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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

January 2019 Market Update

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of January.

From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope that all of you had an enjoyable and restful Holiday season. This month we will kick off the new year sharing a recap of how the housing market performed here in Shasta County in 2018 and what to expect in 2019. Some of the hottest topics are discussed below. Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions. We look forward to being your resource in 2019!

Home prices

The average price a home sold for in 2018 was $287,000 up from $276,000 in 2017.  This represents a 4% increase in the average sales price year over year. Both low-interest rates, a strong economy, and the absence of the distressed property market have all contributed to the increase. Click here to check the value of your home instantly!

Shasta Home Value Checker

Average days to sell a home

The average days it took from when a home went active on the market, sold and closed escrow trended down to an average 99 days in the month of December compared to 111 days the year before. Shorter market times signal strong buyer demand for fair priced homes that show well.  

Homes sold

In 2018 3,303 homes closed escrow up from 3,187 homes sold in 2017 representing a 3.6% increase in home sales year over year. A large contributing factor was the local CARR fire that caused many who lost their homes to purchase another home in our local market.

New listings 

The number of new listings coming to the market in 2018 is estimated at 4,758 compared to 4,362 in 2017. This is a 9% increase in new listings year over year. The 9% increase in new listings, compared to the 3% increase in homes that sold suggests that home inventory may increase in 2019.

Current Home inventory

Currently, home inventory is averaging 977 homes for sale compared to 934 in January of 2018. This slight increase in home inventory could be an indication of stabilizing home prices and potentially longer market times in the future.

Home price expectations for 2019

Home prices in Shasta County for 2019 are projected to be slightly higher than in 2018. Most experts predict a modest 3% appreciation for communities similar to Shasta County in California. Interest rates will likely be the driving force behind how home prices will perform. If interest rates increase this year, home prices will likely level off. If interest rates remain low, home prices may increase as expected. 
As always, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to respond to this email or contact me directly at the office at 530-222-3800. I hope that all of you have a great start to 2019!

Your Realtor,
Josh Barker

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 2018 Market Update

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of December.

From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

Home Prices 

The average sales price for a home in the month of November was $286,000 up from $274,000 in November of last year. This overall increase in the average sales price has put many of the remaining underwater mortgages out of the red and back into positive equity positions. Although the market price for a home is clearly up over last year, home prices are still an average of 10% below the average prices of 2006 when the market was at its all-time high. Home price appreciation is expected to continue to rise in 2019 and at a slower pace than in 2018. The largest impact on this projection will be the increase in buyer demand due to "fire-related buyers" that Shasta County may receive from the Paradise area.

Interest Rates

Interest rates have crossed over the 5% range in the past several months and all projections point to an even higher interest rate environment in the near future. The Federal Reserve who carries the most weight in mortgage rate pricing has stated that they intend to raise the interest rate several more times in 2019, provided the economy continues to grow. As mortgage rates increase, many on the edge of being able to qualify - risk being priced out of the market which could have the largest impact on sales volume in 2019.

Home Inventory

The number of homes available for sale in Shasta County currently is hovering around 1,035 homes for sale up from 1,020 one year ago. The stability in the number of homes for sale will likely keep prices in check and prevent any major run-up in home prices. New listings coming to the market in the month of November was up by 30% compared to last November which is welcomed news for many buyers that are currently searching for a home.

Buyer Demand

Buyer demand in Shasta County is considered strong by nearly every account and with the addition of "fire-related buyers" in the market, we expect this trend to remain consistent throughout the winter months. This winter season, unlike previous winter seasons, we do not anticipate to see a significant slow down in sales volume. There are simply too many buyers in need of housing due to the fires to see our traditional seasonal slowdown.

New Construction

New construction in Shasta County is trending up. With multiple new subdivisions coming to the market, expansion of existing subdivisions, and fire related new construction, it is expected that 2019 will likely be our busiest year for new construction since 2007. The cost of new construction is also rising quickly as well. Prior to the fires, an average entry level home cost an average of approximately $150 per foot to construct. Currently, these same entry level homes can cost in excess of $185 per foot to build. We have been receiving reports of custom home construction costing in excess of $230 per foot to construct. The cost of new construction will likely become a major barrier for new home development in the future if prices are not held in check.

Instant Offers

Many online companies, as well as several local companies, are boasting of an "Instant offer solution to selling a home". Though these programs can be understandably attractive, keep in mind that no company is in the business of losing money. This means that for those who participate, it could be expected that a person could leave thousands of dollars on the table. In most cases, this program is designed to "get in the front door" and then "bait and switch" a person to a more equitable solution. In either case, this is not a recommended way to start the process of selling a home for the highest price, which in many cases is your most valuable asset.  You decide... 

In closing and on behalf of all of us here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisers, thank you for all of your amazing referrals and support throughout this past year. We wish all of you a tremendous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Your Realtor,
Josh Barker

P.S. Our office proudly participates in TOYS for TOTS each year. This year is especially important as many families have lost their homes and of course their children lost everything as well. If you would like to participate, simply drop off a new unwrapped toy at our office valued at $10.00 or more prior to December 18th, and we will make sure that it gets to a special child in need.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this email or contact me at 530-222-3800.

Friday, November 9, 2018

November 2018 Market Update

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of November.

From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

First and foremost, we want to take a moment and send our thoughts and prayers to all of those that have been impacted by the Camp Fire in the Paradise area south of Shasta County. With all the fires the North State has experienced this year, families will need all of our support more than ever this holiday season. 

Monthly Sales Report

The month of October revealed some promising numbers compared to September. Sales for the month of October finished with just over 300 homes sold compared to 284 sales in October of last year. The increase in sales compared to last year can be largely contributed to the increase of homebuyers shopping in the local market due to the CARR fire. A large number of those who lost a home to the fire have elected to purchase another home. As these home buyers solve their immediate housing needs we expect home sales will likely return to normal levels by the end of this year.

Interest Rates
Interest rates play a major role in overall affordability in real estate markets like ours in Shasta County. Rates have a large impact in areas like ours because the vast majority of local home buyers purchase homes with financing. As the rate goes up, the loan amount a buyer qualifies for goes down. A simple way to explain the relationship is like this...For every 1% that the interest rate increases, the loan amount a buyer qualifies for goes down by an average of 10%. Due to a strong economy including job and wage growth, the federal reserve is expected to continue to raise the interest rates in the short term.

Home Prices
Home prices are up over last year with an estimated 5% growth in home values over the past year. Due to the lack of major wage or job growth, the local market has not appreciated as high as other markets throughout the state. Both the number of jobs and wages paid for jobs has an impact on how quickly home values can raise in a market like Shasta County. The forecast of home appreciation in the Shasta County market for the next 12 months is 4% according to several of the largest housing economists. Interest rates could have an impact on home appreciation and will likely be the number one factor on the accuracy of this projection. You can check the approximate value of your home instantly by clicking here.

Home Rebuilds / CARR fire
With over 1,000 residences lost in the car fire, many locals know someone impacted by the fire. One of the frequent questions we receive is "How many people are going to rebuild". Although we are a ways off from being able to determine the exact number, there are some trends that are emerging. For example:

  • Those who lost a home in locations where the cost of rebuilding is challenging due to topography--which is a large number due to the mountainous topography the fire burned through--may decide not to rebuild.
  • Those who lost a home on acreage property where the land and trees around them have been devastated may decide not to rebuild.
  • Those who were considering a move prior to the fire may decide not to rebuild.
  • Those who do not want to wait the estimated time it will take to rebuild will likely not rebuild.
  • Those who do not desire to go through the process of rebuilding will likely sell their vacant home sites.
  • Many of the vacant home sites will be purchased by local contractors, developed and resold over the next several years adding additional housing to the market.  
Although the number of people that decide not to rebuild may reach as high as 50%, this will likely not have a major impact on the housing market in the long term.

Bottom Line
Home prices have increased an average of 5% over the past 12 months. The majority of this home appreciation is focused on the $500k and below price range. Home sales for the month of October were recorded at just over 300, which is up from 284 one year ago. The next 12-month home value appreciation projection is estimated at 4%, but this number could be impacted if mortgage interest rates rise faster than wages or job growth can account for.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this email or contact me at 530-222-3800.

Have a great November!
Josh Barker

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October 2018 Market Update

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of October.

From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

Home Sales
Homes sales for the month of September totaled approximately 261 properties sold, down from 292 properties sold in August 2018 and 289 sold in September of 2017. This reduction in property closings comes as a surprise after many expected to see an increase in sales due to the CAR fire and the additional buyer demand that was expected. Perhaps the market slowdown that much of the state is currently experiencing is beginning to have an impact in our local market as well. 

Listings for sale
The total number of listings available for purchase is currently averaging 1,085. The number of properties available is very similar to October of 2017 when there were approximately 1,079 properties for sale.

Home price expectations
Real Estate prices are clearly a local market issue. The driving factors for home prices typically focus around "supply and demand". When home sales remain consistent, and the number of listings for sale remains consistent, home prices typically remain consistent as well. When home prices shift up or down, it typically relates to a shift in either supply or demand. The most recent numbers illustrate a slight reduction in buyer demand. If this trend continues, we could expect to see home prices level off. This shift is typically normal and considered to be part of our normal seasonal transition.
When viewing real estate at the state level, many markets are reporting similar changes as well. The "hot markets" that many cities had been experiencing are now reporting growing inventories, longer marketing periods, and an increase in price reductions. Again, many markets have normal seasonal transitions, but after a long run of higher than normal buyer demand, any change is considered big news. 

Interest rates
Interest rates have been on the rise for nearly two years now. After experiencing the lowest mortgage rates in history, averaging in the mid to high 3% range by the end of 2016, the low 4% range in 2017 and now the high 4% range in 2018, everyone has become accustomed to low mortgage rates. The federal reserve, which typically impacts mortgage rates, has announced their intention to increase rates two more times over the next 6 months. This anticipated increase in rates is expected to cause mortgage rates to increase to the low 5% range by March of 2019. 

Below we have provided some interesting statistics that relate to home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners in general. The information provided is a collection of data from Zillow, and various other economic reports that collect information relating to home ownership.
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of buyers are purchasing their first home.
  • Today’s buyer spends nearly four and a half months, on average, looking for a home they will purchase.
  • Just over half (58 percent) of all buyers who are successful in making an offer close on their first one. A quarter (25 percent) of buyers make two offers, and 17 percent make three or more.
  • Only 13 percent of home buyers include the contingency of the sale of their current home.
  • Just over half (52 percent) of buyers put down less than 20 percent on their home.
  • Homeowners are in no hurry to uproot. They’re typically sticking with their homes for 16 years, though some stay much longer, contributing to the low home inventory.
  • More than half (53 percent) of sellers are selling a home for the first time.
  • The majority (over 50%) of sellers are also trying to buy a new home at the same time they are selling.
  • Forty-one percent of sellers say they had an offer fall through before their home sold.
  • Eighty-three percent of sellers make concessions to finalize an offer. The top concessions: Credit towards buyers closing costs, including appliances in sale, and price.
  • Most sellers (61 percent) make at least one change to their original list price; 31 percent of those sellers change the price twice, and 29 percent make three or more changes before their home sells.
  • Home equity remains the biggest financial asset for the typical American homeowner, who has 52 percent of their wealth tied up their home.
  • 6 in 10 homeowners (59 percent) are still paying off their mortgage, and the typical mortgaged homeowner owes 62 percent of their home’s value.
  • Only five percent of homeowners plan to sell their home in the next year, and 63 percent have no plans to sell.

Bottom Line

Nationally, and statewide many markets are reporting an increase in listings for sale. Currently, the local Shasta County market is reporting nearly the same number of listings for sale as one year ago. Home sales nationally and throughout the state of California are reporting a reduction in home sales, longer market times, and price reductions. Currently, in Shasta County, home sales are down compared to one year ago.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this email or contact me at 530-222-3800.
Have a great October!
Josh Barker

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September 2018 Market Update

Click here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of September.

From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

First and foremost, I want to extend our sincere condolences to all of those that have been impacted by the Carr Fire. We also want to take a moment and say a heartfelt thank you to the Fire, Police, and countless additional organizations that have helped our community. It takes community to bring us all together, reflect on what has been lost, and carry forward.

Carr Fire Update

As of the date of this publication, an estimated 1000+ homes have been destroyed as a result of the Carr Fire. Many of these homeowners have been undergoing the tedious process of dealing with insurance companies and determining the best path for cleaning up their existing home sites. Many of these home owners are going through the emotional and calculated process of deciding whether to rebuild or consider other options.


Home Sales Prior To The Carr Fire

In the months of June and July, most of the west coast was beginning to experience a real estate market shift. From Seattle all the way down to San Diego, many communities where reporting a shift in their local markets. Listing inventory was growing, days on market before a home was sold was extending, and home listing prices were beginning to reduce. These market indicators still exist in communities outside of Shasta County and have been labeled a "real estate slowdown". Our local community would likely have been discussing this as well had it not been for the devastating fire that roared through Shasta County’s west side. The month of August closed sales report reflects this shift with 297 homes that closed escrow compared to 320 homes sold one year ago. That number is sure to go up after the Carr Fire.

Home Sales After the Carr Fire

Real Estate is local, and the law of supply and demand rings true when it comes to home prices. The month of August proved to be a major shift in home demand. In the early weeks after the fire, home buyers that had the financial means and desire to purchase immediately after losing a home, did so. This increase in demand caused pending home sales to increase from 288 in August of 2017 to 412 in August of 2018. These numbers represent a 43% increase in home sales compared to last year. Fortunately, the number of new listings coming to the market increased from 417 in August of 2017 to 451 in August of 2018. The increase in new listings is an important factor to maintaining a balanced market.

The Future of Home Sales

As more and more local residents make the important decision whether to rebuild or not, we can expect to see a continued increase in home sales compared to last year. If many of these local residents make the decision between now and the end of the year to purchase instead of rebuilding, we can expect to see home sales remain higher than normal. Once immediate housing needs are met, we can expect to see home sales volume return to a new normal. The key to maintaining a balanced market with small bumps in home prices will be the number of homes available for purchase and the number of new listings that come to the market between now and the end of the year. The higher the number of listings available for purchase, the less likely we will see a major bump in sales prices.

Bottom Line

The Carr Fire has disrupted the local housing market. What could have been a normal real estate market slowdown in the fall months has instead remained consistent. It is expected that many home buyers that lost a home during the Carr Fire will likely purchase a different home between now and the end of the year. Once the majority of these buyers purchase, we can expect home sales return to a new normal. For home sellers considering a move, now may be the right time. The fall and winter months this year will be unlike years past. There will be an increase in buyer demand that will keep the market strong through the balance of the year.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at or contact me at 530-222-3800.

Have a great September!

Josh Barker

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Carr Fire and Real Estate in Shasta County

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog.

From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX
Western Shasta County has burned. It's been a horrific week for local residents. As we are writing this update on Tuesday, July 31st, nearly 900 homes have burned to the ground as a result of the Carr Fire. 
Due to the amount of questions we have received regarding the fire and impact on housing, we wanted to offer some insight into how this disaster is going to impact Real Estate here in Shasta County.
The link provided will provide a map showing the homes affected by the Carr Fire.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at or contact me at 530-222-3800.
Our thoughts and prayers and with all those affected by these fires.
Josh Barker

Friday, July 13, 2018

July 2018 Market Update

Click here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of June.From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

Welcome to our mid-year review for the year of 2018.

Sales in Shasta County for the month of June were down by almost 2% compared to June of 2017. Our pending home sales have begun to show signs of leveling off as well compared to last month. This indicates that the month of July will likely have fewer homes close escrow than in the month of June.  As home sales begin to slow down, we will start to see the volume of inventory level off as well. This could translate into fewer transactions in the later part of summer. We should be prepared for some media outlets to talk about sales being down for the month of July.

Home Inventory levels are up by over 9% when compared to June of 2017. This is definitely having an impact on the market.  From May to June, there was a large jump in the average number of days a house spent on the market. This spring,  home sellers had attempted to push the price of their homes up, at an even greater rate than before, and that resulted in more inventory on the market. However, a lot of those homes ended up selling below their asking price. When home buyers push the prices up in this manner, their homes tend to sit on the market for a longer period of time. This can encourage buyers to make lower offers.

In the past, and while the housing market was recovering, the rate of appreciation hovered around the 10-11% range.  Home appreciation has recently slowed down to a more modest level between 5-6%. The slide below shows that home appreciation is leveling out. Zillow recently featured a graphic of their data and predictions for the next year in the Redding Metro area. Over the next year, Zillow anticipates just over 5% of appreciation.  The additional slide below shows data on the projected future appreciation. In 2018 it indicates around 5.8% appreciation.  The following years of 2019 and 2020 the rate is expected to slow down and eventually end up at around 3%.

Now because home appreciation has been slowing down, we have also begun to see home builders become more conservative. You can see in the slide below that the total number of permits pulled year to date is down by 10 permits from this time in 2017. Although 10 fewer permits is not a large number, it is important to note that the number of permits hasn’t grown. Builders are pulling fewer permits than last year, which is an indication that they are not confident enough in the market's ability to appreciate "fast enough" to continue investing in new construction at high levels.

Mortgage rates in the country were averaging at around 3.5% in early 2017. By the end of 2017 we watched the interest rates rise to the mid-4% range. Now in 2018, we are watching the rates go up into the high 4% range. The slide below indicates where experts believe the rates are headed in the years to come. Rates are expected to be at or above 5% next year. When mortgage rates go up, it has a significant impact on what buyers qualify for when they apply for a loan. For example, if a buyer qualifies for a home loan amount of $300,000 when the mortgage rate is at 4%, that same buyer will only qualify for a $270,000 home loan when the rate increases to 5%. Increasing mortgage rates will have an impact on the housing market.

The rental market continues to show signs of inflation. Anyone out there who is currently renting knows how difficult it is to find a great and affordable place. The slide below shows the increase in rental rates over the years. As rental rates increase, the cost of living as a renter will, unfortunately, continue to go up over the years as well. Home ownership is an excellent hedge against inflation since homeowners secure a mortgage, have locked in their housing costs, and will not be subject to the fluctuations of the rental market.

Wall Street has been waking up to the fact that the housing market is a safe place to invest. In the slide below, you can see that America thinks that Real Estate is the best choice for long-term investment. Traditionally, the stock market was thought to be the safest place to invest. However, you can see that opinions are already changing.

Home values in Shasta County are changing. Check out the value of your home instantly by using our free home valuation tool. Simply enter your property address and we will provide comparable sales to your home and project an estimated value instantly.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this email or contact me at 530-222-3800.

Have a great July!

Josh Barker