Toscana CC 2010 1st Quarter Report

Dear Toscana Resident:

The first quarter of 2010 showed some definite signs of improvement for the real estate market . The percentage of  homes sold  over  $1 million rose from 2.9% in 2009 to 4.0% in the Coachella Valley. Sales of homes over $500,000 rose from 12.2% to 13.6% during the same time period. This would indicate the lower end of the market may be shifting away from the ‘buyer's market'. However, sellers who need to sell will continue reducing prices until their homes do sell keeping the prices of other homes down until the economic factors improve.

Last year there were 2 custom estate lots and 2 homes sold plus a spec home in the first quarter. To date this year, there has been 1 resale and 4 spec homes sold with 7 homes pending, 3 of the pending sales are spec homes. Currently there are 5 of the 12 spec homes actively listed for sale. We have seen a major price reduction in asking prices for the spec homes. One spec home has been on the market for over 2 years with at $787,000 price reduction. Currently the spec homes are selling for $200,000 to $250,000 off the asking price which equates to about 70% of the asking price. While we don't know the full impact these spec homes have had on the actual resale market, had the builder not put all the spec homes actively on the market at one time competing with the homes actually on the resale market, if the spec home sales and their major price reductions would not have been reflected in the multiple listing service. When Pete Fisher was head of the home sales for Sunrise he refused to have the new home sales compete with the resale market.

What I am experiencing in this community and others are the buyers expect to purchase a property that has more upgrades in a better location for the rock bottom price. If they can't get it for that price, buyers purchase another home because they can get it at the ‘right price' without any regard to the resale potential for one home over another. When representing buyers, it is important for me to remind the buyer there are two steps to purchasing a home-buying and selling at the best possible price. Will the home be more marketable if the buyer needs to resell it in the future? How important is view and location? Once the buyer has full awareness of their options, they can make their purchase that best suits their needs.

The Yearly Annual Sales Report (included with this mailing) for all the competing country clubs shows the number of sales per golf community and the average sales price and price per square foot. While these numbers are averages and not always reflective of location or upgrades, it provides a  point of reference on why certain clubs had more or fewer sales. It is important to know the number of homes in each development to be able to evaluate how each is doing percentage wise. PGA West has approximately 5000 homes so we would expect their total sales to be higher. Morningside and Desert Horizons would be lower with an 18 hole golf course and fewer homes. It is interesting to note that Morningside, a club who has had its ups and downs, has high HOA fees and recently assessed its members to cover expenses, retains fairly high values for their homes.

There are 139 homes over $3 million currently on the market in the desert. Only 13 homes in that price range have sold in the past 6 months. Bighorn doesn't always reflect the total sales in the Multiple Listing Service, but it remains a very strong market with an estimated $90 million in home sales for the 1st quarter of this year. This appears to be the only community who has been able to retain high prices here in the desert.

The club environment continues to change throughout the country as economic factors affect the lifestyle of many and Toscana and its residents are not protected from these changes. When working with buyers or people visiting the desert and I ask about their interest in certain country clubs, the intonation of their response or what they say speaks loud and clear about each club, its exclusivity, desirability and status within the community. Country clubs are reaching a point where they need to remain competitive with a long range plan to protect the desirability and exclusivity of the community, that ultimately protects home values.

The desert remains a small community where people from all walks of life and areas come to enjoy a beautiful lifestyle. Home values are either protected or negatively impacted as people continue to talk about the desert, where they would like to live and what communities they encourage their friends to consider. Our home values can be affected by what is said-both the positive and negative comments carry a message that reaches far beyond our community and the desert.

Thank you for all your continual referrals and confidence in my team. This has been one of our busiest seasons ever and the 4 of us on my team are working long hours to handle the escrows and manage the properties we have listed. Our new website up and running since September attracts on average 90+ new visitors a day with over 80% saving me to their favorites and many commenting it is the easiest and best website they have seen.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns or just to talk about what is happening in the real estate market locally and throughout the Coachella Valley. My knowledge base of all country clubs in the desert gives me the opportunity to help find just the right club and home for those wanting to make this valley their home.

Please click "View PDF Document" located under my photo to view sales reports. If you have any questions about the information, please call 760-340-9253.

Diane Williams
Associate Broker/Executive Premier Director
Windermere Real Estate

Information is compiled by Diane Williams using multiple resources including the NAR, CAR, Desert Sun, Wall  Street Journal, John Seymour's "What's Hot What's Not", and the Multiple Listing Service. If your home is currently listed with another Broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit other Broker's listings.