Posts Tagged ‘market conditions’

I seem to recall leaving corporate life and becoming a realtor for flexibility and to work less hours.  I love my work, but …. it’s 24/7 and not less hours!

“Sunday is your busy day” people will often say. Is the perception that we twiddle our thumbs the rest of the week?! Open house makes for a “busy” day in Bay Area real estate, but it’s  often not the busiest day of the week.

Selling real estate is a way of life, weaving in and out of personal commitments
with overlapping and variations.  It is not a 5 day a week  9-5 job!

Below are a couple of representative weeks for a full time established agent!
A busy week, and a less busy week.

For variety, a normal week is peppered with technology and coaching, meetings with out of area colleagues, fire drill offers with last minute buyers, broker consultation on tricky escrows,committee meetings, visiting former clients etc

Busier week………


Not so busy week………


As with most professions, there is the mythology and the reality!
Get ready for a busy 2017!

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The First Quarter round up!
Q1 2016 click image

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The fourth quarter in Oakland and Berkeley and neighboring cities continued with a serious shortage of inventory.

There was a slight increase in listings after labor day, and a momentary slow down. In part attributed to the sheer exhaustion of the buyers (and their agents)! How many way over asking clean and often contingency free offers can you write and still not get the house??!

Of note in the 4th quarter, the Oakland neighborhoods of Redwood Heights and Lincoln Heights saw a big jump in average sale price.
For some time they have been significantly below the Glenview prices and the difference is now closer to a recent historical norm.

For perspective on inventory in the Berkeley/Oakland areas we cover ……

On 12/31/2013 there were 222 active listings
On 12/31/2014 there were 131 active listings
On 12/31/2015 there were 64 active listings

Sellers… if you are ready… do not wait! This is our Spring market and the last Jan-Feb sellers have done very well.

In March and April you will have competition!!!

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Cash offers and sale data

Cash offers and low inventory are creating a consistent story of heavy competition in all price ranges.

Looking at the chart for this years activity , the number of cash transactions is pretty staggering. This is just the closed deals.

The actual number of cash offers is much higher. Every single county is showing at least 25% cash sales and some are closer to 50%.

No… this is NOT all overseas money! It’s investors, buyers who have sold to buy, those who figure the banks are paying peanuts and have savings, those who’ve been siting on the sidelines, those with great bonuses, the affluent, the relatives who tell their fortunate kids it’s a great time to buy and can help out!

Some buyers pay cash to compete and then refinance to take advantage of the 60 year low rates.

So how does a buyer compete against cash offers?

Their offer has to be even MORE compelling…e.g fewer contingencies and usually … a higher price.
It’s risk versus reward……yes, the seller will kiss the cash offer goodbye, but it had better be worth their while to wait longer and take the risk inherent with any loan.

The combination of low inventory and the competition with cash are pushing prices up at a very steep rate.

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Remember when the stock market crashed and for many months…. years afterwards!… if you were a baby boomer like me you couldn’t even open the retirement account statement…it went unopened into the trash…. better not to know!

Then prices started to move up and you could tentatively peek to see whether you were really going to have to work until you were 80 or 90!

So over to the East Bay real estate market at the start of 2013 and it’s less scary for homeowners to read the numbers! We still have plenty of homeowners who don’t have enough equity to sell, but the good news is that prices are consistently up across ALL price points.

snapshot for link to CC Data archive 4

As agents we’ve been feeling the buzz and seeing the results since the middle of last year, and now it shows in all the data.

Data isn’t everything but it’s one parameter in the market and nice to see more signs of a recovering economy.

Do call if you are interested in an opinion of value in 2013!

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Yes it’s December and things are slowing down but our east bay real estate market never really dies… except the way the inventory has been dropping the last couple of years the market is fading away!

From almost 700 homes for sale  in November 2010 (over $400,000 in the 6 cities we cover locally) , to 544 last November and  just 369 this year. It’s easy to see why frustrated buyers roam the Sunday open houses and over 70% of our contracts last month were in competition.

Serious buyers are out looking rain or shine, so let’s hope would be sellers get a jump on the market in January… don’t wait for the other sellers or you’ll be in competiton with more listings!

Click on image to view full-screen

Click on image to view full-screen


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There are many aspects of selling we can help with as realtors, but for some clients a potential sale or purchase does require advance planning and additional expertise. “I highly recommend you speak with your tax advisor and a real estate attorney!” at the “twinkle in your eye stage!”  is frequent advice I will give to prospective sellers…I’d love to help you sell your house as long as it makes sense for you!

For those who have owned a property for a long time, for those with a home office, and for those with little or negative equity it can pay off to thoroughly research your options. Frequently, advance planning is helpful to come up with the best strategy and avoid surprises.

Are you eligible for proposition 60 or 90?
Of particular interest to sellers who are downsizing, this can be great opportunity for some sellers to keep cost down.


If you are selling income property, are you familiar with 1031 exchanges? You may want to sell – but you may be better off doing an exchange.
If you have a home office and have been taking deductions, you may want to plan in advance to avoid tax surprises

An accountant and attorney are great resources and, together with your Realtor, can help you figure out what’s best for you!


I’m always able to find a theme for the brokers tours, and in line with advance planning here is my “twinkle in your eye!” slide show of some chandeliers in local homes!

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I’m always happy to answer real estate related questions and appreciate your support through referrals!

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