HOW'S THE MARKET?

SAN FRANCISCO REAL ESTATE  &  MARIN REAL ESTATE

 

 

How's the market? When buying or selling a home, it's important to know what's going on in today's real estate market to make informed, smart buying and selling decisions. Find real estate market reports and market updates here.

 


REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE AUGUST 2014

 

August is historically a calmer month in Bay Area real estate as many buyers, sellers and agents alike are off enjoying a last summer vacation as they prepare to head into fall. This year proved no exception with the market reflecting many typical seasonal trends.


Marin County and Sonoma County both saw their average home sale price dip by 10 percent from the previous month—indicative of the aforementioned seasonal trends. The same goes for sales volume dropping slightly in all seven counties we represent.


There were a few highlights. For one, the East Bay continues to see rising or steady home sale prices. This is due mainly to its level of affordability and access for buyers who have been priced out of the San Francisco home market. These same reasons also played into the continued surge in San Francisco condominium prices, which were up 20 percent from their August 2013 average sale price. In San Mateo County, the $1.385 million average sales price helped reclaim the Peninsula’s place as the most affluent county in the Bay Area.


As we look forward to September and October, it would not be the least bit surprising to see both sales volume and average sales price rise back up across the region.


August 2014 :: McGuire Monthly Market Update

 

 

San Francisco - Single Family Homes

The average home sale price for San Francisco came slightly back down to Earth in August after a record-breaking second quarter, with the average sales price for August registering at $1.362 million, down 4 percent from July. However, this number was still up from the previous year and can simply be attributed to seasonal atrophy.


The 27 average days on market (DOM) before a sale was 12 percent faster than it was during the previous month, further proving that the market is as in-demand as ever. The 197 homes sold was also a drop off from July, and is only further proof that limited inventory will continue to keep prices stable, if not upwardly mobile. It should also be mentioned that homes which required no price change netted a handsome 13 percent on top of initial list price.


August 2014 :: McGuire Monthly Market Update

 

 

San Francisco - Condominiums

As many are priced out of the local home sector, San Francisco condominiums only continue to surge in value. The $1.14 million average condominium sale price in August was not only up from July, but was a massive 20 percent gain from August 2013. This year-over-year increase illustrates exactly why the San Francisco condominium market is one of the hottest topics in Bay Area real estate.


As for sales volume, the 209 units sold were right in line with market patterns for the previous few months. Even if new condo construction gives way to a rise in inventory levels over the next year, its doubtful that any meaningful devaluation will occur in this incredibly hot sector. Even at a price tag of more than $1.1 million, the average condo sold in just 32 DOM.


August 2014 :: McGuire Monthly Market Update

 

Marin

Marin County home prices saw a significant month-over-month drop, with the August average of $1.268 million down 10 percent from July. This is a prime example of the seasonal market slow-down that occurs in August, and it would be premature for sellers to raise any concern. The average 54 DOM and 215 homes sold for the area were right in line with what one would expect.


The affluent community of Ross, where luxury homes have been selling at top dollar all year long, seemed to avoid any seasonal slow-down in August. In fact, Ross’ $3.298 million average home sale price this month was a stellar 88 percent gain from August of 2013.


August 2014 :: McGuire Monthly Market Update

 

 

Download full PDF Report.


 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE JULY 2014

 

As the busy spring and early summer peak season came to a close, July 2014 continued to display the commanding staying power of the Bay Area market. While average home sales prices generally dropped slightly from June, it was simply typical market behavior for this time of year. More importantly, all seven counties we represent saw year-over-year average home sales price gains of at least 7 percent, with Napa County up a whopping 26 percent from July 2013.

 

Another strong signifier for the market was that sales volume levels stayed relatively strong despite concerns over low inventory. In fact, five of the seven counties bested their June sales volume totals, with the 480 homes sold in San Mateo County marking that area’s highest monthly total in seven years. Buyers were also able to take some relief in the fact that San Francisco homes saw both a 20 percent increase in month-over-month sales volume and a 17 percent decrease in month-over-month average sales price.

 

The strength of the Bay Area market is certainly buoyed in part by limited inventory, but even as sales volume begins to rise in some areas, prices are still holding strong or growing. The fact of the matter is that the San Francisco economy is booming, and the most desirable residential area in the country is only continuing to dazzle in its seemingly unstoppable upward trajectory.

 

San Francisco - Single Family Homes

After a June that saw the city’s average home sales price of $1.653 million obliterate previous records, July’s numbers came slightly back down to earth. The $1.415 million average home sale was at its lowest point since January, but was still a healthy 9 percent gain from last July. The drop off can simply be attributed to many of this year’s more affluent properties being absorbed during the peak seasons of May and June, rather than any sort of value loss.


Buyers also welcomed the sight of average days on market (DOM) going up slightly to 30 from the previous month’s 26. Additionally, the 212 homes sold in July was the second-highest figure so far this year. While the market is still experiencing overwhelming demand, July’s outlook was a bit sunnier for buyers than in previous months. As for sellers, the average 16 percent gain on initial asking price for homes that required no price change was the strongest such figure among all seven counties we represent.

 

Monthly Market Update :: July 2014

 

 

San Francisco - Condominiums

The condominium sector continues to perform strongly, with July’s average sales price coming in at $1.11 million. As expected, this number was down from the peak values seen in May and June, but it was still the third-highest monthly average in the market’s history, and was a 12 percent year-over-year gain. All-cash offers and bidding wars continued to be the norm as units sold in an average of just 31 DOM—16 percent faster than one year ago. This demand was also reflected in just 208 units selling this month, which was the lowest number since February. With some major developments on the horizon, these numbers should pick up in the near future.


Monthly Market Update :: July 2014

 

 

Marin

Marin County broke the $1.4 million mark for the third time in the past seven years, with its $1.402 million average July home sale mirroring that of San Francisco. This number was also an 11 percent improvement from last July, and further proof that the Bay Area’s most affluent properties are still among its most desirable. Average DOM stayed stable at 51 days. The 221 Marin County homes sold was a 14 percent drop-off from the previous July—a signal of the market’s increasingly limited available inventory.

 

Monthly Market Update :: July 2014

 

 

Download full PDF Report.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q2 2014 

 

Real Estate Market Reports, Second Quarter 2014:           

  • The Luxury Market - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The second quarter of 2014 proved that the Bay Area truly has no ceiling when it comes to the trajectory of average home sale prices. This historic quarter saw five of the seven counties we represent experience all-time highs for average sales price, with San Francisco clearing the $1.5 million mark. Meanwhile, sales volume began to regain its footing after a rather inactive first quarter, and the pace of home sales sped up in all seven counties.


Among the largest factors for the entire Bay Area’s average home sale price record of $925,263 is our thoroughly revitalized economy. California has returned to its global position as the world’s eighth largest economy, and the majority of that strength is driven by the Bay Area.


More specifically, the local tech sector is thriving, and young professionals have all the means to compete for large price tag homes and condominiums. As a recent article from the city and government planning nonprofit SPUR notes, “San Francisco has become the fastest growing large county in the United States, with a 6.1 percent increase in employment from 2011 to 2012 (triple the national growth rate of 2 percent).” It also points out that the tech sector has accounted for 30 percent of the city’s job growth since 2010, and that the ripple effects of this activity have instilled growth in virtually every sector of the city’s economy.


So getting back to the market, it’s no wonder that we saw San Francisco, the East Bay and the North Bay post their highest all-time average luxury home sale prices(defined by the top 10 percent of an area’s sales). The Mid-Peninsula also continued to thrive after a resounding first quarter, posting $4.568 million on the average luxury sale. Perhaps most importantly for the health of this sector, each of the four regions out did sales volume totals as seen in the previous quarter and in Q2 of 2013.


Other highlights from this quarter include Alameda County’s average home sale of $787,006 eclipsing the previous year’s quarterly record by a whopping 17 percent. Marin County also broke its record average sales price by nearing the $1.5 million mark—and at the same time experienced its largest quarterly sales volume in the past six years.


As we look forward to the third quarter, low inventory and a lucrative economy should continue to push pricing toward record levels. While inventory is not expected to open up, those looking for San Francisco condos may have more luck due to a series of major developments currently under construction. It’s also possible that some would-be home sellers will finally enter the fray after seeing the magnificent potential realized in Q2’s average sales prices.

 

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE MAY 2014

 

OVERVIEW (click here to download complete May 2014 Update)

 

As the spring selling season kicked into high gear, home sale prices soared to historic heights throughout much of the Bay Area. But there was also a silver lining for buyers this May: Sales volume surged tremendously after inventory had bottomed out at the beginning of 2014.

 

In this manner, the market rebalanced—not exactly to the point of a level playing field for buyers, but at least to a point wherein those willing to pay top dollar had a significantly larger array of options. This could be seen in the patterns of affluent areas like San Mateo County and Marin County posting some of their highest sales volume totals in the past six years.


Another major trend pertained to those priced or competed out of homes in San Francisco. Buyers firmly invested in nearby sectors where demand was slightly less pressing, and thus boosted values in those markets. San Francisco condos—as well as homes in Contra Costa County, Alameda County and the Peninsula—hit all-time highs for average sales price. Meanwhile, average days on market (DOM) were low across the board as competition remained fierce in the country’s most desirable real estate enclave.

 


SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY - SINGLE FAMILY HOMES


San Francisco’s $1.498 million average home sales price was the city’s second-highest monthly posting of all time, falling just short of last May. And the market regained some health with its 216 homes sold at a six-month high. Still, demand is rampant, and the low 24 DOM for May signified this. But perhaps the most remarkable stat this month was that homes which required no price change netted a whopping 17 percent on top of initial asking price. Telegraph Hill and Russian Hill also saw major year-over-year average sales price gains, as a handful of extremely luxurious properties were scooped up in those areas.

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY - CONDOMINIUMS


If May’s home market numbers looked strong, prices in the condo sector were positively commanding. The $1.209 million average San Francisco condo sale was an all-time high, and a 10 percent gain over the previous month as well as a 20 percent gain over the previous May. The 28 DOM was low, and the 232 units sold—while down slightly from April—was still the second-highest figure in the last seven months.

As in the home sector, Telegraph Hill and Russian Hill saw large average sales price gains, thanks in part to two units in Russian Hill selling above the $5 million mark. Units that required no price change gained a handsome 10 percent on top of initial asking price, whereas sellers who tested the market still recouped 92 percent of their initial offer.

 

 

MARIN COUNTY


At $1.373 million, the average home sales price in Marin County remained strong through May. This figure was up 11 percent year-over-year and was the second-highest average in the past six years. Marin County was also home to perhaps the strongest sales volume uptick in the Bay Area since inventory dried up at the beginning of the year. The 262 homes sold was more than double the 113 sold in January, and apart from last May, was the highest sales volume figure for the area over the past six years. The 55 DOM was a slight uptick over the last month, but such can be expected in a market where average sales price is growing and luxury-priced sales are the norm.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q1 2014

 

Real Estate Market Reports, First Quarter 2014:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

If there was any concern as to the staying power of last year’s boom, perhaps the first quarter of 2014 can put it to rest. The average home sale price of $830,413 for the seven counties we represent was again a six-year high—and this coming in what is typically not a peak season. Of course, the frenetic upward pricing that saw 5 percent gains over last quarter and a 16 percent gain over the $715,852 average home sale price posted in the first quarter of 2013 does not entirely spell a “healthy” market.


While these numbers are a major boon for anyone looking to sell property in the coming months, they also exist because of the severely short inventory levels seen this quarter. Competition fueled bidding wars among determined buyers who continued to redefine the meaning of “top dollar.” And low inventory persists as would-be sellers are uncertain of their options for relocating upon selling their home in the Bay Area.


The most noticeable pricing growth this quarter occurred in the Peninsula, where the seven-county best average home sale of $1.431 million was up 15 percent from the previous quarter and 24 percent from the first quarter of 2013.


This area’s luxury market (defined as such by the top 10 percent of all home sales) was a major reason, with its $4.653 million average sale up an impressive 31 percent from the previous quarter. Furthermore, eight-figure closings were not uncommon here, as the strength of the booming tech sector’s buying power continues to make its mark.


San Francisco and the North Bay also reached new heights, while average sale prices in the East Bay dipped just slightly. This latter trend was largely in part to buyers expanding their search to less sought-after areas to escape the market’s seeming impermeability than any sort of value loss.


And this is where the question of inventory comes into play. The 6,314 properties sold this quarter was down from 8,564 the previous quarter and 7,758 from the same time a year ago. What’s more, the San Jose Mercury News reported that Bay Area sales in March had reached their lowest point since 1988. It doesn’t get much more bleak than that for buyers. But there’s hope on the horizon as the typically busy spring and early
summer is expected to bring more sellers out of the woodwork.


As we move forward, the undeniable strength of one of the world’s premier markets performing at the top of its game sets the table for a thrilling second quarter.

 

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE MAY 2014

 

Fast Moving Market In San Francisco:  Condo Gets 15 Offers


1434 15th Avenue, an elegant 1928 Marina style condo flat in the Inner Sunset, San Francisco was listed on April 18th, 2014 for $799,000 courtesy of Angelo Cosentino of McGuire Real Estate. The price for the condominium was based on recent comparable condominium sales in the Inner Sunset.


After two weeks of showings and robust marketing by Angelo, a total of 15 competitive offers were received on the offer date, April 30th, 2014, all above the asking of $799,000. The condo went pending on Friday, May 2nd for 29% over the asking price, and well above the comparable neighborhood sales. This indicates that the market itself is moving much faster than existing comparable neighborhood sales. One lucky homebuyer got good news that evening that their offer was accepted, while 14 others got the unfortunate news that their offer was not. The condo officially sold on May 16th, 2014 for $1,030,000.


The housing market in San Francisco continues to be very fast paced, with low inventory. There are lots of knowledgable, well-qualified, active buyers looking for homes, and as a result home prices are getting pushed up. A good percentage of home buyers are making cash offers, leaving other mortgage buyers no ability to compete. It's a smart time to sell your home. Even in a sellers market like this, a well marketed home will get the most attention and sell for the highest price.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE MARCH 2014


Despite the rainy weather, the March real estate market continues to crest upwards. The continued swell means well-presented homes are hot, and it's still a seller's market. There are lots of buyers out there hoping they will find and purchase their home this Spring. Current national real estate trends do not accurately reflect the uber strong market activity we are experiencing locally.

 

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE FEBRUARY 2014

 

The Bay Area began 2014 on a high note in many areas, but still has some ground to make up in others. While San Francisco County, the Peninsula and North Bay all posted significant increases in average home sales prices, the East Bay—more notably Alameda County—saw some sharp declines and not much in the way of increases. However, the positive was very positive, as Napa, Marin and Sonoma Counties all posted triple-digit increases in average sales prices in some neighborhoods, and the luxury housing market of Sonoma County especially helped matters with 10 transactions of $1,000,000 or more in January 2014, compared to just one in that price range for the same month last year. January was an especially impressive month this year for San Francisco County, which saw its highest average sales price for the month dating all the way back to 2007.

 

San Francisco (single family homes) - The San Francisco County single-family housing market showed some noteworthy trends at the start of 2014. In January, the average sales price for a single-family home was $1,256,020, a 38 percent increase year-over-year when the average sales price was $911,923. However, that number fell 7 percent in January from the previous month, with the average sales price in December reaching $1,345,243. To put the average sales price for the month in perspective, this January’s $1,256,020 was the highest average sales price recorded for the same month in the last seven years.


San Francisco (condos) - Unlike single-family homes in the area, San Francisco condominiums saw increases in average sales price on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis in January. The $1,048,646 average sales price for the month was 4 percent higher than December’s recorded $1,004,256, and 23 percent higher than 2013. Similar to San Francisco’s SFH market, the average condominium sales price in January 2014 also hit a seven-year peak, surpassing the $1M mark for the first time during that time period as well.

 

Marin - In Marin County, the average sales price for a home also posted double digit gains on both the monthly and yearly scale, with an increase of 25 percent from December to January bringing its average sales price to $1,483,851 for the month. That’s 51 percent higher than January 2013 which was $982,341. The average days on market (DOM) was 13 percent less than January 2013 but 23 percent higher than the previous month in December which could be due in part to seasonal factors affecting the marketplace. On a particular note are Sausalito and Tiburon, where average sales prices rose 232 percent and 115 percent, respectively. Greenbrae was the only Marin neighborhood to experience a year-over-year decline in average sales price, falling 34 percent from $1,591,900 in January 2013 to $1,052,500 in January 2014.

 

Download full PDF Report.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q4 2013 

 

Real Estate Market Reports, Fourth Quarter 2013:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The fourth quarter of 2013 can be defined by three general trends. First, extremely low available inventory and some buyer fatigue that led to overall low sales volume across the Bay Area. Secondly, average home sales prices remained very strong year-over-year despite nominal changes from the previous quarter. And lastly, a still dominant San Francisco market defied both of these patterns, which the other six counties we represent more or less adhered to.


In terms of low inventory and sales volume levels, the 8,564 homes sold this quarter across these seven counties was down from 10,198 homes sold the previous quarter was also down from 9,157 homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012. However, these downward volume shifts in no way mean that the market wasn't active. After all, the average home sale price of $792,431 was up 19 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 when fewer homes sold, and was right on track with the numbers posted in the third quarter of 2013. It would be much more accurate to say that the market was not as "healthy" or "even-sided" for both buyers and sellers as it had been in the few previous quarters when larger inventory numbers meant a wider range of buyer possibilities.


The fact that this downshift in inventory would prevail throughout the fourth quarter became increasingly apparent in early autumn when many buyers opted not to jump into the fray, and instead wait until 2014 for an expected rise in inventory. A microcosm of this trend was seen during a time in November when there were only 13 homes for sale in San Mateo. For an area with a population of nearly 100,000 residents, the frustration triggered by a bleak supply as such, could explain why many potential buyers opted to take a breather.


As mentioned, however, the San Francisco home market acted much differently—a trend that’s become emblematic of this market that often operates within a bubble, having little regard for external market phenomena. The strong $1.35 million average sales price this quarter was the second-highest mark we've seen in any of our regions for the past six years. And in total the 678 home sales was, in fact, right on pace with the extremely hot second and third quarters of 2013.


But if there’s concern in the air for those wondering if the Bay Area market as a whole will open up, there seems to be an undercurrent of optimism for 2014 among economists. In a recent USA Today article, Goldman Sachs estimated housing starts across the nation to grow by 20 percent both in 2014 and the next few years following it. While this activity may not occur in San Francisco where space and building code restrictions make new home starts extremely difficult, the hope is that the sky-high demand in the other Bay Area counties is supplemented by increased construction.


And while no one expects a year as robust as what was experienced in 2013, moderate sales price growth is expected across the Bay Area. And such stability as an extension of record-breaking growth is certainly not a trend sellers are likely to argue with. The main and still open-ended question for 2014 is how well new inventory rates will perform, and in turn, how favorably buyers will respond to the growth that occurs.


At the very least, we expect home values to continue to rise moderately this year—a trend that will only boost the desirability of this market, regardless of what occurs with the question of inventory growth.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE JANUARY 2014

 

THE McGUIRE LIST:  McGuire Congratulates Its 2013 Top Producers, #1 Agent Company-Wide & Newest Partners

 

SAN FRANCISCO—January 7, 2014—McGuire Real Estate proudly congratulates the top 36 sales associates who’re recognized as its 2013 Top Producers. The Top Producer designation is based on gross sales volume, company-wide, with this year’s combined sales totaling more than a billion dollars. 


For the second consecutive year, Neal Ward is honored as the #1 Agent Company-Wide for 2013. Neal has been a McGuire Partner and Top Producer for more than 20 years, representing some of the city’s highest profile home sales this past year, from the Gold Coast blocks of Broadway to the prime streets of Presidio Heights.

 

McGuire’s 2013 Top Producers are: Neal Ward, John Cella, Barbara Callan, Robert Callan Jr., Geoffrey Nelson, Adam Gavzer, Greg Damelio, Eric Turner, Liz McCarthy, Alisa Ruiz-Johnson, Ana Dierkhising, Lotte Moore, Sarah Kowalczyk, Jamie Comer, Chris Panou, Jim Clopton, Joseph G. Moore, Darwin Tejada, Valerie Sancimino, Charles Griffith, Jeffrey Salgado, Cynthia Cummins, Barbara Reynolds, Bronwyn Brunner, Robin Dustan, Michael Fleming, Lea Ann Fleming, Marla Moresi-Valdes, Leslie de Bretteville, Angelo Cosentino, Todd Gray, Jenny Wang, Regine Familet, Matthew Cook, Malcolm Kaufman and Darin Holwitz. 


Additionally, McGuire welcomes Jamie Comer, Top Producer with its Marina Office and John Cella, Top Producer with its Burlingame Office as new members of the McGuire Partner Program™. The program was launched in 2004 and rewards top producing agents with a shared distribution of profits.

 

“At McGuire, we believe that superior results should yield superior rewards,” said Charles E. Moore, CEO. “The McGuire Partner Program™ recognizes and rewards those agents that consistently produce at unparalleled levels.” 

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013

 

As the end of  2013 approaches and we turn our focus to holiday celebrations and spending time with family and friends, the real estate market begins to taper off. There are fewer homes that appear on the market each week, and buyers are less committed to viewing inventory. Home owners looking to sell are in the planning stages and gearing-up to prep-market-sell in early 2014.

 

However, home buyers and sellers who are active during this time are typically serious and interested in taking care of business. The market remains very competitive and strong, with multiple offers on homes in San Francisco and in towns throughout Marin County.  

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q3 2013


Real Estate Market Reports, Third Quarter 2013:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The third quarter of 2013 proved that staying power is currently the name of the game in Bay Area real estate, as the market began to stabilize after hitting five-year highs in most major home-selling metrics for the second quarter. During months when the yearly cycle typically dictates a drop in home sales and values, it speaks to the strength of this seller’s market that, across the board, home values and sales volume tended to stay in line with second quarter highs, if not trump some of them altogether.


The Peninsula, for example, experienced a five-year high in average home sale price of $1.306 million, which led all Bay Area markets for the third quarter. Additionally, luxury homes in the Mid-Peninsula saw major third quarter value gains, with the $4.197 million average sale weighing in at 11 percent higher than in the previous quarter. In fact, the luxury sector stayed relatively strong across the board as the booming tech industry provides opportunity for continued post-recession economic expansion.


But these are all trends that would indicate a continuously “hot market,” rather than what would be deemed a more healthy one, where even if prices are high, inventory levels are up and bidding wars are down. Thankfully for potential home buyers, this latter scenario is becoming more of a reality in the Bay Area. The 10,198 homes sold in the seven counties we represent during the third quarter was actually a 4 percent increase over the hot second quarter—something we attribute in part to a surplus of inventory hitting the market late in the quarter as sellers gained a level of confidence that had been absent since before the real estate bust. A dip in national mortgage rates during the second half of this quarter after the steep rise in May also could be credited for sparking buyer action.


 It should be noted that some buyer fatigue became slightly apparent in a San Francisco market that had seen a 96 percent year-over-year home sale average increase in its luxury sector in the previous quarter. Bidding wars here died down a bit, and while the other six counties we represent generally plateaued or saw average-sale increases, San Francisco homes saw a 5 percent value drop from the second quarter. That said, there should be no mistaking that this remains one of the hottest metro markets in the world, with homes still having short average turnaround times of about a month and the average home sale still up by 23 percent year-over-year.


As we move forward and look to the future of Bay Area real estate, buyers can take some confidence in the fact that inventory has been opening up and looks only to continue this upward pattern heading into the fourth quarter. As for sellers, reassurance can be taken from major economic forecasts, such as the most recent REALTORS Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors®, which predicted California homes accruing 5 to 9 percent on their median list price by September of 2014. In other words, while home values racing upward at breakneck speed may be a phenomenon of the past, third quarter numbers would indicate that the market as a whole is continuing to exhibit sustainable strength. This boils down not only to that initial idea of a vested staying power, but moreover, room for a healthy growth that has the potential to more evenly satisfy both sides of the market.


 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE OCTOBER 2013

 

Many homes continue to get snapped up quickly, even as we move away from prime selling season and into the holidays. Home sellers in San Francisco and throughout Marin County (the communities where I serve home buyers and home sellers) are overjoyed with quick sales, high selling prices, and solid buying behavior. We are still in an escalating market, where home prices are rising, and new market comparables continue to be created everyday.
Here are a few quick buying and selling tips for today's market:

  • For Buyers:  Talking through and clearly defining your desired home search criteria, and understanding why you want to buy, is critical to your buying success. Why do this? Because, if you understand the underlying reasons you want to buy, and have a clear idea of your desired home, you will have more relevant information with which to make a better decision. And, you may be in a stronger position when it comes time to "win" a home. Buying a home is an emotional process. Working with a real estate professional, who can help guide you by asking the right questions, might get you more of the home you want, and faster.
  • For Sellers:  In today's market, you are in the drivers seat. And, in this fast paced market, where homes may sell quickly, being prepared with your next steps is important. Whether you plan to buy up, downsize, rent, rent-back, move to a new area, or couch surf... being able to make quick, informed decisions is key. The way you, and a professional real estate agent, structure your home sale transaction is critical in keeping more money in your pocket and easing your transition. Home sellers usually handle the sale of their property with good business sense, and have a good idea of where they are going.
  • For Sellers:  In a hot market like this, note that an appraisal may short-circuit the transaction at the last minute, and cause your buyer to walk away. There are a few considerations that can help in this situation such as having your real estate agent be proactive in the appraisal process, pre-screening the appraiser, and sharing specific information about the home. A real estate professional, who has deep knowledge of a home and community where it exists, may be able to keep a transaction intact. 

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE AUGUST 2013

 

August 2013 reaffirmed the notion that the Bay Area real estate market truly operates inside a bubble, and that’s a good thing—both for the economy and anyone looking to sell in this endlessly alluring region. Average home sales remained, overall, in step with the five-year monthly highs experienced in June and July for the seven Bay Area counties that we represent at McGuire. In fact, the Peninsula’s average home sales price in August was the highest that area has seen in the last five years, and was the fourth-highest monthly average achieved in any McGuire county since May 2008. Other highlights from August figures included continuously upward-rising values in the low-priced Napa County region, Alameda County homes selling in an average of less than 20 days from when they hit the market and the major metro area of Oakland continuing to see value growth as reports around the nation sing the praises of its economic resurgence.

 

San Francisco (single family homes) - San Francisco home values only gained traction through August, as the $1.323 million average sales price slightly bested July’s average and outperformed August 2012 by a significant 34 percent. The average days on market before a sale also continued to remain low in this tight market, with the 36 average days down 27 percent from a year ago, signaling the ongoing trends of low supply, high demand and all-cash purchases that have led to a marketplace in which rapid turnaround has become the standard. Furthermore, on average, homes that required no price change sold at 13 percent higher than asking price. 


San Francisco (condos) - Condominium values in the city continued to show healthy year-over-year gains, with an average sales price of $953,678 for August 2013, coming in at 17 percent higher than in August of 2012. While San Francisco condos saw a minor 4 percent downturn from their July sales value, the average of 35 days on market before these units sold was, in contrast, more competitive in favor of sellers than the 37-day average in July. And it was a massive drop of 34 percent from August 2012. The strength of this market was also shown in the average sale of 6 percent above asking price we saw for San Francisco condos that required no price change. On a more granular level, homes in Monterey Heights saw an 86 percent year-over-year average sales price gain and condos in Cow Hollow increased 91 percent during this time period.

 

Marin - Remaining among the most desirable of all Bay Area regions, Marin County posted an average home sale 2013 of $1.264 million in August. Relatively, this number was negligible when compared to June and July, and was the second-highest monthly average here since June 2008. Additionally, Marin County homes continued to see fast turnaround time, with the 52 average days on the market before a sale in August at seven percent lower than in July and 32 percent lower than August 2012. Homes that required no price change also sold at 3 percent above asking price, pointing to the fierce bidding wars that have been par for the course in this robust real estate economy. It’s possible that some of Marin County’s August activity could have been influenced by high-priced outliers in smaller areas such as Marshall and Kentfield where average sales prices skyrocketed, but the year-over-year growth of 16 percent in the county’s largest city of San Rafael still depicts a respectable level of upward mobility.

 

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REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE JULY 2013

 

In line with the Bay Area’s massive real estate growth over past year, the seven counties we work with here at McGuire all posted double-digit, year-over-year percentage gains in home sales from July 2013 over July 2012. And as the national market saw some home value depreciation after interest rates spiked in May, the Bay Area, for the most part, remained rather unaffected by this trend, with homes in four of our counties actually seeing month-over-month price gains in July over June of this year. San Francisco, in particular, continued to trend hot, with homes up 8 percent month-over-month. Additionally, the low inventory that existed throughout the Bay Area created bidding wars that drove prices above their initial asking price in all seven of our counties when homes required no price change. Suffice it to say, the insular bubble of Bay Area real estate is alive and thriving.


San Francisco- The city continued to post strong gains month-over-month and year-over-year, with San Francisco’s average home sale price of $1.28 million in July of 2013 at equally 8 percent higher than in May of 2013 and July of 2012. The number of units sold also increased by 14 percent from July of 2012 as the market continued to experience strong demand and low inventory. This was reflected in the average of 33 days on market that these homes saw before being absorbed, down 30 percent from the 47 days averaged a year ago. As for homes that required no price change, bidding wars clearly affected this inventory, as these homes sold at 12 percent higher than their initial asking price. Condos in San Francisco also saw upward price gains and other seller-friendly trends, with all nine of the neighborhoods that we had complete data on seeing double-digit price increases per condo from July of 2012 to July of 2013. With the average condo sale topping the million dollar mark at $1.008 million, this was a 24 percent jump from July of 2012 and a 3 percent gain from June of this year. As with the San Francisco home market, days on market were extremely low at an average of 35, which was 36 percent lower than this month last year. Total units sold also went up by 25 percent year-over-year and 24 percent month-over-month. Glen Park was one of the city’s hottest areas, with a 59 percent year-over-year average sale gain, both for condos and single-family homes.


Marin- Almost right on par with average San Francisco prices for July, the average sale price in this verdant oasis north of the Golden Gate Bridge came in at $1.275 million. This was just slightly up over June, and was up 21 percent from July of 2012—proof that reports of Silicon Valley professionals investing heavily in this market is a trend that only continues to soar. Marin County homes were also absorbed 33 percent faster than in July of 2012, with the average days on market at 56. There were several high performers here in terms of yearly sales average increases, with Tiburon leading the way at a 43 percent increase and San Rafael, Corte Madera and Larkspur also posting year-over-year gains of more than 20 percent.

 

Download full PDF Report.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q2 2013


Real Estate Market Reports, Second Quarter 2013:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The second quarter of 2013 will go down as a historic era in Bay Area real estate that experienced unprecedented highs in terms of home sales values, the amount of homes bought and sold, and just as importantly for the economy at large, numbers unequaled by the market since the housing bubble burst five years ago. Make no mistake, this market was swayed strongly in favor of sellers as it was in the first quarter of 2013, but the 44 percent higher figure of homes sold area-wide in the second quarter meant greater opportunities on both sides of the buyer/seller fence.


Additional encouraging figures we saw for the seven counties we represent at McGuire were an average home sale price of $813,397, up 22 percent from the first quarter, and up 31 percent from the same period last year. We also saw homes being bought within approximately 30 days of going on the market, with the average days on market for Bay Area homes at 33. And if seller confidence isn’t boosted by these measures, it might be by the 96 percent home sale price increase we saw year-over-year in the city of San Francisco luxury market, spurred in large part by an influx of tech professionals who relocated here due to business tax breaks that provided major job growth in that industry.


In short, the market has been thriving and sellers have been cashing in big on the limited number of properties available, but there have been indicators over the past few months that more inventory and homebuyer opportunities are beginning to open up.


Economists are predicting that while the Bay Area’s exponential growth in home sale values is not likely to continue at such a freakish upward clip—as has been seen in some areas since interest rates went up late in the second quarter—factors such as how high home values have become and how quickly sellers can get rid of them, often for all cash, should persuade more sellers to put homes up for sale. This would in turn bring a more dependable and continued cycle of life to the booming market.


Borrowers who have been underwater on their mortgages or who were waiting out the market for a good time to sell could start coming out of the woodwork due to a renewed confidence in seller return. More inventory could also appear, especially now that the massively upward trends of the past few years have plateaued to some extent and homeowners feel like the high market prices aren’t going to continue ascending so steeply, making it less of a gamble to sell now.


Also, many potential buyers pulled away from purchasing a home over the past few quarters due to the massive prices and all-cash offers that were inherent to the period’s bidding wars. Many of those same potential buyers are still waiting in the wings to stake their claim. This could translate into good news for homebuyers who plan on sticking out the life of a mortgage, as investors have less to gain in a market where homes can’t be flipped as easily due to spiked interest rates, freeing up the buying pool for those who are truly looking for a home.


While we expect that the most frenzied period of home selling in recent memory could subside slightly in the coming months, this is only natural given the inherent nature of the market to perform most strongly in the spring and early summer months. What we see before us is a Bay Area market that has made great strides for both buyers and sellers. We also see a market with continued possibilities—including more reliable and encouraging staying power than we’ve had in years.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE MAY 2013


The Bay Area’s real estate market continues to post strong gains, with prices rising during the month of May (year-over-year). Buyers continue to outnumber sellers in the marketplace and interest rates remain attractive, helping to push prices higher and quicken the pace of home sales. We are also seeing more homes sell above asking price. In all seven counties, homes (as well as condominiums in San Francisco) that did not require a price change sold 6.75 percent higher than list on average, a reverse from May 2012 when that same group of homes sold at asking price in every county except San Francisco.

 

San Francisco - The city’s strengthening market for single-family homes carried on throughout May, as the average sales price rose 15 percent from the previous month and jumped 37 percent from May 2012. A shortage of inventory remains a significant factor in the San Francisco market: The number of units sold remained relatively flat, while days on market fell 30 percent from the prior year with homes spending an average of 31 days on market. Buyers are bidding up inventory where it’s available and doing so quickly. Homes that sold without a price change went for an average of 13 percent above asking price in May. The San Francisco condominium market also remained strong as the average sales price rose 21 percent to $1.02 million in May, versus $841,186 in May 2012. The number of days on market dropped nearly 30 percent falling to 36 days. However, the number of units sold was up 31 percent from the previous year for a total of 284.

 

Marin - Home prices in Marin gained significantly, increasing 16 percent to $1,033,295 in May compared with the same month a year earlier. The number of homes sold was up 24 percent not only from the previous month but also the previous year. Echoing the trend seen across the Bay Area, days on market dropped over 35 percent from the previous year. The Kentfield market saw particular appreciation with the average home price climbing to $2.9 million in May, a gain of 51 percent. Prices cooled slightly in the affluent neighborhoods of Ross (-58%) and Belvedere (-38%). Yet due to the low number of transactions in these areas, some percentages can be misleading and tend not to be statistically significant.

 

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REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE APRIL 2013

 

The Bay Area’s real estate market continues to post strong gains, with prices rising during the month of April (year-over-year) in San Francisco and Marin counties. Buyers continue to outnumber sellers in the market and interest rates are attractive, helping to push prices higher and quicken the pace of home sales. We are also seeing more homes sell above asking price. Homes (as well as condominiums in San Francisco) that did not require a price change sold above asking price, a significant reversal from April 2012 when that same group of homes sold at or below asking price in every county except San Francisco. Some of the greatest gains came from the condominium market in San Francisco, where the average sales price jumped 35 percent from the previous year, to $1,031,572 in April 2013.

 

San Francisco - The market for single-family homes in the city remained strong in April with the average sales price holding steady at $1.37 million—a zero percent change from the previous month—but jumping 29 percent from April 2012. A shortage of inventory remains a significant factor in the San Francisco market: The number of units sold and days on market were both down from the year before. Buyers are bidding up inventory where it is available. Homes that sold without a price change went for an average of 14 percent above asking price last month. The competitive marketplace continues to influence buyers to make quicker decisions. April saw a 42 percent decline in days on market, dropping to just 31 days from the previous year. The San Francisco condominium market was exceptionally strong as the average sales price rose 35 percent to $1.03 million in April, versus $761,500 in April 2012. The number of days on market dropped nearly 50 percent falling to 37 days. The number of units sold saw a slight decrease from the previous year.


Marin - Home prices in Marin gained significantly, increasing 16 percent to $1,033,295 in April compared with the same month a year earlier. The number of homes sold was virtually flat year-over-year; however in April that number rose by 17 percent in just one month from March. Again, days on market dropped over 30 percent from the previous year and month, echoing a trend seen across the Bay Area. The Belvedere market saw particular appreciation with the average home price climbing to $2.98 million in April, a gain of 26 percent. Prices cooled slightly in the popular neighborhoods of Kentfield and Ross.

 

Download full PDF Report.

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q1 2013


Real Estate Market Reports, First Quarter 2013:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.


The Bay Area’s housing market during the first quarter could best be described as hyperactive and intensely competitive as high demand and low supply once again drove up prices. Inventory is at 20 year lows in some areas of the county, according to Steve Murray of Real Trends, and the Bay Area is no exception. After years of sitting on the sidelines, buyers are back, feeling confident that the real estate market is once again golden. The low inventory and abundance of buyers has led to an unbalanced market, tipped solidly in favor of sellers.

 

What does this mean? It means that prices are rising, homes are selling faster and we’re seeing multiple and, in some cases an increasing number of, all-cash offers. Across the eight Bay Area counties in which we are active, we saw the average price of a single family home jump 29 percent to $664,187 compared with the same period a year earlier. With little supply, buyers are being forced to act fast. The average number of days on market declined to 45 across the eight markets, a drop of 32 percent from the first quarter 2012. Although prices have returned to pre-2007 levels, volume has not as the rising prices are not enough to draw sellers into the market.

 

Another significant trend that we saw was a significant uptick in all-cash offers. During the first quarter 35 percent of McGuire transactions were all-cash. In some areas that number was much greater – cash deals accounted for half of all transactions in Marin County first quarter, for example. In many cases, buyers are paying in cash to make their offer more attractive to sellers. These buyers are then turning around after the deal closes and financing their homes.

 

Finally, we are beginning to see interest rates climb. Freddie Mac data shows the average 30-year fixed loan rate was 3.63 percent in early April, the highest in more than six months. Experts say this is not necessarily bad news for the housing market in a recent Fortune magazine article. First, it’s a sign of that the U.S. economy is strengthening, which is clearly good news for the housing market. Second, it may spur even more buyers into action as they hurry to buy before rates rise more significantly.

 

The busiest season of the year for real estate is now upon us and we have not seen any significant increase in listings. I expect the low levels of inventory will continue to drive prices upward, at least in the short-term. Looking to the second half of the year, I expect much of the same as low supply continues to drive a sellers’ market.  In order to return to a more normalized market, we must see a balance of power between buyers and sellers, which won’t happen until supply and demand are on more equal footing. Ultimately, the key to a healthy, sustainable real estate market is job creation. While we feel “blessed” for our local market successes, we can really only feel confident when U.S. wealth production per capita expands.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q4 2012


Real Estate Market Reports, Fourth Quarter 2012:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

As we wrapped up last year, the fourth quarter numbers came in strong. Prices rose in each of the “McGuire” markets: Berkeley, Burlingame, Southern Marin and, of course San Francisco, which led the way. The average price of a single family home in San Francisco climbed 32 percent to $1.29 million in the fourth quarter from the fourth quarter 2011. At the same time, the pace of sales was brisk in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. The region’s housing market is as bright and as active as it has been any time over the past five years. During a recent interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland the Yale economist Robert Shiller said that short-term indicators point to an improving market. “It’s a good housing market in the sense that mortgage rates are very low and prices have come down to normal levels,” he said an television interview with Bloomberg News from Davos.


Still, it is important to understand the reason we saw not just gains, but gains of such substantial magnitude: We are facing a crisis of inventory. Around the Bay Area, buyers outnumber sellers and the prices of high-quality properties are being driven up by multiple offers. It’s basic economics – any time you want to control prices, limit supply. Yet the gains that we’ve seen are very real and, in some cases, are starting to approach the high water mark that was set in 2006-2007. As sellers who have remained on the sidelines concerned that they would have to sell their homes for less than they paid begin to take note of this, I believe we will see more homes come on the market. Additional supply should lessen pressure on prices, tempering gains.


As I look ahead to 2013, what do I expect? In the Davos interview, Robert Shiller qualified his remarks about the positive short-term indicators, noting, “It’s a good time to buy if nothing bad happens.” Indeed, I am keeping my eye on a couple of wildcards. As the politicians in Washington struggle with the debt ceiling crisis, it creates uncertainty in the marketplace, which can lead to inactivity as buyers and sellers remain frozen in wait-and-see mode. Furthermore, some proposals in Washington call for eliminating the mortgage tax credit, creating further uncertainty for the housing market. Finally, a new 3.8 percent capital gains tax associated with healthcare reform that went into effect this year could affect some sellers at the high end of the housing market.


As we begin this new year, I am optimistic. Prices are rising and we are seeing a market that is a stronger than it has been in a long time. Inventory crisis or not, the trends are encouraging and I expect that we will continue to see an active, healthy market in 2013.

 

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE Q3 2012


Real Estate Market Reports, Third Quarter 2012:           

  • Luxury Trends - San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate; view market trends and discover the Bay Areas most expensive neighborhoods.
  • San Francisco County - View trends for San Francisco homes and condos, price per square foot, the hottest neighborhoods, and more.
  • Marin County - View the latest market trends for Marin County homes; from days on the market to average sales price.
  • Regional Trends - The big picture view of recent real estate trends for the San Francisco Bay Area.


Around the Bay Area, prices were up in the third quarter, the pace of sales quickened and volume increased. This is, without question, good news. The worst of this down cycle is behind us and prices are beginning to rise again. This mirrors an overall economic trend: The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 72.2 in October, its highest level since 2008. However, while I expect to see continued stable and steady growth, I also expect that growth to be slow. The recovery that we’re seeing is fragile and is destined to take much longer than what we’ve seen in past cycles. Whereas real estate has led us out of past recessions, this time a sustainable real estate recovery will follow private sector job creation.


One particular trend that we’ve seen in each of the Bay Area markets this quarter is a shortage of inventory. There are more buyers than sellers in the marketplace right now and this is a major driver of the price increases we’re seeing across all our markets: San Francisco, the Peninsula, the North Bay and the East Bay. So what is limiting our supply? Although home prices have risen from the lows of the last couple of years, they remain well below the high water mark set in 2006-2007. Many discretionary sellers are unwilling to consider putting their homes on the market when they know they are going to get significantly less than they would have five years ago and, in some cases, less than they paid. This is limiting supply and creating an imbalance between buyers and sellers that is driving up home prices.


Another significant trend during the quarter is rising prices for luxury homes (the top 10 percent of homes) in the Peninsula and San Francisco markets. This is exactly what I’d expect as these markets have the strongest ties to the biotech and tech industries, the two industries that are fueling job growth in our region. Confidence in the tech industry is again on the rise. The University of San Francisco’s School of Management, which uses its Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index to assess the health of the region’s tech industry, found an increase in confidence in the third quarter. The index measured 3.53 out of 5 in the quarter, up from its low of 2.7 in 2008.  The real estate market is also benefitting from strength in the biotech sector. Hiring at biotech companies in and around the industry’s South San Francisco hub has increased demand for Peninsula homes at all price points, driving up the average price of a single family home in San Mateo County 18 percent to $1.12 million compared with the third quarter 2011. San Francisco’s luxury home market also saw significant appreciation in the quarter, particularly in the city’s southernmost neighborhoods from which the commute to Silicon Valley is the easiest.


As we look toward the end of 2012, I am optimistic that we are on our way toward a recovery. Prices are again rising and the worst is in the past. Yet as we begin climbing out of this down cycle, it is important to remember that it just as took many years of frenzied bidding and bad habits to push the market to the record high, it is going to take some time to recover from the subsequent lows.

 

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE APRIL 2012

 

Generally speaking, the real estate market this March/April is showing lots of home buyer activity in Marin with multiple offers being made on the prized, well priced homes. A severe lack of inventory is the biggest challenge, as there is far more demand than supply.

In San Francisco, homes of all types (even fixers, stale listings, probates) are receiving multiple offers, with one winner and 6-10 buyers out of luck. Home affordability is terrific, and home buyers are doing everything they can to get the house they want to end the process. Despite it being a great time to list, sellers are not responding because some of them are stuck with no equity and don't have cash to move even if they want to.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE OCTOBER 2011 

 

Inventory shortages are hampering local markets, as autumn begins. With the traditionally quiet end-of-summer behind us, Bay Area realtors are geared up for what could be a busy fall selling season. However, one obstacle standing in the way of a solid market isn’t a lack of buyers – but a lack of inventory. There just aren’t enough good, well-priced homes for sale to meet buyer demand.


Considering the downbeat national housing market news coverage, you might think that more homes on the market is exactly what we don’t need at this time. But the Bay Area is different from much of the country. In many of the local San Francisco and Marin markets, buyers are continuing to snap up homes that are seen as good values. The result is that a number of listings are attracting multiple offers and many buyers are frustrated by lack of supply. Buyers, and agents, only wish there were more homes on the market. 

 

My guess is that a lot of potential sellers are sitting on the sidelines waiting for a number of issues to sort themselves out, whether it’s the direction of the housing market or the volatile financial markets. While the housing market was quiet as we closed out summer, the stock market has been anything but. So where does this all leave us?


Despite the volatility of the financial markets we’re not seeing current buyers walking away. Given the global economic headwinds buffeting the financial markets, we’re likely to continue experiencing volatility for some time to come. Still, I think most home buyers in the Bay Area are looking past the week-to-week gyrations of the stock market and focusing on the long term. If anything, the recent dip in the stock market makes real estate all the more attractive as a long-term investment option.


On the seller’s side, my sense is that we’ll start seeing more people coming back into the market to list their homes, once they begin seeing the real demand that’s out there for well-priced properties. This is particularly true for those sellers who have lived in their homes for a number of years and, despite declines in prices in recent years, stand to walk away with significant gains when they sell.


One final note: As every Realtor knows, it can be hard enough to hold deals together in this turbulent market without added obstacles. But recent national reports say that mortgage financing and appraisal hurdles are increasingly knocking deals out of escrow and possibly holding back a housing market recovery.


Time magazine reported that 16 percent of all sales contracts failed in July because the buyers could not secure a mortgage, up from 4 percent just two months earlier. In other words, one out of every seven contracts is going down due to problems that buyers are having getting mortgages.

 

Difficulty in securing financing isn’t the only hurdle facing buyers right now. Low appraisals are also blocking sales, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. According to the Journal’s reporters, real estate appraisers, who were criticized by some for being too generous in their property valuations before the housing market fell, may be going overboard in the other direction.


San Francisco:

New listings are coming to market, and they are being sold quickly. Price and location seem to be the recipe for a quick sale.  There is a tremendous amount of interest and activity out there overall, however it appears buyers are watching for the price to be reduced if it is set too high. We are seeing an increase in all cash offers, trumping other good offers in multiple offer situations.

 

Marin:

More luxury properties are coming on the market, and selling at discount rates. Things are moving at a good clip, but still there is low inventory - the lowest in years. Yet, the market is outpacing last year in terms of the number of sales (indications of a pretty solid market). In Southern Marin, people seem to have come back from summer and are stepping up to the plate writing offers. Inventory is the challenge; they are not getting as many homes on the market as they’d like.  The percentage of equity sales to distressed sales is rising.

 

 


 

 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE JUNE 2011


Market Focus Report June 2011/ San Francisco Association of Realtors. San Francisco specific report includes median sales price, active homes for sale inventory, and average days on market data.


It was a busy week for economic news, much of it encouraging. Perhaps the most positive data came out on Friday, showing that U.S. consumers grew more confident in May than a month earlier as declining gasoline prices helped lift Americans’ spirits. The upward trend is encouraging for those of us in the housing market.

 

As real estate people know all too well, consumer confidence plays a critical role in the housing market. If buyers are positive about their job prospects and the overall economy, they’re more likely to take the leap into buying a home or trading up to a larger one.

 

But despite the overall improvement in the economy and the financial markets, the nation’s housing market overall continues to struggle to gain momentum. Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped more than expected in April to touch a seven-month low, the National Association of Realtors reported on Friday.

 

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index dropped 11.6 percent to 81.9 in April, the lowest since September. Pending home sales lead existing home sales by a month or two. Economists, who had expected pending home sales to fall 1.0 percent last month, said bad weather in some parts of the country might have affected home shopping.

 

So what to make of the mixed bag? Overall, the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, albeit at a modest pace. Nationally, the housing market is fighting to work through the overhang of foreclosed and distressed properties. It’s not easy, and will take time. But it will happen.

 

However, more than ever, we’re reminded of how much real estate is about location, location, location. Things are far better here in the Bay Area. The overall market is much more stable than elsewhere in the nation, and in some pockets, it’s fairly robust.  We continue to have multiple offers.  Not every property for sure, and not all multiple offers are well over the asking price.  But this is a strong indication of Bay Area buyer demand that most of the nation is not experiencing today.  Thoughtful and strategic pricing, combined with staging interior and exterior of property are key elements to having the best chance at multiple offers. Luxury housing market reports out this week continue to show strong demand for high-end properties in particular.


San Francisco Real Estate Update:

Sales activity is improving. Inventory of quality, well priced homes is low and sell right away when it comes on the market. Homes in questionable condition, or short sales, sit unless they are bargain priced. Buyers complain they would like to buy but can't find the right place at the right price, then go in droves for multiple offers when something good comes on the market. There has been good open house traffic and improving number of sales in May in the Marina area. Each sale takes a realistic seller and a buyer not always looking for a bargain - just the right price. The Sunset market is stable, and there seems to be more negotiations from beginning to closing. Buyers are tending to be careful about price and condition of the property. The home sales cycle is taking longer to close, with re-negotiation after inspections. Pacific Heights sales and inventory are on the rise, and we are seeing multiple offers for some properties.


Marin Real Estate Update:

Inventory is on the rise in central Marin, but sales activity has been easing a bit. Nonetheless, one property on the market at $975 in Corte Madera received nine offers - a pretty good sign that there are buyers out there ready to go when they see a property they like. Southern Marin is steady. Strong negotiating seems to be the name of the game, but ultimately homes seem to get into contract.

 



 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE MAY 2011


San Francisco Real Estate Update:

The good activity from April is continuing through May, but the market seems hard to pin down or predict with one property bringing multiple offers way over the price and other slightly less attractive properties lingering and getting stale. The market remains lender-driven. Well-priced listings are moving within a week, forcing buyers to move quickly. Being informed about the pace of the market is critical... knowing when to come in strong (as a buyer), as multiple bids are increasingly common. Another interesting observation in a recent sales meeting was a handful of SF properties that sold in the last 18 months, were fixed up minimally and listed for sale again, with a nice increase over the previous sale price, illustrating that buyers will pay for turn-key property. Open houses are well attended, especially in the under-$1 million market. The move-up market is slower ($1 mil to $1.5 mil). Overall, the demand is here, but we need more well priced inventory to sell. The market remains at a strong pace, including the high end.


Marin Real Estate Update:

The market has been schizophrenic:  Slow, then a surge and crazy busy, and then slow again.  The spring selling season started off early and with a bang, with lots of new inventory in March. However, we are seeing a lot of deals fall through and the new opens – at least for this week – have slowed. As the weather improves, so does the interest in open houses. Buyers are interested and looking at properties at various price points. Open houses are well attended and overall the mood is upbeat. The Previews market in Southern Marin continues to roll along, but sellers are often having to come down substantially on their initial highly priced property to get the property sold.  That said, if a property is perceived as a good value, it is not out of the question to see multiple offers.

 

 


 

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE FEBRUARY 2011

 

San Francisco Market Trend Report February/March 2011. San Francisco real estate market trends including average home prices, average days on the market, mortgage rate outlook, residential home statistics, foreclosure statistics, condo statistics, and DOM & SP/LP charts.