Friday, October 09, 2015

Boomers Driving Market

As with so many other things, it seems that the Baby Boomers are the driving force behind the housing market.
For all the talk of millennials’ importance to the future health of the U.S. housing market, the baby boomers appear poised to have the biggest impact on demand for housing.
Citing figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Association of Realtors says that the 65-74 age group added 860,000 new households in the first half of 2015 when compared with the first half of 2014. The 55-64 bracket had the second-largest gains, with 391,000 additional households, followed by those age 75-plus at 264,000.
Millennial household formation was more of a mixed bag. While the 25-34 age group gained 159,000 new households, 20-24-year-olds lost 85,000. NAR’s post notes that between 1980 and 2013, the share of 25-29-year-olds living with their parents increased from 10 percent to 25 percent.

If you want to be in the Driver's Seat, call us! We'd be happy to help. Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Monday, October 05, 2015

SF Still Hottest Market

Well, you've been hearing it here for several months--the San Francisco Bay area is one of the hottest markets for housing in the nation!  In Stats just released, this continues for the fourth consecutive month! 
California cities account for more than half of the nation’s hottest real estate markets as autumn gets underway, with San Francisco at the top of the list for the fourth consecutive month.sfskyline_clouds
In a running monthly report, ranks the country’s 20 hottest housing markets based on quickest pace of sales and most listing views on its website. As in the previous two months, 11 of those metro areas are located in California in September, and Bay Area communities make a strong showing.
Homes in the No. 1-ranked San Francisco metro area, which includes Oakland and Hayward, are selling in a median 29 days in September, the fastest of any of the nation’s hottest markets. San Jose is the list’s second fastest-moving market, with homes taking 31 days to find a buyer. Nationwide, the median inventory age is 80 days.
According to Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke, U.S. housing inventory is currently reaching its 2015 peak at the same time as the pace of sales slows, opening a window for buyers who have been shut out of the market. But in the nation’s hottest cities, house hunters shouldn’t take this as a reason to drag their feet.
“Sellers in these markets continue to see listings move much more quickly than the rest of the country in September, and the seasonal slowdown is not as strong in these markets,” Smoke said. The pace of sales in San Francisco was unchanged from August to September, while homes in San Jose spent an additional four days on the market.
As in August, Vallejo ranked fourth on Realtor com’s list, while San Jose moved up a spot to the fifth position. The rest of California’s hot markets: San Diego (No. 6), Santa Rosa (No. 7), Sacramento (No. 8), Santa Cruz (No. 9), Yuba City (No. 10), Stockton (No. 12), Los Angeles (No. 13), and Modesto (No. 18). The latter replaced Ventura County’s Oxnard, which appeared on the list in both July and August.
Predictably, Northern California cities have the largest home price tags of the 20 hottest markets. San Jose was the most expensive, with a median list price of $878,000, followed by Santa Cruz ($824,000) and San Francisco ($750,000).
This holds for the entire area, Marin County included. So, what to do?
If you're buying, get that hunting mode active again, or step up the pace!
If a Seller you be, get all those repairs and preps completed.  A finished home always brings the seller a higher return than one needing work.
No matter which status you fall into, give us a call for ideas and assistance! We'd be happy to help! Remember, we have a combined experience in this market totaling nearly a half century! We'd be happy to put this expertise to work for your benefit! Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Monday, September 28, 2015

More Pacific Union Accolades

Well, in a continuation of the ongoing accolades Pacific Union regularly receives, the firm has just been acknowledged as the third largest residential brokerage in the entire Bay Area. This is a further detail of the earlier proclamation of the firm as 9th largest in the nation.
The San Francisco Business Times recently ranked Pacific Union as the third-largest residential real estate brokerage in the Bay Area, the latest industry accolade our company has received thus far in 2015.
Pacific Union’s 2014 sales volume of $6.79 billion places our company No. 3 on the publication’s list of the 25 largest Bay Area residential real estate brokerages. Our firm currently has about 660 real estate professionals, 27-percent fewer than the No. 2 brokerage and 90 percent fewer than the No. 1 brokerage. Pacific Union professionals sold a total of 5,382 Bay Area properties in 2014, the third most of any firm named to the list.
Earlier this year, REAL Trends ranked our company as the ninth largest brokerage in the United States based on 2014 sales volume. REAL Trends also named 25 of our real estate professionals among the country’s top 250 for sales. Most recently, Pacific Union was named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the third consecutive year, having moved up the rankings more than 1,000 spots since 2013.

Friday, September 18, 2015

SF Area Still Hottest Property Market in Nation

Well, it's nothing you probably didn't know, but, if you own property here, it still feels good.  For the third consecutive month, the San Francisco area market is the hottest in the nation! That tops the Big Apple, LA, Boston and any other area you want to compare with.  If you own real estate in the area, then your personal net worth likely has again shown an increase.  That always feels good, and let's face it, any time you can grow your financial health, particularly by doing nothing more than letting time go by, it's a good thing.
Bay Area cities rank among the nation’s hottest real estate markets, according to a new report, confirming the suspicions of homebuyers, who have had to act fast and stretch their spending limits to get in on the action.
For the third month in a row, researchers at found that home listings in the San Francisco metro area, including Oakland and Hayward, attracted the most attention and commanded the highest prices in the United States. Vallejo wasn’t far behind at No. 4 in the nation, with Santa Rosa fifth and San Jose sixth.
In all, 11 California cities were among the nation’s 20 hottest housing markets.
The top 20 markets captured up to three times the number of views per listing than the national average, said. Homes in those places sold in 29 to 48 days, compared with the national average of 75 days, and the number of days on the market dropped by an average of 13 percent year over year.
In San Francisco, homes sold in just 29 days, with a median list price of $748,000. Homes in Vallejo and nearby Fairfield sold in 39 days for a median of $378,000, and 41 days in Santa Rosa for a median of $579,000. In the San Jose area, including Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, homes sold in 27 days for a median price of $898,000, making it the most expensive of the 20 hottest housing markets.
Nationwide, homebuyers may have gained a bit more leverage in the housing market in August, researchers at reported. As the last few weeks of summer wound down, the market tipped toward buyers’ favor.
“We are now entering the time of the year when both inventory and demand typically reach their peaks, as the start of the school year takes away a substantial chunk of near-term demand,” Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said in a statement accompanying the data. “This year we’re seeing inventory continue to grow in August. And while overall demand is strong, the trend on median days on market is suggesting that the market is finding more of a balance — and that bodes well for would-be buyers who have been frustrated by the inability to find a home to buy this spring and summer.”
During the first three weeks of August, the inventory of U.S. homes for sale rose 3 percent from a month earlier. Median list prices nationwide rose 8 percent year over year to $233,000, and the median days on the market of home listings edged higher.
Have any question about the market or your own real property? Give us a call! We'd be happy to advise or assist. Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Credit Ratings and Closing Costs

This week we'll take a look at two items that affect every buyer--credit scores and closing costs.  The former is becoming a difficult item for Millenials, while the latter is in the midst of a downward trend.  Well, one out of two is not bad.

Millennials make up the largest percentage of the U.S. population and recently surpassed Generation X as the biggest portion of the labor force, but the younger generation’s credit score could be a factor that’s delaying or preventing more of them from entering the housing market.credit_sign
In fact, Generation Y has the lowest credit score of all generations says a report from credit bureau Experian. The study says that millennials – defined here as 19- to 34-year-olds – have an average credit score of 625, below the national average of 667. The average millennial was $52,120 in debt, and that figure would be cut in half excluding mortgages.
Generation X doesn’t meet the national credit-score standard either, notching a 650. This age group was on average $125,000 in debt, and they too would owe about $26,000 were it not for mortgage payments.
Baby boomers and the greatest generation had the best average credit score, a combined 709. These generations were $87,438 in debt — right in line with the national average — and would be $19,217 in debt excluding mortgages.
When it comes to credit usage and debt, millennials and Generation X have diverged in a few key ways, Experian notes. Today, auto loans make up 14 percent of all new accounts opened by millennials. In 1998, car loans comprised just 1 percent of accounts opened by Gen Xers. Millennials are also slightly more reliant on student loans than the preceding generation, with 24 percent opening such accounts compared with 20 percent of Gen Xers when they were the same age.
Gen Xers, on the other hand, favor bank and credit cards. Nearly half – 46 percent – of new accounts opened by this age bracket were for bank cards compared with 27 percent for millennials. Gen Xers are also far more likely to use these cards frequently, carrying an average balance of $6,752, twice as much as millennials.
Millennials may just actually be taking a little longer to develop credit than previous generations, due in part to the tough economic conditions in which they came of age. Experian Vice President of Analytics and Business Development Michele Raneri said that while the numbers might indicate that millennials are financially irresponsible, they will have ample opportunities to build solid credit.
“The best way to do that is to understand credit before using it,” she said.
FICO offers a number of credit-education resources at its myFICO website, including tips for understanding and improving credit scores.

Closing Costs:
Good news for homebuyers: Closing costs have dropped 7.1 percent over the past year, falling from an average of $1,989 in 2014 to $1,847, according to a nationwide survey by Costs are slightly lower in California, averaging $1,834.cash_blurry requested good-faith estimates from up to 10 lenders in the nation’s largest cities for a hypothetical $200,000 mortgage for a single-family home, assuming a 20 percent down payment. Some highly variable costs were excluded, such as homeowner’s insurance, discount points, title insurance, and taxes, so the final charges on closing day likely would be considerably higher than the averages found in the survey results.
In the survey, average third-party fees rose nearly 22 percent, while origination fees fell by the same percentage. The jump in third-party fees may have been caused by inflation, noted, while origination fees may have followed the decline in mortgage rates.
In California, the average $1,834 in closing costs included origination fees charged by the lender such as document preparation, broker/lender fees, and tax services, together averaging $937. Third-party fees, averaging $896, included an appraisal, attorney fees, a credit report, flood certification, inspections, postage, and surveys.
Nationwide, closing costs ranged from $1,613 in Ohio to $2,163 in Hawaii. The overall decline in costs followed two years of increases.’s survey results included a statement from nonprofit organization NeighborWorks America reminding borrowers that they can shop around for competitive closing costs.
“Compare the service you get, the reputation and the costs, along with the rate,” Marietta Rodriguez, vice president of national homeownership programs at NeighborWorks America said, “and then go with what you think will fit your needs the best after doing just a little bit of research.”
Borrowers will see changes in the mortgage and closing process in the months ahead as lenders adopt new regulations established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The regulations are intended to make the process more transparent, and one of the changes will combine four forms that borrowers get during the application and closing processes into two simpler documents.
The new forms had been scheduled to take effect Aug. 1, but the CFPB has delayed them until Oct. 3.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Drought vs. Your Lawn

Fretting more and more about what the drought is doing to your precious manicured lawn, not to mention how it now looks? Well, pay attention! There may be a solution to our agony that doesn't gain the scorn of the neighbors who hate those watering their lawn.

Homeowners in drought-stricken California are nearly three times as likely to remove their lawn during an outdoor home-improvement job, say results from a survey that examines landscaping and gardening trends.patio
In its 2015 Landscaping & Garden Trends Study, home design and renovation content provider Houzz found that 46 percent of Golden State homeowners who are making or plan to make outdoor upgrades will remove the lawn entirely, compared with 16 percent of all poll respondents. Of those who plan to keep their lawn, 39 percent of Californians said they are reducing its size, compared with 36 percent nationwide.
An overwhelming majority of California homeowners – 77 percent – said they were removing or scaling back their lawns to help the environment during the state’s prolonged drought. Another 58 percent seek to reduce yard work, while 56 percent are after a new design motif. Forty-eight percent of Californians said they hope to save money on their water bills, double the U.S. rate.
Hardscape was the most popular natural-grass replacement, with 71 percent of the state’s homeowners opting for this material. Mulch was the next favorite option, planned by 55 percent of owners, followed by ground cover (52 percent), flowerbeds (46 percent), and outdoor structures (35 percent). A synthetic lawn was the least-popular reported replacement for natural grass, at 19 percent, although Golden State homeowners are more than twice as likely to take this approach than those in other parts of the country.
Other environmentally conscious consumers are taking additional home-improvement steps to help ease water usage. Surprisingly, Houzz says, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. homeowners – 17 percent – is installing a rainwater-harvesting system. The study says that nearly all respondents are making some sort of update to their greenery during outdoor renovation projects, and 42 percent are planning to buy drought-resistant plants, shrubs, and trees.
Californians have good reason for concern about the lengthy precipitation shortage; Houzz estimates that 70 percent of the state’s residents are affected by the drought. Their counterparts in Texas have the opposite problem, with 47 percent of homeowners making improvements to impede flooding.

So, there you have it--a lawn and water conservation all together! Need any other helpful info on your home and the current market? Give us a call! We'd be pleased to help: Peter: (415) 279-6466;Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Location, Location, Location!!

Well, no doubt at some point in time, you've heard the old expression "Location, location, location" as it relates to the relative value of real estate.  The following information, just out, appears to further validate this old canard at least as it relates to Bay Area locales.
Bay Area buyers aren’t shy about paying extra for homes located in top school districts and close to desirable urban amenities, says a new study of data from the Journal of Urban Economics.13855784355_447b9c3280_n
CityLab reports that behind residents of the Hawaii community of East Oahu, homebuyers in the Bay Area are more likely than those in nearly any other part of the country to pay extra money to purchase a property in a top-rated neighborhood. Although the article doesn’t provide exact numbers, it says that homebuyers in San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties are willing to pay nearly 25 percent more than the average American to live in the best neighborhoods. The article notes that buyers in San Jose, Oakland, and Santa Cruz are also willing to spend significant premiums to purchase a property in a top community.
CityLab includes a map of the Bay Area that shows that, unlike in New York, homebuyers in virtually all parts of San Francisco will spend more money for a great neighborhood.
“People are very willing to pay for most neighborhoods in the city itself, as well as the surrounding suburbs,” wrote Richard Florida. “Only a few sections of Oakland and Richmond, to the north of Berkeley, rank lower on the quality of life index, but these still do well relative to the rest of the country.”