‘Best Year Ever’ for county real estate

Years ago, I was the broker/owner of a real estate firm in Southern California. Shortly after the end of each year, my branch managers and office staff would total up the yearly listing and sales numbers for all our agents. We would then schedule an awards banquet and present trophies and plaques to the agents who had the highest numbers in various categories. 

Our awards were primarily based upon the number of listings, sales and commissions generated. But in a successful office environment there are agents who may not have the highest sales numbers but deserve recognition for their contributions to our company or community.

We also had humorous awards for agents who had an unusual transaction or situation during the year. Our goal was to highlight exemplary achievements and add humor to real-life situations.

It is in that spirit that I present the following awards:

2021 deserves the award as the Best Year Ever for El Dorado County Real Estate. Total residential sales for the year added up to 3,300 homes with a median selling price of $624,000, a 19% increase over last year, according to MetroList data. When comparing selling prices to the size of the home sold, that works out to about $303 a square foot. The average number of days a home was listed before the seller had an acceptable offer was eight and accepted offers averaged 103% higher than the listing price. Congratulations for a terrific year. 

The Highest Price Existing Sale Award goes to Nick Sadek with Sotheby’s for selling a $7 million home in Shingle Springs. It was a single-sale record price for El Dorado County. The home was 5,000 square feet but included 500 acres. 

Callie Mirsky, with Berkshire Hathaway, receives the award for selling the Most Affordable Home in the county. The Pollock Pines home was one-bedroom, one-bath, 491 square feet and built in 1938. The home was on the market 20 days before it had an all-cash offer.

El Dorado Hills receives two awards. The first is for Overall Real Estate Community Performance. Of the county’s existing home sales, 30% were in El Dorado Hills with a median selling price of $900,000. The second award for EDH is the Most Million Dollar sales. Of the 500 home sales in the county in excess of $1 million, 382 or 76% were in EDH. 

Cameron Park placed second in Overall Community Performance. This last year the area had 383 sales, 16 were in excess of $1 million and the area’s median selling price finished at $607,000. The greater Placerville area placed third with 319 sales at an average median price of $465,000. 

The California Legislature deserves the Good Intension Award. This last year Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law 31 pieces of legislation intended to increase housing production, streamline permitting and increase density in single-family neighborhoods. The package of housing legislation may be well-intended but the implementation and likely litigation of complex issues will take years for local governments to implement. 

Zillow deserves the Biggest Looser Award. Over the last three years thecompany lost $ 1.3 billion on its iBuyer program that purchased thousands of homes based on their Zestimate analytics. Agents have been cautioning their clients about the accuracy of Zestimates since the program began in 2006. Zillow’s iBuyer program was supposed to revolutionize the listing process. Sellers could simply click a mouse and sell their house. Its unstated goal was to capture a share of agent commission dollars. Zillow’s retreat from buying houses directly from sellers and bypassing the agent is a reminder that jobs often look easier from afar. 

Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve deserves an award for Largest Purchases. Every month the Fed buys $120 billion in government bonds, $80 billion in Treasury debt and $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities. The Fed has an $8.3 trillion portfolio that has jumped $3.6 trillion since March 2020. Who do you suppose is going to pay back the principal and interest on that debt? 

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia receives the Saving Christmas Award for his no vote on President Joe Biden’s $3 trillion Build Back Better Bill. The legislation contained tax increases for homeowners and investors. It was inflationary spending for social programs the majority of Americans don’t need or didn’t want. 

The Rookie of the Year Award goes to the millennial generation. They accounted for 67% of first-time home buyer loan applications and 37% of repeat-purchase applications, according to CoreLogic. The pandemic, the opportunity to work from home and starting their own families accelerated millennial buying. Forbearance on student loans, federal stimulus checks and a booming stock market enabled their move from renting to homeownership.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency receives my Enabler Award. The agency recently announced they will increase the conforming loan limit to $647,200 and up to $970,800 in high-cost areas. The increase enables Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to insure higher conforming mortgage loan limits for homebuyers. That’s important because jumbo loans above conforming limits carry higher interest rates and larger down payments.

History is yesterday, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present. Happy New Year. 

Ken Calhoon is a real estate broker in El Dorado County. He can be reached for comments and questions at [email protected]  

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