Contra Costa County: Q4 Results

Real estate activity slowed in the fourth quarter in Pacific Union’s Contra Costa County region, held back by a shrinking pool of available homes. It’s a problem that has bedeviled the region for much of the past year, caused in part by would-be sellers who remain unsure of the market and where they will find their next homes. At the same time, buyers were more cautious in the fourth quarter, too. Except in the most sought-after communities such as Lafayette and Orinda, few buyers were willing to pay above the list price or engage in bidding wars.

Home prices were up solidly compared with one year ago, although the pace of appreciation slowed significantly from what we saw one and two years ago — more evidence that the Bay Area’s real estate markets are gradually settling down after several years of frenzied recovery. Fewer high-end properties sold during the fourth quarter than in previous quarters, though that will likely change as spring approaches.

Looking Forward: We expect to see more homes coming on the market in the first and second quarters of 2015, spurred not just by the advent of springtime but also the likelihood that the current near-record-low mortgage rates will soon disappear.

Defining Contra Costa County: Our real estate markets in Contra Costa County include the cities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Sales data in the charts below includes single-family homes in these communities.

Months’ Supply of Inventory

The months’ supply of inventory is a measure of how quickly the current supply of homes would be sold at the current sales rate, assuming no more homes came on the market. In general, an MSI below 4 is considered a seller’s market; between 4 and 6 is a balanced market; and above 6 is a buyer’s market.

 

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Median Sales Price

The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.

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Average Days on Market

Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.

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Percentage of Properties Under Contract

Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.

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Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price

Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.

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Information courtesy of Pacific Union – pacunion.com

 

Contra Costa County : Quarterly Real Estate Report Q3 2014

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(information courtesy of Pacific Union – pacunion.com)

A slowdown in real estate activity that began at the end of the second quarter continued through the third quarter in Pacific Union’s Contra Costa County region. The number of properties on the market pulled back from a year ago, perhaps because sellers were uncertain where they would find their next home, with virtually every Bay Area community reporting extremely limited inventory levels.

Contra Costa buyers were similarly cautious in the third quarter due to rapidly increasing prices, and the number of closed transactions declined. The drop-off resulted in fewer multiple offers and many more price reductions than we have seen in recent quarters, with most homes in the third quarter selling for slightly below their original list prices.

Looking Forward: We anticipate flat appreciation for the remainder of the year. Real estate activity will taper off as the holiday season approaches, and inventory will likely remain tight into 2015, as sellers wait for spring to put their homes on the market. With buyers also standing on the sidelines, homes will take longer to sell and should be priced conservatively to avoid price reductions.

Defining Contra Costa County: Our real estate markets in Contra Costa County include the cities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Sales data in the charts below includes single-family homes in these communities.

 

Median Sales Price

The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.

 

image004

 

Average Days on the Market

Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.

image006

 

Percentage of Properties Under Contract

Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.

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Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price

Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.

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Real Estate Roundup: Distressed Sales Drop in Most Bay Area Counties

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:

FIVE BAY AREA COUNTIES HAVE FEWEST DISTRESSED SALES IN STATE
The number of distressed home sales decreased across most Bay Area regions from July to August, with five of our local counties seeing the fewest such transactions in California.

R1206UGO01DAccording to the ion of Realtors’ August 2014 pending and distressed sales report, San Mateo County had the fewest distressed sales in the state: just 1 percent. In Marin and Santa Clara counties, distressed properties accounted for 2 percent of sales, followed by Alameda and Contra Costa (both at 3 percent) and Sonoma (4 percent) counties.

Solano is currently the only Bay Area county included in the report with a higher rate of distressed sales than the statewide average of 9 percent.

BAY AREA DROUGHT DRAINS ENTHUSIASM FOR SWIMMING POOLS
The prolonged drought that has plagued Northern California for the past three years is helping to put a damper on many Bay Area homeowners’ desire for swimming pools, according to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News.

DP_cohen-glassman-pool_s4x3_leadThe publication says that permits for new pools have declined substantially in both San Jose and Concord. And in Walnut Creek, where summer temperatures often reach 100

degrees, more homeowners are submitting applications to demolish pools than those seeking permits to build them.

Although homeowners cite a variety of other reasons for removing pools – including maintenance and insurance costs and nonuse – the drought is often the deciding factor for some.

“The drought is the last nail in the coffin for the pool,” Zali Lorincz of ZL Construction told the Mercury News.

Bay Area’s Dubious Honor: Tightest Real Estate Market in U.S.

Just how competitive is the Bay Area real estate market? Data released Wednesday shows the San Francisco metropolitan area had the tightest supply of homes for sale of any region in the United States last month.

That dubious distinction comes even as we reported last week that the inventory of Bay Area homes rose slightly in August. Any increase is welcome, of course, but our region needs more than a trickle of additional homes to meet the demand of eager buyers.

The latest numbers, from the research firm Redfin, show the San Francisco market* with a 1.2-month supply of homes for sale. (Put another way, that’s how long it would take for all the homes now on the market to sell, given the current sales volume.)

The San Jose metropolitan area has the second-tightest market, according to Redfin’s data, with a 1.3-month supply, and both regions were four times more competitive than the national average of 5 months’ supply.

The numbers mean the Bay Area remains overwhelmingly a sellers’ market, as it has for two years now. Generally, anything below a four-month supply favors sellers; the market begins to skew toward buyers with a six-month supply or more.

Other data from Redfin shows the median sales price for homes in the San Francisco metro area was $875,000 in August, down 2.8 percent from July but up 7.9 percent from one year earlier.

In the San Jose area, the median sales price was $746,000, up 0.7 percent from July and up 10.5 percent from last year.

The number of homes sold, meanwhile, dropped in both regions. In San Francisco, 1,300 homes sold in August, down 9.5 percent from July and 9.9 percent from August 2013. In San Jose, 1,350 homes sold, down 12.8 percent from the previous month and 16.6 percent on an annual basis.

Looking ahead, Redfin predicted that home prices will continue to soften in the next few months as investors and all-cash buyers continue to retreat from the market.

“Strong demand and short supply lay the groundwork for an unusual twist to sales activity in September and October,” Redfin noted. “As the housing market continues to normalize, we anticipate a fall selling season marked by both slower price growth and more transactions than last year in many metro areas across the country.”

* The San Francisco metropolitan area includes San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties. The San Jose metro area includes Santa Clara and San Benito counties.

(information courtesy of pacunion.com)

Real Estate Roundup: It’s all about the Money. Bay Area ranks as country’s priciest market and also least affordable for the middle class:

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SAN JOSE, SAN FRANCISCO STILL COUNTRY’S PRICIEST MARKETS
As was the case in the final quarter of last year, the San Jose region boasted the highest median sales price in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent quarterly report.

At $808,000, San Jose’s median first-quarter price was up 14.6 percent year over year and 4 percent from the previous quarter. The San Francisco area had the second highest median price in the country, at $679,800. While prices in San Francisco rose 14.5 percent from the first quarter of 2013, they declined by a fraction of a percentage point from the fourth quarter.
[Read more…]

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Home Sales See Seasonal August Slips

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:

forsale-273x300SEASONAL DIP IN BAY AREA HOMES SALES
Bay Area home sales leveled off in August and prices dipped slightly, evidence of a modest, seasonal slowdown.

Sales were down 7.7 percent from July and 0.6 percent from August 2012, according to the research firm DataQuick. The median price paid for a home in the Bay Area last month was $540,000, a decrease of 3.9 percent from July but up 31.7 percent from a year ago. Due to seasonal shifts in sales patterns, the Bay Area median price almost always declines from July to August.

The Bay Area median peaked at $665,000 in June and July 2007, then dropped as low as $290,000 in March 2009. Last month’s median was 18.8 percent below the peak.

“As the market pendulum swings back toward normal, trends will be affected by more mundane market factors such as interest rates, employment, economic growth, affordability, mortgage availability, and how fast demand is generated and met,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president, in a statement. “The next few months are going to be interesting, especially when it comes to pricing trends.”

Check out DataQuick’s full report for sales and price data in each of the nine Bay Area counties.


RISING RATES A MUCH-DISCUSSED TOPIC
The San Francisco Chronicle’s home-finance columnist, Kathleen Pender, discusses the impact of rising mortgage rates on the housing recovery in a column posted online last week.

Surveys of consumers and economists suggest that the recovery may stall when mortgage rates reach 6 percent, Pender says, but the “tipping point” could vary, depending on location.

Buying a home remains a smart investment today, but she passes along a prediction from Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko that renting a home becomes a good option when rates reach 5.4 percent in San Francisco and 8.2 percent in Oakland. The most recent calculations put the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.57 percent.


DWINDLING NUMBER OF UNDERWATER HOMEOWNERS
Homeowners are quickly recapturing the equity they lost in the last decade, according to recent reports from CoreLogic and RealtyTrac.

Rising home prices meant 2.5 million homeowners were no longer underwater in the second quarter, according to CoreLogic’s report. By the end of June, 14.5 percent of mortgage borrowers remained underwater on their loans, compared with 19.7 percent at the end of the first quarter and 26 percent in late 2009,.

RealtyTrac, meanwhile, reported that 8.3 million homeowners are either slightly underwater or slightly above water, putting them on track to have enough equity to sell sometime in the next 15 months without resorting to a short sale.


LINK BETWEEN HOMES PRICES AND DIVORCE RATES?
We’re not making this up: Divorce attorneys and real estate professionals are reporting an upswing in divorcing clients as home prices rise, according to a story on the RISMedia website.

Apparently, many couples stalled divorce proceedings while their homes were underwater, but  newfound equity in their homes offers them “start-over cash.”

“So many couples have been living together and biding their time,” says Florida lawyer Leigh Sigman. “I know many people who have coasted for years … until they got equity in their homes.”

(Illustration: Flickr/Scott Maxwell)

Pacific Union’s August Real Estate Update

Median home prices in many of our Bay Area regions took a small dip in July. And while prices in some markets continued to slide ever so slightly in August, they were on the upswing in others.

Napa County saw median home prices hit a 12-month high of $530,000, a year-over-year hike of 29 percent. Single-family homes in the Tahoe/Truckee region also experienced yearly price peaks at nearly $550,000. Meanwhile, prices in Marin and Sonoma counties, which reached yearly highs in July, cooled off a bit.

Inventory was still in short supply in almost every region, but the problem was most pronounced in Contra Costa County, the East Bay, and San Francisco. Those three markets also saw a continuing trend of buyers paying above list prices, with the East Bay leading the pack.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Contra_Costa_August_Update

After a minor decrease in July, August median sales prices were back up in Contra Costa County to $815,000, the second-highest they’ve been in the past 12 months.

Inventory held steady at a 1.3-months’ supply, identical to what it has been since April. Buyers continued to shell out more than original price, but only by 0.2 percent. Homes stayed on the market for exactly three weeks, the same amount of time we recorded in July


EAST BAY

East_Bay_August_Update

East Bay median sales prices were also on the rise from July to August and reached $750,000, a 1 percent month-over-month bump. Inventory reached its lowest levels of 2013 in August, with just a 1.0-month’s supply.

Properties in the East Bay are still commanding the highest sales-to-original-price ratio in Pacific Union’s Bay Area markets, an average of 7.5 percent above. Meanwhile, homes lasted on the market for a bit longer than they have for the past six months: 23 days, on average.


MARIN COUNTY

Marin_August_Update

After cracking the million-dollar mark last month, median sales prices in Marin County were back near where they were in the spring, closing out August at $957,500. The sales-to-list-price ratio dropped slightly for the second straight month, to 96.8 percent.

The months’ supply of inventory (MSI) in the county tightened a hair from the past two months and moved back to 1.7, identical to levels in May. Homes took 51 days on average to leave the market, one day shorter than in July.


NAPA COUNTY

Napa_August_Update

For the third consecutive month, home prices in Napa County were north of the $500,000 mark. August’s $530,000 median price was the highest we’ve seen in the past 12 months but is up just 5 percent from July.

Inventory rebounded a bit from the previous month and was back to a 3.2-months’ supply. Napa County homes stayed on the market for an average of 78 days in August, the second-shortest time period over the past year.

Buyers paid 96.2 percent of the original price, almost exactly the same as they did in July


SAN FRANCISCO, SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

SF_SFH_August_Update

After dipping into the high-$800,000 range last month, prices for single-family homes in San Francisco were back near $1 million — $985,000, to be exact. And buyers continued to pay above-list prices by about 5 percent, the same as in July.

The MSI held steady at 1.3 for the third consecutive month. Meanwhile, homes took an average of 37 days to sell, the longest period we’ve seen since the spring.


SAN FRANCISCO, CONDOMINIUMS

SF_Condo_August_Update

Unlike their single-family-home counterparts, San Francisco condominium prices fell in August to $826,000, a month-over-month slip of 6 percent. Since February, buyers have received higher-than-list prices, and that trend continued in August, when they enjoyed 4.9 percent premiums.

San Francisco had a 1.1-month’s supply of condominium inventory, a tiny increase from July but still the second-lowest levels in the past 12 months. Condos left the market in an average of 35 days, the quickest pace in the past year.


SONOMA COUNTY

SoCo_August_Update

As was the case in Marin, Sonoma County home prices saw an August drop after attaining yearly peaks in July. The median sales price in the county fell to $440,000, an 8 percent month-over-month slide. That said, prices in Sonoma County have been above $400,000 since March.

Homes lasted and average of 68 days on the market, three days shorter than in July. The MSI in Sonoma County shrunk slightly to 1.8 but is still in the same neighborhood as it has been since the spring.

Sellers received 97.5 percent of their homes’ original prices, consistent with what we saw in June and July.


SONOMA VALLEY

So_Val_August_Update

Median prices in Sonoma Valley fell 6 percent from July, finishing August at $496,000. It was the first time that prices in the region dipped below $500,000 since March.

Inventory improved in August to a 2.2-months’ supply, and homes took longer to sell than they did in July by more than a week — up to 76 days. Buyers paid 95.1 percent of original prices, 3 percent less than they did last month.


TAHOE/TRUCKEE SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

Tahoe_SFH_August_Update

Single-family home prices in our Tahoe/Truckee region enjoyed yearly highs of nearly $550,000, a month-over-month jump of 9 percent. Sellers received 93 percent of their original price after netting 95 percent in the previous three months.

The MSI for single-family homes in the area began to shrink in August, down to 4.4 from 5.7 in June and July. Meanwhile, homes stayed on the market for 88 days, the longest period since April.


TAHOE/TRUCKEE CONDOMINIUMS

Tahoe_Condo_August_Update

Median sales prices for condominiums in the Tahoe/Truckee region also rebounded in August to $350,000, a gain of 15 percent from July but still 8 percent shy of their 12-month highs.

Tahoe continued to have a healthy amount of condos on the market, with a 7.5-months’ supply. Properties sold in 147 days, 25 percent quicker than they did in July.

Buyers paid 95.4 percent of original prices, not wildly different from the previous two months.