Fallbrook and San Diego County Home Prices

Median Sales Prices Of Single-Family Homes For Fallbrook And For San Diego County
Yearly Appreciation Of Median Sales Prices For Fallbrook And For San Diego County
Number Of Home Sales Each Month In Fallbrook And In San Diego County, including the number of new homes
Caveats On Interpreting Sales Price Increases
Distribution Of Prices For Home Sales In Fallbrook In 1995, 1997 and January-June 1998
New Home Prices In North County
California and U.S. home prices Versus Time
Fallbrook and Bonsall Home Sales By Price and By Address in 1997 and 1998
Sales Price And Square Footage Of Homes Sold In The Winterwarm Area Of Fallbrook In 1995 And 1996

Median Sales Prices Of Single-Family Resale Homes For Fallbrook And For San Diego County

The two graphs below show the median sales prices of single-family resale homes versus time, as reported by Dataquick in the San Diego Union Tribune, for Fallbrook and for San Diego County separately. The plots show the date of the last month included in the plot, which is generally published by the SDUT near the end of the next month. For example, the August, 1997 data appeared in the September 28, 1997 issue.

The erratic dark (Fallbrook) and green (San Diego County) lines give the median monthly prices. I have made the scale for the San Diego County home prices the same as that for the Fallbrook home prices to make the comparison clearer.

As can be seen, it is very hard to deduce the long-term trend of prices from the monthly values themselves, since they are quite variable. This is even true for the San Diego county data, which contain about 40 times as many homes as the Fallbrook sample. Hence most of the news about the direction of home prices deduced from just the latest month's data are meaningless, even if it is being compared to that of a year ago.

Areas with number of sales smaller than Fallbrook are meaningless to examine even on a longer-term basis, which is why I have not analyzed Bonsall, Rainbow and De Luz separately. An especially egregious example of meaningless data being reported was in the SDUT on 4/25/98, A-15, where it was reported that despite overall steeply rising prices in San Diego County, Bonsall had the biggest decrease in home prices in the county. The decline of 25% was from 6 sales in 1997, with a median price of $311,000 to 8 sales in 1998 with a median price of $233,250. This "statistic" is utter rubbish, and it is hard to imagine a scenario in which the Bonsall home prices had a different trend than Fallbrook home prices. In fact, the March resale prices in the same edition of the SDUT reported on the basis of 5 homes sold in March 1998, the median increased from $210,000 in March 1997 to $500,000 in March 1998! Quite a change by adding the 3 home sales in January and February 1998.

Responsible analysts who understand statistics don't even report such trends based on so few homes. About as many homes are sold in Bonsall in a year as are sold in Fallbrook in a month, making the yearly Bonsall data about as variable as the monthly Fallbrook data. Thus the report here for Bonsall, Rainbow and De Luz: not enough information to present reliable results. Use the Fallbrook data as a reasonable proxy for those areas.

The blue lines give the median of 1 full year of data - the plotted month, 6 previous months and the next 5 months. Because of the significant seasonal effect, it is important to use exactly 12 months, which prevents exact symmetry around the current month. Also, because of the need to have the next 5 months in the median, the latest point will always be 5 months behind the latest monthly median data.

If you believe that you can deduce price trends from less data than comparing medians using a full year's worth of data, see the "increase" in Fallbrook monthly medians from January to June 1995. The "increase" from those numbers is 34% in only 6 months, yet the yearly median shows clearly that home prices decreased during that time. See also the scatter in comparing year over year prices in the plot below.


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

Yearly Appreciation Of Median Sales Prices For Fallbrook And For San Diego County

The two plots below answer the other question that everyone asks - what is the observed increase in home prices over the last year? The green lines show the comparison of a month's median price with the median price for the month one year earlier. As stated above, it is difficult to deduce anything from the large scatter of those numbers for Fallbrook price increases. However, due to the larger number of homes sold in San Diego County, that number is fairly meaningful. A much more valid statistic for Fallbrook is the comparison of the yearly median with the yearly median from one year earlier, which is shown in blue. Because of the lag in computing the median, this statistic will again lag the last available monthly data by 5 months.

The bottom line: San Diego County home prices reached bottom in early 1996. (This is indicated where the price change becomes 0 instead of negative.) Fallbrook home prices reached bottom a bit later at the end of 1996. The smaller Fallbrook sample of course has more scatter, making it more difficult to pin down the turnaround as precisely as for the County.

Since that bottom in 1996, the yearly price change of San Diego County and Fallbrook house prices has become larger. Fallbrook's yearly increase is consistent with a rock-steady 11% per year since late 1997 through 2000. San Diego County reached about a 9% yearly increase in mid-1998 and then fell to about 7.5% in early 1999. Since then, it has surged to ever higher increases, with the current yearly increase of ~14% per year in mid-2000, which looks as if it will prove to be true of late 2000 as well.


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

The highest and lowest sales prices each month in Fallbrook are no longer being published in the SDUT after December 1999.

Number Of Home Sales Each Month In Fallbrook And In San Diego County

The two following plots show the number of home sales each month in Fallbrook and in San Diego County:


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

The number of new homes in the Fallbrook, Bonsall and Rainbow area:

YearNumber of New Homes
1996257
1997279
1998494
1999600
2000525?

"The average number of occupants in the new homes is 2.6 with school age children that are transferring at the Junior or Senior High school levels. This compares to the 3.2 average number of occupants in the early 1999s (1990s?) when school age children were transferring in at the elementary school age. The average cost of a new home is moving from the $200,000 range quickly to the $400,000 price range."

Source: Wil Gower, Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, VN 1/27/00, 7.

These homes are included in the numbers for resale home sales and prices from the SDUT, since 600 homes sold in a year averages 50 per month. This is good, since otherwise the median home prices would have a significant high bias since nearly all new homes sell for well above the median price of an existing house. (This fact was explicitly stated after January 2000 in the SDUT, and was deduced by me prior to that date.)

Caveats On Interpreting Sales Price Increases

An important caveat to keep in mind is that all such home-sale information of course reflects the change in the average size of the homes that are sold. Thus the median home sales price could go up without any change in the value of your home! The median size of homes sold in a given year has risen from 800 square feet in 1949 to 1647 square feet in 1996. Thus median home sale prices should have more than doubled between those times even if the price per square foot was constant. However, for short time intervals, this is probably a minor effect.

Temporary changes in the marketplace which favor sales of lower-priced homes compared to higher-priced homes can also cause the median home sale price change to be different from the change in the value of your home. An excellent example of this in 1997 was in one city in L.A. that had two zip codes with different median sales prices. Both zip codes had increases in the median sales price, yet the overall city showed a decrease in median sale price because relatively more homes were sold in the lower-median-sales-price zip code than in the previous period! No one could claim that prices in that city had declined, even though the median sales price did. However, for longer time intervals, this is a minor effect.

An effect that has increased new-home prices in California are developer's fees. Recall Proposition 13 limited the total property tax to be 1% of the purchase price of the home, adjusted only by the gain in the CPI since the purchase. After that, counties and cities turned to "developer's fees", a tax on new housing, to pay for new schools, roads, etc. required by the increased population density. Those fees ranges from $10,000 to $27,000, depending on city, for an average house (3 bedroom, 2 bath, single-family detached). (See fees by city.) Those fees require developers to build more expensive houses to recoup their costs, so lead to increased median home sales prices which do not reflect increased home values for existing homes.

Distribution Of Prices For Home Sales In Fallbrook In 1995, 1997 and January-June 1998

The graphs below show the distribution of prices for home sales in Fallbrook in 1995 (leftmost plot on top), 1997 (rightmost plot) and the first half of 1998 (leftmost plot on bottom). (The last bin contains all the sales with prices over $450 K.) Note that the graph for 1997 is missing homes sales with prices below $150,000. When one divides those numbers by 12 for a typical month's worth of sales, it is easy to see why the median monthly price jumps around so much.

The 1995 data are from a flyer sent out by a real estate agent, whose name I failed to record, from the then-ERA Realty, for the period 1 January to 25 November 1995. (If any reader knows her name, please email me so I can credit her for this very useful service she provided.) The 1997 and 1998 data are from a wonderful site, the San Diego County Real Estate Information Home Page by G. Triphan.

There are clearly a larger number of houses with sales prices above $250,000 in 1998 versus in 1995.


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)
note that sales below $150,000 seem to be missing


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)
note that sales below $150,000 seem to be missing

New Home Prices In North County

See New Home Prices.

California and U.S. home prices Versus Time

The graph below shows the longer trend in California and U.S. home prices. The plot uses a log scale, so that a constant rate of increase is a straight line. For comparison, two lines are fit to the U.S. home price data. A line representing an annual rate of increase of 10.5% fits the U.S. before 1980. From 1980 to now, the rate of increase has been about 4.5% per year.


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

Fallbrook and Bonsall Home Sales By Price and By Address in 1997

San Diego County homes sales information is now available from the County Assessor's office and from a wonderful site, San Diego County Real Estate Information Home Page by G. Triphan. I have extracted the home sales information for Fallbrook and Bonsall posted so far by G. Triphan. Here are all 1997 prices for Fallbrook and Bonsall, by address and by price, reproduced here by permission from G. Triphan. For some reason, homes sales with prices below $150,000 appear to be absent from this list, but it is wonderful that we have such easy access to the information that is present.

January - June, 1998 Home Sales Information is posted by G. Triphan for Bonsall and Fallbrook, and now includes homes with sales prices of $100,000 to $150,000.

Sales Price And Square Footage Of Homes Sold In The Winterwarm Area Of Fallbrook In 1995 And 1996

The following plot shows the actual sales price and square footage of homes sold in the Winterwarm area of Fallbrook around my house, for home sales in 1995 and 1996. Points with zero square feet are vacant lots. I suspect that most of the points below $100 K at 2000-3000 square feet also reflect the lot price before house-building, since all of those transactions are also present at "normal prices" in the database. The data came from the San Diego County Assessor's Office, which has done a great job in making this public information available on the web.


(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)


Go to Fallbrook Information Overview


Copyright © 1997-2001 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
http://sd.znet.com/~schester/fallbrook/home_prices/index.html
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 21 January 2001.
The plots may have been updated later - see the "updated" date at the top of each plot.