December 2009 Menifee Real Estate Update

Ho, ho, ho - Merry Christmas to Menifee! I love this time of year and also can actually bring good tidings to the Menifee real estate community. Things are changing! Truthfully, we have been in a constant state of change and upcoming 2010 doesn't look the alter that.

First, we are seeing huge amounts of sales. I didn't pull stats ups but let me see what I can do on the fly..gimme a second....entering that actually took longer than expected. Right now there are 487 homes advertised for sale in Menifee that are either active or pending. More than half or 286 to be exact are pending, leaving only 201 actives.

I know that sounds like a lot, but only 31 of those 201 are actually Menifee bank-owned homes. And only one of those homes has been on the market for more than 30 days - one. What does that mean? It means that just about every bank owned home on the market is now getting multiple offers and usually going over asking price. The other actives are long-term or mishandled Menifee short sales that may or may not actually be available. Yes, there are A LOT of agents that mishandled short sales.

When I say these Menifee homes may not be available, I mean that often agents leave short sales in an active status even though they already have one or more offers. Because short sales can take awhile, they often confuse the market. With 58% of the market pending and only 15% of the available market being bank-owned homes, we have a real tight supply for buyers right now which is driving UP prices quite a bit. Bottomline - being an agent and finding clients a home can be a challenge right now.

Menifee foreclosure homes are going very fast! Buyers with VA and FHA loans who need closing costs are having the most trouble. That's the downside. The upside is values are rising and interest rates are at an all time low. On top of that, they just extended AND expanded the home buyer incentive opening it up to even more buyers.

More buyers + tight supply of homes + low interest rates + extended home buyers incentive + annoying banks (had to toss that one in there) = increasing property values!

Do you realize that if you buy a $200,000 home in Menifee right now with an FHA loan you will get about a 5% interest rate? Also, with the tax incentive you will get back between $6,500 - $8,000 from the government. FHA loans are 3.5% down so $200,000 x 3.5% = $7,000. You will actually buy a home for nothing down, get an amazing tax write off, and lock in a long term interest rate - no interest only or 5 year arm stuff here. If you even consider an ARM loan in this market, I want you to immediately call my loan guy Mark Woelky at 951-536-2288 and tell him to kick you!

So the news is merry and the Menifee real estate market is stablizing and moving upward. I can't find homes for my buyers for the prices of two months ago. If you are considering buying a home, now is the time to strike!

Merry Christmas Menifee! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas this year! And thanks Steve for hosting and maintaining such a wonderful blog!


Stefan West, Broker
West Realty
Menifee CA Real Estate, Temecula CA Real Estate

Possible Extension of First Time Buyer Tax Credit

As you may know, the maximum $8000 credit for first-time buyers expires November 30th, which has caused panic for potential first time home buyers. With the low inventory of decent and affordable bank-owned homes currently on the market here in Menifee, and from competition with Cash and Conventional buyers, our FHA buyers are really struggling to get offers accepted right now.

I recently submitted an offer, above purchase price, with no concessions, on behalf of one of my FHA buyers for a great house in the Hillpoint area. Our offer was rejected, and came to find out that we were in competition with 31 other offers, 3 of which were cash, and 4 of which were conventional.

Although it is expected that another waive of bank-owned homes will hit the market, the timing of such is unknown. And in my opinion, many FHA buyers will not be getting offers accepted until this waive hits.

Fortunately for our FHA buyers, there is a Bill in both the U.S. House and the Senate, which seek to extend the $8,000 tax credit, potentially even broadened to cover ALL buyers, not just those considered "first time" buyers.

Even though I know how frustrating it is for you first time buyers right now, hang in there, it may take a while. At least now there's hope, that when you do finally get that offer accepted, that max $8000 tax credit will still be waiting for you.

Region's home sales slip in July - - Daily News Digest


Are the PROPERTY TAXES on your HOUSE being reviewed for a DECLINE in VALUE?

LOOK IT UP ONLINE! I love how easy the Assessor has made it for us, as you can now check to see if your property value has been reassessed, online at the Riverside County Assessors office:

Assessed values in Riverside County have dropped 11% from 2008. Starting last week more than 300,000 homeowners in Riverside County should have begun receiving notices of a reduction in tax assessments, bringing assessed values back to near 2006 levels.

If you disagree with the new assessment, you can still file an assessment appeal. The link for that form is here:

If you are planning to file an assessment appeal, you will need info on current home comparables to take with you to assessment appeal hearing. Contact your friendly neighborhood REALTOR if you need help getting comp information for an appeal.

Menifee Home Values Predicted To Go Lower

From our "It's Going to Get Worse Before It's Gets Better" department, comes this report from PMI Mortgage Insurance Company that home prices in the Riverside County area are predicted to go even lower in 2011...
Home prices will be lower in two years compared to Q109 for much of the country's metropolitan statistical areas, (MSAs) according to an economic trends report released by PMI Mortgage Insurance Co...

...The MSAs most likely to see decreased prices are the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida, and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA regions.
Read the report...

And we're talking about 2011! So if you're believing all the rhetoric from the Obama Administration, that we're starting to turn the corner economically, well, guess again...

Menifee CA Real Estate Update by Stefan West

June is here and it is time to take a few minutes and update everyone on how things are looking in the Menifee real estate market. Well things are looking up, literally! Where the rubber meets the road, namely closed home sales, numbers are up across the board. Take a look below:

Menifee & Sun City Homes Sales 2009 vs 2008






JAN104574782.46 %
FEB1254283197.62 %
MAR1511015049.50 %
APR2041257963.20 %
MAY1991148574.56 %

Additionally, in cumlative (through May 2009) we have sold a total of 783 homes in 2009 versus 439 homes through May in 2008. That is an increase of 344 homes closed or 78.36%! So we are definately seeing more movement and in June we are at 92 closings versus 144 in 2008. However, we have 109 deals pending at this time.

But the news isn't all daisies and sunshine. We could actually be selling more but there is a very limited amount of available properties out there. Many of the Menifee short sales listed which dominate the active Menifee real estate listings are actually in process with multiple offers. So they aren't really available even though they say they are. And any decent to sharp looking bank-owned home on the market usually gets multiple offers within the first couple of days on the market and above asking price.

Again, on the surface very good news but looking deeper we are having an issue with supply and a concern about thousands more Menifee foreclosures being held back for the future. Initially, there was a moratorium on foreclosures through February 4th. That was lifted but it takes months to get the process finished. Just as we are starting to see more foreclosures come on the market, another moratorium was put into effect this week.

Overall, it is hard to say what the impact will be in the longer term future for the Menifee real estate market. In the short term, this limited supply of homes is stablizing and increasing home pricing but makes the environment highly competitive. Menifee homes are increasing in price actually and pushing past last quarter appraisal values. In fact, appraisal values from last quarter are often the only thing stopping a house from selling higher.

So overall pretty good news. Being a buyer for Menifee real estate right now is not easy unless you are sporting all cash or money down. I know there are a lot of FHA people that have to put out multiple offers in order to finally get into a property. And that in itself is a huge paradigm shift from last year. 2009 is looking very strong but the concern is a lack of inventory which normally I wouldn't mind, if there wasn't the fear of another shoe to drop (thousands of late year foreclosures) later this year.

In conclusion, I think Menifee CA Real Estate has taken a great jump and values are getting stablized. Additionally, the buyers are hungry for more homes and prices are moving up in Murrieta, Temecula, Menifee, and Wildomar. As multiple offers pour in on homes people are looking at Menifee more and more as a better price point for the size home they can get. That is all good news. If our numbers do start to slow down over the Summer it will be do lack of available listings not lack of buyers!


Stefan West
Broker, West Realty
Specializing in
Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, and Wildomar Real Estate

Renting a Foreclosure? Obama "Helping Families Save Their Homes" Act

Pursuant to the new federal law "Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009" signed into law by President Obama this week, current tenants of foreclosed homes will now receive at least a 90-day notice to terminate. This 90 days would be given AFTER the lender or buyer of the property acquires title through the foreclosure sale.

If a tenant has a one year lease in place, however, it appears that this the tenant can stay in the premises until the remaining lease term ends. I would think that the new lender/owner would negotiate the remainder of the lease and would be receiving the monthly rental payments from that point forward.

I don't know how this will all play out, but I believe the "Cash for Keys" negotations will really be stepped up so that the lenders can get the properties onto the market as soon as possible.

This should definitely take some of the "panic" away from those renters who come home to find the "Notice of Trustee Sale" posted on their front door.

I will also suggest to anyone looking for a rental... make sure you have a Realtor check the current status of any future house you may rent. Although this is not fullproof, we can look up tax records to see if the property is in pre-foreclosure, or the potential for the property to be a foreclosure. Unfortunately, there are still people out there that are scamming unsuspecting renters.

For more information about the Foreclosure timeline... visit my article of 8/7/08, "My House is in Foreclosure! What happens next?"

(Per CAR Legal, this new "90-day notice requirement applies to foreclosures of a federally-related mortgage loan or residential real property, except for properties under rent control, rent-subsidized programs (such as Section 8), or other state laws that provide additional protections for tenants." ) This law expires on December 31, 2012.

Homes Are Selling in Menifee

Steve Calder, an agent specializing in Menifee has been posting the number of homes for sale in Menifee on his Twitter feed.

Here is what I was able to pick up from his feed...

May 19, 2009 - 621 homes
May 15, 2009 - 645 homes
May 08, 2009 - 657 homes
Apr 14, 2009 - 770 homes
Apr 09, 2009 - 855 homes
Apr 01, 2009 - 900 homes
Mar 27, 2009 - 1,000+ homes

If you look at his feed, he makes mention of smaller numbers, but after talking to him on the phone, he explained that in some of his posts, he gave numbers just for 92584 zip code, whereas the numbers above come from the entire City of Menifee.

I'm not sure that this is a sign of an improving economy. I'm of the belief that these sales are due to sellers dropping their prices down enough to where they become affordable.

Also, I think many Menifee families are not capable of buying a home elsewhere, and therefore fewer homes are being put up for sale.

But I'm not a real estate person, so maybe someone else who is can explain.

Thanks to Steve Calder for providing this info...

Menifee Home Prices Fall Nearly $100K

According to, home prices throughout Menifee and Romoland fell almost by $100,000 in the last 12 months. is an online property valuation tracker.

Price drops from Feb 08 to Feb 09...

Romoland: -$98,500
Menifee: -$96,500
Sun City: -$57,500
Quail Valley: no data

Homes in the City of Menifee got off pretty easy compared to surrounding areas...

Fallbrook: -$150,500
Canyon Lake: -$144,000
Corona: -$139,000
Nuevo: -$131,500
Murrieta: -$129,000
Riverside: -$126,000
Moreno Valley: -$124,500
Temecula: -$122,000
Lake Elsinore: -$117,000
Wildomar: -$109,500
Winchester: $-109,000
San Jacinto: -$102,500
Perris: -$100,000
Hemet: -$89,500
Aguanga: -$51,500
Homeland: -$27,000
Anza: -$15,000

Menifee CA Real Estate Update January 2009

Happy New Year 2009 and Menifee CA! I wanted to start off this blog report very positive since I have high hopes for this year. We have a lot of damage to start repairing in the Menifee Real Estate market. However, we still have a decently long road ahead of us.

In previous blog reports I have expressed a cautious but optimistic view of the Menifee real estate market. However, each time I had hope for a bottom, things got worse as loan programs got pulled, banks dropped home pricing, and people lost homes.

Well, to start 2009, all those things are still happening with Menifee real estate and foreclosures. I know, great optimism Stefan! HOWEVER, we are seeing a very busy market right now. There are plenty of short sales and foreclosures in Menifee right now but things are moving. Part of that has to do with supply.

Can you believe that the supply for foreclosures has actually dropped?! There was a moratorium by FannieMae and Freddie on releasing more foreclosures. Additionally, some banks have also been holding off. This has seriously shrunk the supply of homes on the market and created a pent up demand. Then interest rates went down severely in December and January. That has added to the buyer pool. Suddenly, I have more people looking then I can find nice enough homes for!

So, I think this bodes very well for Spring and Summer for Menifee real estate. Interest rates need to stay low and I hope the banks do a slower release of foreclosure properties. If they dump a ton at one time or interest rates spikes, we are going to take a step back. But interest rates should stay lower for the foreseeable future. We just have to hope that other ecomonic issues don't push them higher.

To sum it up, I have more buyers than I have houses available for them. I know there are plenty of homes on the Menifee real estate and foreclosure market but many aren't in the best shape. The nice homes go and go very fast! And that is good news in the short term for the market. I recently had a discussion with an economist that was doing an article for the Wall Street Journal and he is seeing a severe spike in real estate sold throughout South Riverside county. If things are busy now, Spring and Summer could be very busy and give us some much needed stability.


Stefan West
Broker, West Realty
Menifee CA Real Estate