Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Piedmont Market Dips only Slightly in 2007 (Includes 4Q07 Update)

average price of a Piedmont home dipped about 3 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, from just under 1.7 million to $1.62 million. The average sales price was about 2 percent below the original asking price. On a per square foot basis, the average remained flat at $610/sf, compared to last year's $612/sf. A total of 106 homes sold during the year, a ten percent reduction compared to 2006 (and 20 percent below 2005's peak). The total value of these transactions was about $172 million. Homes typically sold for a tad below the asking price in 29 days (compared to an average 29 days in 2006 and 24 days in 2005). Prices ranged between $725,000 and $7.6 million.

The average price of a home sold in Piedmont during the fourth quarter was up quite a bit compared to the third quarter--our 23 sales averaged $1.89 million compared to the third-quarter average of $1.42 million for the 20 homes sold. This is in part due to the sale of two high-end homes, both of which sold in less than two weeks, suggesting that demand is strong at the top end of the market. The median price remained flat at about $1.3 million. The average price per square foot was up at $630/sf. The typical home sold in 25 days, and at a tad above the original asking price. Nine sold in fewer than 14 days, suggesting the possibility of competition. (Six sold for more than the asking price, and four sold at the asking price, though they may have gone into escrow at a higher point, with price concessions as inspections were completed.)

As was the case in 2006, when our average price increased at a faster clip than that of surrounding areas, these figures compare favorably with the national and statewide trends. Berkeley and Piedmont both performed well while Oakland, the condo market, state and nation all deteriorated.

In the San Francisco Bay area, the median price dropped 2 percent between October, 2007 and November, 2007, but was up overall 7.3 percent compared to the year earlier. The number of home sales dropped 35 percent this November compared to last November.

Across California, the number of sales dropped 36.2 percent between November, 2006 and November, 2007, the last month for which data are available from the California Association of Realtors. Prices during that period dropped 11.9 percent. Interestingly, the price drops were more significant for single-family homes than for condos, perhaps a reflection of the jumbo mortgage credit squeeze. Many home purchases in Piedmont involve significant equity from a prior home sale, or the use of bonus or stock option funds, and so are more insulated from the credit squeeze. The typical home in California was on the market for 63 days during that year, compared to 68 days between 11/05 and 11/06.

The unsold inventory index, a measure of the time it would take for all homes currently on the market to be absorbed by sellers, is up to 15.3 months across the state, compared to 6.4 months a year ago (and about 2 months in Piedmont currently).

The National Association of Realtors just yesterday reported that the sale of existing (rather than new) homes inched up by .4 percent in November, compared to October, though were still down 20 percent compared to November, 2006. The median price was down 3.3 percent compared to a year ago, and the unsold inventory figure for the country as a whole was 10.3 months, a slight improvement from the prior month.

The NAR takes solace in the fact that two-thirds of metro areas are seeing modest price increases. These generally are the same numerous but small inland metro areas that saw measured price increases during the housing market boom. I think we truly have a dumbbell housing market out there, though luckily our local one seems to be doing well!

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