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How’s The Market?

Our spring market was delayed a couple of months and August volume has been over 40% higher than last year. Below is a quick look at a few market trends. The first chart gives you an idea of how much of our housing was constructed during each decade. Yes, we have lots of wonderful prewar and postwar homes!

These two charts below show recent price trends diverging based on whether the property is a house or a condo, and urban or with more land. Single family homes have seen an overall increase in value, those with easy access to outdoor space are selling at a premium.

Around the Bay Area, condo markets have typically been softer than house markets since shelter-in-place first came into effect this year. The chart below shows a trend in declining prices the last few months.

Oakland has the largest number of home sales in the East Bay, with condos making up about 20% of the sales. It’s a good time to buy a condo with sales often a little slower than last year.

Sellers sometimes ask about overseas buyers. Although this has never been a significant demographic in the inner east bay, the overall number of overseas real estate investors in America has declined.

foreign buyers

And finally, the refinance market is booming with appraisals taking far longer than usual… can rates go any lower?

My recent listings and sales of a variety of homes built in various decades:

2468 Best Avenue
Maxwell Park
2 Bed | 1 Bath

2809 Fulton Street
3 Bed | 2 Bath

624 Parkside Court
Berkeley Hills
3 Bed | 2.5 Bath

2048 12th Avenue
4 Bed | 2.5 Bath

5206 Proctor Avenue
Upper Rockridge
4 Bed | 3.5 Bath

Do contact me if you have any questions regarding buying or selling, I’m happy to be a resource to you and your family and friends!

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The rebound in market activity continues…

Median house sales price hits new quarterly high! Here is the July 2020 report for Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, City of Alameda, Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito & Richmond.

Despite the ongoing health and economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19, the real estate market made a dramatic recovery from the steep decline in April. The median house sales price hit a new high in Q2, and around the Bay Area, high-end homes, in particular, have seen very strong demand. Depending on the statistic, a few charts below reflect the market in Alameda County as a whole.

  • The first chart below illustrates the big rebound in buyer demand from the initial shelter-in-place crash, as the number of listings accepting offers in June 2020 rose back up to normal on a year-over-year basis. Of course, closed-sales volume – a lagging indicator – was hammered in Q2 by shelter in place.
  • The large increase in sales activity in higher price segments is reflected in these next two charts.
  • 2020 began with low levels of inventory, and, though increasing significantly since the April drop, remains a bit lower on a year-over-year basis. Area house values, as measured by both median sales price and average dollar per square foot value, hit new highs in Q2.
  • Median house sales price trends by city: Remember that median sales price is not a perfect indicator of changes in fair market value, as it can be affected by a number of factors. Fluctuations are especially common in markets with relatively low sales volumes across a wide range of sales prices, such as in Piedmont and Kensington.
  • The condo market has been weaker than the house market, as measured by both sales activity and median sales price. This is a common dynamic around the Bay Area. It may be that prospective condo buyers – often younger and less affluent than house owners – have been more affected by the huge jump in unemployment. The desire by many buyers for outdoor space during COVID-19 is also influencing values.
  • Overbidding of asking price has declined somewhat – partly due to changed home showing protocols with shelter in place – but the average sales price to list price percentage in the region remains by far the highest in the Bay Area.
  • And mortgage interest rates have continued to decline!
I am always happy to be a sounding board for sellers and buyers and happy to consult with you in this more challenging environment!

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Cartoon sort while you SIP

For most of us life is not what it was a month ago, and many of us are experiencing daily adaptations to our work and lifestyle.

I will have data next week but here is a general update on ” The SIP rules!”

The March 28, 2020 amendment made to the Federal list of “essential services” now includes Residential Real Estate Services.

Bay Area Counties, including Alameda and Contra Costa, have not adopted the federal amendment and more stringent restrictions remain in place.

We currently must continue to adhere to all State,County and City restrictions, these include:

No Open Houses

No in person showings 

Restricted access and interaction with stagers, painters, contractors, movers etc

• Very restricted access to properties, especially occupied homes.
• Many Appraisals are moving to desktop and drive by so they do not go into homes.
• Signings are with Notaries, those working use gloves and masks, as an agent I attend        mine on Zoom.
A great deal of our client interaction can be executed virtually. Prospective sellers prepare videos so we can get an idea of the property and we can access sale data and discuss options in the evolving environment.
With buyers we can review videos of properties for sale if these are available.
In theory, it is possible to enter into contract subject to visiting the property and inspections.

There are many variables depending on the circumstances and principles! 

Our current policies are likely to change during the next week or so and may be relaxed to some degree. 

Do contact me if you have any questions!

If you are preparing to move or not….you could take time to have as my Mum used to say “A jolly good sort out!” and of course….. keep what’s important to you!

As always, I’m happy to be a resource for those considering a move and to offer advice in the current environment.



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I hope if you are home you are enjoying walks and your garden is doing well!

A BIG Thank you to those on the front lines in essential services.




So how is the real estate market this week?


This morning our brokerage held our second virtual office meeting with 70+ agents attending.
We’re getting better at this!
I suspect still plenty of jammies as only the brave showing their early morning faces!

Broker opens and Weekend open homes in the Inner East Bay cities are cancelled. and showings are delayed during the shelter in place period. 

Multiple versions of COVID-19 addendum to contracts are being reviewed.
For buyers and sellers in or just going into contract the question is… how long will this take?
Appraisers as independent contractors call their own shots, principles are planning for longer escrows, one might say more normal escrow periods for most of the country!
We have become used to 21 days or less, and now are probably looking at 45-60 days, unless it’s a cash transaction.

The past few days agents report most of the listings are still selling with multiple offers and are writing offers in competition. A few sellers are not getting their price and are withdrawing homes from the market.
Buyers are mostly falling into a couple of camps. Those who are not confident enough to proceed, and those who are, but for the most part would like their COVID-19 discount!
However, a few really unique homes still hit record prices in the last few days.

The most volatile part of the market right now is the financing. Even seasoned lenders are getting hit with surprises. Buyers must keep in touch with lenders.
Rates have taken a jump up and are very volatile.


With 18 years in the industry, including at least one significant down and up market, I offer some tips below for sellers and buyers!



  • Take this opportunity to line up your financing early, you can talk with lenders and do the application all online.
  • Have your funds liquid so you don’t have to do a last minute rethink on a purchase!
  • Pick an experienced agent with access to off market properties and the local agent network. It is critical to have an adviser based in your target areas, more so than ever in these times, ask for recommendations. We can  do phone and video meetings.
  • Talk with friends about what they appreciate in their neighborhood and do some soul searching around what lifestyle is important to you and what are your ” must haves” and what is “negotiable“. This helps me too as your agent!
  • If you cannot visit homes, do some online research into neighborhoods and when allowed visit the different east bay neighborhoods which might work for you.
  • You may have more time and availability to do initial research right now.
  • Your agent can update you on market dynamics and when it starts to open back up.
  • Be wary of listing aggregator information and valuations. They are not local experts,
    they just aggregate data. A home is always about more than data!


  • It’s a good time to be editing your possessions and sorting out what to keep! This is frequently the most time consuming pre move job for sellers.
  • Figure out where you are going to move to, do initial research. Realtors are always happy to have phone consultations and send data to potential clients regarding their area of expertise.
  • Pick an experienced agent with a solid brokerage and a good local agent network.
  • Your realtor is VERY happy to be a resource and offer advice on what to do as you get your home ready for a sale. In many instances, do nothing, just get ready to pack!! Consult your agent before spending a bean on anything unless it is SO important to you that you’re doing it anyway!
  • Remember when you sell, your taste may not be what gets you the highest price. The buyer is who you want to care about and your agent will have a better idea of what is important to them.
  • Be realistic about values... no one is forcing you to sell (usually) and you can refuse offers that don’t make sense. Keep in touch with your realtor.
  • Do remember your realtor is a fiduciary; we are paid to give the best advice we can given current client and market circumstances. Good agents don’t just want “a deal” 
  • Be wary of listing aggregator information and valuations. They are not local experts,
    they just aggregate data. A home is always about more than data!

I am always happy to be a sounding board for sellers and buyers and happy to
consult with you in this more challenging environment!




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So how is the real estate market weathering COVID-19 ?

This morning our brokerage held our first virtual office meeting with 60+ agents attending. Those of use who were dressed had the video on ( I know many think we just work on weekends but much of our best work is early and late and in jammies)!

With the new shelter in place ruling, Broker opens and Weekend open homes in the Inner East Bay cities should not be taking place for at least the next few weeks and very possibly longer.

Current escrows may become delayed as we figure out which of the many players involved may still be available.
Title companies are scrambling to figure out how to close escrows with County recorders offices potentially not staying open, and various levels of e-recording available.

Most realtors, many appraisers, stagers and many other players are independent contractors. No benefits, regular pay or paid vacation but a bigger say in how we work.
So don’t expect complete consistency on how things play out!

Much of our work is going to be considered non-essential and will require complying with the mandated shelter in place.

Agents are already marketing more extensively within the brokerage community
and have been arranging private showings for their clients.
The past few days most of our listings are still selling with multiple offers and we are writing offers in competition but not showing property will be a challenge,


The most common open house buyer question during the 2008 meltdown was
“Have we hit bottom yet?!”
Some of those buyers did not buy a home until well after the market was up above its previous levels and subsequently paid more…. and lost years of building equity.

We have seen similar appx 10 yr up and down cycles repeat for the last few decades.When you buy, ideally it is buy and hold for at least 6+ years so you can ride out any downward turn and recoup costs of sale.

Renting or staying put may be a better option for some people. Not everyone should move.  There are always buying opportunities in times like this, but it’s good to know you can ride out a storm.


1996-2019 VALUE TRENDS


I am always happy to be a sounding board for sellers and buyers and happy to
consult with you in this more challenging environment!






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Welcome to 2020!

The start of a new year is always an interesting time in real estate!

Will the market be the same or different from the Fall?

Will buyers be raring to go or sitting on the fence?

The first open houses of the year in Oakland and Berkeley indicate buyers are out looking…on a sunny day open homes have been busy!
Inventory at the close of 2019 was at record lows.

We have only had 1 year where our office had  less to sell at the end of the year!

Signs point to another active Spring.

Stagers and painters are booking up, several are booked out until March.…so do get ready and put a plan in action if you are considering a move in 2020!

For those of you wondering where we are in the historical cycle here is some
perspective going back  to the  80’s and 90’s ( yikes! ) hang in there if you’re afraid of buying at  the top as over time trend is always up!

As well as median prices and that ever important question of “overbids”!

Click on the Clouds of one of my favorite views for end of the year data!

As always I’m happy to be a sounding board and help you figure out what is best for your situation, buying or selling or both!


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Looking back at the first 6 months of 2019 the market continues to favor sellers in the Oakland/Berkeley area.
The volume of homes for sale is down overall from last year, and there are plenty of buyers in the under $1M price range and the upper end of the market is selling through.

Underpricing homes continues to be the trend, with several homes exceeding expectations and those where the seller is unrealistic sitting.

Interest rates are phenomenal for buyers, I have buyers closing with 30yr fixed rates under 3.5%. Long term this is almost a free loan!

I’m always happy to speak with potential sellers or buyers, text or call  510-390-8101 or email Jackie.care@Compass.com

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The Pre-emptive offer!

A sign of this market is the  Pre-emptive offer!

My beautiful listing at 10 El Patio in Montclair did receive a pre-emptive despite the original plan to have 2 Sunday Opens!

Motivated and often desperate buyers wondering if they will ever get into contract will ask their agent if they can jump the gun and “pre-empt” any other offers by getting their offer in first, hoping to tie the property up before anyone else gets a chance


Level lot and expansive lawn

10 El Patio- in c0ntract pre-emptive!

The most common way of handling offers right now is for sellers to set a date and get all offers on the table  so they can compare, and see who will make the strongest buyer.

However.…despite what the sellers may have said to their agent, they certainly have the right to change their minds if they do get an early offer and feel they don’t want to wait!

MLS rules dictate giving notice to other agents when this happens, and professional etiquette and fiduciary obligations mean it becomes a FIRE DRILL to let other agents and buyers know about the change and try to allow them enough time to get their foot in the door ! ( The pre-emptive usually has less than 24 hr response time)

The potential downside of pre-emptives for the buyer is that sellers sometimes get mad and just won’t respond to that buyer, most of the time they figure the buyers will wait if they are serious and, they want to know what else may be coming in!!

In addition, some sellers feel its an unfair tactic and obnoxious.
It creates a large amount of stress for everyone involved, and that doesn’t always go over so well with sellers either.

In some cases, if you write a true pre-emptive, which means a really KILLER offer, then you may prevail…. and everybody else involved just has to deal with any fall out!!

And the moral of this story is…..  DO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR AGENT or you stand a VERY SLIM chance  of even hearing about the pre-emptive !!!!

Walk through 10 El Patio which received a pre-emptive offer so showings were limited!

House 3D click image



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Thank you to my clients who sent pictures of the Amaryllis I gave to many on my holiday visits! It is SO nice to see clients old and new during the holidays and SO amazing and inspiring to see those beautiful blooms emerging in the Spring!

And now the Amaryllis are fading and inventory is picking up and it’s time to buy a house!


Step 1. Consider how long you plan on staying?

In this type of market try to buy enough house that you don’t have to move for a while.
Historically we are in 8-10yr cycles between low and high points.
Every time you sell it costs you 8-10% of the sale price. Transfer taxes, broker fees, house prep.


Step 2.  Find a good local real estate agent and choose a local lender.

I know…. many buyers out there wonder what agents do since there is so much information on line???!..…..it’s a bit like finding a lump and going to the doctor….…You go for their expertise and advice based on knowledge gained from the gazillion hours they spent training and years of experience in the field doing the same thing many many times and learning from each one. 


Step 3. Narrow down neighborhoods.

In this fast moving market you want to be absolutely committed and very focused when you are ready to write offers. Don’t just fall for the house!

Do research communities, crime, transport and imagine your lifestyle in different types of locations. Visit neighborhoods at night and weekends, talk to neighbors.

Are you so averse to driving you are willing to pay a lot of money to live in a shoe box near BART? Do you want some tranquility which comes with access to Park lands and an extra room for visitors to come and stay? How about schools?


Step 4. See as many homes as possible in your price range. ( currently most sell over list price!)

You want to know how many homes out there don’t work for you…….so you know why you pay to get what you want! Do weekend open homes if possible, see the “NOs” then. Visit the more likely candidates with your agent.

Step 5. Steel yourself for competition and market conditions!!

Try to ignore list prices and not be upset thinking “Oh my god ….I have to bid $100K over to even stand a chance??!” Check SOLD data with your agent.


Of the two dozen plus listings we recently analyzed less than a handful performed as indicated by the online real estate site. Many sold for way more money, some sold for way less money.


Hang in there!!  Inventory is picking up and there is a house for every realistic prepared and committed buyer!

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There are lots of older added onto remodeled and rambling floor plans in the Oakland Hills, and this house is a really nice exception!

This is the perfect ” grown ups” house for folks who have enjoyed spending time in their San Francisco loft but now need more room and more bucolic surroundings.

Not to mention the highly rated local elementary school run by one of my favorite principles!
( space subject to availability)


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And so many wonderful walks in the nearby Regional Parks!
Enjoy one of the nearby regional parks

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