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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.

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.

Valley Real Estate Market Bucks National Trends–Again!

Home sales across the Coachella Valley rose 6 percent in June compared with June ‘09, bucking both state and national home-sales declines, new real estate reports show. Statewide, home sales declined 4.2 percent in June over the same period of last year.

Much of the valley's gains came as a result of a whopping 38 percent increase in desert condo sales. Some 274 condos sold across the valley during June. Unlike rising home prices, the rise in condo sales is attributed to a lower median price for condos of $192,500. The median price for valley home sales rose another 8.1% to $207,000 during June. The median represents the price at which half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Sales increases in June followed both sales and price increases in April and May when 2,050 homes were sold over the two-month period and median prices should double-digit increases.

It looks like the affordability factor for desert homes and condos is continuing to drive month-to-month increases in re-sales. Interest in bargain priced luxury properties also continues to grow from prospective buyers from around the globe.

New & Improved MLS Searches Now Online!

Our web team has just completed some handy updates to our site that will make your MLS property searches even faster and easier. You are now just one click away from MLS searches for our most popular desert cities. Look for these new links in our right hand navigation links under ‘MLS Property Search.’

Added Community Listings
On each of these MLS search pages, we’ve also added additional neighborhood profile links for a number of both golf and non-golf neighborhoods. This is in addition to our Featured Community Profiles & Listings located just above our MLS Property Search section.

Our web team will be continuing to add and update neighborhood links on these MLS search pages over the coming months. 

$2 Million Price Reduction at The Vintage Club, Indian Wells!

As you enter the privacy gate of this Vintage Club custom residence, you pass by two custom pools in the courtyard. One pool includes a jetted water stream for swimming. The lap pool waterfall flows into the main pool, which also features a lava rock fire pit and spa.

  • 6,271 Square Feet
  • 4 Bedrooms / 4.5 Baths

This $2 Million price reduction is offered by the owners for 90-days only. Seller financing is an available option.

Summer Soltice Today. Record Sales Continue

Today is the longest day of the year, and that’s a good thing for us as we continue to experience a very active real estate market.

People tend to be surprised by the fact that traditionally our summer sales activity remains quite busy. In fact, last August was one of our busiest months of the year. We are personally tracking about one completed sale per week and recently had 11 properties either in escrow or pending contingent sales. Long story short – buyers continue to be very active in investing in resort lifestyle properties here in the desert that seem to be great opportunities. 

Desert Home Sales Gains Continue

The Coachella Valley continued to better national real estate trends as local April sales rose 8.1% and May sales recorded a 7.8% gain over the same months in ‘09. This makes the seventh consecutive month of positive sales gains.

Sales in La Quinta were up 42% in April and 22% in May compared to the same period of '09. Buyers of resale homes continued to gravitate to the communities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage which all recorded sales gains.

The latest sales numbers seem to show that the expiration of the Federal home buyer tax credit in April has not effected our desert market as it apparently did in the national real estate market. The second home market in the desert continues to be very active as buyers continue to take advantage of some great real estate opportunities while resale inventory at several key price points continues to shrink. 

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