Big Bear Real Estate: 2012 Off to a Strong Start

A snowy day in Spring makes it a good time to catch up on the Big Bear real estate market. Quarter one is done – Let’s see how the Big Bear real estate market faired:

2012 has gotten off to quite an impressive start. Seasonally in Big Bear, most of the transactions done in any particular year occur in summer and fall and as such, the first quarter in Big Bear doesn’t necessarily define how the year will turn out. That said, this established momentum should not be ignored as it will certainly help maintain traction heading into summer.

Residential sales overall in the first quarter of 2012, when compared to last year, were up 14.7%. Most of this increase in closings occurred in March, which, when compared to last year, was up a whopping 37%. More and more of the money is changing hands under $250,000 as that price range saw a 61% increase in sales in this March compared to last year and has accounted for 76% of all sales year-to-date. Of what has sold so far this year, re-sales account for 53.4% of the market, foreclosures 29% and short sales 16%, which is an increase from the 12%-13% average we have seen with short sales over the last few years. Perhaps this will be the year when short sales actually do become a viable option for upside-down sellers who are struggling to make payments. I personally will believe it when I see it as, although the short sales process does seem to be improving, it is nowhere near efficient.

The average price in the first quarter of 2012 was up 5.2% as well. Big Bear Lake proper, as opposed to Big Bear City and east valley locations such as Sugarloaf, was responsible for the lion’s share of this increase. Will this bounce in Big Bear real estate prices continue? That will depends on what happens with supply.

Inventory remains tight as we currently have only 563 residential listings in the Big Bear Valley, up a bit from the 549 we had this time last month. Working with as many buyers as I do, I often find myself wishing there were a few more good homes to sell to match up with the recent increase in buyer interest. (If you are considering selling, there is a nice window of opportunity here, contact me learn more.)

I expect inventory to increase going into summer. Will banks flood the market with new listings this year? Very doubtful – Yes, they have inventory to clear but they are very conscious of not disrupting a fragile market. They are implementing many new options to help folks stay in their homes and are also arranging many big bulk-sales of their assets to capital investors promising to hold and rent these homes instead of selling them straight away. At the peak of the foreclosure crisis in 2008/2009, just under 15% of the active market was bank-owned in Big Bear. It now sits at 6.5% and has oscillated from 7% to 9% over the last few years. I expect that to remain roughly the same going forward. As long as buyers continue to scramble to buy bank-owned properties and multiple offers remain the norm, the demand will continue to absorb foreclosure inventory as it is gradually rolled out to the market. One thing is certain: there will most definitely be some amazing deals coming to market this year. Let me know if you would like me to keep you posted on these as they hit the market. See the charts below for more information. Let me know if you would like me to send you a more legible version. Until next time, Happy Hunting!