Friday, July 2, 2010

Piedmont's Market Firms; Prices Are Up a Bit

The second quarter’s data suggests lots of energy in the Piedmont market: 25 homes sold at an average price of $1.413 million or $532/sf (compared to an average asking price of $1.394 million or $523/sfabout 1½% over the asking price). About half the homes sold over the asking priceas much as 18% over the asking pricetypically in fewer than two weeks (the average “days on market” was 18). This usually suggests that there were multiple offers for the home. The balance of homes sold for about 10 percent below the original asking price, after as long as 20 months on the market. None were identified as short sales or bank-owned properties (and the MLS now requires that, where appropriate).

The inventory sold varied from homes in the $700 thousands to homes over $3 million (and a wonderful home priced at over $5 million just went into contract, with both the seller and buyer represented by Pacific Union agents).

Recall that last quarter was extraordinarily quiet, with only 8 sales, averaging $1.2 million ($541/sf). At the time I suggested you not draw any conclusions from that snapshot. But a year ago, in the middle of that market’s financing, appraisal and economic turmoil, we saw average home prices of $1.4 million ($509/sf).

While the national media have been reporting a slowdown in pending sales (and attributing it to the end of the homebuyer tax credit), we’re not seeing a slowdown in the over-$500,000 market in the “inner” East Bay. In fact pending home sales have, in the main, increased about 16% in the last three months compared to the first three months of the year (though there was a lag the first week of May: buyers who might have bought that week likely pushed their decisionmaking forward to 4/30 so they could take advantage of the credit where eligible).

In Piedmont, this issue is mostly irrelevant as the tax credit applied only to homes under $800,000. In fact, there are 19 homes pending right now (none distressed), most selling in very short order and all along the price spectrum.

The wider East Bay seems strong as well: About 40% of offers accepted in my office are in multiple offer situations. The average price in Berkeley over the past quarter is right at $775,000 over 169 transactions, with a typical 27 days on market (the average price was $665,000 last quarter in 74 transactions). Nearly 900 properties in Oakland changed hands last quarter (compared to 620 in 1Q10), with an average sales price of $367,000 ($312,000 in Q1) and 42 days on market. About a third of these transactions involved all cash; prices on those homes averaged about half of the city-wide average. The Oakland portions of 94610, 94611, and 94618 saw 171 sales and average prices of $711,000 (compared to 107 sales at an average $617,000 the previous quarter).

Case-Shiller reports that prices across its 20-city index are up 3.8% this April compared to a year earlier (see more below).

I came across an example of the ways in which data on the housing crisis can be misleading in a Ca. Assoc. of Realtors analysis from a few days ago (ask me for a copy; the report overall is very insightful; it’s just this data point that’s less-than-helpful): Prices in the SF Bay area, from the “trough” or bottom of the market (which for us was Feb., 2009) to May, 2010 were up over 48 percent. Of course the value of your home isn’t 48 percent higher than in February, 2009; it’s just that the mix of homes sold has changed dramatically as distressed homes have moved through the system.

Email me for a Clarus MarketMetrics analysis of the past two years of this or any other market (by geography, price point, size, etc.) in the East Bay. I have one for the Piedmont market all ready to go!

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