Monday, July 16, 2012
We're heading into the end-of-year events (read ''kid fundraiser'') season--the Spring Fling on May 5th, PAINTS Gala and Bird House Auction May 25th, Children Support League Kitchen and Home Tour next weekend, and so on. We often donate our Inverness home to the auctions and this year I'm a big-time donor to the Bird House Auction and PAINTS Gala. Pick one or two of these events and have a good time while doing good! The best place for all the details is the Piedmont Portal.
The market has been very robust this quarter--one easy indicator is the price per square foot. You'll recall we were at about $600/sf for a number of quarters back in late '05, '06, and '07. Since then we'd settled into a $500/sf plateau over the past several quarters (I keep saying ''we're flat flat flat''). I checked the market through earlier this week for clients, and found that for the first 3.5 months of the year (meaning properties going into contract roughly from January though March, and closing by mid-April) the average price per square foot had trended up to $535/sf. (The average through 3/31 was $511/sf.) Moreover, we're seeing that same increase in velocity we saw last spring, in which homes are hitting the market and going into contract in the formerly standard two-week window (and typically for somewhat over the asking price). If we pull out one transaction with a technical glitch (nearly 250 days on market were counted even though it was ''withdrawn'' from the market and for all intents and purposes was an off-market sale), the average days on market for all 19 properties closing by 3/31 was 14 days (which means that these homes were typically selling in competition, which means they would typically be selling for something over the asking price). In fact, the average sale price was about 3% over the asking price, ranging from 74% of asking to 116%, excluding an effective REO auction situation. Eight of the sales closed at 5% or more over the original asking price, and six (of the eight) closed 10% or more over that asking price. About 70% of the transactions in my office this last quarter were in competition, compared to about 40% for the last year or more. Shifting back to our traditional discussion of pricing trends, the average sales price in 1Q12 in Piedmont was $1.275 million, ranging from $510K (for the one REO property--we also had one short sale) to $2.76 million. This compares with 16 sales averaging $1.331 million ($480/sf) selling in a leisurely average 42 days in 1Q11. Because of a difference in the size and condition of homes selling in the two quarters, the average price is down by 4%, but up by 6.6% on a price-per-square-foot basis. Taking a look at sales in the traditionally slow last quarter of the year, prices are again down by 7% this quarter compared to last (when the average home sold at $1.382 million), but up 9.5% on a price-per-square-foot basis. Unlike past years, when only a few homes sold, explaining this kind of volatility, we have another phenomenon now: ''All'' the homes coming to market are getting snapped up very quickly, yet prices aren't trending up consistently. Broadening the view to Oakland, Berkeley and the surrounding region, the number of willing buyers and willing sellers out there making deals they can live with is trending back up to the numbers we saw a decade ago--422 homes sold in the ''inner'' East Bay this quarter, compared to about 450 or so each quarter in '02, '03, and '04. Oakland saw an increase in the number of homes sold of 8% this last quarter over 1Q11, and an increase in average prices of 3%. Berkeley on the other hand saw a 15% drop in the number of homes sold, and prices were flat. It's as if the market is trying to take off, and just isn't quite getting the traction for liftoff yet--the wheels are still sliding around under the market. We'll have a better handle on what's going on in the next couple of quarters. Prices in our classic ''move down'' neighborhoods, for instance Crocker Highlands and Rockridge, are up between 3% and 15% this quarter over a year ago. Are many of us conserving our resources for retirement, bidding up prices in those neighborhoods we feel very comfortable and confident about?
Near the landmark “tree swing circle” at Alta and Scenic Avenues, 407 Scenic Avenue offers the newer construction so rare in Piedmont! With five bedrooms upstairs and a plus room and adjacent bath on the lower level of this traditional layout, there's plenty of room for everyone. The Traditional Layout Works Overtime Enter through the handcrafted gates past olive trees to the private enclosed patio and grassy area at the front--there's also a big oak-studded slope perfect for games of hide-and-seek at the rear of this unusually large lot. On the main level are the living, family, dining, powder rooms and kitchen, as well as interior access to the large garage. Upstairs find a master suite with large walk-in closet (of course!), and gorgeously updated spa-style bath. Four additional bedrooms and another recently renovated bath are upstairs--along with a sauna and a large office nook or library! Downstairs are a large rumpus room (pool table and foosball will convey!), and adjacent TV area, and a bath and plus room. All offer long canyon views. Children may be intrigued by the parallelogram footprint of the house! Newer Construction Means Peace of Mind Older homes in Piedmont often have lead-based paint, asbestos, soft and shallow unreinforced foundations, and old style plumbing systems. In contrast, 407 Scenic Avenue was built after lead paint was outlawed and asbestos no longer used, and on a modern and deeply set steel-reinforced pier-and-grade-beam foundation (with a very positive report from engineer Dan Szumski). Many windows are double-paned, the pest report is very low, a 50-year roof has many years of service left, and a home warranty rounds out the comforting features. Location, Location A more convenient location would be hard to find! Enjoy wonderful Bay views as you stroll through the neighborhood. From the bottom of the public staircase just a few doors away, it's just a short block and a long block to Havens Elementary, and two more to casual carpool to the Financial District in San Francisco. If you'd rather drive, commutes to SF, Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville and through the tunnel are all convenient via Rts. 580, 80 and 24--OAK and SFO are both an easy run as well. Piedmont Park and its dog run, the middle and high school playing fields, Mulberry's Market and the pool are just beyond Havens Elementary in the civic center area. On the market for $1.595 million, the home will be open Saturday and Sunday from 2-4:30 pm, and Monday 10-1 for broker's open (public welcome--organize your morning walk now and save room for morning buns....). Photos and more info at 407Scenic.com!