Every once in a while, it’s interesting to check in on the progress of Costa Mesa’s real estate doppelganger, the real estate metaverse, to see if it is becoming more popular (hence, real). It has definitely been progressing, but not in a uniformly positive direction—certainly as opined by controversial billionaire investor Mark Cuban.

At the beginning of this month, real estate news purveyor therealdeal.com published a less-than-encouraging update on the technological phenomenon’s progress. Its “reality check” revisited how the year began, as the “both simple and surreal” digital environs of the metaverse greatly benefitted from Facebook’s rebranding as “Meta Platforms, Inc..”

Since everyone knows that Facebook is a real thing, by “leaning into…

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It’s a phrase that would-be home buyers had been hearing ever since seller’s market conditions had begun. But when “Submit your best and final bid” was recently advised by one Chicago area listing agent, the words were jolting, according to last week’s NPR Newswire report describing a new kind of bidding war.

The ‘best and final’ bid being solicited wasn’t from an eager homebuyer who’d be competing with others for their dream home. It was for a rental apartment. The bid under discussion was for the amount above the asking rent. The couple had lost out on another apartment, so they agreed to offer more.

The situation is now becoming routine—and not just in big cities, where historically scarce vacancies have pushed rents to new heights. Low…

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The rationale behind U.S. housing’s rising prices has been nothing if not consistent. The tale has been all about the supply/demand imbalance—a textbook example that makes perfect sense for everyone with a smattering of free-market economics. For those who have been tracking the number of Costa Mesa listings, that’s why last Thursday’s release from the Census Bureau seemed to make no sense at all.

In housing markets from coast to coast, house hunters have consistently grumbled about the meager number of homes for sale. ‘Inventory shortage’ was the term that kept appearing, often preceded by modifiers like ‘growing’ and ‘acute.’ ‘Housing shortfall’ was another. Typical was the National Association of Realtors®’ January press conference, which…

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"Budget better, shop smarter!" might be unassailable advice for shoppers of all stripes, but at the outset of 2022, Costa Mesa house-hunting readers of USA Today's Real Estate pages could have used a few more precise tips on how to follow the exhortation. "After a year of bidding wars and record-high prices, here's what's changing for homebuyers…" was a promising headline—but what followed consisted mainly of reasons why intelligent shopping is a good idea.

The reasons included cautions about rising home loan interest rates, which would make better budgeting important, and the continuing national "supply-demand imbalance," which would make more nimble (if not specifically "smarter") shopping advisable.

Experts added reasons why this year's…

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As real estate’s peak selling season nears, one element that characterizes the strength of the U.S. housing market is the one that CNN Business highlighted last Thursday. For a growing number of homeowners in California and Costa Mesa whose properties align with the national data, it came as a pleasant piece of news.

The subject was homeowner equity—a key element in the financial standing of those who own their residences. Real estate analysts at Attom Data Solutions took a look at homeowner balances owed in relation to their property’s market value. By definition, homeowners qualify as “equity rich” when they have at least 50% equity—that is, when their equity percentage matches or exceeds the lender’s share.

Attom’s findings were impressive:…

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The speculation about the direction Costa Mesa home loan interest rates will soon be taking finally pretty much disappeared last week, given the Fed’s declaration about their intentions. Would-be Costa Mesa home buyers would be hard-pressed to interpret Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks as anything other than a central banker’s version of a railroad conductor’s “all aboard!”—at least for those intending to take advantage of bargain Costa Mesa home loan rates.

The Wall Street Journal minced no words: “Steadily rising interest rates beginning in mid-March” left little comfort for those whose natural inclination would be to wait on the sidelines until the regular springtime busy season has gotten underway in earnest.

For them, it was USA Today’s…

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Given the latest unsettling reports about everything from supply chain disruptions to the price of gasoline and groceries, almost anyone might hesitate before moving ahead with plans to buy a house in Costa Mesa or anywhere else. Mightn’t it be more prudent to wait until more stable conditions return?

One counter to that cautious stratagem is the example of recent history. A few years ago, would-be buyers who decided to hold off until the return of a more stable environment missed out on what, in retrospect, turns out to have been an opportune time to buy a house.

The fact is that residential real estate prices have risen steadily despite the unsettled public sphere. Buying a house in Costa Mesa has continued to reward buyers who ignored…

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Last week we learned that U.S. housing price increases continued their uninterrupted climb. But at the same time, accounts also included a few rays of sunshine for financially pressed homebuyers.

The nationwide appreciation in real estate values that's been gladdening Costa Mesa sellers blipped upward again in February. According to Tuesday's CoreLogic press release, the 1.2% rise over January capped off a 12-month increase: an eye-popping 10.4%!

Figures like those may cheer Costa Mesa home sellers—but, as CoreLogic's spokesman put it, it also "is sobering for prospective buyers." The spokesman's advice for ambitious home seekers was scarcely enlightening. Due to the price rises, they should "save more for a down payment, closing costs, and cash…

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For those who have never bought or sold a home during Costa Mesa real estate’s busy season, coming up with metaphors isn’t easy.

  • It’s not like end-of-model-year auto sales because that season draws buyers by offering heavy discounts. Newly manufactured real estate isn’t arriving from the factory, so price reductions aren’t called for.
  • Real estate’s high season isn’t like a nursery’s or hot tub dealer’s peak seasons, either—even though both get busier around the same time of year. The pricetags for Costa Mesa real estate transactions make such comparisons ill-suited—apt metaphors would have to be more momentous.

It might be more fitting to turn to nature or to science for a suitable analogy. If so, you could argue that Costa Mesa’s…

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If last week’s Realtor® Magazine commentary is accurate, the timing for Costa Mesa’s peak homebuying season looks as if it is apt to return to traditional seasonal patterns—unlike what happened in 2020. If the economists at the National Association of Realtors are reading the tea leaves correctly, last year’s scrambled real estate sales activity should give way to something more closely resembling the regular pattern. That would reflect the current rise in optimism that recovery from the pandemic is on the way—reversing the disruptions that first crippled spring sales, then brought unusually brisk activity in the summer and fall.

If Costa Mesa’s traditional peak homebuying activity does follow the spring-to-summer pattern, Realtor’s advice to real…

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