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A home for sale in Hillcrest in December. Staff photo

Pending U.S. home sales dropped 32% year-over-year in December, falling to the lowest level since 2015, but prices in San Diego have largely held up, according to a new study from web-based real estate powerhouse Redfin.

Prices here fell only 2% year-over-year, matching similar declines in Anaheim, Riverside, Newark, Portland and Washington, DC.

We even beat our brethren cities to the north. Prices fell 10.4% in San Francisco, 6% in Sacramento, 5.6% in San Jose, 5.4% in Los Angeles and 4.4% in Oakland. 

Meanwhile, Redfin also reports that home sellers gave concessions to buyers in 42% of home sales in the fourth quarter — the highest share of any three-month period in Redfin’s records.

That’s up from just over 30% in both the last quarter of 2022 and the fourth quarter of 2021.

The increase outpaces a previous 41% high from the quarter ending July 31, 2020 when home sales ground to a halt due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The overall numbers are stark contrast to the pandemic homebuying frenzy of late 2020 and 2021, when record-low mortgage rates fueled fierce competition, forcing buyers to bid over asking price and waive contingencies to have offers seriously considered.

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German life sciences firm Qiagen has acquired locally based DNA-biometrics firm Verogen in a $150-million cash deal, according to Reuters and other news services.

The deal follows an existing two-year partnership in which Qiagen acquired the rights to distribute Verogen products.

Six-year-old Verogen provides DNA-based human identification products and services, which are used in forensic analysis to help solve criminal and missing persons cases.

According to Reuters, Verogen’s portfolio will round out Qiagen’s sample collection and preparation kits, which are used to separate human DNA from forensic investigation samples for analysis.

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The San Diego Regional EDC checks in with a tip for business owners from Sacramento.

If your business is seeking to grow over the next five years or you are thinking of moving out of state, you could be eligible for up to $85 million in tax credits from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

If you participate, you can join the hundreds of local companies that have benefitted from the program.

Awards are based on such factors as the number of jobs created or retained, new capital invested, economic benefit to the state and opportunities for future expansion

For details on this and other opportunities, visit the San Diego Regional EDC’s business resources page.

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Seaside Equity Partners said it has closed its second private equity investment fund, Seaside Equity Partners II, L.P. 2022 with an initial target of $225 million and a final close of $325 million.

The company far exceeded its expectations of raising $225 million.

Despite a challenging fundraising climate, Seaside said its unique approach found favor with a broad base of limited partners, including endowments, foundations, corporate and public pensions, insurance companies, consultants, family offices and individuals.

Seaside invests in fast-growing lower-middle market companies.

With the closing of its second fund, the firm has raised a total of $500 million and invested in 26 businesses.

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In case you missed it, the venerable downtown The Guild Hotel announced that San Diego’s Be Saha Hospitality will take over its food and beverage operations.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Onal Kucuk, the hotel’s general manager. “We’ve been searching for a food and beverage partner for a while now, but were patient in the process, waiting for the right fit. As a locally owned hotel it was a priority of ours to work with a San Diego-based group.”

The property, previously a Navy and Army YMCA, was built in 1924. The building was remodeled in 2019.

Be Saha operates a number of dining and drinking ventures, including two Tahoma locations in Old Town and Baja California.

The Guild Hotel was recently rated No. 2 of the five top hotels in San Diego by consumer magazine Travel & Leisure.

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DreamStart Labs, a San Marcos startup that develops technology to help boost the fortunes of entrepreneurs in the poorest regions of the world, has been named a winner in the Most Influential Articles of 2022 by publication NextBillion.

The winning article, “Savings-Led Digital Finance: The Dawn of a New Era?” was written by Philip Acton, head of banking strategy and Finn Tiedemann, credit analyst.

DreamStart Labs says its apps make it easy for groups to manage financial records, achieve savings goals, build credit history and connect to financial service providers.

The winning article examines the $300 billion digital lending market in developing countries and highlights new finance apps using advanced data analytics to determine the savings capacity of clients as a proxy for their ability to repay loans.”

“Unlike ‘instant credit’ apps, which can lead to over-indebtedness, these savings-led solutions help users build better habits for saving money,” according to the company website.

The article was voted the second most influential. Other winners included a piece from Harvard University and an article from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Based at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, NextBillion publishes articles about the hurdles of doing business in low-income countries.

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Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Bank announced the opening of a San Diego office, its fifth commercial banking location in California.

The bank’s Carmel Valley branch will cover San Diego County with a staff that has “a longstanding history in the region,” according to a news release.

The new office is managed by 20-year industry pro Jim Kordas, along with two other 20-year veterans: Emily Brayfield and Anthony Benintend.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to [email protected].



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Ellen Bullock