Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cat du jour: waiting or sunning?

Or just taking a rest? This old cat was leaning against the front door a colorful San Francisco apartment today. There wasn't much sun on the north facing wall so I assume it was waiting for someone to show up with a key.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Average sales price comparison January 2006 vs. 2007 (94619)

Smaller samples create less reliable results, so let's look to the next group of 580/13 neighborhoods in zip code 94619. Average sales price for single family homes in Oakland’s 94619 zip code including parts of the following neighborhoods: Laurel, Redwood Heights, Maxwell Park, Leona Heights, and Allendale.

The most consistent result is the reduction in the number of closed transactions:24 in Jan. 2006, but only 14 in 2007. Average marketing time also reflects what we see in 940602: 28 days in 2006, but 53 days in Jan. 2007. Interestingly, however, the number of home sales as just reported nationally seems to be headed up.
Existing Home Sales Improve in January
Not all commentators agree that these figures represent a real improvement in the housing market.
This is an improvement?
In a reversal of the results we saw in 94602 the average sold price increased slightly in 2007. Closed prices, which slightly exceeded list prices in 2006, were slightly less than more than list prices in 2007. Click on the picture for a larger view of the report.
2006 Report

2007 Report

This information is based on reported sales in the local MLS database.
It is believed to be generally reliable, but there are no guarantees. Please contact me directly for a report on a more narrowly defined area or a specific evaluation of your home’s market value

Average Sales Price Comparison January 2006 vs. 2007 (94602)

Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but the average sales price appears to be rising, not falling. Also suprising is the fact that the average closed price was higher than list for Jan. 2007, but lower in Jan. 2006. Sales volume is drastically down compared to a year ago: 22 homes sold in Jan. 2006, but less than half that amount sold in Jan. 2007. The average marketing time (DOM) for properties also lengthened significantly from 38 days of the market to 56 days; a 47% increase. What's going on? I have some ideas and will explore them in other articles, but I welcome your insight as well.

Average sales price for single family homes in Oakland’s 94602 zip code including parts of the following neighborhoods: Dimond (sometimes mistakenly called Diamond), Laurel, Glen View, Oakmore, Temple Hill, Lincoln Heights, and Redwood Heights.


2006 Report

2007 Report:

This information is based on reported sales in the local MLS database. It is believed to be generally reliable, but there are no guarantees. Please contact me directly for a report on a more narrowly defined area or a specific evaluation of your home’s market value.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fasten your virtual seatbelt . . .

. . . the next few decades are going to be a high speed ride.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cat du jour

It was a cold afternoon with a chilly wind coming off the bay. The cats were wisely tucked in somewhere and this was all I could find.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mortgage rates dip a bit

The average 30 year mortgage rate dipped this week from 6.30% to 6.22%. This is good news for everyone, particularly those among us who are looking to purchase. Owners with variable mortgages, however, are unlikely to see any immediate respite in their monthly payments. Indexed ARMs march to the tune of different drummers, but the news is good for them as well if this means that interest rates will either decline or at least stabilize. Personally I don't see rates going down much more and I still think that this is a great opportunity to switch to the stability of a fixed rate mortgage. Will interest rate decline this bring the buyers back? Not in great numbers I think.
Mortgage rate drop
When I was out on tour a few weeks ago I stopped at a typical Oakland bungalow that had been on the market for a while. It was nothing special, but nice enough and had just been reduced in price enought that it looked like an attractive buy. The listing agent and I chatted about price reductions and the dearth of buyers compared to a year ago. "How low do prices have to go to attract a higher level of buyers", she wondered aloud. As I walked off to the rest of the house I wondered myself. It certainly was a question that I had been holding somewhere in my own mind, but I had never articulated it as directly as my colleague had. I had my answer by the time I returned to the living room after seeing the rest of the house.

"We'll see a lot of buyers back in the market when prices go up."

Here's my logic. The buyers drove the prices up for several years because of a sense of scarcity and a belief that they might miss the opportunity to own a home. As long as interest rates stay low and prices seem to be stagnant, or declining, there is likely to be a general feeling that it might be better to wait. That's understandable, but wait until what? What triggering event will signal that it's time to buy? I think the buyers will be back if they perceive that prices and interest rates are rising. It takes a while for that message to get out and to be repeated enough to be beleived. By that time much of the appreciation could have already happened as others use the lull as an opportunity to acquire good properties as bargain prices. For more on this "value buying proposition" see my colleague's analysis at:
Value Buying by Liz Stevens

2276 MacArthur: 9 Vacant Units in the Dimond

This could be a fantastic opportunity for a group wanting to create a shared housing situation right in the heart of the Dimond on MacArthur just off Lincoln. There are 9 units, all vacant, some are remodeled. Probably it would be best to start out as a TIC (tenancy in common) and then convert to condos. Some conversion rights have already been secured. Sorting this all out will take some legal and administrative sweat equity. The future of this building, bringing 9 new households, will have a substantial effect on our Dimond shopping district.

See details of the listing 2276 MacArthur
Listing Detail

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Help for bloggers.

With thanks to Peter Chen, I finally managed to get this blog off the ground by posting my picture. Peter offers free help to aspiring bloggers on his own blog.

Tricks for bloggers

It's a good opportunity to remember that much of what we have, perhaps even our lives, depends on the goodness and generosity of others.