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Sheri’s Palm Springs Area Blog

Whether it be real estate updates, restaurant reviews, events, or highlights of unique homes in Palm Springs, follow Sheri as she covers all that Palm Springs and the surrounding area has to offer.

June Real Estate Quick Facts For The Palm Springs Area

  • The city of Palm Springs led the valley with 192 homes sold in June, followed by Palm Desert with 169 and La Quinta with 148
  • The valley's median sales price of $207,000 was above the national median sales price, which rose 2.3 percent to $183,700 in June from the previous month and 1 percent from a year ago.
  • Recently there were seven upper-end sales ranging from $1.2 million to $6 million in the Coachella Valley. There was a $7.8 million home sale recorded in May and a $4.7 million sale in June. 
Good News For Buyers From $200,000 to $350,000

Good News For Buyers From $200,000 to $350,000

As many of you know, we keep a close watch on our local market stats. Trends develop which many times help us spot opportunities early. As you may know, the first time homebuyer tax credit expired recently. The federal tax credit had spurred sales of entry-level homes and we were seeing a lot of competition for properties in the $200,000 to $350,000 segment.

With that tax credit gone, there are enhanced opportunities for entry-level buyers in several valley communities. We don’t know how long this window will last as cooler weather approaches many parts of the country. Fall usually brings a sizeable increase in buyer traffic in our desert, so, if you are interested in the $200,000 to $350,000 price segment, please take note of this opportunity.

Question of The Month – HOA Rental Rules

Question of The Month – HOA Rental Rules

Enclave Mountain Estates, La Quinta

Question) Do most communities allow short or long term rentals in the desert?

Answer) Each community HOA has their own rules and regulations including rules regarding renting your property. Some HOA’s allow short-term daily and weekly rentals, while others allow only longer-term rentals of one month or more.

We can guide you on the rental policies governing most popular desert communities. You are also entitled to receive a copy of an HOA’s CC&R’s and rules during escrow and before committing to a property purchase.

Communities without an HOA generally have no rental restrictions although city regulations may be in place.

$360 Million in La Quinta Sales Last 6 Months

During the last six months in La Quinta, 594 homes and condos were sold totaling over $360 million. This puts the average La Quinta sale so far this year at $606,322.

Of the total, $55 million were bank owned property sales and $38 million were short sales. The ratio of regular sales versus bank owned and short sales continues to grow at a brisk pace over last year. 

Does Your Insurance Carrier Consider Your Vacation Home Vacant?

Does Your Insurance Carrier Consider Your Vacation Home Vacant?

I mentioned in a previous post that if you choose to rent out your vacation home or condo, you should let your agent know. But what is considered a vacant home? We checked in with local agent Richard Cox of Cox Insurance to get the scoop on this subject.

“Insurers know that vacant homes have a much higher occurrence and severity of damage,” Richard said. “Most companies want the homeowner to be in the home every 30-days, but will accept a visit from friend or even a hired property watch type service.”

The Vintage Club, Indian Wells

“There are many official and unofficial services of this type offered in our desert. Most carriers will accept this type of service. Many of these services will feed cats, walk dogs, flush toilets and even run sinks and water plants. Some will even send or email a ‘property check report’ to the homeowner at a very reasonable cost. These documented reports are perfect for showing insurance carriers that the property was not abandoned in the event of a claim.”

“Short term rentals are often the most miss-categorized property. Second homeowners really need to let their insurance agent know if they are renting it for periods of less than six months. There is almost nothing worse than finding out there is a problem when you are filing a claim.”

Many of the local property watch services charge as little as $30 to $35 per visit to check a property. Thank you Richard for this important information. Richard Cox can be reached at (760) 797-1800

Local Desert Home Sales Beat National Trends Again!

The National Association of Realtors® reported today in the national media that existing (resale) home sales nationwide dropped 27.2% in July of 2010 compared to July ’09. “National sales are at the lowest level since the report began being released in ’99, and single family homes – which account for the bulk of sale transactions – are at the lowest level since May ’95,” the report indicated.

In marked contrast, sales here locally increased during July 2010 in La Quinta (up 3%), Palm Desert (up 9.5%) and Rancho Mirage (up 12%) compared with July ’09. The average sales price also increased in all three cities.

Palm Springs and Indio did show slightly reduced sales in July as these cities recorded lower average sales prices, but again the average sales prices increased in both Palm Springs and Indio. Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage posted a decline in the average July 2010 sales price, which seems to reflect a large number of condo sales in those cities that month.

La Quinta July Sales
July 2009: 106 sales @ $477,228 average selling price
July 2010: 112 sales @ $542,238 average selling price

Palm Desert July Sales
July 2009: 95 @ $431,295
July 2010 106 @ $300,092

Indian Wells July Sales
July 2009: 17 @ $926,265
July 2010: 17 @ $1,009,288

Rancho Mirage July Sales
July 2009: 44 @ $615,166
July 2010: 50 @ $504,030

Indio July Sales
July 2009: 141 @ $174,242
July 2010: 110 @ $199,128

Palm Springs July Sales
July 2009: 151 @ $295,156
July 2010: 128 @ $315,805

So there you have it. Real estate continues to be local and it’s all about location, location, location! Winter is approaching and an increasing number of people are looking for their place in the sun!

Dining Around The Desert: Don Diego’s, Indian Wells

We’ve enjoyed Don Diego’s in Indian Wells over the years. Realizing we hadn’t been there for over a year, we recently made the ten-minute journey from the heart of La Quinta to Indian Wells.

Don Diego’s has been serving Mexican food in the Coachella Valley since ’81. The restaurant offers a large patio out front and a bar area just above the dining room that’s perfect for people watching. You can’t go wrong with one of their margaritas, on the rocks or blended. (Beware that even a ‘medium’ margarita at Diego’s is quite large!)

My favorite dish is the naked Chile Relleno, while my husband Bill enjoys the Corn Tamales with chicken. Many diners seemed to be enjoying the sizzling fajitas as we saw and heard this dish served several times throughout the evening.

Don Diego’s salsa is made fresh daily. Once you start dipping, though, you’ll find it hard to stop! On our last two visits a wandering mariachi player strummed his guitar, strolling from table to table. Diego’s also hosts a nightly ‘Fiesta Hour’ from 3 – 6 pm featuring $1 burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nachos, along with $3.95 house margaritas.

Don Diego’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 74-969 Highway 111, Indian Wells, in the shopping center at the intersection of Cook Street. (760) 340-5588 

Dining Around The Desert: Sirocco, Indian Wells

After returning from a recent trip to Italy we longed for great Italian food here in the desert. On past visits to Sirocco, Chef Livio Massignani and his pastry chef wife, Margherita, prepared and served the best Italian food in the desert. Simply amazing! We noticed upon sitting down for dinner this time, however, that the menus had been changed extensively. We were told that Livio and his wife had retired just four months ago. Unfortunately, it appears that Livio and Margherita took their great recipes with them.

Our salads were swimming in dressing and the signature lobster bisque was room temperature. We sent them back and the next attempt was an improvement. However, our main courses of four different pastas were not even Olive Garden quality. Sirocco may still make pastas in-house but they were not fresh. Further, each pasta dish was drenched in sauce that in all cases was not even average quality for a pricey upscale establishment. Our waiter was not trained in upscale cuisine and service and he swore the food was as good now as before. A real shame!

Sirocco is located within the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort, Indian Wells 

Sales & Prices Rise In Several Valley Cities

Desert home and condo buyers continued to gravitate to the communities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs during April and May as both unit sales and prices rose.

La Quinta led the way with home sales up 42% in April and 22% in May compared to the same months of ’09. La Quinta’s median sales price also rose 22% to $380,000 in April, up from $310,000 in April ’09. This is in marked contrast to the hard-hit foreclosure zones of Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indio, Thermal and Thousand Palms, which saw sales contract over April and May of ‘08.

Luxury Market Continues Improve
Luxury home sales activity also picked up significantly compared to April and May, ’09. Seven sales were recorded in April, ranging from $1.2 million to $6 million. In May the pace continued with a home in Palm Desert selling for $7.8 million.

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