Matrix Blog


[Trulia] Going Rental About Real Estate Search

April 7, 2010 | 10:02 pm | |

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Real estate search site Trulia has added rentals to their search capabilities with a new search engine.

“With the burst of the housing bubble, more consumers than ever are trying to decide if they should rent or buy so we’re giving them the tools to make the best decision for their lifestyle, ” said Pete Flint, Trulia co-­?founder and CEO. “We saw the opportunity to take our world-­?class interface, advanced search, rich maps and local neighborhood information and make available for renters, as well as home buyers.”

Its a logical progression to see real estate search move from emphasizing sales to now include rental:

  • 40%+ of US population rents. Thats a large swath of the real estate market.
  • Unemployment remains roughly double the rate of two years ago and is expected to improve very slowly = rentals will remain an important component of the real estate economy
  • Rising foreclosures in 2010 will bring more rental listings to the market
  • Rent v. buy is something buyers wrestle with every day, especially with challenging mortgage underwriting by banks

[Trulia] Price Reduction Report – March 2010

March 9, 2010 | 1:36 pm | |

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Trulia released its Price Reduction Report for March 2010 and press release

The report suggests that sellers are being more realistic when pricing their homes. Over the past year, the rate of price decline began to ease and actually stabilize in certain housing markets. Prices stabilized, largely because sellers finally began to adapt to the new (lower priced) market.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this discount trend begin to expand again in the coming months as sellers enter the spring housing markets with more optimism after a higher level of activity at the end of last year. The tax credit continues to play a role in the higher level of demand. As Trulia builds history on this report, I’m interested on seeing what seasonal patterns there are.

Unemployment remains at very high levels and credit remains very tight. I don’t this see this trend suggesting a housing recovery – its more of a sign that we are leaving surreal market conditions of 2009.

a new all-time low for national home price reduction levels since the company started tracking in April 2009, with 19 percent of listings currently on the market in the United States as of March 1, 2010 experiencing at least one price cut. This represents a 10 percent decrease from the previous month and the first time price reduction levels have dropped below 20 percent. The total dollar amount slashed from home prices dropped to $21.6 billion and the average discount for price-reduced homes continues to hold at 11 percent off of the original listing price.

Of the 50 largest US cities…

Top 5 Cities (most price deductions)

Bottom 5 Cities (least price deductions)

US home sellers more realistic on prices -Trulia

The percentage of U.S. homeowners who cut the listing price on their houses fell in February to the lowest level in 10 months, as initial pricing became more realistic heading into the spring selling season, real estate web site said on Tuesday.

[Trulia] Price Reduction Report – February 2010

February 22, 2010 | 12:00 pm | |

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Trulia released its Price Reduction Report for February 2010 and press release

After several years of significant price reductions, the amount of the deductions have been showing a decline. However, since there isn’t seasonal data to trend (the series started in mid-2009), we can only use this to confirm what we have already observed. California was one of the first market areas to see sharp price decline so sellers don’t have much more distance to travel to reach market and therefore they are at the bottom of the list. The months before the expiration of the tax credit program saw a rise in the amount of seller price declines. The subsequent renewal saw a sharp reversal of the pattern.

Major Metros in California Experience Biggest Decreases in Home Price Reductions SAN FRANCISCO February 16, 2010 – (, smart real estate search to help you make better decisions, today announced that 21 percent of homes currently on the market in the United States as of February 1, 2010 have experienced at least one price cut. This represents the second straight month of home price reductions at this level, the lowest level since Trulia started tracking price reductions in April 2009, and a significant decrease since November 2009, when 26 percent of homes had at least one price reduction. The total dollar amount slashed from home prices dropped to $22.6 billion compared to $28.1 billion in November, a 19 percent decrease. The average discount for price-reduced homes continues to hold at 11 percent off of the original listing price.

California Seeing Less Reductions

Of the top 50 major U.S. cities*, only seven had price reduction levels at 30 percent or higher in February 2010, down from 21 in November 2009. Eight cities have seen a decline by more than one-third, and five of those cities are from the state of California: San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and San Diego.

Tax Credit is Skewing Seller Behavior

The trend, in fact, is pretty clear – it’s what to make of it that’s the question. The months leading up to the pending expiration of the home buyer tax credit last fall saw a rising trend line of price reductions, here and across the country.

[Trulia] Obama Housing Report Card and Industry Call

January 28, 2010 | 4:06 pm | |

The call covered the Harris Poll survey commissioned by Trulia to grade Obama’s performance as it relates to housing.

Here’s his report card:

[click to open report]

On Tuesday January 26th 2010, Trulia’s CEO Pete Flint will be hosting an industry call discussing how President Obama did in his first year in regards to turning around the housing crisis. Pete will be joined by real estate experts and pundits Jonathan Miller, President and CEO of Miller Samuel and Howard Glaser, Principal of The Glaser Group…

Here are the notes and more details about the call.

Some of the press coverage about the call.

[Trulia] Rating Obama on Housing On Eve of State of Union Address

January 25, 2010 | 10:42 pm | |

Trulia, the real estate search site, has organized, and has asked me to participate in, an industry call Tuesday hosted by CEO and co-founder Pete Flint and Howard Glaser of The Glaser Group to discuss how the Obama administration has handled the housing crisis one year in (run-on sentence alert).

This will precede the President’s State of the Union address on Wednesday.

It should be interesting (the industry call, that is). I’ll post the results of the survey on Matrix and other feedback as soon as I can.

Disclosure: I’m an original member of the Trulia industry advisory panel.

[Trulia] Price Reduction Report – January 2010

January 18, 2010 | 8:48 pm | |

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Trulia released its Price Reduction Report for January and the results are interesting. Actually Trulia released the report last week, but between the NYC Inman conference and a timed out web server, I am finally posting it along with my backlogged items.

The report has shown price reductions trends on homes that have at have had at least one reduction.

The total amount slashed from home prices also dropped to $21.2 billion compared to $24.7 billion in December, a 14 percent decrease. The average discount for price-reduced homes continues to hold at 11 percent off of the original listing price. This was also the second straight month where inventory levels have dropped for single family homes and condos across the United States.

This is the lowest level of total deductions since the the metric was established in April 2009.

Its important to note that this isn’t a loss in home equity, but the discount off of what sellers would like to sell their properties for in aggregate. The decline in this metric suggests that sellers are either adapting to the new market by pricing closer to market or they are less resistant to buyer demands. In other words, the rising demand for housing since early 2009 has created less incentive for sellers to capitulate. However, make no mistake – housing remains weak.

IMHO, I think its a combination of both but more of the former (pricing more accurately).

Luxury Market Acid Reflux
What is not surprising at all, is that the aggregate discount for luxury properties (>$2M) is actually rising. They account for 2% of all listings on Trulia, but account for 24% of the total dollar declines. Therefore one would assume that if luxury listings were excluded from the mix, the month over month decline in aggregate listing discounts would be substantially less.

Jumbo mortgage financing anyone?

Trulia Price Reduction Report December 2009

December 9, 2009 | 3:57 pm | |

Trulia, the listing search site, recently developed a Monthly Price Reduction report on the US housing market. Its intriguing because Trulia is able to aggregate this from a data set of millions of active listings – they have 80% coverage…plus the mapping presentation is amazing (way cool). (disclosure: I am on their industry advisory board)

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Here’s the press release and some highlights:

  • 22 percent of homes currently on the market in the United States as of December 1, 2009 have experienced at least one price cut, the lowest level since Trulia started tracking price reductions in April, 2009.
  • The total amount slashed from home prices also dropped from $28.1 billion in November to $24.7 billion in December, representing a 12 percent decrease.
  • The average discount for price-reduced homes slightly increased to 11 percent off of the original listing price compared to 10 percent in the previous four months.
  • The number of listings on Trulia also decreased by 9 percent from the previous month.

The trend over the past several months shows darker (higher price reductions) areas of inventory transitioning from September 2009 to December 2009. If its sensory overload, focus on Alaska to get my drift moving from the above chart down the post through the older charts. More discounting means that sellers are adapting to the new (lower) housing market. Less discounting in this market suggests that list prices are approaching market value when originally priced.

Other than a brief reprieve this month in discounting, which is likely due to the transition from the first time home buyers tax credit to the new program, listing prices are trending lower, perhaps “chasing” the market.

from the press release

“We saw some of the highest levels of reductions last month, as home owners raced to sell their homes in advance of the November 30 expiration of the tax credit,” said Pete Flint. “We are now seeing fewer reductions at the low end of the market as those sellers are increasingly in sync with market prices. With the expansion of the tax credit to repeat home buyers and extension to April 30, we expect to see an increase in price reductions at the higher end of the market in the first quarter of 2010.”

For the first time since Trulia started tracking price reductions in April 2009, one major U.S. city has reached 40 percent of listings with price reductions – Minneapolis. This is the second straight month that Minneapolis has held the top spot for highest percentage of price reductions.

Here’s an archive of prior month maps.

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[Amherst Securities] 7 Million More Foreclosures To Pressure Housing Market

September 25, 2009 | 11:22 am | |

In a decidedly bleek report on the state of foreclosures, Amherst Securities Group LP issued a report that concluded:

The single largest impediment to a recovery in the housing market is the large number of loans that are either in delinquent status or in foreclosure that are destined to liquidate. This creates a huge shadow inventory. We estimate this housing overhang at 7 million units, 135% of a full year of existing home sales. We look at the impact on a number of local markets, then look to the causes of the overhang: (1) transition rates are high, (2) cure rates are low and (3) loans are taking longer to liquidate. We are concerned that, in light of this housing overhang, the stabilization we have seen in home prices the last few months is temporary.

The key issue is the fact that the number of housing units going into foreclosure is much higher than the amount being disposed. Of course all real estate is local and the report creates a compelling case study using listing data from and the Case-Shiller 20 City Index coordinated with the foreclosure process.

Amherst was the key source for the informative “Mortgage Meltdown” story back in December on 60 Minutes. They teamed up with investment fund manager Whitney Tilson. The 60 Minutes segment is in my earlier post but I also inserted it below.

Watch CBS Videos Online


[Interview] Sami Inkinen, Founder, COO of

August 3, 2009 | 12:50 am | | Podcasts |

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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Sami Inkinen, Founder, COO of

August 3, 2009 | 12:01 am | | Podcasts |

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sami Inkinen, Founder and COO of He was nice enough to drop in while he was in New York. We talk about how Trulia began, why it works and touch on some of their products such as the groundbreaking Trulia Voices.

As an added bonus, we talk about the merits of swimming with sharks…literally. [Update] Of course its “shark week” on the Discovery Channel.

I couldn’t make Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2009 this year for the first time in a while, but if you do, take a minute to visit with some Trulians.

Check out the podcast

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.

[Daily Show] Geithner’s Home Pricing Strategy, Shiller Provides Decorating Ideas

July 31, 2009 | 12:58 pm | |
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Home Crisis Investigation
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Hat tip to Trulia Blog. This is LOL.

Tags: , , ,

[Listing Discount] Trulia Looks At Our Behind(edness)

April 27, 2009 | 11:54 am | |

One of the market indicators that people like to get their arms around is the negotiability of housing prices a la the listing discount metric. In other words, what is the spread between asking and sales price? The inference in this metric is that in a weak market (most markets in the US), sellers are more negotiable than they were a few years ago. Of course and this metric’s orientation tends to be toward the seller. If the property is overpriced, the seller has “farther to travel” to meet the buyer for a “meeting of the minds” to occur (a sale).

Trulia now has a Search by price reductiontool which I think is pretty neat and I’m not aware of this available elsewhere.

Trulia’s new price reduction tool enbles home searchers to see new reductions in their neighborhood.  So whether the properties have been reduced by 4% or 14%, buyers know exactly what they’re getting.

More price slashing infers that sellers are more negotiable when the discount is higher. Trulia’s tool allows sellers to see the percentage of listings that have been reduced, the dollar amount and the percentage of reduction off the original list price. While it doesn’t connect the relationship between contract price and list price, it does help consumers understand the asking price trend.

I’d like to take the inference it provides one step further.

Rather than look at this metric as a test for how much or quickly a market is falling or how desperate a seller is, I tend to see it as an indicator of what degree sellers are “behind” the market and perhaps this is related to how quickly the situation has changed in that given market. In other words, if listing prices are declining rapidly, it is more likely for the sellers to be further behind the market when pricing their property because they tend to overprice more at the onset – and have to travel further to meet the buyer on price. It also means that real estate agents are having a more difficult time with more sellers in denial about current market conditions.

In fact, that is how I have always seen the listing discount metric. Less about negotiability or falling prices, and more about how disconnected the sellers are.

At a rate of 39% of listing, NYC is number 1 on the list so everyone else is looking at our disconnect with the market (translation: our behind) caused by our market being the last to join the housing weakness party and the suddenness (never used this word before) of the decline.

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