Diablo Valley Real Estate Market Continues to Rebound July 2020 Report

Despite the ongoing health and economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19, the Diablo Valley real estate market continued its dramatic recovery from the steep declines in March and April. The demand for high-end homes, in particular, has been extremely strong – this applies to virtually every market in the Bay Area. More affluent buyers – the demographic least affected by COVID-19, unemployment, and also having the greatest financial resources – have been jumping back into the market to a greater degree than other segments.

Depending on the statistic, these analyses will sometimes include the 3 cities of Lamorinda, or look at full-county trends.

The first chart below illustrates the substantial rebound in buyer demand in Diablo Valley, as the number of listings accepting offers in June 2020 rose well above the level of last year.

Contra Costa County ranks very high in this classic statistic of supply and demand.

Sales activity in the higher price ranges has soared.

These next 3 charts review house values from different angles: Shorter and longer-term trends in median house sales prices, and quarterly changes in average dollar per square foot value.

Average dollar per square foot value trends can be affected by a number of factors besides changes in fair market value: increases in luxury home sales, especially on larger lot sizes, differences in the average home size of sales occurring in a specific period, new home construction, and other factors as well.

Across the Bay Area, condo markets have generally been softer than house markets. It may be that prospective condo buyers – often younger and less affluent than house owners – have been more affected by the huge jump in unemployment.

Home Prices and Price Trends by City or Community
in Diablo Valley & Lamorinda

Average days on market were very low in Q2 2020.

And mortgage interest rates fell to another historic low, adding fuel to buyer demand.

Lamorinda Real Estate Market Continues Its Rebound July 2020 Report

Despite the ongoing health and economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19, the Lamorinda real estate market has staged a dramatic recovery from the steep decline in April. The median house sales price hit a new high in Q2, and high-end homes, in particular, have seen extremely strong demand – this applies to virtually every market in the Bay Area. More affluent buyers – the demographic least affected by COVID-19, unemployment, and also having the greatest financial resources – have been jumping back into the market to a greater degree than other segments.

Depending on the analysis, these charts will sometimes include Diablo Valley, or reflect the full county market.

The first chart below illustrates the big rebound in buyer demand in May and June, as the number of listings accepting offers rose above last year’s.

Contra Costa County ranks near the top of the scale in the Bay Area for the strength of buyer demand as compared to the supply of homes on the market.

The luxury home market of the greater Lamorinda-Diablo Valley region has seen an astonishing jump in sales activity.

The quantity of listings on the market has mostly recovered from the April plunge, but remains slightly lower than the level of last year.

Three angles on Lamorinda house values: Median sales price by quarter and by year (updated through 2020 YTD), and average dollar per square foot value by quarter.

Home prices by bedroom count and house-price trends in the communities of Lamorinda and Diablo Valley.

On average, sales prices in the last quarter were a tad below the asking price.

And mortgage interest rates hit yet another historic low.

Diablo Valley Real Estate March 2020 Report

There is a lot going on in the world right now and we won’t pretend to know how things will turn out or affect the local real estate market over the next few months. In the meantime, this report will look at the most recent data available, though the impact of the wild volatility in the financial markets and the unfolding situation with the coronavirus has yet to show up in reliable statistics. Typically, the spring selling season is the most active of the year.

One positive for real estate is that mortgage interest rates hit a historic low in early March, as illustrated below, and rates play a huge role in housing affordability.

Home Sales Breakdown

Listings Accepting Offers by Month

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Historic Low 

In some of the following charts, other cities outside Diablo Valley are included for either greater context, or to increase the statistical reliability of the data – generally speaking, higher numbers of sales make trend lines more reliable and less subject to meaningless fluctuations.

Short-Term & Long-Term Trends
in Median Home Sales Prices

Home Values & Statistics by City

Selected East Bay Market Indicators since 2009

Diablo Valley Real Estate January 2020 Report

This report focuses on the cities of Diablo Valley, but sometimes includes other nearby cities to provide greater context to the market.

Generally speaking, after years of solid appreciation rates, annual 2019 Bay Area median home prices went down a little bit, went up a little bit or basically remained unchanged as compared to 2018.

For 2020, economist Ken Rosen at UC Berkeley has said he expects the Bay Area median price to remain basically flat, within a general range of up or down 2% – in other words, similar to what happened last year. We can’t predict the future, but that certainly doesn’t sound unreasonable, and happily avoids the sensationalism of many other media-grabbing forecasts.

Median sales prices are generalities and not exact measurements of changes in fair market value. They can be affected by a number of factors and are sometimes subject to anomalous fluctuations. This is especially true of very expensive communities with relatively low numbers of sales, and very wide ranges of sales prices: Outsized year-over-year changes should be taken with a grain of salt until substantiated over the longer term.

How median prices apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis.

Economic Factors Affecting Real Estate Markets

Lamorinda Real Estate January 2020 Report

This report focuses on Lafayette, Moraga & Orinda, but nearby cities are sometimes included to provide greater context to the market.

Generally speaking, after years of solid appreciation, annual 2019 Bay Area median home prices went down a little bit, went up a little bit or basically remained unchanged as compared to 2018.

For 2020, economist Ken Rosen at UC Berkeley has said he expects the Bay Area median price to remain basically flat, within a general range of up or down 2% – in other words, similar to what happened last year. We can’t predict the future, but that certainly doesn’t sound unreasonable, and happily avoids the sensationalism of many other media-grabbing forecasts.

Median sales prices are generalities and not exact measurements of changes in fair market value. They can be affected by a number of factors and are sometimes subject to anomalous fluctuations. How they apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis.

Economic Factors Affecting
Real Estate Markets

Lamorinda & Diablo Valley Real Estate September 2019 Report

Home Prices by City; Short-Term & Long-Term Appreciation Trends; Migration In & Out of the County; Price Reductions & Unsold Inventory.

After the heat of the spring market, activity typically slows down in July and August. In September, new listings start coming on the market again to fuel the relatively short autumn selling season. What occurs in the next 2+ months, before the mid-winter holiday doldrums begin, will be the next major indicator of market conditions and direction.

Migration: People Moving In & Out
of Contra Costa County

Using new U.S. Census estimates released 8/29/19, this chart attempts to identify U.S. counties, states and international regions with the highest number of residents migrating to and from our county. In the Bay Area, there is a general trend outward from more expensive to more affordable places, while in-bound migration is deeply affected not only by exchanges between Bay Area counties, but people arriving from other parts of the state, country and world. Areas often have large two-way exchanges of residents, as between Contra Costa & Alameda Counties.

Foreign in-migration is a huge issue in the Bay Area, but it will be another year before any impact of new U.S. immigration policy on foreign in-migration in 2018 shows up in census numbers.

Median Home Prices by City

Median House Sales Price Trends

Short-Term & Long-Term Trends
in Median Home Values

Selected Market Indicators –
Regional & County

Price reductions spiked at the end of last year and remain somewhat elevated.

The next chart measuring unsold inventory helps give greater context to market conditions and changes. The ups and downs since 2012 are relatively minor compared to the situation that prevailed during the 2008-2011 market recession.