HOT Real Estate Market in the Desert, in Spite of High Temps and the Pandemic Scare!

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A view looking down the famed shopping boulevard El Paseo, in Palm Desert, where most shops and restaurants are open again, though often with restrictions!

Contrary to what many feared would be a cooling down in the real estate market here in the desert, and also elsewhere, the real estate market is bustling with activity! As a Realtor®, part of my daily routine is to look at the MLS every morning to see the New Listings, Under Contract Listings, Pending Listings and Closed Listings. And every morning I am amazed to see that it is a robust market in spite of the coronavirus lockdowns which have caused many people financial hardship!

In general, things usually slow down as the outdoor temperatures soar up into the triple digits, but even that has not affected the real estate sales activity! During the height of the market, generally there are about 30 plus listings in each category (New Listings, Closed Listings, etc). But now, in the heat of the summer and still under a certain level of restrictions due to the coronavirus, it’s alway at least about 40 plus listings in each category on the MLS! And it’s not surprising to see as many as 100 plus or close to it, in each category! This confirms that it is a RED HOT real estate market right here, right now in the desert!

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Beautiful sunset as seen in Palm Desert!

However, properties still need to be priced right for the market in order to sell quickly. Properties priced under $400,000 and with similar comps are the ones selling the fastest. In fact, certain neighborhoods such as the La Quinta Cove, Palm Desert Country Club and many in Cathedral City are getting multiple offers and sometimes over the list price!

I currently have a listing that is frequently being shown and an offer may soon be forthcoming any day now, from what one of the agents has told me. The property I have listed on the MLS is located at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211, and is located behind the gates to the resort community of Desert Breezes, which offers an enviable lifestyle with community pools and spas, tennis courts, a clubhouse, a fitness center, and all this with mountain views and plenty of shopping nearby! The list price is $329,000 for this adorable 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1839 square foot home with a spacious side yard with mature trees including a citrus tree, an attached 2 car garage, indoor laundry room, cathedral ceilings, ceiling fans, granite counters in the kitchen, walk-in closet in the master bedroom with en suite bathroom, and more. Amazing value!

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43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211

You will be hard-pressed to find a better value in Palm Desert which is centrally located within the Coachella Valley! It’s also close to the famous Indian Wells Tennis Gardens which hosts one of the biggest world-class tennis tournaments in the world! That’s the BNP Paribas Open, where you can watch the tennis greats such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battle it out on the tennis courts and then later enjoy delicious food and beverages at the restaurants within the complex with gorgeous mountain views.

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One of the entrances to the famed Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home to the BNP Paribas Open

It seems as if we have the worst of the shutdowns due to the coronavirus scare behind us, however as I write this, no restaurants can serve food or drinks inside, and no beauty services such as hair and nail salons can operate inside either. Thankfully, many of the stores are open such as Macy’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Anthropologie, for a few examples are open for shoppers to shop inside the stores. So it still is certainly a challenging time for restauranteurs and bars and their patrons! Up in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s worse because they don’t even allow outdoor dining at all, from what I understand. Things change every day in these days of the pandemic, so I’m hoping that this too shall pass! And soon!!!

Getting back to my report on the current state of real estate, apparently we are experiencing such a strong market due to several factors:

  • Historic low interest rates…under 3%!!! Like 2.5% on a 30 year fixed-rate loan compared to 4% this time last year!
  • With the pandemic forcing many workers to work from home for the foreseeable future, they are buying homes here in the desert where it’s less congested than metropolitan areas as far as housing and traffic goes
  • Prices here in the desert are much more affordable than metropolitan areas and along the coast here in California
  • The sunny, balmy weather for 8 months of the year is considered by many to be perfectly ideal, whereas the hot summers can be escaped with day trips and weekends to the coast, and fortunately we do have AC!!!

Living in the desert, you are just a little over two hours away (depending on traffic and what part of the desert you live in) from the world renowned beaches of southern California, in places like La Jolla, Encinitas, Del Mar, San Clemente, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu.

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Surfers of all ages head in to catch waves before the sun sets in Encinitas

On the other hand, if you are in the mood for an alpine setting, you can head up the hills a mile in the sky to the alpine village of Idyllwild, for hiking, browsing through boutiques and galleries and enjoying the dining options there. Or you can hike around or just picnic at Lake Hemet which is an even shorter drive from the desert floor.

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Lake Hemet, off Hwy. 74 offers a tranquil, cooler setting for hiking and picnicking in the summer.

Other ideas for escaping the heat are to go to the coast for boating, kayaking, visiting zoos (aquariums, unfortunately are still closed), shopping and dining.

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Visit with the sea lions and seabirds while kayaking in the La Jolla Cove!

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It’s a treat to be able to be so close to sea lions and seabirds in La Jolla, whether walking along the bluffs or kayaking!

Meanwhile, my listing in the resort community of Desert Breezes offers many fun amenities that can be enjoyed year round! In the summer, you just need to avoid being out in the blazing sun during mid-day hours.

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One of the many community pools inside the Desert Breezes community

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Enjoy tennis if you like, behind the Desert Breezes clubhouse!

Inside my listing at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, you’ll find beautiful granite counters in the kitchen:

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The kitchen features granite counters and new cabinets and a view to the side yard.

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With many windows, a solar tube and cathedral ceilings, it’s bright and light inside!

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The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom with a large walk-in closet

If you would like a private tour of this delightful property, at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert please call me to discuss the details on making that happen! Or look at the 3D tour here. Please note: The Price is now reduced to $329,000.

In the meantime, you can take a more detailed look on-line at my website and also begin viewing other properties on-line as well by clicking here: WendysDesertRealEstate.com

Seize the moment and contact me now if you are interested in buying a home or selling one here in our beautiful and exciting desert cities, which include Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Indio and Indian Wells, as well as other nearby cities and towns. If you like, I can set you up on an auto-prospecting search for your dream home. Call me on my cell at 760-587-6009 and let’s talk!

In the meantime, here are some stats about our real estate market here in the desert:

Current Median Prices in Coachella Valley Cities as of June 2020 for Single-Family Residential (SFR) Homes and Attached Homes (Condos):

Palm Springs: SFR $706,0000; Condos $248,000

Cathedral City: SFR $378,750; Condos $176,250

Rancho Mirage: SFR $620,000; Condos $289,000

Palm Desert: SFR $470,000; Condos $305,000

La Quinta: SFR $603,000; Condos $327,625

Indian Wells: SFR $942,000; Condos $399,000

Indio: SFR $335,000; Condos $197,000

Prices have come up in all cities except for Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells compared to June 2019. Prices came up the most in Palm Desert, where the June 2019 median home price was $314,500 and is now $470,000! Now you can see why there is no doubt that my listing at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert is really priced to sell now that it is priced at $329,000 (Initially it was listed for $349,000)! The price for condos has dropped across all the desert cities, perhaps because of the lack of tourism in the recent months, where as normally was the time that a few tourists would buy a second home as in a condo in the desert.

As usual, many of our buyers come from more densely populated areas such as LA, Orange County, San Diego and even the San Francisco Bay Area. Again, it’s great prices, relaxing, less traffic, less densely populated, and wonderful weather that are among the big draws to living here. You can also consider the lively social calendar we have during season, such as Fashion Week, galleries, polo matches and much more, as well as the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, the PGA WEST golfing events and other related golf events, the music festivals such as Coachella and StageCoach, as well as activities such as biking, hiking, golf, swimming, tennis and more that add to the great mix of fun things to participate in here in our sunny desert!

Hopefully, we will be back to normal again soon! Regardless, the desert is truly a wonderful place to call home.

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A partial view of the back and side yard of my listing at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert

 

 

 

Indian Palms Country Club: A great place to live and invest in

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Indian Palms Country Club in Indio  has been a long time favorite for people who want a second home in this resort area, or even living here as a full-time resident in spite of the toasty summers here in the desert.  It’s been very popular with “snowbirds” in particular, people who flock down here from colder climates such as Canada, as well as the Pacific Northwest and the Mid-West of the United States during our season which offers fabulous weather from November to May, and even into June before it heats up to over 90 degrees.

Today, with home prices being still at record lows, many people are investing in Indian Palms Country Club, buying several properties, to rent out long-term or short-term and then they plan on sellng them when the prices climb back up again.  In the meantime, they can rent  them out easily in this market.

There are condos and detached single family homes, many of them built only a few years ago.  Some of the houses boast private pools and spas. Many of the homes are built along the golf course or a wide green fairway with meandering streams and waterfalls. 

The condos have recently ranged in price from as low as the low $30,000s for a foreclosure, and up to $186,000, however the inventory for condos now is down fairly low now: only 10 on the market at this moment.

The 18 houses currently listed range in price from the low $100,000s to up to around the mid or low $400,000s, while the condos currently range in price from as low as $47,600 to $165,000. 

At this time, inventory is  also down for detached single family homes, after a buying frenzy within the past six months when 54 single family residences and 30 condos sold.  The condos sold with prices ranging from as low as $35,000 to $169,000, while the homes sold for prices ranging from $105,000 and up to $340,000.  The overall sales price as a percentage of the list price for condos was 96.82%, and for single family homes, it was 97.25%. I always remind my Buyers that generally the successful offer will be at least 94% of the list price.  In Indian Palms, with prices already so reasonable for homes that offer so much value, the successful offer apparently should be around 96% of the list price or more.  It is not uncommon for desirable homes that are priced right to receive full price offers, and sometimes even over full price, when multiple buyers are vying for the same property.

The history of Indian Palms Country Club is reflected in many of the streets which are named after Hollywood celebrities who were friends of the couple who created this resort area, Floyd Odlum, who was the owner of Hollywood’s RKO Pictures, and his wife Jacke Cochran, who was a world famous aviator.  The couple bought the 640 acres for under $100 an acre back in the 1930s, and built The Ranch House, which is now the location of the Golf Shop and Palm Terrace Room. 

The area is surrounded by mountain views and is lush with flora includng fruit and palm trees, and provided a wonderful backdrop for entertaining their Hollywood friends and even US presidents.  Today it continues to offer this to its many residents, whether full-time or part-time.

Within the guarded gate entrance of the community, the allure of Indian Palms Country Club is still strong with all the resort amenities offered such as public golf courses, many community pools and spas located throughout the community, and a Lifestyle Center which features tennis courts, a huge pool, and fitness equipment. 

There are about 17 HOAs throughout Indian Palms Country Club, and some of the HOAs even include the fitness in the low HOA dues, which range from around $250 to $375 per month.

Even if the Lifestyle Center is not included with the particular HOA that manages the particular community in which your house or condo may be in, you can pay a small monthly fee to join.

In the immediate area around Indian Palms Country Club, there are many luxury homes and the ultra prestigious Madison Club is right around the corner.

There are two world class polo clubs around the corner as well: the Empire Polo Club and the El Dorado Polo Club, where anyone can go and watch the exciting polo matches.

As soon as polo season is over, then the world famous music festivals take over, including Coachella, Stage Coach and more!

There are also many popular stores and restaurants nearby, so it is a very convenient location.

There are also posh casinos nearby that offer entertainment, fine cuisine, cocktail lounges and of course, gambling.  Fantasy Springs features live free concerts under the stars with talented “tribute bands” such as Bonfire who pay tribute to ACDC (pictured below) as in channelling the ACDC experience, in this case.

It is also a short drive to the HITS (Horses In The Sun) events which feature international dressage and jumping competitions for equestrians and their beautiful horses, in nearby Thermal, and the public is invited!

Seeing all the beautiful horses against the backdrop of majestic mountains and rows of palm trees is truly a sight to behold.

Besides the music festivals, Indio is famous for its many fun, family-oriented festivals, such as the Date Festival, where you may find belly-dancers and ostriche-riding races among other things!

Indio and its neighboring towns are famous for providing the US with 95% of the dates that are sold.  Date shakes are a delicious desert treat!  Shields Date Farms has a retro diner and shop which sell desert souvenirs including a huge variety of dates.

For those of you who are investors, here is an example of a savvy Canadian couple who recently bought four investment properties within the last few months with me as their realtor. 

They first bought a three bedroom, two bath home built in 2003, for only $136,000. It was in great move-in condition, with a separate laundryroom, and an attached two car garage.  I got it rented out to a nice family for them in under a week’s time.  It was previously owned by an investor who had bought it as a foreclosure on the courthouse steps, who fixed it up a bit, and put it on the market with an attractive price.  I advised my clients to move on it quickly and they did, and it’s already paying for itself.

Next my clients put an offer on a short sale house, meaning the sellers were allowed by their bank to sell the property for less than what they owed on the property, which is a fairly common occurence these days. This two bedroom, two bathroom home boasts a private pool. My clients’ counter offer that was ultimately accepted was $156,000. Not bad for a California home built in 2003, in a gated community with its own private pool!  The deal closed in 3 months, which is about the average for short sales.  Also rented out right away.

Next up, my clients saw another beautiful home in Indian Palms that was a short sale, and  I assisted them with writing up a counter offer that was accepted for this designer-decorated 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home built in 2003: $143,000.  Amazing value!  And this short sale closed in a record 3 weeks! Also rented out quickly!

Again, another attractive house in Indian Palms came back on the market after falling out of escrow. It was a foreclosure and extra paperwork was involved. But it was worth it, as the sale price for this home built in 2001 ended up being $116,000 for this recently remodeled 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home on a quiet corner with a private backyard. And it was rented out within a week of being listed!

My clients knew the value of these homes since they had been vacationing in Indian Palms for years, including the heyday years of high prices  from 2004 to 2006, and kept an eye on the falling  prices and felt that this was now definitely the time to start investing.  I think they are right, too, since inventory is now low and prices in some areas of the Coachella Valley are beginning to climb again. It’s only a matter of time when prices start climbing again in Indian Palms as well.

New Homes Being Bought in the Desert, from Palm Springs to Indio!

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The Morrison, new homes in downtown Palm Springs

The snowbirds are back and buying up real estate, since everyone loves a good deal.  From Palm Springs to Indio, there are not only great deals as in short sales and foreclosures but resales and new homes are often priced just as competitively by their sellers.

For example, the picture above is The Morrison, which is now selling like hotcakes, 6 today alone!

These brand new contemporary homes consist of three bedrooms and three bathrooms, approximately 2100 square feet, with high end fixtures and appliances included.  The price range is from the mid $400s to the mid $500s.

Close to the action of downtown Palm Springs, where no other place in the desert matches the nightlife!

On the other side of the valley, east Coachella Valley, there is Indio, one of the oldest desert communities, but which has experienced incredible growth over the last decade.

Indio is home to two world class polo clubs, world class music festivals including Coachella and Stagecoach, many restaurants, shopping malls, and all surrounded by breathtaking mountain views and towering palm trees.

One example of a fabulous value for home buyers is Whittier Ranch, a brand new home development with Tuscan and Spanish-style single family homes from 1674 to 2335 square feet of living space, starting in the low $200s. There are only 9 left now, and if you buy now, Whittier Ranch is paying for your closing costs and offering to give you a 46″ flat screen TV!

Right now, qualifying FHA buyers can get a 30 year fixed rate loan under 4% and with only $8047 down, you can own this home for less than $1300 per month!

Whittier Ranch home in Indio, CA

Clearly, now is a fantastic time to invest in real estate.  I am even working with investors who are buying fixers and fixing them, and flipping them, again!

 
If you have the cash, and cash is king, real estate is a tangible investment, and although there is always an element of risk in any financial investment, at these prices, I think it makes sense to invest in real estate today, provided you have a seasoned realtor such as myself to help you do the due diligence required to assure you that the particular property you are thinking about buying will be a smart investment. This applies also to those who will be needing a loan to purchase real estate.