Monday, August 27, 2007

Can you hear the market conditions?

You can always tell when conditions are shifting by the noise of the freeway. In a seller’s market the noise is insignificant; in a buyer’s market it’s a major nuisance and possibly a deal killer. Yes, you might get a better price due to the freeway noise, but don’t be surprised if the next buyer wants to offer you a very low price when it’s your turn to sell. Best practice: evaluate your prospective purchase by comparing it to closed sales, current offerings, and recently expired/withdrawn properties that are similarly affected by the same freeway noise. Right now I have a listing on a very busy street, close to a freeway. My clients bought it in the fever of a seller’s market. Now, with the tide turning in favor of the buyers, there are 3 properties sitting unsold on that block even though the prices have been repeatedly reduced. When buyers are able to find similar properties at affordable prices without the impediment of freeway noise, why wouldn’t they choose the other property . . . unless, of course, the noisy property was price lower, much lower.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Price, price down, price up again? Huh?

Yes, well that does bear some explaining. The price of my listing at 4021 Edwards Ave. just went up. Let me explain why. Our original price of $449,000 was simply not working. Market conditions are such that it was not attracting buyers. We lowered it to $389,000, with the disclosed caution that this would be subject to the approval of a "short sale". Please see my earlier article "A Short Sale In Not Discounted Beachwear". We did get some interest at that price, but the lenders, particularly the holder of the 2nd deed of trust, did not co-operate. We now have worked out a plan that will allow us to avoid the uncertainty of a "short sale", avoid foreclosure, and to offer the property at a reasonable price to the buyer. $417,000 is a special number. It is the upper limit of conforming loans. Loans that are most available and affordable. Loans that can still be made in "zero down" or "100% financing" situations. The seller has taken a bold step, at considerable expense, to create an environment that is both friendly to the buyer and offers himself some relief as well.

Price change on Edwards Ave.

Art White | Windermere Real Estate Bay Area | (510) 809-1714

4021 Edwards Ave., Oakland, CA
Sweet 1940's house with sunny garden.
2 Bdrm Single Family House
offered at $417,000
Year Built 1941
Sq Footage 1,017
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms 1 full, 0 partial
Floors 1
Parking Unspecified
Lot Size 5,336 sqft
HOA/Maint $0 per month


In the 1940's formality continued to yield to modern sensibility: let in the light! Here, the living room offers the formality of a brick fireplace, but flows into the dining room in mid-century style. The 2 bedrooms are separated by the bath, bungalow style. The kitchen has a liberating garden view, and the bright laundry room marks an era when homemaking was gaining more respect as a vocation. Progress marches on with the addition of 21st century windows and an on-demand water heater.

There have been many upgrades of recent date making the house more modern and energy efficient. The dual-paned windows provide shelter from the busy traffic.

The kitchen still needs upgrading, but has a nice view to the garden, includes a double-door stainless refrigerator and a vintage Wedgewood stove.

see additional photos below

Central heatFireplaceHardwood floor
Living roomDining roomStove/Oven
WasherDryerLaundry area - inside


Dual paned windows -- energy efficient
Automated sprinklers (front)
Long driveway for extra parking (tandem)
Remodeled bath
Large lot with sunny garden
Tankless on-demand water heater -- energy efficient
Copper pipes recently installed
Upgraded furnace -- energy efficient


Seller contact info:

Art White
Windermere Real Estate Bay Area
(510) 809-1714
For sale by agent/broker

powered by postlets Equal Opportunity Housing
Posted: Aug 25, 2007, 3:18pm PDT

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Market conditions: Oakland, 94619 a modest decline

Oakland's 94619 zip code takes in a wide swath of the eastern portion of Oakland: from the modest bungalows of the Allendale, below MacArthur, starting around Brookdale Ave., extending eastward across 580 ,and up-hill through the Laurel, across highway 13, and then ending in the dizzying heights and prices of luxury hillside homes around Skyline Blvd.

The average sales price can jump or slide depending on the particular mix during a short period of time. On a monthly basis, for instance, a comparison between 2006 and 2007 closed sales for the area can show an upward spike 24% in March or a plummeting -22% slide the following month.

We get a more temperate, and accurate, picture when we expand our view over the entire calendar year. Comparing 2006 with 2007 through July, the average listing price dropped by 1% for the year, but the average sold price dropped by 3%. That 2% gap seems to indicate that some of the sellers are just not getting the message.

Does this mean that buyers can low-ball anything by 3%? Not at all. There are still multiple offer and overbid situations in the area. A modest home in Oakland's Montclair district just closed for $91,000 over the asking price. Then should a buyer offer more than the asking price in a declining market? Not necessarily; it all depends on the particular property. Value is always the key concept. Price is an amalgam of free opinions: what the agent thinks, what the seller thinks, sometimes what the agent thinks will get the listing signed, and sometimes what the seller thinks is needed in order to "have room to come down". Value is established only when the buyer pays and the seller accepts. There is no substitute for a detailed and thoughtful comparative market analysis of your property. Would you like one for your property? Call or e-mail me and let's talk.

Coming soon: similar reports on other key East Bay areas like Oakland 94602, North Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond North & East, and Pinole.