I’m in the market for a new car, and I’m finding that the process is exhausting, confusing, and not at all efficient.
My husband and I check out the cars on the internet, examining statistics and reading consumer reports, then we venture out to the car lots and test drive a few cars.
We came home today after a few test drives, and I felt more confused than ever. I realize that what I want is the car that doesn’t exist: I want affordable, yet luxurious; great gas mileage (hybrid would be nice) but attractive. Oh, and it absolutely must have heated leather seats, blue tooth and nav package.
I’m not unlike some home buyers who want the best location, at least 4 bedrooms, an updated kitchen, a killer backyard, all on a limited budget. Except the home buyers, while they may spend time on the internet checking out the inventory, and they will read many articles about value and the economy, ultimately they can hop in my car (soon, my new car) and I will give them a tour of the various neighborhoods and take them to the homes that meet their requirements.
Based on their budget, I can determine some realistic areas to target. If you don’t want to pay over $800,000 for a home and you want high ceilings and newer construction, don’t waste your time in Alamo.
I wish there was a car sales person that knew all the makes and models and could offer me advice. Instead, I met several car salesmen today, they are each sure they have the perfect car for me. But don’t worry…my husband tells me he knows “all the cars out there” and he reads consumer reports obsessively. We’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel.
Meanwhile, home buyers take heart that the process is much more civilized for you! That’s the good news, because of course, the market is a tough one for buyers today…the inventory remains low, many homes have multiple offers; buyers are competing with each other.
Below are the inventory numbers for today. Last week, I captured the inventory numbers like I always do, but didn’t get as far as posting them (I had to go car shopping and lost track of time)….so when you read below, you’ll see two weeks’ worth of data, plus a comparison to the previous week. For example, Alamo dropped 5 this week, but was down 3 from the previous week—whereas Danville increased by 2 this week, and was the same the previous two weeks. Hopefully that isn’t too confusing to read.
Inventory numbers Dec 2 & 9:?(compared to Nov 24)
Alamo – today: 34; last week: 39 (down 3 from Nov 24)
Danville – today: 70; last week: 68 (steady)
Blackhawk – today: 29; last week: 29 (down 4)
San Ramon – today: 30; last week: 37 (up 3)
Dublin – today: 32; last week: 26 (down 8)
Pleasanton – today: 56; last week: 54 (up 3)
Lafayette – today: 22; last week: 27 (up 2)
Orinda – today: 30; last week: 33 (down 2)
Pleasant Hill – today: 13; last week: 15 (up 3)
Walnut Creek – today: 51; last week: 57 (steady)
Rossmoor – today: 27; last week: 25 (down 7)
Antioch – today: 66; last week: 73 (down 4)
Alamo, take note—I have been watching the Alamo inventory, week in and week out since 2007. This is the very lowest number I have recorded to date.
When I started recording the inventory numbers, I also started to compare Alamo to Antioch each week. I did this in self-defense: the Alamo market was still quite strong, whereas Antioch was struggling. The news media cried “real estate woe is me” and wrote articles about the dire situation, citing the statistics in Contra Costa County, the state, and the country. But real estate is very local—and location, location, location is the rule. Despite the fact that Alamo and Antioch are 30 miles apart and in the same county, the two markets were so different. Antioch had 1300 homes on the market in 2007—and had to recover from all the new home building that went on there. The drop today to 66 also marks the lowest number I have recorded for Antioch.