Moving money, duplexes, & unicorns.
Moving money duplexes unicorns


Moving money, duplexes, and unicorns. This sounds like a seriously boring blog post, but this is fascinating stuff and I hope you walk away with insight and maybe some ideas for where to focus business if you work in real estate. If you’re not local, are these trends happening in your market? I challenge you to find out.

Increasing 1031 Exchange Sales: Here’s an image to show all 1031 Exchange sales in the Sacramento region over the past two decades. In short, a 1031 Exchange is a way an investor basically swaps one property for another to minimize the tax burden. Often investors from outside a market will move money into a lower-priced market too, but that’s not always the case. Anyway, here are all 1031 Exchange sales on one graph. I know, there are way too many dots here. But do you see two main clusters? There were more sales in the last rising market cycle and there are more in today’s market.

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I spoke with a 1031 Exchange guy and he echoed this is exactly the trend he is seeing out there. When a market is rising, investors tend to move money. I will say the stats here are not perfect because these are only sales where agents have input a 1031 happening. However, I believe most importantly we still have an accurate trend to see about the frequency of 1031s happening. For what it’s worth, about 85% of these exchanges were single family homes, so clearly investors wanting to park money in Sacramento aren’t just looking to the 2-4 unit market.

Brand new duplexes: This might not seem like a big deal, but here are four recent duplex builds in Sacramento. This hardly seems like a trend or worth mentioning, but being that there are literally about a dozen new duplex sales over the past ten years, it’s a big deal to see four right now. The good news for today is it’s possible in some situations to build a duplex and make the numbers work. We have a severe housing shortage in California too, so seeing more multi-unit properties is definitely something we desperately need.

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Unicorn advice: If you are going to build a duplex, keep your costs down somehow and do something modern as it seems like units with a modern / contemporary feel are the ones selling at the top. Also, sometimes we see out-of-town investors pay more for two-unit properties. That’s a very real dynamic. Know that unicorn buyers are out there and when I see 2-4 unit properties sell for too much it’s often a Bay Area buyer (or 1031 Exchange). But be careful about pricing too high because that’s a quick way to get zero offers (seriously). My advice? Price for the market instead of the unicorn.

REGIONAL DUPLEX SALES: Here’s a quick look at two-unit (duplex) sales over the past two decades in the Sacramento region. What do you see?

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A DIFFERENT TREND: When looking at Midtown and Downtown there is clearly a different trend. The rest of the two-unit market hasn’t quite seemed to eclipse where prices were in 2005, but that’s absolutely not the case in Midtown. It just goes to show the market isn’t showing the same trend everywhere. 

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Anyway, I hope that was helpful. Thanks for being here.

Questions: What stands out to you about the images above? What have you noticed about the duplex market? Anything to add?

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