Greater Palm Springs Area Home Sales and Prices Are Still Increasing

As area residents know, the Coachella Valley is a very special place to live. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, many people from across the United States are coming here from crowded urban areas to take advantage of the laid-back resort lifestyle and the fact that home prices are more affordable than in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco.

Last month, one out of every four homes sold for more than its asking price.

JUST LISTED
40158 Calle San Geronimo
$482,900

 
San Benito model on steroids! Remodeled kitchen with all flat and extended quartz counters with waterfall sides. Extended cabinetry. All recent stainless appliances: microwave, double ovens, induction cooktop, double drawer French-door refrigerator, extension faucet. Bamboo and Italian tile floors. Recent neutral paint inside and out. Recent spacious front courtyard. Recent HVAC top-end system. Plantation shutters. Guest and master bath totally remodeled with new walk-in guest shower, master soak tub with handsome flooring, tiling, cabinetry and lighting!!!!! Crown molding throughout. Driveway pavers. “Race deck” flooring in garage with A/C and insulation. Spool, built-in BBQ, fire-pit and aluma-wood patio cover on back patio. 2BR/2BA, Den, Den/3rdBR.
There’s more . . . must see this amazing property! Won’t last.

The median price at the end of the year for a detached home in the valley was $520,000, which is up 22% for the year, according to the December Desert Housing Report published by the California Desert Association of Realtors.

The median attached home price at the end of the year in the valley was $329,000, up 17.9% for the year.

Attached home prices have been surging for five months now, after trailing the price surge of detached homes. In fact, while detached home prices have stalled somewhat for the last two months, prices for attached homes have continued to advance.

Attached units are now supplying homes in the lower price ranges due to the lack of detached supply.

The median price for attached homes in the Coachella Valley is now at its highest level since 2007.

Major Cities’ Sale and Price Growth

All nine major cities continue to show year-over-year price gains in their median price for detached homes. Six cities show double-digit gains for median detached home prices.

Detached home prices in La Quinta are up 27.5% for the year, while those for Palm Springs are up 22.9%. Five cities show double-digit gains for attached homes.

It should be noted that three cities — Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Indio — now have median prices above their all-time highs made during the housing bubble of 2006.

The city which is experiencing the greatest three-month surge in sales is Palm Desert, with average monthly total sales of 236 units a month. This is 58% more than it was last December.

La Quinta is another city experiencing a surge with sales up 77%. Cities that show smaller increases are Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs and Indio. The amazing thing about these numbers, the report said, is that this surge in sales is occurring during a seasonal period when sales are usually very weak.

NEW PRICE
81164 Avenida Castelar
$477,500
 
Stunning, updated home with 2BD/2.5BA, den, fireplaced great room and formal dining or 3rdBR.
Updates include walk-in marble & tile shower with 2 showerheads & bench in MBR;
wood-look & Italian porcelain tile throughout home; deep, private backyard with gorgeous plantings & built-in BBQ island. Plus recent entire AC & furnace replacement
a pocket garden & fountain views from dining room, an expanded front courtyard and
a Bosch dishwasher, French-door refrigerator, modern hardware on all cabinets, most cabinets have roll-outs as well as
real AC in garage plus storage cabinets.

Big Price Gains at $300,000 or Above

When we reviewed sales in different price brackets, the report’s data showed significant sales increases in all brackets over $300,000.

Percentage wise, the largest sales increases are in the brackets between $600,000 and $1 million.

The utterly amazing number, the report said, are sales of homes priced over a million dollars. That is now averaging 130 unit sales a month, which is 170% above last year.

Home Inventory Shrinking, Shrinking

Coachella Valley active listings on January 1st stood at 1,507 units, which is 50% less than a year ago.

Although inventory usually begins to rise in September, this year the pattern changed when inventory declined as we moved toward year’s end.  The report concluded that most of the decline is due to owners reluctant to list and expose their  homes to prospective buyers during the pandemic.

The “months of sales” ratio measures how many months it would take to sell off the entire home inventory at the current sales rate.  At the end of the year the ratio stood at 1.7 months, which compares to 3.7 months at the end of last year. This is the lowest “months of sales” ratio in the history of the Coachella Valley and is due simply to record low inventories and record high sales.

Average “days in the market” is now down to just 38 days.

If you have any questions about the area’s real estate market, please contact Bonnie and Hank Steele.http://bonnieandhanksteele.com/

These Will Be the Top Home Decor Trends of 2021, According to the Experts

Get a sneak peek at the styles you’ll soon be seeing everywhere.

By Katie Holdefehr, Real Simple

After the year we’ve all had, it’s no surprise that home design trends for 2021 focus on comfort — whatever that means for you. Perhaps you seek solace in the clean lines of a minimalist aesthetic (check out Japandi style), or maybe a tufted velvet sofa that reminds you of Grandma’s house and makes you feel at home (get inspired by Grandmillennial style, below).  Home decor trends for 2021 are all about creating a home that’s comfortable, functional, and most importantly, a reflection of you.  We’ll cheer to that.

Credit: Getty Images

Japandi

A combination of Japanese design and Scandinavian minimalism, Japandi style is all about sleek lines and neutral color palettes.   Pinterest has seen search for “Japandi” increase 100 percent from October 2019 to September 2020 versus October 2018 to September 2019. Over the same period, search for “wooden bed design modern” has increased five times, and “neutral color palette earth tones” has increased three times. 

After the tumultuous year we’ve all had, turning our homes into soothing, earth-toned sanctuaries sounds like exactly the trend we need for 2021. 

Credit: Getty Images

Neon Lights

Gen Z is bringing neon lighting back with a modern look.  Customized neon word art in fun fonts and neon-hued LED lights are trending.  On Pinterest, searches for “neon room” have increased eight times, while search for “LED light signs” has increased three times.  Brighten up 2021 with fluorescent light fixtures. 

Friluftsliv (the New Hygge)

Credit: Etsy

As the coronavirus pandemic moved small gatherings and holiday celebrations outside, our outdoor spaces took on newfound importance.  Instead of embracing hygge and snuggling up indoors, many people have espoused the Danish concept of friluftsliv, or “free air life,” and are bundling up before heading outside.

According to Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson, 2021 is the year we’ll take full advantage of our backyards, patios, and balconies as we bring the indoors outside.  To complete our cozy outdoor spaces, weatherproof upholstery, comfy patio furniture, and even drink ledges for balcony railings top our wish lists. 

Credit: Etsy

Doors and Dividers

Both Etsy and Pinterest predicted a move away from open floor plans in favor of more divided spaces in 2021.  As our homes now serve multiple functions — home office, gym, creative space — the need for privacy and separate zones has increased.

Etsy saw a 134-percent increase in search for “room dividers,” and Pinterest saw search for “cloffice ideas” (aka a closet converted into an office) double. 

Earth Tones

Credit: Getty Images

It’s official: earth tones, including beige, brown, burnt umber, and terracotta, will continue their popularity streak in 2021. “In conversations with designers and builders on Houzz, a trend that came up again and again was a renewed interest in shades of brown.  Warm taupes, beiges, sands — basically any earth tone is surging in popularity,” explain the design experts at Houzz. 

Planning any paint projects in the New Year?  Consider swapping in a warm beige or greige for bright white. 

Credit: Getty Images

Oversized Tiles

Skip the teeny-tiny penny tiles with the impossible-to-clean grout lines in favor of larger scale tiles in the bathroom. “Fewer grout lines means less cleaning and less visual clutter,” explain the design pros at Houzz. “Plus, the large-format tile can help visually expand a small space.” 

Credit: Getty Images

Grandmillenial Style

Inspired by the comforts of Grandma’s home (cue the velvet sofa, needlepoint, and floral curtains!), millennials are decorating with a nostalgic sense of style. According to Homes.com, expect to see vintage touches and old-school patterns mixed with bold, modern colors. 

In our Coachella Valley, the number of people who need food has more than doubled this year.

Food from FIND

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity “as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods or uncertain ability to acquire these foods in socially acceptable ways.”

The coronavirus pandemic worsened existing food insecurity as a historic number of people in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere lost their jobs.

In a year full of painful, frustrating moments for many, hunger has been widespread.

Our regional food bank, FIND (Food In Need of Distribution) typically serves between 80,000 to 90,000 people in a month.  In 2020, that number exceeds 190,000.  About 40% of those seeking food this year have never visited a food bank before. 

In nearby Mecca, the Galilee Center has seen a significant increase in those seeking assistance due to the Covid-19 crisis.  Since 2010, Galilee has endeavored to lift up those most in need by providing food, clothing, and necessities for disadvantaged children and families in the East Coachella Valley.

Distributing Food Baskets at Galilee

Pre-pandemic, the center provided about 250 food baskets to impoverished families at its weekly distributions.

By September, the food distribution line had increased to over 600 families.  On Thanksgiving Day, over 750 food baskets were handed out and more families are expected at future weekly distributions.

Over 90 percent of those served by the Galilee Center are essential farmworkers and these minority families are among the working poor that have struggled to stay afloat amidst the devastating circumstances brought on by this pandemic.

The need will not go away with the first doses of vaccine.  Many in our area have lost jobs and cannot make ends meet.  Join us in making this a 2021 resolution to help feed our valley.

If you haven’t already, please consider donating time, money and non-perishable food to a food bank in your community.

Contact information: you may call 760-775-3663 or click FIND.  Or you may call 760-396-9100 or click Galilee.

Happy, healthy holidays from our house to yours!

Produce at FIND warehouse

The Pantone Colors of the Year for 2021 are “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating”

By Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Note from Bonnie Steele, Realtor and Certified Staging Professional: For some positive news, we thought you’d like to know what the colors of the year are for 2021 and why the Pantone Color Institute selected them.

After living through quite possibly the worst year ever, or as columnist Sally Jenkins quipped last week, “this damn zombie movie,” we look back on a year in which we wrestled with a global pandemic, illness, economic distress and social upheaval.

Which makes the Pantone Color Institute, which chose Classic Blue as the Color of the Year for 2020, pretty prescient.

“It’s a color that anticipates what’s going to happen next,” Laurie Pressman, the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, said last year in predicting a blue trend. (One could argue that the prediction manifested in a blue mood, a Democratic president and the World Champion Dodgers).

On Wednesday, Pantone announced that its 2021 Colors of the Year are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, shades chosen for their warmth and dependability.

The Pantone press release issued Wednesday described Illuminating as “a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.” Ultimate Gray, like pebbles, is emblematic of “solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation.”

“The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a press release. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

Pantone’s ability to forecast color trends is a marketing force that helps furniture, textile, fashion, accessory and technology designers choose designs from season to season. Beginning today, retailers, designers and fashion brands will flood our inboxes with gray and yellow toothbrushes and swimsuits; nail polish and exterior paint options.

After a tough year of sheltering in place, will homeowners who are spending money on home upgrades in place of movies, trips and dining out adopt the optimistic color palette?

Designers think so.

“Yellow makes you happy and gray is the perfect neutral,” said designer Cortney Novogratz of The Novogratz. “We have always used yellow in our designs and products which are quite popular.”

L.A. actress and designer Arden Myrin, said she painted the door of her Silver Lake bungalow a similar shade of yellow. “It makes me so happy every time I see it,” she said. “I am a firm believer that life can be hard enough, your home should be hopeful and joyful. What a wonderful decision to pick two colors. The gray, which has been many moments in 2020, bursting through with the bold optimism of the yellow makes it feel like there is hope ahead. I have always loved a pop or yellow, and now I think we all need a pop of yellow, tempered with a nice neutral color — although my neutral of choice with this color yellow is a deep navy.”

Although Orlando Soria, host of HGTV’s “Build Me Up” is a fan of “pretty, ethereal, pale grays,” he is not enthusiastic about Pantone’s shade of gray for Color of the Year. “Ultimate Gray falls into a category of grays I hate: mid-tone grays,” he said. “I find when these are used in spaces they look dead and dull.”

Still, he is on board with Illuminating. “Bright, saturated colors like this make me think of Wallpaper Magazine in the early 2000’s when minimal, Scandinavian design with hints of lime green and neon pink were popular,” Soria said. “I think the early 2000’s are definitely having a comeback, especially in fashion and music (think Billie Eilish’s neon green hair and Gucci costuming). I don’t know that a bunch of interior designers are gonna run out and paint rooms this bright yellow color but I can see it on clothes when people emerge back into the world and want to make a statement.”

Houzz senior editor Mitchell Parker said the home remodeling and design platform has long embraced the color pairing. “Because a bright yellow color can sometimes be overwhelming in large doses, we typically see homeowners use just a small splash of it with larger swaths of gray to make a strong visual statement,” he said. “An example might be a gray exterior paint color paired with a pop of yellow at the front door. Or yellow furniture pieces or decor that offer a bit of flair to gray cabinets in a bathroom or kitchen. This palette also plays nicely with most wood tones. We’re excited to see it garner more attention with Pantone’s annual designation.”

UCLA economists share Pantone’s optimistic outlook for 2021, predicting on Wednesday that the U.S. economy will experience “a gloomy COVID winter and an exuberant vaccine spring,” followed by years of growth.

If the Pantone Color of the Year is designed to highlight the relationship between color trends and what is happening in the world, we can only hope that this year’s forecast of hope and stability is more than just an educated guess.


Move-in ready home offers 2BR – 2.5BA plus Den and 3rdBR / formal dining / media room with many exterior and interior extras and updates – including a huge eat-in kitchen — that are absolutely beautiful. Also enjoy the deep backyard with gorgeous plantings and expanded patio with built-in BBQ. Check out the laid-back Sun City Shadow Hills lifestyle, an award-winning active adult community with low dues and lots and lots of amenities. Offered at $487,500.
Tour  81164 Avenida Castelar.

Greater Palm Springs Area November Real Estate Activity Surges On

MOVE-IN READY
81164 Avenida Castelar


2BR – 2.5BA plus Den and 3rdBR / formal dining / media room with many exterior and interior extras and updates – including a huge eat-in kitchen — that are absolutely beautiful. Sun City Shadow Hills is an award-winning active adult community with low dues and lots and lots of amenities including cafes, a restaurant, two clubhouses and fitness centers, tennis, pickle ball, bocce and two golf courses 
Tour 81164 Avenida Castelar

Prices for detached homes in the Coachella Valley have been surging, said the November Desert Housing Report published by the California Desert Association of Realtors.

The median price in November for a detached home in the Valley was $510,000, which is up 27% over a year ago. The median attached home price in the Valley in November was $315,000, up 14.5% over last year.

The median attached home price in the valley in November was $315,000, up 14.5% over last year. Prices for attached homes and condominiums have finally caught up with the positive trend of detached homes and the report expects this to continue.

Monthly Sales at Highest Since 2005

Total sales over the last 12 months, a period that removes any seasonal pattern, is averaging 874 units a month. This is the highest average sales number over any 12-month period since 2005. The sales average of detached homes is 12% higher than it was last year. However, sales of attached homes are not yet participating in this surge, being only 4% above year ago levels.

The median of days in the market in November was 38 days compared to 55 days a year ago.

Home Sales by City

The largest increase is in Indian Wells where sales have grown by a staggering 147%. This is followed by Rancho Mirage up 82%, La Quinta with sales up 74%, Palm Desert up 73% and Palm Springs up 71%. Sales in the job-oriented communities of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs and Indio are up but by smaller percentages.

Home Sales by Price Range

Once again, when we reviewed sales in different price brackets, we found the largest increases begin in homes priced over $500,000. By far the largest sales increases are in homes priced over $1 million. In November the three-month sales’ average of these homes was 121 units a month, which is up 169% over year ago.

Just When We Think Inventory Can’t Go Any Lower, It Does!

Valley listings on December 1st stood at 1,830 units, which is 42% less than a year ago.  Historically listings should have been increasing over the last two months, but they haven’t been.  The report further states that this seasonal anomaly forecasts continued tight inventories as we move into our usual selling season.

15 Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas That Take Five Minutes or Less

Just because you’re not having guests this year is no reason to cancel the decorations that remind you of the “reason for the season” and all the traditions you so love. If you have 5 minutes, you probably have time to add some cheer and sparkle to your home for the holidays! After all 2020 is almost over!  Decorations in 5 minutes or less.

With Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

Twere the days before Christmas

And all through our valley

The shoppers were stirring, ready to rally.

When on the TV there arose such a clatter,

To buy from big corps. online. The local shops don’t matter?

In the Bag is Gone, and so are some others,

So let us shop local, help our sisters and brothers.

There’s Shield’s Date Farm and the Madison Street Market,

Lots of homegrown produce without a big mark-up.

Si Bon Bistro, Giuseppe’s Pizzeria,

Good eatin’ everywhere, oh mama mia.

Brandini’s Toffee and Mares Menswear,

Kitchen-Kitchen and Quilters Faire.

And so many others, we can’t name them all,

If we don’t help them now, they could very well fall.

Shop local, my friends, to your good heart’s delight,

Happy holidays to all, we’ll get through this dark night.


MOVE-IN READY home offers 2BR – 2.5BA plus Den and 3rdBR / formal dining / media room with many exterior and interior extras and updates – including a huge eat-in kitchen — that are absolutely beautiful.  Also enjoy the deep backyard with gorgeous plantings and expanded patio with built-in BBQ.  Check out the laid-back Sun City Shadow Hills lifestyle, an award-winning active adult community with low dues and lots and lots of amenities.  Offered at $487,500.
Tour 81164 Avenida Castelar.  




Get Set, Get Ready . . .LIST your Property for Sale

So, dust, vacuum and call the Realtors you wish to interview to take the listing, right?  Wrong!  

  • First, look around your property, inside and out.  Is everything in perfect working order?  
  • Are there piles of things that should be sorted or stored away?  Does paint need a touch-up to look fresh?  
  • How will my exterior and “leisure” areas outside compare to other properties in the price range I expect to list in?  Is my home over-furnished or under-furnished for the scale of the space?  
  • Is there a mishmash of memorabilia, collections and family photos that will distract prospective buyers from seeing the features of the house?

Your answers to the above questions may tell you to consider getting the advice of a professional stager.  


NEW PRICE
81164 Avenida Castelar — Sun City Shadow Hills
$487,500
Stunning home offers 2BR – 2.5BA plus Den and 3rdBR / formal dining / media room with many exterior and interior extras and updates – including a huge eat-in kitchen — that are absolutely beautiful.  Also enjoy the deep backyard with gorgeous plantings and expanded patio with built-in BBQ.  Check out the laid-back Sun City Shadow Hills lifestyle, an award-winning active adult community with low dues and lots and lots of amenities. 

They can work with you to rearrange and sort out what you already have to use it to your best advantage, or they can assist you in deciding to store some items and to bring in rented furnishings to get the desired effect for professional photos and on-site showings.

Quality photos are especially important nowadays since properties are listed for sale on-line globally for buyers to decide which they will arrange to visit.

For your information, we’ve included survey results about the importance of staging published in the Real Estate Staging Association 2020 Consumer Guide to Staging.  As a RESA member and also a Certified Staging Professional (CSP), I can offer you a full copy of this guide and can also make suggestions to help you prep your home for maximum return on investment when you get ready to place it on the market.   

Always feel free to contact us and share your ideas, as well, so our fellow Bloggers can gain from our collective great experience.  

Meanwhile, a happy, safe Thanksgiving to all!

Bonnie Steele

Survey Results

2020 SURVEY OF 13,000 STAGED HOMES

Sales Over Listing Price

  • 85% of staged homes sold for 5-23% over list price

Return on Investment

  • With an average investment of 1%, approximately 75% of sellers saw an ROI of 5-15% over asking price

Average Days on Market

  • Staged homes sell faster, averaging just 23 days on market

The Investment

  • 60% of stagers reporting 15-25% ROI, charge 1.5% or more of list price for staging services
SOLD – 80708 Avenida Santa Carmen – Sun City Shadow Hills
$460,000
Mountain vistas coupled with a stunning rock waterfall and expanded, landscaped patio is the view from the huge living/dining room, family room as well as the big center-island kitchen.  And you can enjoy the same view from your spacious master bedroom.  Walk one block to the state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, 18-hole putting course, tennis, bocce and the main clubhouse for a café, library, billiards, cards, clubs, movies and events. 2BR, 3BA, Den/3BR, 2569 SF.

To Flagstaff and Back

We’ve just returned from a two-week-time-off in Flagstaff, AZ, one of our favorite places to really relax.

The pleasure of staying at our Wyndham Flagstaff timeshare is enhanced by being next to the Continental Country Club.  What could be better than gazing down the 18th fairway with the San Francisco Peaks in the background while enjoying a good meal after playing golf?

What?  You thought we’d go there only to check out real estate?  Well, I guess we do just a little bit of comparative shopping between rounds of golf and eating out.  We hadn’t been to “Flag” for about a year-and-a-half and were surprised by its growth — and it’s still growing.  Along one street that connects the town to East Flagstaff where we stay, we saw three condominium developments under construction.


Move-in Ready — 81164 Avenida Castelar, Sun City Shadow Hills:
A 2BR – 2.5BA home with formal dining room / 3rdBR / media room offers many extras and updates that are absolutely beautiful.  Take the virtual tour to see this stunning property at Shadow Hills, an award-winning active adult community with low dues and loads of
amenities.  Offered at $495,000.

When we checked we found the median home price in Flagstaff was $383,600 (the U.S median was $231,200.)  Some recent listings were well over $1 million and their locations were gorgeous.

Such growth is understandable —  Flagstaff has much to offer. 

The town is surrounded by mountains, desert and ponderosa pine forests. It’s a gateway to the San Francisco Peaks, home to Arizona’s tallest mountain (Humphreys Peak) and the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.  (Flagstaff gets an average of 100 inches of snow a year.)

It’s home to a major medical center and Northern Arizona University (NAU) and Coconino Community College.  Old Route 66 and Amtrac run along the south edge of the historic downtown area with its boutiques, galleries and bistros and on the other side of the tracks are NAU and more businesses and restaurants.

 A few miles east of town, the Wupatki National Monument has Native American pueblo sites, and the Walnut Canyon National Monument is dotted with their cliff dwellings.

Also, there’s the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, which is awesome.  Did you know that much of that part of Arizona is a volcano field?

For a daytrip from Flagstaff you have a choice of driving about 80 miles to the south rim of the Grand Canyon or about 80 miles to the North Rim; the town’s midway between the two.

After recovering from our seven-hour drive, we took some walks to help our bodies adjust to the change from our low desert Palm Springs’ area altitude of 500’ to Flagstaff’s mountainous 7,000’.  It can leave you gasping when you’re not used to it, especially when you hit a golf ball into a steep hillside rough.

When we arrived, we had noticed that most people were wearing masks and social distancing and that restaurants were open. We, of course, lunched at some of our favorites and were pleased to see how they’d adjusted to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The restaurants now require masks to enter and tables are spaced 6’ or more apart and booths have Plexiglas partitions.  Those actions helped to provide a welcome feeling of normalcy.


Sale Pending – 80708 Avenida Santa Carmen, Sun City Shadow Hills:
This picture-perfect 2BR – Den/3BR – 3BA home offers  mountain vistas coupled with a stunning rock waterfall and expanded, landscaped patio area is the view from the living/dining room, family room as well as the big center-island kitchen.  And you can enjoy the same view from your spacious master bedroom.  Walk one block to the fitness center with indoor and outdoor pools and main clubhouse for cafe, library, billiards, cards, clubs and events.
2569 SF. Offered @ $469,000.

We knew from weather forecasts about the snowfall that came five days into our stay.  We hadn’t been in snow since 2002 when we came to California from Connecticut.  It was a joy to see as we looked out at the pine forests from our hillside condo, especially since we didn’t have to shovel it.  But it did change our plans.  No more golf.

Plan B immediately went into effect and it was being cozy reading books with a nice gas fire in the fireplace.  Naps, too, became more common.

The snowbound days enabled us to read more Louise Penny intriguing Inspector Gamache mysteries;  to start Ron Chernow’s Titan, his biography of John D. Rockefeller, and David McCullough’s The Greater Journey, his history of American artists, writers and doctors who went to Paris between 1830 and 1900 and the effects their journeys had on the United States.

With temperatures in the 20s and 30s we were less inclined to eat out, which was probably a good thing as we watched reports of the increasing severity of our national pandemic.

Driving home felt a bit other-worldly as we descended from the mountains and pines to the long desert drive home.  As we cruised down the last ridge, we welcomed the sight of the green fields and groves of our Coachella Valley.  It’s good to be home.

Bonnie and Hank Steele began work as Realtors in 1983. They have successfully listed, staged and sold homes in suburban New York City, St. Simon’s and Sea Island, Georgia, and the greater Palm Springs area.

To sell your home safely in the shortest possible time at the highest possible price, call 760-219-1450.

Greater Palm Springs Area Home Prices Still Rising

Move-in Ready
81164 Avenida Castelar

Updated, home with a deep, landscaped backyard and expanded patio with built-in BBQ, The interior features modern, flexible space and updates that are absolutely beautiful! Brand new huge walk-in marble and tile shower in master with 2 showerheads and bench. This 2BR and 2.5BA home offers a fireplaced great room, den, formal dining (or 2nd office/2nd guest bedroom/media room) and huge eat-in center island kitchen. Wood-look and Italian porcelain tile throughout house. Deep, private backyard with gorgeous plantings and a BBQ island. Come check out the Sun City Shadow Hills lifestyle and this stunning property in Phase II. Don’t miss the virtual tour to see the amazing property.  Low dues and so much included!.
Offered at $495,000.

The median price in October for a detached home in the Coachella Valley was $510,000, which is up from $400,000 or 27% over a year ago, according to the most recent Desert Housing Report published by the California Association of Realtors.

The median attached home price in October was $315,000, up 12.7% over last year to $275,000.

It’s clear, the report said, that attached home prices are beginning to accelerate and catch up to the trend in detached homes. As with detached homes, the normal seasonal pattern of price weakness between June and September did not occur this year.

The report indicated that this is a positive sign for prices going forward.

81164 Avenida Castelar
Beautifully landscaped backyard with expanded patio and built-in BBQ

Price Increases for Attached and Detached Homes: Seven cities in the greater Palm Springs area now have year-over-year double digit price increases for detached homes. The four cities with the largest increase — La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City and Palm Springs — range from 17.3% to 38.9%.

The median detached home price in Palm Springs is now 30% above the all-time high in 2006. La Quinta, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage show double-digit price increases for attached homes, as well.

Sale Pending
80708 Avenida Santa Carmen

Move-in ready, a picture-perfect 2BR – Den/3BR – 3BA home. Mountain vistas coupled with a stunning rock waterfall and landscaped expanded patio are the view. Walk 1 block to fitness center with indoor-outdoor pools and main clubhouse for library, billiards, cards, clubs and events. At SCSH, you enjoy the best in laid-back resort style living.
Offered at $469,000.

Monthly Sales Continue to Surge: During the past three months, sales continued to surge in our valley. Detached home sales are averaging 755 a month compared to 525 a year ago while total sales, which includes detached and attached homes, are averaging 1,120 units a month.

The seasonal sales weakness that normally occurs between April and November hasn’t occurred this year.

The report concluded that this is a positive indicator for home prices as we move into the most active part of our so-called “selling season.”

2020 Three-Month Sales Total Surpasses 2019: Average three-month sales in eleven cities stand out compared to sales a year ago.La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage sales’ increases range from 55% to 78%, which are truly amazing numbers since we are in the midst of a national pandemic.

The cities of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs and Indio show smaller increases, but this is because sales in these cities rely on the local workforce and currently jobs in the service area are under stress.

80708 Avenida Santa Carmen
Landscaped backyard with rock waterfall and stream.

Average “Days in the Market:” As reported in the COVID-19 Desert Real Estate Report, which uses a 28-day average because of rapidly changing market conditions, the number of “days in the market” to closed sales for detached homes in October was 59 days, which compares to 80 days last year. “Days in the market” for condos went from 73 days a year ago to 67 days in October.

Coachella Valley Inventory: Valley inventory continues to hover at historically low levels. On November 1 there were only 2,014 units for sale, far below previous years. Last year there were 3,010 units for sale, and the year before that 3,173 units.

Although many blame the low inventory on the current pandemic, the report pointed out that inventory has been steadily declining for over five years and that the cause of current low inventory might be more complicated than many believe.

Bonnie and Hank Steele began work as Realtors in 1983. They have successfully listed, staged and sold homes in suburban New York City, St. Simon’s and Sea Island, Georgia, and the Palm Springs area. To sell your home safely in the shortest possible time at the highest possible price, call 760-219-1450.

Tired of Cooking? Some Safe and Delicious Desert Dining Options


JUST LISTED move-in ready, updated, home with a deep backyard and modern, flexible space
. Add to that the updates that are absolutely beautiful!  Brand new huge walk-in marble and tile shower in master with 2 showerheads and bench.  This 2BR and 2.5BA home offers a fireplaced great room, den, formal dining (or 2nd office/2nd guest bedroom/media room) and huge eat-in center island kitchen.  Wood-look and Italian porcelain tile throughout house.  Deep, private backyard with gorgeous plantings and a BBQ island.  Come check out the Sun City Shadow Hills lifestyle and this stunning property in Phase II.  Don’t miss the virtual tour to see the amazing property!  Low dues and so much included!  81164 Avenida Castelar offered at $495,000.

Some Restaurant Reviews: With California’s stay-at-home order in mid-March, for the next six months we tried “dining out while eating in.”  In the approximate order of our “date-night” experiences here are the results:

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  • **** Shadows Restaurant — To support our community restaurant at Sun City Shadow Hills, many times it was our first choice.   The Shadows came through with delicious food and on-time delivery time and time again.  We especially enjoyed the variety of shrimp appetizers and entrees, the prime rib, schnitzel, brisket and the Maryland crab cakes, all of which provided ample servings and another meal
  • **** Daily Grill – the 3-course meal for two from which we chose the Chicken Pot Pie, of course, and the Chicken Caesar Salad (twice), which provided us with two meals
  • **** Alps Village — Wienerschnitzel and Jagerschnitzel (twice), which provided us with two delicious meals
  • **** Canton Bistro – the Orange Chicken and the Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, which provided us with two yummy meals
  • ** City Wok – Sesame Chicken and some also-tasty Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

We were disappointed that the quality of delivery meals suffered somewhat with the travel time (were there several stops before our house?), except for the Shadows Restaurant.  After two tries, we now use the pick-up option.

Then after six months of isolation when restaurants reopened, while observing the masks and social distancing protocols:

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  • ***** Waters Café at Agua Caliente Resort and Spa – The casino has strict stay safe and distanced procedures and No Smoking inside.  The restaurant has a new menu, everything looked great.  We had a delicious lunch.
  • ***** Si Bon on its attractive patio – Wild Mushroom Soup, Lobster Salad, Wienerschnitzel and Belgian Chocolate Mousse (with a candle) for a scrumptious birthday lunch for Bonnie.   Si Bon is one of our favorite dining spots and we’re very happy it’s still open.

While we were at Big Bear Lake in September, we enjoyed outdoor dining at The Oakside and The Himalayan, as well as Crave Maine (think Lobster Rolls in a mountain patio garden).

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Last week we attended a picnic with several of our friends, two of which were celebrating their same-day birthdays.  Freedom Park in Palm Desert offers pergolas with six well-spaced tables and we enjoyed pizzas from Dominos and our friend, Karen’s, over-the-top pumpkin cupcakes.  Thank you for your thoughtfulness Karen and Dennis.

We look forward to more social distancing picnics and Happy Hours, as well as outdoor dining at favorite desert dining spots.  We want our local restaurants to survive and thrive.

Let us know which ones you’ve enjoyed and we will share them here!