La Quinta Resort named Gold Medal Tennis Resort

The La Quinta Resort was named a Gold Medal Tennis Resort by Tennis Resorts Online. This online site ranked The La Quinta Resort as the No. 8 best tennis resort in the world. It also named The La Quinta Resort as having the No. 4 best setting in the world. These rankings are based on reviews in 14 categories of excellence. For the “TENNIS OVERALL” category, the Resort received the highest possible rating of 5 tennis balls. The Resort also received superior ratings in the categories of  lodging, cuisine, spa & fitness, romance, kids programs and other recreational amentities. What a wonderful accomplishment for the La Quinta Resort!  For the entire write up go to

The “Bubble” has collapsed!

The Bubble Picture

Data from the Desert Area MLS

The graph above represents the price per square foot of sold homes in south La Quinta, California from 1998 through April, 2010.

The straight blue line represents an annual 4.5% appreciation rate, which, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), has historically been very close to the actual sales data and when graphed, mirrors actual sales from as long ago as the 1960’s.

The red line is the actual price per square foot of those homes that sold from 1998 through April 2010.

The “Bubble” started in 2002, peaked in 2006 ($343.66) and started to really crash in 2007. At the peak in 2006, the homes were selling 186% of what is considered normal. In August of 2009, the “actual” line first fell below the “normal” line and stayed below until December when it crossed back above the “normal” line as inventories began to shrink. During the one month of October 2009, the average price per square foot was down to $173.66 – 17% below the “normal” line or a 49% decrease from the high – but that was just one month. The 2009 average finished the year only 3.99% above the “normal” line.

Data from the Desert Area MLS

The 2009 average price per square foot ($219.56) is below the half way point between the average price for the years of 2003 ($205.48) and 2004 ($239.72).

While the 2009 average finished the year slightly above the “normal” appreciation line, looking at the 2009 sales by month shows that the price dipped below the “normal” appreciation line in August for the first time since August 2000 and only came back up above the line with a strong rebound in December.

According to the NAR, we should not expect the price to go much below the “Normal” line and with today’s record low mortgage rates, bolsters the feeling that values have returned to where they should be and that this is a great time to buy!

Also, NAR reported that nationally, “Pending” home sales decreased 7.6% in January from December, 2009 but have had a 8.2% surge in February. The decline was the first in 10 months and is blamed on the severe weather all across the country and likewise the strong rebound can be attributed to the arrival of Spring. Before January’s numbers, the previous 9 months were the longest string of increases in the index since it began in 2001. “Pending” sales are those that are under contract but have not yet closed. Since the average escrow is between 45 and 60 days, the decision to buy a home that appears as “sold” (closed escrow) today was likely made 1.5 to 3 months ago. “Pending” homes is a much more current number.

Another bonus is that mortgage rates are at record lows and mortgages are becoming easier to get as lenders are getting more comfortable with the latest regulations.

April 2010 Price Report

Here are the latest sales numbers for all homes sold within the city of La Quinta as well as all Golf Course homes in La Quinta through April 2010.

The blue lines represent 2008 data, the orange lines represent 2009 data and the magenta lines represent 2010 data.

The chart above shows monthly sales of homes within the city of La Quinta*.

The sales for La Quinta in April were the strongest since May, 2006. We continue to notice an improvement in consumer confidence and an increase in buying activity in homes over $600,000, which has been slow over the past 18 months. Personally, our team has put many non-distressed, “regular” home sales together in the last 3 months, which has been a welcomed change.  Prices have not come up, but perhaps they are coming closer to stabilizing as buyers are starting to seize the well-priced homes on the market.

The sales-volume numbers in the higher-end market (which contains many of the golf properties in the chart above) continues to slowly improve as well. Sales in April were the strongest since May, 2008 and continue their rising trend. This is a great sign.  We look forward to an even stronger May.

Overall, we are seeing some positive signs in the market place. Although prices have not yet stabilized in the higher end (over $1 million), there are signs of stabilization beginning in the lower market segments. The mortgage industry is still a stumbling block in the higher end market as it seems that unless you can prove that you don’t need a Jumbo Loan (over $500,000), you can’t get one!  The bottom line is that at the beginning of the downturn in 2006, there were over 10,000 homes available for sale in the Coachella Valley – a real glut, currently, that number is down to under 5,800. As the supply dwindles, the market begins to stabilize and people feel more comfortable to get back into the marketplace.

If buying property is something on your list (especially golf property), why not take advantage of the incredible prices and seller incentives now, when sellers will work with you, instead of in the future, when the demand starts to catch up with the supply? Especially if you’re buying and planning to hold for 5+ years.

Here are some yearly sales figures (units) for the City of La Quinta from 2002:

Year        All LQ      Golf Course
2002         1,354          259
2003         1,565          652
2004         1,931          813
2005         1,553          657
2006         1,098          491
2007             935          447
2008         1,063          416
2009         1,155          418

2010 YTD   444          196 (April)

* When looking at “sold” data, you have to remember that the numbers are generated on the date that the sale is recorded with the county but that the decision to buy was made about 45 – 60 days earlier.

Old Town La Quinta Had Some Special Visitors

Old Town, La Quinta (which is actually new) is a great destination to visit while in the La Quinta area. It is composed of several streets of small and unique shops as well as gourmet restaurants and offices all built using Spanish architecture. Old Town is yet another example of how La Quinta is trying to be relavant.  The Village of La Quinta, located between Washington Street and Eisenhower and Calle Tampico and Avenue 52, has several restaurants, with everything from casual dining to gourmet, Mexican to French to American to Seafood, Banks, a Hardware, Old Town Celler & Wine Bar, a village park with playing fields, a Post Office, Police Station and a lot of nice people – a little bit of everything you might need.

On April 24, 2010, some special visitors, who were in town for the annual “Stage Coach” country music festival held at the Empire Polo Grounds that weekend decide to pay Old Town a visit.