2008 Posts

Winter Arrives in Big Bear with a Bang

The wait for winter is over!! Snow has been falling in Big Bear all day with at least 15 inches of new snow on the ground at lake level, much more up at the top, and it is still coming down as I write this late Monday evening. They predict another substantial storm to roll though late Tuesday into Wednesday so we could easily have two feet or more of snow on the ground before this weekend. That should make for a fantastic holiday season.

Big Bear Real Estate: Strong Winter may lead to nice "January Effect"

While the holiday season is typically a relatively slow time for Big Bear's real estate market, with so many visitors up to enjoy our alpine paradise in the weeks to come, many will no doubt fall in love with all this beautiful valley has to offer.  When combined with the increased affordability of Big Bear real estate and the super low interest rates currently available, this should hopefully lead to a nice ‘January effect’ in the big bear real estate market. ...continue reading

Hello to all those interested in Big Bear real estate. I hope your Thanksgivings were all fun-filled feasts spent with family and good friends. I believe at this point I have eaten turkey in more ways, a blender was involved at one point, than I ever thought imaginable. Let’s catch up on what is happening in the Big Bear real estate market.

Some Interesting Numbers to Report from October

Closings were up compared to last year at this time in ALL prices ranges. (I sort these in increments of $250k for reporting.) We had become accustomed to seeing sales under $250k increase for some time. ...continue reading

These are interesting times indeed for the Big Bear real estate market. There certainly has been no shortage of astounding developments of late, many of which will directly or indirectly affect Big Bear real estate. My last blog post highlighted the effects of an increase in interest rates for a buyer in this market. Unfortunately, this scenario played out shortly after we published when the 30-year fixed rate jumped close to 7%. That increase has proven so far to be a temporary blip and rates are now back down around 6%, but the likelihood they will remain at these historically low levels for the foreseeable future is unlikely. (Take a look back at my last blog post regarding the effects of a 1% increase in rates on a buyer’s purchasing power and cash flow to review.) Locking in a rate of around 6% on a great piece of Big Bear real estate at today’s deeply discounted prices is an amazing opportunity and I hope many interested buyers will take advantage of it. ...continue reading

As usual there has been no shortage of real estate related news lately, much of which affects our unique Big Bear real estate market. To describe the overall market as ‘nervous’ these days would be an understatement. However there have actually been some very encouraging developments of late with respect to the possibility of home prices stabilizing sooner rather than later.

The biggest of these came about when Federal Government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For potential buyers looking to capitalize on the major price corrections which have occurred in the Big Bear real estate market, this was fantastic news as it provided confidence in the loan market and interest rates dropped significantly as a result. Not long ago we were looking at 30-year fixed rates approaching 7%; whereas, earlier this week, a client of mine locked a 30-year fixed loan paying only ¼ point at 5.5%. ...continue reading

The question on everyone’s mind who is considering buying Big Bear real estate these days is “where are we now in the cycle?”  In reality, looking back is the only way to accurately determine the top or bottom of any market.  As they say, hindsight is 20-20 and that certainly holds true for Big Bear real estate.  Trying to assess the present and postulate on what may occur in the future is always speculative. But analyzing historical data to see what has actually occurred and comparing that to what occurs in a typical real estate cycle, can shed light on what lies ahead.

A typical real estate cycle, for this example, begins when low inventory and increasing demand lead to upward pressure on prices. This was the case in the Big Bear real estate market from 2004 through mid to late 2006. ...continue reading

I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating our country's birthday. Being on a Friday this year, July 4th led to an extremely busy and fun-filled weekend here in Big Bear Lake. The fireworks show on the lake, as usual, did not disappoint.

As We Pass the Midpoint of 2008

With half of 2008 already behind us, let’s check in on what has been happening with Big Bear Real Estate.  Overall the drastic and dramatic shift in Big Bear’s real estate market continued. Sales volume and the number of transactions have dropped significantly. In the first 6 months of 2008 compared to 2007, sales volume dropped roughly 40% and total number of transactions was down about 30%. Inventories remain high and buyers are still, for the most part, full of anxiety and reluctance. (There are a few brave souls I have had the pleasure of working with recently, who have snapped up some amazing deals, more on that later…) ...continue reading

Big Bear Cabins -- Looking at the Listings

Here in Big Bear, virtually everything is called a cabin.  But, for the purposes of this blog post, let's limit ourselves to single-family homes located in the Big Bear Valley.  As of June 4, 2008, there were 1183 active listings for cabins in Big Bear.  Looking at how those listings are distributed is quite interesting.  Almost half the cabins listed are in the main vacation rental areas of our valley: Big Bear Lake, Moonridge and Fox Farm.

Over one quarter of the listings were small cabins, less than 1,000 square feet and almost half of the listings were of modest size, between 1,000 and 1900 square feet.  Only about a quarter of the cabins listed were larger than 1900 square feet. ...continue reading

Anyone following real estate lately is aware of the increasing number of foreclosures taking place. In fact it is hard to read or watch the news without coming across stories detailing the repercussions of so many loans going bad and the major impact that has had on our country’s banking system and the economy. So you might wonder, what impact has this trend had on Big Bear’s real estate market? Well, based on what has occurred so far this year, one thing is for sure, there is demand out there for reduced-price listings. However, Big Bear is primarily a vacation/second home market and bank-owned properties do not dominate nor have they completely taken control of the Big Bear real estate market as they have in many areas down the hill. ...continue reading

Although there is still one business day remaining as I write this, March has shown an 18% increase in closed residential sales compared to the previous month. The number of open escrows remains solid as new escrows continue to more than replace closed sales. Big Bear’s real estate inventory has been increasing slightly as Spring typically brings many would-be sellers off the fence and into the market. Although demand has been increasing, it seems that many would-be buyers still remain on the fence. That said, there has been tremendous interest in bank-owned and short-sale properties of late. While these sorts of listings do not currently dominate the Big Bear real estate market, they are increasing in number. As such, for all of you ‘distressed property’ buyers, I have added additional information on my website at www.RealEstate-BigBear.com. In addition, I am planning upcoming blogs to explain short sales and how best to negotiate bank-owned real estate. Keep an eye out for these. In the meantime, please contact me directly if you are interested in purchasing bank-owned Big Bear real estate or investigating the short sale market. ...continue reading

Spring is in the air here in Big Bear. For me personally this cannot come soon enough as I have already shoveled more than enough snow for my taste this winter. For Big Bear this is a bittersweet time of year, as the major tourist season will soon be behind us, but the Summer, full of long days and beautiful weather, is just around the corner. The abundant snowfall this winter puts the jewel of our valley, Big Bear Lake, in prime shape to enjoy.

In the Big Bear real estate market, the arrival of spring typically kicks off the listing season and I think this year will be no exception. I expect our inventory to expand considerably in the next few months and this will lead to even more terrific opportunities becoming available for interested buyers. Closings of residential sales in February 2008 were up 10% compared to January, but still down considerably compared to February of 2007. ...continue reading