city entities to take the Los Angeles C.A.R. headquarters to a whole new level. The project is expected to include approximately 180 units, and it would continue to house C.A.R. headquarters. There will be rental units and for sale units with the goal of providing affordable housing for individuals in the 60% - 150% range of AMI (Average Median Income). We also intend to set aside 20% of the units for veterans in the 50% AMI or lower. The concept would increase housing supply and serve as a template for other property owners to use to do something similar. We have a housing shortage in our state, and your Association is working diligently to lead the way to find solutions.  

Another item to note is that the Centriq app is now allowing free branding for REALTORS®, and that used to be $350 a year. Also, remember that you must fulfill the ethics training requirement. Per N.A.R. regulations, we must all complete ethics training every two years. If you renewed your license in 2016 like me, you will need to complete the course prior to the end of 2018. Here is the link to the FREE training: In conclusion, assuming that you are still reading, part of the joy of volunteering as a California Association of REALTORS® Director is watching things happen because a member spoke up. As always, I will encourage you to speak up, get involved, or reach out to your Directors, as we serve as YOUR voice at the meetings.  

Bob Olivieri:   
C.A.R Director
PSAR Past President

The trip to Sacramento was very fruitful and it was nice to see our state association working so closely and diligently with the legislators to promote homeownership and affordability. I had the pleasure to be involved with the committee on Taxation along with being the regional representative for the Nominating committee. The following are highlights of my meeting:
  1. Taxation- Property Tax Portability Initiation was discussed extensively. Ratification of our signatures is expected Mid May, with June 27th the deadline to decide to proceed with the initiative.
    Alternatively,  We have been approached by a legislator from the Los Angeles area who offered to try to get this initiative passed through legislation rather than through the ballot. This would save our association 10’s of millions of dollars in campaign money. It would be packaged with repealing the property tax transfer exclusion for parent/grandparent to child/grandchild transfers on properties continued as  INVESTMENTS ONLY, not properties continued as principal residences. We could then still put our initiative on the ballot in 2020 if this option failed. CAR leadership will decide on how to proceed by the June 27th deadline
  2. Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Construction Bond- CAR has voted to introduce a bill that would create a revolving bond to finance construction of ADUs. This would be similar to the current CALVET bond which lends funds then is repaid by the borrower plus interest. This would facilitate financing for such units which are difficult to finance today.
 Also, I attended a very interesting presentation on modular home building. This is an area that California has lagged behind other parts of the country. Modular building is a cost-effective way to build homes for a fraction of the cost of stick built homes and in WEEKS not months.  This will help homes become much more affordable in the future.

Jan Farley:   
C.A.R. Director 
2018 PSAR President

Robert D. Calloway   
C.A.R. Director 
PSAR 2018 President-Elect 

C.A.R Meeting in Sacramento was most enlightening experience from the Legislative Briefings to attend the various committee meeting. The energy that was in the auditorium for the Leg Brief was electrifying as well as informative on the issues that C.A.R were advocating for on the hill. 
Although I have lobbied in both Sacramento and Washington D.C. this experience was very different to have over 2, 000 Realtors saying the same message for our business as well as for our clients. Additionally, I was able to speak with some of our local state elected officials on how some of the upcoming ballot measures directly affect our community. 
Also, attended the President’s Breakfast, which the President, Steve White spoke about the measure to defeat Casta Hawkins Bill and that C.A.R has task-force to share information on this campaign. The importance of defeating this bill is to help defeat rent control in various parts of the state. 
The other meeting, I attended was the Realtor Action Fund (RAF).  The most important item to come out of this meeting was the ability of local associations will have the ability to use some of their PAC contributions to hold an event to recognize some of the local contributors. 

Merrie M. Espina 
C.A.R  Director
Past PSAR Director

Housing Affordability Fund Committee

The committee plays an active role in addressing the ongoing housing affordability crisis facing our state. HAF raises and distributes funds in partnership with local associations and other groups to promote housing and homeownership. 
At our last meeting, presentations were made by associations who requested funds for the benefit of their communities relating to housing affordability and housing supply.

A fundraising event was discussed in length for the Casino/Karaoke night.  Pacific Southwest Asso. of Realtors was proudly represented and assisted in the huge success of the fun night.  The fundraising event generated approximately fifty-five thousand dollars, $55k after all expenses. 

Needless to say, I had the privilege of meeting a nice group of people who put their heart into a nice teamwork and made an incredible difference in making a successful event. 

As good luck invited me again...I purchased three of the winning raffle tickets. Unfortunately, I had to leave some of the prize items I won in Sacramento. My luggage exceeded my limit as I had fun shopping while taking a fun tour of the area.

Although I missed the march to the Capitol for the Realtors' Group Picture, I had the privilege of meeting with the Legislators with fellow realtors. The meetings with different lawmakers regarding issues important to the real estate industry gave me a better understanding of what we want to accomplish.
What the legislator will do to increase the housing supply was one of the informative hot issues asked.

Our guest speakers delivered inspiring messages!
  • Gov. Edmund Brown, Jr. advised to put away some earning, save a little as things go up or go down! He expressed being a proud supporter of Realtors for many years.  He definitely has a great sense of humor!
  • Our CEO; Joel Singer's hot topic on " Why Homeownership Really Matters, It provides more than a roof and a shelter" draw my attention.  As he stated, howe ownership enhances the quality of life in a variety of ways:
   Leads to better health, results in higher educational achievement and lowers crime rates and improves safety.

Global Real Estate Forum provided an excellent key takeaway:
The outlook for both the global economy and the U.S. economy remains bright for 2018 and 2019 reaching the highest level in the past few years.

Strong growth could lead to higher inflation, which could trigger an increase in interest rates in the near term as central banks start tightening up their monetary policies.

As economic conditions continue to improve, home prices in many countries remain on an upward trend. With the United States and Canada both listed in the top 20 countries with the highest price growth, North America outpaced all other world regions in 2017 and recorded the highest growth rate.

Despite the increase in home prices, international buyers continue to show tremendous interest in purchasing properties in the U.S. and in California.

Countries of International Buyers :   Canada 12% , UK 5%, China 14%, India 5%, Mexico 10%

It's been a pleasure, as always working with a very friendly, fun and professional Pacific Southwest Asso. of Realtors team. We are here to serve the membership for the benefit of homeownership!

New Record for California Median Home Price, Reports C.A.R.

posted Jun 29, 2018, 4:11 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jun 29, 2018, 4:12 PM ]

The median price of an existing single-family home in California in May 2018 eclipsed $600,000 for the first time in more than 10 years as statewide prices continue to approach San Diego County's $640,000 figure, according to the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

C.A.R. said the statewide median home price surpassed its previous peak of $594,530, which was recorded more than 10 years ago during the last housing boom. The May statewide median price was $600,860, up 2.8 percent from a revised $584,460 in April 2018 and up 9.2 percent from a revised $550,230 in May 2017. The year-over-year price growth pace was the highest rate of growth since May 2014.

In San Diego County, the median sales price of an existing single-family home was $640,000 in May 2018, a slight increase from the $635,000 sales price in April 2018 and $605,000 sales price in May 2017.

The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home remained low at 15 days in May 2018, compared with 15 days in April 2018 and 14 days in May 2017. Meanwhile, in San Diego County, the median number of days a home remained unsold on the market was 13 days in May 2018, compared to 11 days in April 2018 and 11 days in May 2017.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 409,270 units in May, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2018 if sales maintained the May pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. May’s sales figure was down 1.8 percent from the revised 416,750 level in April and down 4.6 percent compared with home sales in May 2017 of 428,870. May marked the first year-over-year sales decline in four months and the lowest sales level in more than a year.

“The softening in May home sales was due in part to the spike in interest rates in mid-April, when the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped 20 basis points in just one week to reach the highest level since 2014,” said C.A.R. President Steve White. “Homebuyers may have postponed escrow closings to wait out the effects of the rate surge. Additionally, the specter of rate increases earlier in the year may have pulled sales forward into the first quarter, which resulted in the subpar performance in the last couple of months. Looking ahead, higher mortgage rates and elevated home prices will heighten affordability constraints that will likely temper the housing market in the coming months.”

“As we predicted last month, California’s statewide median home price broke the previous pre-recession peak set in May 2007 and hit another high as tight supply conditions continued to pour fuel on the price appreciation fire,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “With inventory starting to show signs of improvement, however, home price appreciation could decelerate in the second half of the year, especially since further  rate increases are expected to hamper homebuyers’ affordability and limit how much they are willing to pay for their new home.”

Other key points from C.A.R.’s May 2018 resale housing report included:
  • The bottom end of the market continued to bear the brunt of the housing shortage as the availability of homes priced under $200,000 declined by 28.7 percent on an annual basis, and those priced between $200,000 and $299,999 dropped 13.1 percent. On the other hand, inventory of properties priced $1 million and above increased by more than 18 percent. In general, supply constraints continue to limit sales in market segments priced below $500,000, but higher-priced properties continue to show modest to strong growth in sales in the recent month.  
  • The number of statewide active listings improved for the second consecutive month, increasing 8.3 percent from the previous year. The year-over-year increase was the largest since January 2015, when active listings jumped 11.0 percent. Perhaps more homeowners are listing their homes for sale in an effort to cash out on recent home price surges. The increase in active listings was also partly due to the sales decline, which led to a boost in inventory.
  • As sales declined from a year ago, the unsold inventory index, which is a ratio of inventory over sales, increased on a year-over-year basis as well. The statewide unsold inventory index edged up to 3.0 months in May from 2.9 months in May 2017. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
  • Mortgage rates have been on the rise since breaking the 4.0 percent barrier in January. The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.59 percent in May, up from 4.47 percent in April and from 4.01 percent in May 2017, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate also perked higher in May to an average of 3.79 percent from 3.66 percent in April and from 3.12 percent in May 2017.
In other recent real estate and economic news according to news reports:
  • According to CoreLogic, an Orange County-based real estate information service, the median price of a home in San Diego County rose by 7.6 percent in May, compared with the same month a year earlier. The median price of a San Diego County home was $570,000 in May 2018, up from $529,750 in May 2017. A total of 4,004 homes were sold in May in the county, down 3.6 percent from 4,155 during the same month the previous year. The trend in Southern California, says the real estate tracker company, is declining sales as prices reach new records. “With inventory tight and affordability worsening, the number of Southern California homes sold has fallen on a year-over-year basis during three of the last five months,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic. “Total sales during the first five months of this year fell about 2 percent from the same period last year, reflecting limited inventory particularly in more affordable price ranges.”
  • A recent report by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices said San Diego County home prices in March increased 7.7 percent from a year ago, outpacing most of the country. Nationally, home prices had increased 6.5 percent over 12 months. Seattle had the biggest increase of 13 percent in the 20-city index. Prices were up across California. San Francisco prices went up 11.3 percent in the same time period and Los Angeles prices increased 8.1 percent. For April, the report said that San Diego home prices were 7.8 percent higher over the past year.  
  • San Diego County’s unemployment rate is the lowest since January 2000. It was 2.9 percent in May, unchanged from a revised 2.9 percent in April 2018, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.7 percent, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) recently reported. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 3.7 percent for California and 3.6 percent for the nation during the same period.
  • Americans’ household income is the highest ever. An average American home has never seen better income as the economy continues to break records. The median household income reached $61,483 in April, according to an estimate by Sentier Research based on monthly Census Bureau survey data. It’s the highest estimate by Sentier since it started providing monthly data in 2000, and also higher than any of the yearly Census Bureau estimates that reach back to 1967. American household incomes were decimated following the 2008 recession and continued to sink until 2011. Only then did wages start to recover. In recent months, however, the numbers have started to break new grounds. The economy has broken several records over the past months, such as the most job openings in one month, 6.55 million in March. That means there were almost as many job openings as the number of people unemployed. Unemployment fell to 3.9 percent in April. The only time it has ever dropped so low since the 1969 recession was in April 2000, and only for one month. Black and Hispanic unemployment rates have also fallen to the lowest levels in recorded history, and among women, the unemployment rate has decreased to the lowest since the 1950s.
  • Less than 10 percent of homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. More than a decade after the housing market collapsed, the recovery has passed another milestone. The share of homeowners who owe more than the value of their home is 9.1 percent, falling below 10 percent for the first time since the housing market fell, according to Zillow’s 2017 Q4 Negative Equity Report. The typical U.S. home lost more than a quarter of its value when the market crashed, sending millions of homeowners into negative equity when their homes’ values were lower than the balances on their mortgages. Now, though, national home values are higher than ever.
  • Household wealth topped $100 trillion for the first time in the first quarter, according to the Federal Research. Thanks to rising house prices, the net worth of households and nonprofits rose to $100.77 trillion from $99.74 trillion, offsetting the impact of a decline in the stock market. Household debt rose at an annual rate of 3.3 percent staying in the range it’s been for the last few years. Business debt grew by 4.4 percent for the second straight quarter. Corporate cash holdings rose to $2.66 trillion from $2.59 trillion. The gains in the housing market, at a time of an improving jobs market, have put households in a better financial position than they have been for some time. Their net worth to disposable income at 682.6 percent is near the highest level in history, while debt service payments as a percentage of household income are way below bubble-era levels.
  • Employment and payrolls will continue to grow in California over the next three years, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast. The forecast calls for employment growth of 1.7 percent, 1.8 percent, and 0.8 percent, respectively, in 2018, 2019 and 2020, with payrolls growing at about the same rate. Homebuilding is estimated to accelerate to 140,000 units per year by the end of 2020.
  • The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has revised its number to 116,000 for the number of new housing units to be built in San Diego County over the next decade. The revision was due to the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which regional planning agencies such as SANDAG use to plan transportation and other infrastructure investments. The California Dept. of Housing and Community Development estimate that 171,000 units need to be built locally from 2021 to 2029.

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