Posts Tagged ‘Silicon Valley’

SANTA CLARA MARKET STABILITY

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Ohlone/Chynoweth–Almaden (VTA)

Ohlone/Chynoweth–Almaden (VTA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

For about 3 years we have suffered through the craziest Real Estate Market I have seen in the 25 years I been a Broker here in Silicon Valley. During much of this period properties would be Listed Wed, Open House Sat and Sun, offers accepted Tue/Wed and Sold by Thu, after an average of 24 offers (the record I know of  was 79 offers on a nice 3 bed, 2 bath in South San Jose). This drove prices up a a ridiculous rate.

This was the inevitable result of a wave of overseas investors stocking up on “Cheap” California Real Estate, a surge of well qualified 1st time buyers, and historically low interest rates.

This excess of Buyers (DEMAND) led to a shortage of properties for sale (SUPPLY)

There are 3 significant results of this great Sellers Market:

1. The virtual disappearance of SHORT SALES, and REO (Foreclosure) properties for sale. The rising prices have rescued many homeowners from the UPSIDE DOWN (Negative Equity) situation they had fallen into.

2. A restoration of the Laws of SUPPLY and DEMAND. Over the past 7 years many people were forced to postpone their retirements when most of their Home Equity vanished, and they had to hunker down till the market improved. The rising prices are  allowing them to restart their long term plans to retire and move out of the area.

3. A significant number of MOVE UP BUYERS who got stuck in small houses despite the arrival of small children are now able to get prices which allow them to move up to a more suitable house. They are selling to  buyers who are helped by the huge number of special FIRST TIME BUYER PROGRAMS now available from  City, County, State, and Federal sources. These are greatly enhanced by the fantastic interest rates.

Now here we are in early 2015 and things have returned to something close to normality with inventory for sale, and ready and qualified Buyers pretty much in balance in most of the valley. The exception to this is in those areas with the top rated schools where the boom times are still hot although on a lesser scale.

 

CALIFORNIA IS NOT SILICON VALLEY

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English: This is one of the huge welcoming sig...

English: This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Google plex in the silicon valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CALIFORNIA IS NOT SILICON VALLEY

The Market Statistics fiasco

I’m continually answering client’s questions about mass media, or on line reports (Case Schiller etc) which claim to give “information” about the California Real Estate Market and which contradict the information I give them.

Here’s the reality:

REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL

Data covering the whole of California is totally useless to anyone considering Buying or Selling property in Silicon Valley.

To get useful information about a specific area why not go to a source which deals ONLY with that area, and has ACCURATE and RELEVANT information on it.

A competent and tech savvy Realtor has direct access to all relevant data bases and can easily provide accurate and current data for individual homes, neighborhoods, Cities, and Counties within minutes, at  no cost to a Client.

Much of this data is either not available to the general public, or costs inordinate time and money to an individual.

ACCURATE MLS DATA OR???

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Real estate agents in Silicon Valley enter their “for sale” listings into the MLS Listings data base as soon as the Paperwork is signed.

These listings are immediately available for the public to see by signing on to MLS Listings.com. or at Realtor.com.

No paid for advertising or promotions, just 100% real time accurate data

The Zillows and Trulias of this world (and dozens of smaller Portals) buy this data from us and put it out on their flashy web sites in order to pull you in and sell you some of their “(For Profit”) services.

What they don’t tell you is that our MLS Listings data base is continually updated in real time as agents make additions and changes.

They can choose how often to update their sites and typically do so every 7 to 10 days.

This means you cannot assume that the information they provide is accurate.  

The information you get at MLS Listings.com, or Realtor.com is updated in real time and will always be accurate.

Your choice:

Free on a very well designed web site where the critical data is often out of date.

OR

Free on a less flashy but 100% accurate site.

THE MUTIPLE OFFER PROBLEM

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THE MUTIPLE OFFER PROBLEM

To Bid or Not to Bid?

In Silicon Valley we are now about 12 months into the latest outbreak of “Multiple Offer Syndrome”.

English: This is one of the huge welcoming sig...

English: This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Google plex in the silicon valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A large majority of homes are currently being listed on Wed, hold Open Houses Sat and Sun, schedule offers for mid week, and are sold to the best of multiple offers by Friday.

The reason for this is very simple.

There are too many Buyers chasing too few houses. This is a direct result of historically low interest rates which will not start rising till early 1014 at the soonest.

As any Economist will tell you, in a free market the solution to this is equally simple. The law of Supply and Demand will automatically correct the problem.

If there is a shortage of any product more of that product will be brought to market.

In this case where there is a shortage of Houses for Sale, prices will be driven up. As this happens more homeowners will decide to sell, and Builders will accelerate getting new homes into the market. Obviously these things do not happen quickly so you can be sure the current price escalation will continue for at least 12 months and then probably just slow down to the historical norm for Silicon Valley i.e. 5% per year.

 

Looking west over northern San Jose (downtown ...

Looking west over northern San Jose (downtown is at far left) and other parts of Silicon Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are a Buyer who has several times lost out to higher bids you might wonder if it’s better to hold off till the market turns.

Consider the following:

Demand will not slow down for at least 12 months.

Each new sale sets a higher price for the next one in the same area.

In 12 months time it’s a near certainty that interest rates will be higher.

When things slow down and you decide to come back into the market you will be paying 12% to 15% more than today. (Based on price increases over the past 18 months in Silicon Valley.

In the meantime you are paying close to cost of a mortgage (which has major tax benefits) for rent which gives those same tax benefits to a Landlord.

Think carefully before holding off.

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SHORT SALES-THE END??

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Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For about 2 years now my market (Silicon Valley) has seen a steady increase in sales prices. This is finally causing changes in Banks approach to Short Sales.

I just had my 1st experience where a Bank (BofA) cancelled a previously approved short sale when they realized that the current value of the property is now higher than the amount of the loan.

They have now re-started the Foreclosure process where they can expect to get all of their money back and not have to take a loss after all.

This also gives the owner/borrower the opportunity to minimize the Credit hit by selling the property before the foreclosure completes, and maybe even get a little money back themselves.

I firmly believe that the age of the Short Sale Specialist is coming to it’s end and all those useless seminars will disappear with them.

However, there

Bank

Bank (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

for the home owner who is falling behind  if the Banks begin to think it might be smarter to foreclose and lose a lot less than previously, rather than expend time and effort trying to keep the afloat.

The next 6 month will be very interesting.

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STATE OF THE MARKET Jan 1st, 2013

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For Santa Clara – San Mateo – South Alameda – Santa Cruz Counties.

2012 saw a continuation of 3 major trends which began in mid 2012:
1. A RAPID INCREASE IN SALES PRICES:
o. As always, Up and Down movements start at the low end of the market and rise or fall till they include the whole price range.
o. Typically this is over a 2 to 3 year period, after which prices settle down to a 3 to 5% annual increase till the next Boom or Bust. This places us about half way through the current upward stage of the cycle.
2. MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN SHORT SALES & FORECLOSURE.
o. This is mainly due to banks finally co-operating with the Federal Government sponsored Loan Modification programs i.e. HARP, HAMP, and HAFA. These programs are also allowing many current homeowners to refinance into much lower payments even when there is little or no equity in the home.
3. LARGE INCREASE IN NUMBER OF QUALIFIED BUYERS:
o. First time Buyers who thought they were priced out of the market in 2008 now find the reduced prices and Tax benefits make owning cheaper than renting, and are jumping on the home ownership wagon.
o. Multiple Federal Government supported low/no down payment loans i.e. FHA, V/A etc.
o. Multiple great 1st Time Buyer programs from the IRS (MCC), plus Santa Clara County, (MAP), and San Mateo County (HEART) 3% down payment programs.
o. A flood of Investors, both domestic and foreign, who see California Real Estate as a great investment when compared to more traditional options.
HOW MIGHT THIS SITUATION AFFECT YOU.
1. MOVING UP? (New baby, bigger house, better school district etc).
o. Excellent time in most situations. Get top dollar for your current home in strong Sellers Market, and a good deal buying into a more expensive property where it’s still more of a Buyer’s Market.
2. MOVING DOWN? (Kids all grown and gone, retirement, want smaller but closer to Grand children etc).
o. Good possibility of top dollar for current home in strong Sellers Market, and getting a good deal buying outside our market area where prices are seeing little if any improvement i.e. anywhere other than the Bay Area.
3. STAYING HERE? (No reason to move).
o. Nice to see home equity growing again. Get refinanced as soon as possible. Call for advice if needed.

FOREIGN REAL ESTATE BUYERS

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Here in Silicon Valley were hearing a great deal about the Asian Buyers who are fueling the crazy boom market now in full force.
Every new listing is selling with multiple offers within day of hitting the MLS, and often not even getting to the MLS.
Buyers with less than 20% down payment have very little chance of even getting their offers considered, much less accepted.
While this is true it’s not accurate to suggest that any one ethnic group is driving this situation.
If we just consider the 2 States where most outside money is driving the market we find some interesting statistics:
o. 26% of all sales involving out of the country Buyers are happening in Florida.
o. 11% are in California.
o. In both cases 24% of such sales are coming from Canada.
o. 11% are from China.

PENDING RATIOS STILL IMPROVING

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The ratio between pending sales and listed properties is the best single indicator of future market direction.
Silicon Valleys Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) has now improved for 16 months in a row from from February 2011 to May 2012.
A PENDING SALE is defined as a Signed Purchase Contract.
Given the Federal Reserves commitment to keep rates down for at least another year this trend seems sure to continue with a steady increase of home prices.

SILICON VALLEY REAL ESTATE BOOMS AGAIN

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MULTIPLE OFFERS ARE BACK. In the 1st 5 months of this year I have written 25 offers on properties ranging from $350,000 to $975,000. In every case there have been multiple offers and the winner was over the listing price.

The Silicon Valley housing market (Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Southern Alameda Counties) has been steadily improving, based on statistics compiled by MLSListings for the past 10 years. It has now moved into overdrive.

In month-to-month comparison, last month the median sale prices for single family homes and condos both stood at their highest since 2009; the number of closed sales at their highest since 2007.

The current market is also marked by low inventory. The number of new listings for both single family homes and condos were at one of their their lowest levels in April since 2003

TIME TO BUY???

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Are you a potential 1st time buyer living in Californias Silicon Valley, and expect to live in your new home for at least 5 years/? YES YES YES.

0. Prices in our Valley have pretty much stabilized.

0 Interest rates are at all time lows.

0 There are multiple 1st Time Buyer programs from Cities, Countys, State, and Federal Governments. These can provide down payment assistance, and significantly reduce the cost of owning.

If your answer to my 1st question is negative then the answer is probably NO NO NO.

If you believe that prices are going to drop further and you plan to wait and buy at the bottom, please let me know how you will be able spot that bottom before it has already happened.

 

 

 

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