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San Diego County home prices rise again after two month decline

 October 22, 2021 at 3:14 PM PDT

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Hi, San Diego housing prices, trap buyers and sellers

Speaker 2: (00:05)

Prices are going up across the nation. It's not as easy as it was a couple of years ago.

Speaker 1: (00:11)

I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition In San Diego. Removing rattlesnakes can be done with care.

Speaker 3: (00:30)

I mean, like I don't want to kill something that's alive. I don't want to take its life just because of what it is.

Speaker 1: (00:35)

And on our weekend, preview of beloved children's classic at the shell and an autumn flower festival that's ahead on midday edition. The experts say it's a basic question of supply and demand. The low inventory of homes for sale in San Diego is driving prices up again. After heading down for a couple of months, the median home price in the county is going up again. It's now at $750,000. And while that would seem to make it a sellers market, even sellers are facing problems, trying to find another home to buy after their home is sold. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune reporter Phillip Molnar. Phillip. Welcome. Thank

Speaker 2: (01:33)

You so much for having me for a while

Speaker 1: (01:35)

There. It looked like home prices were cooling off. So what caused prices to dip for the last couple of months?

Speaker 2: (01:42)

So what was going on was we were starting to get more homes for sale on the market. It's been stubbornly low home inventory throughout the pandemic, but finally people started putting their homes for sale. Part of it probably is the price going up so much. They felt they could cash out. So what we saw was for two months, inventory was increasing not by a lot, maybe about like 700 more homes than usual for sale. And during that time we saw the price actually declined for two months in a row. But as fewer homes went on the market in the most recent month, we have data for in September. We saw that price climb up again,

Speaker 1: (02:17)

Did new construction have anything to do with it? I see a lot of stuff going up around town.

Speaker 2: (02:22)

Really. When we look at new home sales every month, it's usually around 300 homes have sold. So it's such a low number of new homes are being built that it's like basically statistically insignificant. So yeah, unfortunately our home building is not keeping up with the needs of the community or the demand. So yeah, that's really not having a factor what's really driving the market is resale single family homes. That's our biggest portion of the market. So whatever is happening with those homes, that tends to be how the market's going to go.

Speaker 1: (02:54)

What about the increase in mortgage rates? Is that a

Speaker 2: (02:56)

Factor? You know, what's so fascinating is what we're seeing now, especially in San Diego and I'm sure it's Aberdeen and other markets is the mortgage rate is not affecting home prices. Back in the day, you could really chart things by what was going on with mortgage rates. If they ticked up just a little bit, you'd start to see the price, start the price gains, start to slow or decrease. But what we're seeing now is even as mortgage rates are climbing up very slowly, it's really not affecting the market. What seems to be affecting San Diego. Most of all is how many homes are for sale. It's really amazing. So we actually did a graph in the union Tribune showing the inventory, and you could almost put the inventory numbers and that's the homes for sale. You can put the number of homes for sale chart and overlaid on top of the home price. You can see as soon as the number of homes for sale, it starts to decrease. The price starts to go up. It's really fast.

Speaker 1: (03:48)

The median price that's 740,000 number includes all kinds of homes, single family condos, et cetera. Where's the market seeing the biggest price increases.

Speaker 2: (03:59)

You know, what's interesting. So the last few months, uh, what we have seen is the biggest increase in resale condos. When I talked to real estate agents across San Diego county, they say basically that a lot of shoppers were, everybody wants us to go family home. There's lots of surveys out there that show that's the most desired type of home in the United States. But what a lot of potential buyers are doing is saying, well, Hey, the price went up too much on that single family home. So we're going to settle for a condo. It makes a little more sense. So what we've seen though is because of that, the resale condo median has gone up to its highest point ever in September, which was $565,000. So that's sort of our biggest area of growth.

Speaker 1: (04:42)

Are there areas of the county where inventory is particularly low?

Speaker 2: (04:46)

Yeah. A lot of the north county coastal markets is really the, where you're not going to get a lot. The city of San Diego has done a lot of stuff, really aggressively to sort of increase home building. So some areas in the city are doing a little bit more than what you might find in north county, but especially our, our inventory numbers are the highest in anywhere, south county. So basically Chula Vista is the Mecca for home sales right now. There's a lot of inventory, not a lot by even historic standards, but if you want to look somewhere, it's basically Chula Vista San, you see Joe, those sort of areas that have the most available housing.

Speaker 1: (05:23)

One thing that could be keeping people from selling is that they may not be able to find a new house. Can you tell us about that problem?

Speaker 2: (05:31)

Oh yeah. I hear it all the time for real estate agents, because what my favorite thing to do is to call them every month and ask them for different stories. And a lot of the stories are the same. It's very interesting. So there'll be people in San Diego county that are like, now's my time to sell this condo and move up to a single family home. But a lot of times they might actually back out of a deal because they can't seem to find anything to move into. So there's that factor, but a secondary factor is there are we, we have exact numbers, but a lot of real estate agents tell me that about half their clients are selling their homes and moving out of state. If you can cash out here and move back to Michigan or wherever your family might be from, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck. With that money with the problem is we have a nationwide housing shortage. So prices are going up across the nation and it's getting tougher to find a place, even if you're going to move to Texas or something like that. It's, it's not as easy as it was a couple of years ago.

Speaker 1: (06:25)

So Phil what's the forecast for the housing market for the rest of the year.

Speaker 2: (06:29)

A lot of people think prices are going to continue to increase. There was one study we had a few months ago that predicted San Diego home prices would be nearing $1 million. There's always the possibility that as soon as we start getting just a few more homes on the market in San Diego county, if more people decide, Hey, I want to sell and get out of here before Christmas time, I guess it's possible. But a lot of the forecast just say, it's going to keep going. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (06:54)

All right. Then I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Phillip Molnar, Phil. Thank

Speaker 2: (07:00)

You. Thank you so much.

Speaker 1: (07:07)

If you came face to face with a rattlesnake on your property, what would you do? Who would you call a Poway man wants his community to call him if or more likely when they find a rattlesnake on their property. But as KPBS as Maya Trabelsi found out, relocating live rattlesnakes is not quite as simple or illegal as some might think.

Speaker 3: (07:32)

You know, part of the perks I liked about being a handyman is that you work in different locations every day,

Speaker 4: (07:37)

Whether it's painting dry wall or carpentry, Poway, handyman, Patrick Brady does it all, but he's also known as someone else to the residents in his community. He is Tropper pat And they've been relying on him to do what most people would not catch rattlesnake.

Speaker 3: (08:00)

And once everybody found out about it, everybody seemed to have the word trapper, pat, on the tip of their tongues all the time, I would go places in a copper pack.

Speaker 4: (08:08)

He answers the calls day or night and prides himself on being where he's needed in a matter of minutes, all free of charge.

Speaker 3: (08:15)

I to tell myself all the time it's today, today, you're going to get bit like, no, I'm not getting bit today. You know, I'm not going to put myself in a position. I'm going to get bitten. You want to check with some more,

Speaker 4: (08:24)

But Brady doesn't believe rattlesnakes should be killed preferring to relocate them nearby.

Speaker 3: (08:31)

Take his life just because of what it

Speaker 4: (08:33)

Is. Stories of his brave endeavors echoed their way up to state government in a letter assembly member, Brian main shine thanked him for his work from the beginning of the year. Brady noticed something interesting. Every snake call resulted in the removal of the Northern Pacific rattlesnake. He called the California department of fish and wildlife to share his data. A Lieutenant called him back and that he says is when everything changed.

Speaker 3: (08:57)

I said, Mr. Brady, you know, you need to cease and stop what you're doing right now because, uh, you know, you're not qualified to be doing what you're doing. And you know, there's rules and regulations. You're breaking laws,

Speaker 4: (09:06)

Fearing legal trouble. Brady stopped posting his stories on next door and social media. He took down his website and asked the community not to draw attention to him.

Speaker 3: (09:15)

Um, so there was a lot of things going on that suddenly came to a halt and I felt bad. I felt like I was letting the public down.

Speaker 4: (09:21)

So what are the laws when it comes to rattlesnakes to begin with, it's perfectly legal to kill any rattlesnake found on your property

Speaker 5: (09:29)

Since no permit, no authorization, nothing hit him with the flat part of the shovel. And that's going to do the job.

Speaker 4: (09:36)

Captain Patrick Foy from the department of fish and wildlife says when it comes to moving snakes, in order to let them go,

Speaker 5: (09:41)

Never really accounted for the, the person who might think I don't want to kill the rattlesnake. I want to remove it and take it someplace else and let it go. Now we're here we are today. Now we're having a different conversation,

Speaker 4: (09:52)

California fish and game stipulates. You can take up to two live rattlesnakes per day with no license required in order to release any captured snakes. You need to have the department's written approval. In most cases, this means applying for a scientific collection permit, not unnecessarily swift and easy process

Speaker 5: (10:11)

And rewritten that that law I'd probably would have tweaked it a little bit to make some, make some changes to accommodate that type of request.

Speaker 4: (10:18)

Captain FOI says there is something else to consider,

Speaker 5: (10:22)

Not call an unlicensed. Unbonded an insured person to my house to remove a rattlesnake because if that person gets bit,

Speaker 4: (10:32)

You're going to own it, but the options are few and almost always mean destroying the snake. Some pest control companies charge hundreds of dollars to answer rattlesnake calls unaffordable. For many,

Speaker 5: (10:44)

They do charge high fees, but they are paying for that insurance. They are paying for that training. We

Speaker 6: (10:49)

Prioritize rattlesnake calls as a priority. One for us,

Speaker 4: (10:53)

Chief bill Ganley says the San Diego humane society answered almost a thousand rattlesnake calls. In the past six months, their team is trained to catch and release nearby, and

Speaker 6: (11:03)

We respond within half an hour.

Speaker 4: (11:04)

Considering the volume of rattlesnake calls in the county. He considers Brady to be an ally,

Speaker 6: (11:10)

We'll say, yeah, he was right here. And he took care of it. And I believe he's an advocate of, you know, humanely handling and releasing the snake. That's that's a good thing. In our book,

Speaker 4: (11:20)

Pat Brady's case has sparked internal discussion within the department of fish and wildlife. They told KPBS there could be a path for him to continue, which might include working closely with them to find suitable places for release, how easy that path is still remains to be seen. [inaudible]

Speaker 3: (11:38)

Good thing. It is doing a good thing

Speaker 4: (11:40)

For the community. KPBS news.

Speaker 7: (11:44)


Speaker 1: (11:59)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh today on our weekend preview opera singer, Stephanie bleive performs the music of Johnny Mercer artists. Katie Ruiz installs a new a friend of, for the San Diego Botanic gardens fall festival. The symphony brings a beloved children's story to life at the shell, and there's an art auction at the bread and salt complex. Joining me with all the details as KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans, and welcome Julia.

Speaker 8: (12:30)

Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me first.

Speaker 1: (12:33)

Let's talk about San Diego opera's presentation on Saturday with Metso soprano, Stephanie bleive. What can we expect?

Speaker 8: (12:40)

So Stephanie Blake is an absolute powerhouse in the opera and she last performed with this San Diego opera back in 2014. But for this show, which is the opera's first indoor performance of any kind, since they pivoted to drive in shows during the pandemic, this is going to be just Stephanie Blythe and a pianist on stage at the Balboa theater. And it's just going to be the music of Johnny Mercer. I talked to Stephanie blight this week and I asked her why Johnny Mercer.

Speaker 9: (13:15)

And he's probably one of the most important parts of the American songbook. Not only because he was a great lyricist because he was a great performer. He was a great collaborator. He was a producer. He was the face of the American songbook. There is no other lyricist in, I think in the history of, of the art form that was more visible to the public than Johnny Mercer. And he indeed was a storyteller. If you watch footage of him performing, it feels like you know him.

Speaker 8: (13:51)

So the format is a cabaret style and Stephanie Blythe is known for her storytelling as well. And she'll fill in the evening with stories and history about each of Mercer's songs. And we're listening to an earlier adaptation of a, of a medley of Mercer songs recorded by Blythe for her 2014 album called as long as there are signs it's any place I hang. My hat is home from St. Louis moment

Speaker 7: (14:17)


Speaker 8: (14:22)

And the performance on Saturday will feature all brand new adaptations, including hits like moon river, and then some lesser known Mercer works or works. We don't quite know our Johnny Mercer like Barry Manilow's when October goes,

Speaker 1: (14:36)

Stephanie Blythe performs the music of the great American lyricist, Johnny Mercer Saturday at seven 30 at the Balbo with theater. Now, speaking of storytelling, the San Diego symphony is bringing in poet Gil. So to, to narrate their performance of a beloved children's classic. Tell us about this.

Speaker 8: (14:56)

Yeah, they're performing Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, which is where generations of music lovers have developed their own animal based identification system for the instruments in an orchestra. I am an oboist, so I'm partial to the duck and it's really a beautiful piece of music with a sweet story to go along with it. It's known as a symphonic fairytale for children

Speaker 7: (15:20)


Speaker 8: (15:32)

Plus I love Gail. So two's work as a poet and spoken word performer. So expect him to bring a lot of heart to this story.

Speaker 1: (15:41)

The San Diego symphony performs Peter and the Wolf at the shell on Saturday at 11:30 AM in the visual art world. What's on it, bread and salt. This weekend

Speaker 8: (15:52)

Bread and salt in Logan Heights has home to best practice as small, but steadfast art space that moved in about a year ago. And they're holding an art auction fundraiser this weekend in person with works from about 65 artists. And the list of participants is incredible. There's Tom Driscoll, KRA Fukiyama Yasmeen Kasem, Richard Kelly, to name a few. And it's a great opportunity for collectors or hopeful collectors to scope out new works or discover new artists and support a local gallery. And for the rest of us, it's 65 works of art. We get to see plus best practice still has the Elida Cervantes exhibition. That's on view, which is bold and kind of wild too.

Speaker 1: (16:38)

The best practice art auction takes place Saturday from six to eight 30 at the bread and salt complex in the north county, the San Diego Botanic garden will kick off their fall festival. The festival de Antonio this weekend, including new work by artists, Katie Ruiz. Tell us about that.

Speaker 8: (16:58)

Yeah, it's a 10 day long fall festival and the gardens commissioned artists, Katie Ruiz to design and install, and a friend of that, which is the traditional DIA de Los Muertos altar and Ruiz decided to dedicate the work to the late Chicano activist and artists, Yolanda Lopez. She's painted a portrait of Lopez based on the Tableau Vivaan series of photographs. Those are now on view at the museum of contemporary art, San Diego, which is an exhibition absolutely worth checking out too. I talked to Ruiz this week and she said that this is the first public alter she's worked on. So she wanted to dedicate it to Lopez.

Speaker 10: (17:37)

It seems like a really great opportunity to showcase a Chicano artists like myself, who was born and raised in Southern California and worked very hard to make extremely brave images, um, that allow me to be brave. Mm,

Speaker 8: (17:57)

In addition to the, a friend of Ruiz has installed a curtain of her signature pompoms in a nearby tree, and their visitors can write the names of loved ones on little tags and tie them to the strings, the gardens and the [inaudible] will be open daily. But this Saturday San Diego Botanic garden will host things like face painting and crafts throughout the day, as well as performances from children's banned hullabaloo at 11, and the mariachi reality, the San Diego band from two to 4:00 PM.

Speaker 1: (18:28)

The San Diego Botanic garden fall festival takes place Saturday from 10 to 4:00 PM. And the Frendo will be on view during the gardens regular daily visiting hours through November. First for details on these and more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to I've been speaking to KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And thanks a lot, Julia.

Speaker 8: (18:57)

Thank you, Maureen. Have a good weekend.

Speaker 7: (18:59)