Monday, July 10, 2017

Piedmont Update--2Q17-- 

As mentioned last quarter, we've seen a flattening of the real estate market in San Francisco, and see that now in the East Bay as well.  In the second quarter of 2017, Piedmont saw 48 homes sold, for a typical $2.075 million (median $2.033m; average $2.13m) in an average 14 days on market, for about 15% over the asking price.  Sales typically saw three or four offers, though one 3 BR/1 BA home on Harvard offered at $1.15m sold for $1.7m, with 21 offers! As I've said before, prices for very attractive three-bedroom and 1 or 2-bath homes in under about 1700 sf in Piedmont, Berkeley and Oakland are now at about parity--new for our markets.

A year ago, also during the 2nd quarter, 36 homes sold for a typical $2.2 million (med $2.151m; av $2.255m).  We saw lots of wobbles in the past year so don't get too hung up on that higher number.  Then, the typical home sold in 12 days with three offers, and was 16% over asking.

More recently, last quarter (1Q17), 15 homes sold at a typical $2.15 million (med $1.975m, av $2.319m).  Twelve days, 7 offers, 16% over asking.

So quite a bit of noise in there, but generally, continued strength in the market based on things like price, number of offers, length of time on the market, and so on.  There are still way more buyers for a well-prepared home than there are sellers.

Looking at neighboring Oakland (94610, 11, 18), the market remains robust and up about 10% compared to a year ago.  The typical single-family home in nearby Oakland sold for about $1.35 million this last quarter (compared to$1.35m in 1Q17 and $1.22m in 2Q16).  Throughout, homes sold in about two weeks (they might have sold more quickly, but agents typically advise holding offers at bay until potential buyers have had two weeks to find the house, often through word-of-mouth, and visit).  Again, we see a flattening of the market in the more recent time period.  But no fall-off in buyer demand, and believe me, I've been looking for those signs on behalf of my buyer clients!  

Most recently, I was looking at the over $2 million market in Berkeley.  There has been some buzz about a quieter market, and there have been fewer very high-end homes sold more recently, but that's perhaps because the backlog of higher-end homes and long-held estates held off market during the downturn has come through the pipeline in the past year.  But prices, time on market, price per square foot and sales prices have all held up in the past year, and three months.

Looking more broadly at Berkeley, prices there are up about 6% year-over-year, from a typical $1.2 million in 1Q16 (med $1.165m; av $1.263m) up to $1.275 million this past quarter (med $1.251m; av $1.307m).  Homes there sold in an average 14 days, with 5-6 offers, and about 21% over asking this past quarter.  The number of homes sold is down just a tad this big selling season compared to last, but price increases in that market are strongest in the region this year compared to last.

Click here to see a nice graphic from the Ca Assoc of Realtors regarding trends across Alameda County (prices up 4.1% y-o-y), see below for the statewide market at a glance from CAR (prices up 2.6% y-o-y), and click here for CAR's chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young's recent very detailed economic and housing market presentation to the Oakland-Berkeley Assoc of Realtors.  A few juicy tidbits:  

--the number of sales in the SF Bay Area is down 21% y-o-y (compared to down 13% in SoCal and down 11% in the Central Valley);
--the housing turnover rate (the frequency with which we move) is very low, in historic terms, at once every 10 years. This appears to be because of the boomer generation demographic bubble, low interest rates, the capital gains tax impact at sale, Prop 13/low property taxes, and the lack of inventory to move to;
--we are getting behinder and behinder (that's my attempt to introduce calculus into the discussion) in the ratio of needed new housing units based on demographics, to available or newly constructed housing units.  We are missing about 80,000 needed housing units each year right now.  (And this overarching shortage of supply leads to both long term upward price pressure and decreased affordability);
--the only areas of the state that have seen price increases back above the level of 2006 are in the immediate Bay Area.  All of SoCal, the Central Valley, and the further flung counties in the Bay Area (e.g. Solano, Napa) are still "underwater" relative to their previous highs.

There is lots more there of interest----

Is Now the Time to Re-Fi?

Rates are the lowest so far this year, so if you've been living under a rock these past five years, or have changes in your home equity or job situation that make a re-fi a constructive option, ask me for a referral to my favorite five local lenders.  And you know that federal law prohibits kickbacks or referral fees among your real estate professionals (brokers, lenders, and title companies, for instance), right?  I managed the promulgation of that reg in my former life, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at HUD......
Honed Negotiation Skills

Trained by the Harvard Negotiation Project (I'm a Harvard grad....), I help my buyers and sellers strike their optimal deal--or walk away. And it pays. In 2015, the typical Piedmont home sold for 8% over asking. My buyers on average paid 7% UNDER asking, while my sellers garnered an average 26% OVER asking. And that's the performance measure I most track.
158 Holly Place in Piedmont Comes to Market! (In April 2017)

If you're looking to simplify your life in a gorgeous storybook-style setting, consider 158 Holly Place, in Piedmont. 

Comprised of four bedrooms and two baths, the home is just a block from Dracena Park and its playground and dog romp area, and four blocks from Fenton's Ice Cream on Piedmont Avenue!

Lots of Fabulous Light  

The East Bay's family light pours into this home through large banks of south- and east-facing windows.  

They also afford great views from the dining room, kitchen,and master bedroom suite. 

Surrounded by a hedge, the large flat lush yard is very private.

Anticipate summer while washing the dishes--an apple tree's blooms frame the window over the kitchen sink! Enjoy the tray ceiings in living and dining rooms, and just refinished hardwood flooring throughout.  

When you're ready to entertain, the large formal dining room beckons, but start with cocktails on the remarkably private back patio. 

Close to Schools and Latte  

A better more walkable Piedmont location would be hard to find! Just a couple blocks from highly rated Beach Elementary, and a few more to the middle and high schools, commutes become a breeze. Drop off the kids at school and catch casual carpool to the City, or duck into one of the array of cafe options on Piedmont Avenue, and catch a WiFi-equipped bus to San Francisco. Downtown Oakland is a very manageable bike ride away.  

The elementary school offers on-site before- and after-school care run by the Recreation Department--and summer camps are well-organized and easy to coordinate as well! (Check PUSD for availability at Beach.) 

 Great Layout and Systems; Ready for your Updates  

The home's very spacious master suite addition offers oh-so-rare large closets! And one bedroom includes access to a bonus playroom tucked above the one-car garage.  

The sewer lateral appears compliant; the gutter system, hot water heater and furnace are newer; electrical service is upgraded to 200 amps; and the home is bolted. And there's plenty of attic storage in both wings of this charming one-level home. Move in and relax, and when you're ready, make step-by-step kitchen and bath improvements on YOUR schedule and budget!


--4 bedrooms and 2 baths;
--large master suite with two large closets;
--2161 square feet; big 6399 sf lot (per the assessor);
--garage; and
--great location close to Dracena Park's tot lot and dog run.

Open Friday and Saturday 10 am-4 pm, consistent with the CSL Home Tour hours (see for more info and tickets).  And then join Farrow & Ball staff from the 4th Street shop on Sunday, 2-5 pm for info about their high-end paints and wallpapers--Mouse's Back or Elephant Breath anyone?  

On the market at $1.45 million; see for more photos, and info about additional open houses and broker tours to which the public is invited!