Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Palo Alto Reports Piedmont (Not Palo Alto) among Top 3 Districts in CA

My daily Google search for Piedmont picked up the City of Palo Alto announcement that their K-12 district is now fourth in California, after San Marino, Canada, and Piedmont. Go Highlanders!

The three elementary schools in Piedmont ranked exceedingly well in the 2009 Academic Performance Indices: Beach-971, Havens-927, Wildwood-964. PMS's API was 930, and PHS's was 904 (an eight-point drop compared to the previous year, by the way). Five high schools in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties bested Piedmont High (though of course scores wobble up and down each year): Mission San Jose in Fremont, Oakland Charter High (a tiny school on 12th Street downtown), Campolindo and Miramonte in Lamorinda, and brand new Dougherty Valley in the Windemere neighborhood of San Ramon.

For more info on the data, see the API site here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pacific Union is Christie's Great Estates Regional Affiliate

Only Pacific Union has access to the international reach and highest caliber marketing expertise of Christie's Great Estates, which in turn is the only firm formally associated with an international auction house.

The Great Estates third quarter newsletter can be found here, if you'd like to hear a bit more about two sumptuous listings--a Frank Lloyd Wright home and Yves St. Laurent's Tangier home--and upcoming auction items.

Let me show you what I can do with Christie's materials and unique marketing placement in marketing your home.

What's that Color?

READ THIS POST BEFORE YOU CLICK ON THAT LINK!! Check out this site--and turn down your audio! Totally cool site that will match a photo you take to Benjamin Moore paint colors (which in turn can be matched at your non-Benjamin Moore paint vendor).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Whether You're Borrowing or Lending--IntraFamily Strategies

A nice piece in today's Journal about tax-savvy strategies to borrow funds from Mom and Dad, or lend funds to the children--perhaps for a home purchase?

Read it here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Market Trends Back Up--3Q09 Update

Following the national trends (see the cool NYT graphic we've been watching here.) Piedmont's average home sale price as reported by the MLS increased by 8 percent over prices last quarter. Recall that last quarter was the first time we saw a clear drop in prices--they were down about 16% compared to the second quarter of 2008. While the third quarter's prices are back up, they remain about 8-9 percent below the average we'd seen since November of 2005.

The average home price was $1.49 million, and $525/sf, and the typical home sold in 33 days at 95% of the original asking price. Prices ranged from $770,000 to $4 million, and $409/sf to $720/sf. No portion of the market seemed to have difficulty garnering an offer, once prices represented good value to serious buyers. Twenty one homes sold, moving us rather close to the typical volume of homes sold in the late summer.

Remember that these closed transactions reflect deals struck 30 to 60 days ago (as our escrow periods have lengthened due to changing financing and appraisal processes). If we look at pending transactions, the good news continues. Sixteen homes are pending (two were short sales, and several received all-cash offers), and while we don't know exactly how pricing will turn out yet, the typical stats based on asking prices are very consistent with this quarter's outcomes.

In contrast, Berkeley average prices are off 13 percent (to $671,000) compared to the third quarter of 2008. Oakland's situation is very complex. The average price across the city has declined 27 percent compared to 3Q08. There were 200 more sales, however, and 200 more all-cash transactions (now representing fully one-third of all sales in the city).

Note that of the 21 homes currently on the market in Piedmont, none is distressed (defined as either a potential short sale or a bank-owned property). But life is not necessarily rosy in all quarters. I imagine there are a number of Piedmonters who are underwater (that is, they owe more on the property than it is currently worth) but can keep up with payments as long as jobs or savings hold up. Today's news that personal expenditures increased 1.3% (1% excluding durable goods like cars-for-clunkers) offers a nice shot-in-the-arm for those concerned about the broader economy.

I have a vision of households going off to Costco to replenish their stores of paper towels and jarred spaghetti sauce, having subconsciously cleared out the shelves these last several months, a story line from one of Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories. The future looks bright if you're laying in the larder.

See details on transactions here and email me if you'd like a copy of Clarus MarketMetrics report on the Piedmont market.