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Toscana CC 2007 2nd Quarter Report

Dear Toscana Resident:

I hope you find the summer season more enjoyable than what we are experiencing here in the Coachella Valley. In spite of the heat, we continue to have serious buyers coming to the desert looking to purchase properties. With inventories high, it remains a competitive market.

During the 2nd Quarter of 2007, three resale properties closed escrow in Toscana Country Club.

       Amalfi 621 on Via Chianti    $1,300,000  @ 81.5% of the asking price
       Amalfi 623 on Via Chianti $1,655,000  @ 94.6% of the asking price
       Cortona 923 on Via Chianti $2,650,000  @ 92.3% of the asking price.

Currently there are 13 resale homes on the market. Two custom estate lots are also on the market. While there is no evidence of the sale in the MLS, one of the Custom estate homes is either in escrow or recently sold.

According to Real Data Strategies, from April 1, 2006 to May 31, 2007, the average sales price for Indian Wells was $1,170,000 making it #1. It ranked 3rd in the number of Luxury homes sold behind La Quinta and Rancho Mirage.

Premier Agents for Windermere meet once a month to discuss the market and the high end properties available. This past month as host I ran some statistics about the home market for properties over $1,000,000 and separated homes inside a golf course community from those outside. I thought you might be interested. Palm Desert East is predominantly Indian Ridge sales. Palm Desert South includes Ironwood, Bighorn, Reserve, Stone Eagle. Indian Wells includes Toscana, Eldorado and Vintage. Note not all properties in the high end country clubs are listed in the MLS so more properties may be available than indicated. 

In John Seymour's  "What's Hot and What's Not" newsletter, there has been a decrease in new home inventories as reduction in price and buyer incentives have been offered to the buyers. The median price for new home sales decreased 10.9%. The inventory of resale homes nationally and statewide continue to grow with California showing a 10 month supply of homes compared to 5.7 months a year ago. In a previous letter I mentioned the high end market remained stronger and the manner in which the median price is based was providing misleading information on the lower priced homes. 

The Bank of America's Monthly Real Estate Agent Survey shows falling prices with the greatest weakness continuing in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, California and Washington, D.C. In Riverside/San Bernardino counties, we have seen reduction in asking prices on 76% of the homes, 79% of the homes offer incentives and a 90% increase in time it takes for a home to sell. Traffic levels are 83% less than expected.

Based on the data reviewed, the inventory and days on market will decrease when the list price to sales price are more equal. It is more important now than in past years to remember the benefits of competitive pricing: greater agent and buyer enthusiasm on homes where they see great value; fewer days on market; rarely does that home end up as an expired listing; generally the higher the initial price, the lower the actual sales price; and many higher priced homes help sell similar properties where agents and buyers see better value.

That being said about today's market, there will always be buyers and sellers. For sellers serious about selling, they need to be more realistic on price in order to compete with the larger inventory.

So what's happening with buyers? What are their patterns, wants and needs? In 2000 only 28% of the buyers used the internet to search for homes. Today that number is 72%. While it takes more time for them to contact an agent, when they do, they spend less time looking for homes and visit fewer properties before buying.  Buyers are now using the internet 74% of the time to find an agent. Sites they visit are 81% on the property they are interested in, 80% visit Realtor.com and 80% view the individual agent's website. The most important features the internet home buyer wants when doing their home search is multiple pictures, neighborhood information and agent contact information.

The amenities that buyers find most appealing are bolder colors such as deep orange, pumpkin pie or mocha brown. The comfort color palette is all about soothing and calm. Flooring has gone natural with wood , bamboo and cork. Kitchens hold center stage with islands, cabinets and appliances taking the look of fine furniture. Granite counters are still popular along with satin glass, concrete and recycled glass slab with a mosaic look. Back splashes have texture and contrast. Glass tiles and metallic's are hot.  Master showers with multiple showerheads, chromotherapy and warming drawers for towels are extras. Of course surround sound, bar areas and televisions make for a complete master bathroom. Master suites offer sitting areas . Master closets with storage systems, cabinets and custom built ins add value.

So the market is not all doom and gloom and the interest in Desert Properties continues to be strong. Predictions of the current market conditions range from it will end in 2008 to several years out. The sub-prime lending problems don't affect Toscana all that much as most buyers are cash buyers who borrow because it is financially in their best interests to do so.

If you have friends who are interested in a home in Toscana, I have 5 properties available. One custom estate lot and 4 properties. The Amalfi 621 on Via Firenze is now in escrow. If you are interested in selling or just want to talk about how your home fits within today's market conditions, give me a call,
I would love to talk with you.

Sincerely,

Diane Williams, GRI
Associate Broker, Premier Director
Windermere Real Estate