I was staring gloomily into my green pool one day last week. The pool boy that I’m married to had failed, and a professional had been called in to save the day.
Milton Young, owner of Ariel Pools was there to transform the slimy green puddle back to the sparking blue refreshing water it was supposed to be.
Maybe in an effort to pick up my spirits as I eyed the ugly water, Milton steered the conversation to Real Estate.
The usual “how’s the market” conversation, but then Milton made the comment that he understood that “40 percent of all sales in Contra Costa County are foreclosures.”
“Is that true?” he asked.
Well, he did get my attention momentarily diverted from the eyesore in my backyard. Contra Costa County includes Richmond, Antioch, Brentwood, Pittsburg — all towns with higher rates of foreclosure than Danville, Alamo, and San Ramon.
In Alamo, I told him, I am sure that 40 percent of the sales are not distressed sales — but an average across the whole county? Very likely. I decided it would be interesting to do the math and find out.
Let’s consider all distressed sales (both short sales and bank-owned properties), and see how the numbers look for the year so far.
In Alamo, Danville and San Ramon, the numbers look like this:
- Alamo: 128 homes sold this year, of those 27 were distressed, or 21 percent
- Danville: 510 total, 152 distressed sale, 30 percent
- Blackhawk: 77 total, 20 distressed, 26 percent
- San Ramon: 768 total, 316 distressed, 41 percent
In other parts of the county, the numbers look like this:
- Antioch: 1287 total, 942 distressed, 73 percent
- Brentwood: 794 total, 538 distressed, 68 percent
- Richmond: 947 total, 659 distressed, 70 percent
- Pittsburg: 705 total, 525 distressed, 74 percent
Those percentages are higher than I expected. And the average for the entire county?
As of today, per the data in the MLS, 10,585 homes have sold in Contra Costa County this year (2011), and of those 5,982 were distressed sales: a full 56.5 percent.
Like my pool water, this may seem alarming, but the healing process has begun. In the four days since Milton came to the rescue, my pool went to aqua green, to cloudy green-blue, to (suddenly) clear and pretty again.
The real estate market won’t be as quick to heal, but we’re on the way. Four years ago, Antioch's inventory was over 1,300 homes — today there are fewer than 300 homes on the market in Antioch.
Prices are down, interest rates are down, investors are buying. People who have been waiting for the right time to buy are suddenly coming forward. I see a lot of positive movement in the market and I feel optimistic.
Of course, it’s easy to feel cheerful when my view from my home office includes a pretty pool.
Based on information from the Contra Costa Association of REALTOR’S® MLS. Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS.