Menifee Real Estate is not a Buyer's Market or Seller's Market, it's a Banker's Market

Ah it is nice to be back in Menifee real estate blogland! I have been gone for the last couple months because the market has been all over the map. After diligent research, a complete lack of days off, and crazy marketing gyrations, I am back here to report to the citizens of Menifee, Temecula, Murrieta, and Wildomar on real estate.

To start off, my headline says it all. you guys next update report!

Ok, I am feeling a little silly today but you really have to have a sense of humor for this market because there is a lot of misconceptions floating around with Menifee real estate buyers and sellers alike. The biggest one is that this is a buyer's market. It was as buyer's market at the early part of the year. There were homes that actually were available and went at or under asking price.

That has changed quite a bit. For instance, this weekend I wrote 6 offers for 3 different couples trying to buy Menifee or Murrieta real estate. Each couple has already been burned at least once on trying to buy a home. This is happening for several reasons:

1) Pricing is artificially low - Banks have changed from an incremental, "lower the price until it sells", to an immediate "price it cheap and get multiple offers" strategy. This is painful because it creates a false sense of the real value of properties on the market. How do I explain to a buyer that the incredible pool home at $350,000 already has 7 offers on it and is really going for around $400,000?

Often buyers refuse to believe that because they can look online and see more properties priced the same. However, those properties also have multiple offers but are left active which is very deceptive. Once they close, you will see that they go for much higher. The banks love it because they get to pick the best candidate (all cash or big down) over a 3% FHA buyer. Trust me it happens. One offer I wrote this weekend was refused for being a VA loan. And the end result is all this artificial pricing creates a trust gap between agents and buyers.

2) Competition is hit or miss - the only competition for the bank properties are other bank properties and short sales. While short sales are a lot more work than Murrieta REO (otherwise known as bank-owned) properties, they are still getting multiple offers. Five of the six offers I wrote this weekend were on short sales. These are more often than not the buyer's heartbreakers. Personally, we need to do something with how agents are marketing the properties. The downside is it is really the banks that are dictating agent marketing strategies.

But the major rub is that very few tradional Menifee sellers can actually compete at these prices. So by default finding an actual "real" seller is a rarity. So it definately isn't a seller's market.

3) Banks just don't care and really can't afford to - Now, I sometimes really don't like banks. But that is because my expectation is that they care at times-which is my own flaw. They don't care about buyer's at all, they care about the bottom-line. They want multiple offers so they can pick the best horse so to speak. The people working at the bank are employees who have never owned or seen that home. At the end of the day they go home and live their life while buyers bite their fingernails about getting the perfect Menifee home.

It isn't really the banks fault, it is the economy. However, if you have a market where the main sellers could care less about buyers, you really can't refer to that as a buyer's market. And honestly, the banks are just about 90% responsible for the current woes in the housing sectors no matter how you slice it.

To sum up, a true buyer's market is when sellers are baking cookies to make the house smell delicious for the one buyer they have viewing their Menifee property on a Saturday. Yes, that really did happen at one point.

Those three points are my way of presenting the Menifee real estate market as it appears to me. Buyers are often misinformed on price, real sellers can't compete on price, and 98% of the market is bank-owned or short sale properties. So if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's a duck and we are definately in a banker's market right now.

This is all bad news Stefan, you are bringing me down! Not so, says I! There is plenty of opprotunity but you have to be able to see it and make it work for you....

The biggest battle in Menifee's real estate market today is both buyer and sellers need to understand the current market conditions and players and use that knowledge for their success.

If you don't know the game or the rules, it is very hard to play. But some smart investors, young couples, and large families have all played it well recently and will benefit significantly in the long run as interest rates start to climb.

I hope that this post was informative for you and I will try my utmost to give informative updates each month.


Stefan West
Diversified Realty
Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, and Wildomar Real Estate


Things are selling here in Menifee and Sun City. As of May 1, 2008 we have had 152 homes go into Escrow. In Menifee the low was 149,000 and the high was 570,000.

Holly Kay
Broker Associate
Prudential Canyon Lake Realty