Friday, July 15, 2011

2Q11 Piedmont Real Estate Update

Recall that in early April, I reported that the market got off to a slow start this year (one sale at $699,000 in all of January) but finished with a bang (10 sales in March, averaging $1.502 million).

Our historically active second quarter continued that trend:

42 homes sold during the 2Q11 (compared to just 25 in 2Q10). They sold in an average 20 days, and for $1.539 million, or $482/sf. The final sales price was just a tad over the average asking price (though the range went from 80% of original asking price to 124% of asking price).

A year ago, the average home in Piedmont sold for $1.395 million, and in a still-short 18 days. During both quarters, homes sold all along the price spectrum--this quarter we saw seven homes sell for more than $2 million. One home was a short sale, one high-end sale was bank-owned, and two sold for all-cash.

Contact me for more details (adjusted for credits) on this quarter's sales.

Berkeley's market bounced back compared to last quarter's drop: A total of 170 homes sold for an average $672,600, a bit above the average asking price of $666,400. they sold in an average 30 days. Five homes sold for more than $1.5 million, and 14% of sales were bank-owned (triple the Piedmont rate). Recall that while the average sale price in 1Q10 (fifteen months ago) was $660,000, last quarter the average dropped to $570,000, with distressed properties comprising roughly a quarter of all sales in Berkeley earlier this year..

Turning to Oakland, 853 homes changed hands during 2Q11. Nearly a third sold for all-cash, and for an average $347,600 (compared to $299,000 last quarter). The average home took 54 days to sell.

Looking only at the 72 sales in Oakland-94611 (roughly Montclair, and including condos), the average sales price was $581,200 (compared to $539,000 last quarter). Homes sold in an average 49 days, and about 1% below the asking price on average. About a quarter of single-family home sales in Montclair were distressed (I informally excluded condos, most of which are closer to Piedmont Avenue, and of course have been hard hit in this market).

The market urgency seemed to slow as June wound down--for example, a buyer for one of my listings decided against an offer at the last minute--he was concerned about the economy. But if you check the Bureau of Labor Statistics stats for the San Francisco-Oakland market, you'll see that trends locally are much stronger than they are nationally or across the state.

We have one new development likely to affect the market this fall: At the end of September, the ''conforming'' loan limit will go down from nearly $730,000 to $625,000. Conforming loans, guaranteed by the federal government, offer lower interest rates than non-conforming loans (though the margin has gotten very narrow these last several months, suggesting that this weaning process may go off without a hitch). Nevertheless, now's a great time to re-fi or buy if you'll need a loan between those two figures. Loans must close by the end of September, so you'll want to be in contract or on your loan officer's radar by the end of August. Contact me if you'd like my list of five great local loan officers.

Here's the usual NYT link to the Case-Shiller graphic (most recent info, through April).

Tour Frank Lloyd Wright's Buehler House in Orinda July 30th!

From the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association:

In 1948 Maynard and Katherine Buehler began construction on the house designed for a large property in Orinda, California. The land included striking contours, mature trees and two streams. Maynard Buehler, an inventor and business owner, required a large workshop.

Wright designed the three bedroom house with one of the most dramatic living room spaces created for a Usonian. The octagonal room is covered by a square roof dramatically cantilevered off of columns encased in lapped redwood board that grow outward as the boards build on each other. The craftsmanship was initially exquisite and the home has just been completely restored to very high standards.

The breathtaking gardens were designed by Henry Matusatani, designer for the Japanese Gardens at Golden Gate Park, with bridges over the streams. There are also several auxiliary buildings, including a greenhouse and tea house. Daytime tours include the house and immediate grounds. The entire garden will be open for the Saturday evening tour and reception with wine and appetizers served on the terrace.

Registration is $125 for the tour and reception / $50 for the tour only and is open to the general public. Proceeds to benefit the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy

For more information,click here.

But First--Mid-Century Modern in Montclair

But First--Mid-Century Modern in Montclair
Just up Colton Boulevard from the Village in the flat area of Montclair, 6924 Ridgewood Drive is a mid-century modern gem! A balance of original architectural details, attractive energy-saving updates, and the rare flat backyard so rare in Montclair, the three-bedroom, two and a half-bath home is a great value.

Few true mid-century homes come to market, and the owners of this home have retained the classic elements of mid-century modern design. The entry walls are sawn redwood, emphasizing the connection between the interior and exterior in classic Cal Modern fashion; the sliders along the rear bring the outdoors in. The thoughtful split-level layout, particularly when combined with the long views to the rear, injects a real feeling of spaciousness.

From the inviting entry landing, a master suite, two additional bedrooms and a second bath are upstairs, and the open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen are just a few steps down. Rear decks on both levels expand the living area: With the living and dining rooms sliders open and the adjacent deck just a couple of steps above the flat yard, entertaining is a breeze. The larger kitchen offers counterspace for breakfasts or homework with a TV room adjacent. In addition, the owners fitted out the garage as a large play room. The home lives and feels as if it’s much larger than its 1907 sf (excluding play room)!

The home’s first owner was a builder, so the systems and foundation were the best the era had to offera big improvement over the East Bay’s typical shallow foundations, small bedrooms and too-few baths. The current owners have continued to maintain and improve the home (see List of Improvements). The yard is fenced and pet-ready, and raised beds are already planted!

Located close to the East Bay’s famous parklands and Montclair’s excellent public schools (per API score), 6824 Ridgewood Drive is convenient to the Sunday farmer’s market, and excellent restaurants and theaters on Piedmont and College Avenues. Route 13 links right up with Rt. 24 through the Caldecott Tunnel, with Rt. 80 to San Francisco or Berkeley, with 580 to Silicon Valley (where an owner currently works), and with SFO and OAK. To see the house, be sure to pass Ridgewood WAY and continue on Colton Boulevard one more block to Ridgewood DRIVE in Montclair. And be sure to enjoy the stunning Bay views on the way back down to the Villagethose views could be yours!

Open this Saturday and Sunday 2-5 pm, and next Sunday, 2-4:30 pm.

For more info and photos, click here!

Offered at $720,000.