East Bay Market Review | First Quarter 2017

q1 coverA MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS

Demand for homes in the East Bay remains high with inventory shortages relative to demand persisting in 2017 putting upward pressure on sales prices. Sellers continue to report receiving multiple offers on their properties, indicating a strong “Sellers” market. Mortgage interest rates have been fluctuating up and down even though the Federal Reserve has raised rates twice in the last six months. Rates as of this writing are at 4% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. All indications are that we will see at least one or two additional rate increases this year, but economists are predicting a repeat of last year when it comes to the number of properties being bought and sold. The Bay Area real estate market is still outpacing the rest of the country in transactions and prices. We expect inventory levels to rise as we move into spring bringing some relief to waiting buyers.

OAKLAND | ALAMEDA COUNTY

Oakland remains a prime destination for those looking to find a more affordable option in the Bay Area real estate market. The total number of single-family homes sold in the first quarter of 2017 was up 16.1% year-over-year with the main factor keeping the market from even greater growth being the continued constraint on available inventory. Homes are moving quickly and with an average sales price of $991,134 for the quarter, the lure of a Bay Area home priced under $1M in close proximity to a thriving urban center keeps demand for this region high.

Q1 2017 Market Report, Oakland Graph TopQ1 2017 Market Report, Oakland Graph Bottom

BERKELEY | ALAMEDA COUNTY

The first quarter of 2017 started off slow with only 25 single-family homes available for sale in January and only 17 sales. February brought increased activity and by the end of March there were 50 homes for sale and 44 sales.  The average days on the market (DOM) declined as the quarter progressed ending Q1 with an average 22 DOM.  The average sales price rose 17.5% year-over-year to $1.26M with homes in the $1M to $1.5M price range accounting for almost 50% of all sales. Interest rates remain low, new loan programs are emerging making it easy for buyers to buy but there is still not enough inventory to satisfy buyer demand so the upward pressure on price continues.

Q1 2017 Market Report, Berkeley Graph TopQ1 2017 Market Report, Berkeley Graph Bottom

DANVILLE | CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

The Danville real estate market started the year off on a roller coaster with inventory levels going up and down throughout the first quarter. Average days on market were down 14.3% from Q1 2016 to an average of 30 days on market for the first quarter with the short 19 days on market in March a reflection of just how quickly buyers react to any availability. This is a great sign for those who are thinking of selling or need to sell. Homes posted an average sales price of $1.3M for the first quarter.

Q1 2017 Market Report, Danville Graph Top

Q1 2017 Market Report, Danville Graph Bottom

LAFAYETTE | CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

The number of homes available for sale is still at historic lows creating a great opportunity for sellers to obtain the most money for their properties.  Rumblings are that we will see an uptick in inventory in the coming months with industry stagers, contractors and escrow and title companies busily gearing up for a spring inventory increase. Single-family homes in Lafayette commanded an average sales price of $1.6M in the first quarter. Average days on the market before a sale fell from 37 to 20 days compared to the same time last year. For those contemplating listing their home, this is a perfect time to take advantage of favorable market conditions.

Q1 2017 Market Report, Lafayette Graph TopQ1 2017 Market Report, Lafayette Graph Bottom

View the full San Francisco East Bay Market Summary First Quarter 2017.

Preparing for the Spring Selling Season

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As the season changes and the weather warms up, so does the East Bay real estate market. During this time, homeowners often turn their attention to designing their backyards, garden and outdoor spaces. For homeowners who have been considering selling their home, spring is also an optimal time to maximize their real estate investment.

With more inventory hitting the market, demand is high with buyers previously fatigued by lack of choices flocking to the market eager to purchase and take advantage of historically low interest rates. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country with demand for property increasing in April and May when buyer activity reaches its peak.

The Bay Area real estate market is dynamic and fast moving, here are some things to consider if you are thinking about selling:

  • Clean and de-clutter your home. You’ll want to make sure home inspectors have easy access to attics, basements, and electrical panels.
  • Prepare your paperwork. Create a file with all documents of maintenance and repairs along with any insurance claims and documents.
  • Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent. You will want to work with an agent who understands your home, its value, the neighborhood and comparable sales in the area. An experienced agent can also help you price your home competitively to ensure you receive the optimal return on your real estate investment.
  • Hire Professionals to Stage your Home. Home staging is a marketing technique used at BaySIR that can make your home appealing to buyers, helping it to sell quicker.

As an affiliate of the Sotheby’s International Realty (SIR) network, BaySIR is locally focused and globally connected. When a listing is marketed through Bay Sotheby’s International Realty it immediately begins a journey of worldwide exposure. Watch our Property Journey video below to view the marketing reach uniquely available through the BaySIR brand.

Sotheby's International Realty Property Journey Video

Working with an experienced BaySIR agent you will receive in-depth market knowledge on East Bay neighborhoods and superior customer service, including how to optimize your real estate investment and best prepare your home for sale this spring.

For those considering purchasing a home, the BaySIR Buyers Guide is a tool used solely by Bay Sotheby’s International Realty agents to ensure a seamless and successful real estate transaction for our clients, providing an overview of the buying process.

Buyers Guide Graphic Setup

Buying or selling a home is one of the most significant purchases in a lifetime. At BaySIR we want to help guide clients to make a sound financial decision that will not only compliment our clients lifestyles but will optimize their return on their investment.

For more tips on how to prepare for Spring selling season, contact your local Bay Sotheby’s International Realty agent.

Bay Sotheby’s International Realty (BaySIR). Locally Focused. Globally Powered.

BaySIR | 2016 Significant Sales

2016 Significant Sales Brochure Blog Featured Photo

Bay Sotheby’s International Realty (BaySIR) is pleased to present our 2016 Significant Sales. This issue showcases a year of record growth featuring significant sales and extraordinary properties represented by Bay Sotheby’s International Realty throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

Our network of BaySIR real estate professionals provide local expertise and insight into distinct communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. In this issue you will also find significant sales from the Sotheby’s International Realty® global network of affiliates featuring sales throughout California, the United States and around the world.

View the full Significant Sales 2016.

Q4 2016 – Portola Valley

As I write this in early February, it feels like Groundhog Day in Portola Valley. Once again, the overall activity for this quarter was similar to the same time last year, both in terms of sold prices and number of properties sold, with a few notable exceptions.

Activity and Inventory

Activity was focused in the larger neighborhoods of Central Portola Valley, Ladera and Portola Valley Ranch. The number of homes sold was 15 — exactly the same for the fourth quarters of 2015 and 2016.

The number of new listings was also very similar with 13 new listings in Q4 2016 vs. 12 in Q4 2015. Again, our inventory of homes available for sale continues to be near historical lows.

As I wrote in last quarter’s blog, “year to date, both the inventory and the number of sales have remained stable from 2015 to 2016” and that continued to be true.

Sold Prices

The median sold price for Q4 was $2.55M, down slightly from last year, even though this year there were more newer or fully remodeled homes that sold over $3M.

The most notable outlier was a beautiful, brand new, modern home on Redberry Ridge in the Blue Oaks development which sold for $13.3M after eight months on the market. Unlike our nearby communities of Woodside or Atherton, a sale over $10M is relatively rare in Portola Valley.

Two other outliers were off-market sales, which aren’t reflected in these numbers, both hilltop properties that languished on the market when they were listed in prior years: (1) 497 Old Spanish Trail, the 17-acre Littlefield estate which sold for $17.1M and (2) 40 Firethorn, a 10-acre property which sold for $6.9M.

This quarter sold prices were pretty close to listing prices, reflecting a healthy, realistic market for buyers and sellers.

Days on Market

The time it took to sell a home was also about the same, with 51 DOM in Q4 2016 vs. 56 in Q4 2015. As usual, the homes that sold quickly were well-prepared and priced competitively, as well as in the lower price range for Portola Valley.

Neighborhood Watch Coordinator

Portola Valley has recently been in the news with two incidents of home invasions that have alarmed local residents. These events have spurred citizens to action and they are setting up outside surveillance cameras and neighborhood watch groups to prevent crime. The town has also named a neighborhood watch coordinator to help organize community efforts to keep the town safe. Additionally, the town is considering installing fixed, license-plate-reading cameras at key locations as a crime-fighting tool. All these measures are being taken to preserve Portola Valley’s standing as one of the safest communities in the state, a quality that all residents treasure.

Q4 2016 – The Coastside

What locals call “the Coastside” is comprised of four charming towns sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the north ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County, just over the hill from nearby Peninsula towns and Silicon Valley. They are Half Moon Bay (approx. 12,000 residents), El Granada (approx. 5,000 residents), Moss Beach (approx. 3,000 residents) and Montara (approx 3,000 residents). We’ll look at the Coastside as a whole and also drill down to some noteworthy market factors in the 4th quarter of 2016 for this niche market.

Coastside Median Prices

The median sold price for all towns combined was $1,035,000 in Q4 2016 compared to $1,100,000 in Q4 2015. Individually the towns all showed median sales price decreases except for El Granada, which was 12.8% higher than Q4 2015. As is typical of the Coastside, fewer properties and sales can skew averages, so take this as overall trend information.

Neighborhood highlights for Q4 Median Sales prices:
$1,587,500 – Alsace Lorraine saw a 38% rise in prices and a 50% decrease in properties sold.
$1,023,750 – Lower El Granada saw a 14% rise in prices and a 266% rise in properties sold.
$1,368,000 – Seal Cove saw a 65% increase in prices with the same properties sold.

Inventory and Activity

Available properties remained low in the 4th quarter after seeing a few stretches of a more balanced market earlier in the year, beginning around mid year. Activity is usually consistent with the size of these markets as well. The end of the year brought the gift of more homes to choose from and that was rewarded especially in Lower El Granada which you can see from the 5 year perspective in the graph below.

Days on Market

A little more breathing room for buyers began mid year and was apparent by Q4, as reflected by a median market time of 49 days vs 45 days in Q4 2015. However, micro markets still rule the day and a well priced, presented and marketed property usually doesn’t last that long. In addition, under-priced and unique properties can sell very quickly. Only 11 out of the 56 closed sales were on the market for 90 days or more.