San Francisco Real Estate Summer Update, Sellers Remain in Driver’s Seat
The lazy days of summer may be here, but it’s a busy season for the real estate industry. Home buyers are out in force looking for new homes, but fewer “For Sale” signs are popping up in neighborhoods across much of the nation, creating stiff competition for those seeking their dream homes.
This spring’s home-sale numbers reflect the continued housing inventory shortage. In May, existing-home sales decreased modestly, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Existing-home sales dropped by 0.4% from April and 3% from a year earlier to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.43 million, NAR reported.
New-home sales are faring much better. Sales of new single-family houses climbed 6.7% in May, the highest level since November 2017, according to the Commerce Department. Construction of new homes is expected to increase 10% this year, to about 1.3 million new single-family homes, but that still won’t be enough to keep up with the growing demand, said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in an interview with CNN Money.
Besides low inventory, buyers are facing a gradual rise in loan interest rates, which have been trending slightly higher throughout 2018 and are expected to continue increasing the rest of the year. So, despite the tough competition, if you’re thinking of buying a new home this year, now is a good time to start.
Here are a few more reasons why the summer of 2018 is a great time to sell:
To make the most out of your summer real estate goals, it is vital to choose experienced, real estate professionals like your friends at the Frank Castaldini Group.
Home selling season is in full swing and thoughts of putting your home on the market may have breezed through your mind. Industry experts say this is the ideal time to list your home. Those considering listing their homes should consult with a real estate sales professional and have a checklist ready – and that checklist is easy as 1, 2, 3.
First, a real estate sales professional will provide you with a sales marketing plan that includes a pricing strategy that takes into consideration competing homes, current inventory levels and time on market. That plan should also outline the online marketing approach and the initiatives you need to complete as a homeowner to ensure success.
Second, sellers should clean everything! Ensure that your home has optimal curb appeal, particularly during the hot summer months since gardens need a little extra attention. Ensure that lawns are mowed, clutter is removed, trash bins are hidden from view, exterior paint is fresh and no roof tiles are missing. It is also important to make sure your driveway is free of cracks and oil stains. First impressions are important and potential buyers do judge a house by its exterior, so be sure to invest a little time and elbow grease to win over buyers before they even walk through your door.
The inside counts too. Cleanliness is king when it comes to showing your property to prospective buyers. Make sure to clean your windows inside and out, vacuum carpets, mop floors and clear all the dust that accumulates in exhaust fans and lighting fixtures. If deep cleaning is not your forte, you can hire a professional cleaning service to scrub down your home. This may cost a few hundred dollars, but it’s well worth it.
Equally important is to declutter as minimalist interiors tend to show best. Buyers walk in and try to imagine their ideal or actual furniture in various spaces. There is nothing worse for house hunters than walking into a cluttered space and being so overwhelmed with stuff that they decide against it on the spot. Be sure to minimize extra furniture and objects by renting a small storage space while you are in the process of showing your home. The small cost is worth the large return.
Third, comfort is key. Particularly during the warmer months, so be sure to have your AC running at a comfortable temperature. If your home is not equipped with AC, then make sure the windows are open and fans are running in the extra warm spaces. It is also a good idea to ensure that shutters and blinds are drawn until just before the open house to help keep out the heat.
If you are thinking of selling your home, now may be the perfect time to take advantage of this incredible market. Please call us directly at 415-846-1899 for a free home valuation and a preview of our proven marketing plan.
The real estate market in Northern California is seeing varying activity depending on the counties, cities, neighborhoods and homes. This issue of Market Watch is a strong indicator of this shifting dynamic. Competitively-priced homes in any range are expected to sell steadily and swiftly, and properties under $750K are not sitting on the market for long. The sub-$750K homes are also seeing tighter inventories than higher-priced homes.
With additional inventory expected to appear over the coming days and weeks of summer, buyers who have been waiting for new listings will be competing for homes that are priced right and primed to sell. Sellers testing the market with listing prices above the competitive range will see their homes sitting longer, and the perception among buyers will be unfavorable. It’s critical even in this market to list at the right price for the county, city, neighborhood and home. Now more than ever, sellers and their agents need to be mindful in determining a listing price.
Hot markets like San Francisco will continue to experience more buyers competing for less properties, which will drive up closing prices significantly in desirable communities. Here’s what was happening in our local Northern California offices since the last issue of Market Watch:
East Bay – In the Berkeley area there has been a steady increase of both listing inventory and sales activity. Some of the largest markets in the region include Oakland with 248 available properties and 279 under contract; Richmond/El Sobrante with 81 active houses and 94 under contract. Pleasanton has also seen steady listing inventory increasing by 22 properties.
El Dorado County – El Dorado Hills has solid inventory at the high-end market. Although properties are selling, some are overpriced due to the message of an inventory shortage. There have been multiple offers on properties under $500,000 and cash proves king in this range.
Monterey County – Monterey launched Coldwell Banker Global Luxury since the last update and it has been well received. The high-end market had recent price adjustments of $1-3 million. The mid-range market has slower activity at open houses, limited listings and tight supply. However, the market is expected to pick up as we enter summer and more listings appear.
North Bay – North Bay has seen a market favoring sellers, driven by demand and an increase in sales activity. Areas such as Marin saw homes going 15-22 percent over asking price. With approximately 365 available properties, only 65 are listed under $1 million. Although Santa Rosa Bicentennial had an increase in sales activity, it also experienced a slowdown in offers. The development indicates that the trend is home-specific in this area as opposed to a market indicator.
Placer County – Tahoe offices saw a decrease of approximately 18 percent in sales for luxury properties over $1 million from 2016. This is also reflected in the year over year sales; 2017 had 75 sales while 2016 sold 92 properties for the same period. The median sales price for luxury properties in 2017 is $1.4 million, a five percent decrease from 2016. The average sale price of luxury homes in 2017 stands at $2.1 million compared to $2.3 million in 2016, an eight percent decrease. As more homes are expected to be listed, savvy buyers and investors will be searching over the coming weeks as mortgage interest rates remain favorable.
Sacramento County – Folsom has experienced increased listing inventory and an increase in sales activity with 35 ratified offers. Fair Oaks saw decreases in listing inventory and sales due to a surplus of sellers and a lack of buyers. In the $450,000 price range, there were multiple offers on properties indicating a continued sellers’ market. Elk Grove has seen a 12 percent increase in listings with a 25 percent increase in pending sales. Homes under $350,000 have been in especially high demand with less than .2 months of inventory.
San Francisco – San Francisco has had mixed results since the last update. SF Lakeside saw a slight slowdown in overall activity including open houses. SF Lombard had slowdowns in the $2.5-$3 million range and high-end markets. However, single family homes have remained hot with multiple offers and sales over asking price. SF Pacific Heights had tight inventory with decreased listings, but still had an increase in sales activity.
SF Peninsula –Burlingame, Half Moon Bay and Menlo Park each saw steady listing inventory and steady sales activity, but with different results. Burlingame’s tight supply prompted multiple offers on properties and many sold above asking price. Half Moon Bay also had tight inventory and carefully managed pricing. Overpriced properties linger on the market and typically bring in lower offers, so appropriate pricing is key. Palo Alto had increased listings and sales, but comparisons show inventory and sales are down from 2016. Redwood City had a slight decrease in inventory and sales activity, but remains competitive. One local buyer finally purchased a home after losing out on 14 previous properties, so demand remains high for competitively priced homes. San Mateo saw an increase in listings and sales, a good sign for a hot summer sales season.
Santa Cruz County– In Santa Cruz, the price of high-end homes is currently $3-$4 million. Single family residences were in low supply with 320 active properties and demand remained steady. Overall, the county saw the number of properties that have gone into contract continue to be nearly as high as the number of new listings to the market.
Silicon Valley – Cupertino reported multiple pre-emptive offers with a hot market and high activity. Listing inventory and sales activity increased and the area ended the period with 30 ratified offers.
Northern California had a strong start to the Spring home buying season notwithstanding low inventory. The housing market continues to experience an abundance of buyers, and in most cases, multiple offers on reasonably priced listings. New listings continue to come on the market, but not at a rate that meets buyer demand.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), existing-home sales reached their highest pace in 10 years during March largely due to low inventory.
“The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”
Northern California continues to sustain a sellers’ market due to its low inventory. Most reasonably priced listings receive multiple offers because buyers continue to outnumber the listings. However, there are not as many buyers for luxury properties in most regions.
Northern California has continued to maintain its strong Spring start into May. Here’s what was happening in our local Northern California offices earlier this month:
East Bay – The year-over-year first quarter statistics for the East Bay area: Alameda saw its overall median sales price increase 4 percent from $818,500 to $849,500 reflected in a 6 percent leap in short sales and foreclosures from $935,000 to $990,000 and a 10 percent jump in condos and townhomes from $655,500 to $722,250. Oakland’s overall median increased from $550,000 to $625,000, representing a 14 percent increase. Short sales and foreclosures moved from $550,000 to $650,000, representing an 18 percent increase, and condos and townhomes moved from $556,144 to $561,254, representing a 1 percent increase. Berkeley now has an overall median price of $1,055,000, representing a 21 percent leap. Short sales and foreclosures grew from $901,000 to $1,100,000, showing a 22 percent increase. Condos and townhomes went from $565,900 to $762,500, increasing 35 percent. Albany grew from $733,000 to $870,000, showing a 19 percent increase, with single-family houses jumping from $848,888 to $975,750, which is a 15 percent increase, and condos and townhomes moving from $418,000 to $525,000, which is a 26 percent increase. El Cerrito also saw significant gains with the overall median moving from $740,000 to $885,000, representing a 20 percent increase, and short sales and foreclosures moving from $775,000 to $915,000. Buyers continue to outnumber the listings as inventory remains less than a one-month supply.
Monterey County – The top five companies in Monterey County for the month of May saw a 25 percent decrease in units and sales. The average price is hovering around the $1 million mark. The last seven days, 14 properties went into contract in all price points, but the under $1 million price point still continues to be the most competitive. The inventory has tightened and prices seem to have peaked. As a result, buyers appear to be waiting for price adjustments or making low offers to get the negotiations started.
North Bay – For Greenbrae, inventory continues to be outpaced by demand, and multiple offers continue to be prevalent. Buyers are negotiating more once they get into contract, which has led to more escrows falling out than normal. In Novato, the luxury market over $1 million has improved. Currently 50 percent of the inventory is in contract with the majority in the $1 million to $1.5 million range. A new listing in Novato this week priced at $1.2 million sold less than seven years ago for $600,000 with little remodeling done. Prices will continue to trend upwards as inventory remains low. During April, the number of units sold in Novato was slightly higher than last April and prices were up 5 percent to a median price of $915,000. The average days on market went down 10 percent to 26 from 29 last year. There has been an increase in listing inventory, but it only equates to two months of available inventory. Currently Novato has 55 active properties and 80 properties in contract. In Santa Rosa, many properties are receiving multiple offers and many buyers continue to write offers even though their previous offers have not been successful. Total sales for April were 15 percent below sales from April of last year and more than 4 percent below sales from March of this year. April over April median price in Sonoma County is up just under 10 percent. In Sebastopol, listing agents are seeing offer dates come and go on properties in all price ranges, but buyers’ agents are still competing for properties. Interest rates still remain low, and more buyers are heading north from the Bay Area.
Placer County – In Tahoe, the luxury sales for properties priced above $1 million are down 20 percent from 2016. For 2017, there have been 65 luxury properties sold as compared to 82 sold last year for the same period. The median sales price for luxury properties in 2017 thus far is $1,425,000, which is down 3.5 percent from the median sales price of $1,476,405 in 2016. The average sale price of luxury homes in year to date stands at $2,148,121 as compared to $2,371,101 in 2016 and is down almost 10 percent.
There continues to be considerable interest in the market as many buyers and investors are actively looking for homes. With the continued favorable mortgage interest rates and inventory coming, buyers will be able to acquire homes in many of the Lake Tahoe and Truckee resort communities.
Sacramento County – In Fair Oaks, the market is bifurcated. There is more luxury inventory than buyers, but the under $400,000 market is still a sellers’ market with listings receiving multiple offers. In Sierra Oaks, the luxury market is strong with an increase in activity. Overall, there are more listings and buyers moving forward. In El Dorado Hills, there is luxury market inventory for up to a year, but the luxury market has slowed. Four luxury homes were listed and only two luxury homes went into escrow. None of the homes that closed during this period were in the luxury market. There is little inventory of homes under $600,000. Open houses have anywhere from six to 35 groups each week, which produce many leads. There are still numerous buyers from the Bay Area, especially East Bay, but there has also been an increase in buyers from the Elk Grove to El Dorado Hills area. There was a large open house held at Serrano last week with a great turn out with people from the Bay Area. These large open houses happen every second Sunday of the month—weather permitting. Land seems to be selling at a greater pace than seen in recent years. Builders are looking at buying several lots. New subdivision lots are selling as well as previously sold lots. There is some seller financing on some of these lots that is very attractive to many buyers. There is still little affordable workforce housing available in many areas. Programs are being proposed that would streamline some of the processes and fees to aid in the construction of new homes as well as second homes on properties that already have one home. In Elk Grove and West Sacramento, there has been an increase in the number of listings in the past two weeks. However, inventory remains below one month and is down 25 percent from last year at this time. Average sales prices in Elk Grove for the month of April were over $400,000, which is up 11 percent from April 2016. The average days on the market has continued to decline and is 45 percent less than the 2016 average days on the market. There is a huge demand for homes in Elk Grove in the under $350,000 range and a lack of homes available in that price point. In several cases offers on properties have come in well above asking. For example, a listing at $450,000 received offers as high as $45,000 over asking price while a property listed at $390,000 received offers as high as $30,000 over asking price. In many cases, buyers in the under $400,000 price point marker must submit several offers before one gets accepted. Open houses have continued to see huge turnouts with several this past weekend including up to 25 or more attendees. There have been many buyers from outside of the local market, with the majority from the Bay Area.
SF Peninsula – In Burlingame, the demand for all properties is once again high due to low inventory. Inventory is growing, but it is still historically low. Almost all of the properties that sell are receiving multiple offers and are selling for much more than the list price. In Half Moon Bay, there are 45 listings currently for sale. Most experience an average 60 days with a low of four days and high of 365 days. There are currently 17 pending listings. Most experienced an average of 42 days on the market with a low of one day and high of 269 days. There were a total of 32 recently sold listings. They spent an average 31 days on the market with a low of one day and high of 220 days. Half Moon Bay has a little over a two-month supply of inventory. Menlo Park continues to have low inventory. Listings in the lower price ranges of $2 million and below, and listings above $2 million sell very fast. For Palo Alto, inventory in year-to-date is substantially lower in the area as well as in the North and South. In Redwood City, there continues to be low inventory but each mid-peninsula city and town is gradually gaining a little more inventory. Buyers are becoming a little more cautious with their offers, which means there are not as many multiple offers, but most property listings still receive two to five offers. In San Mateo, inventory is picking up. Woodside and Portola Valley still have very low inventory and most homes receive preemptive offers.
Santa Cruz County– The number of homes listed for more than $1 million is approximately the same as 2016. The number of sales for properties over $1 million dollars is slightly lower than those of April 2016. There have been several additional sales this April compared to last year, which appears to be a trend that will sustain through the summer. The real estate market in Santa Cruz County is still showing attributes of a sellers’ market. There are multiple offers on well-priced properties, primarily for properties listed under $1 million dollars. There are approximately nine single-family homes hitting the market per day. However, the total inventory of single-family homes in Santa Cruz County is 317, which is quite low. Inventory is approximately 20 percent below 2016.
Silicon Valley – In Cupertino the luxury market remains steady. Last week saw the most sales pending in Santa Clara County for year-to-date. Inventory has increased but there is still high demand for more inventory to satisfy buyer needs. New home developments are springing up all through Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Many developers are offering upgrade incentives and mortgage assistance to attract more potential buyers to their new homes. As a result, house tours now include new home developments as well as lived in properties. In Los Altos, the luxury market — homes priced over $4.5 million — is steady, but multiple offers continue to be the exception. Overall, inventory levels are still very low compared to buyer demand. Currently, there is less than one month’s worth of inventory in Los Altos. Most homes are receiving multiple offers, which typically leads to a sales price that is over asking. The market in Mountain View is even hotter with barely two weeks’ worth of inventory. The number of homes coming on the market for sale each week is slowly on the rise in both the Los Altos and Mountain View areas. However, these homes are being absorbed quickly and are selling very fast. Most homes coming on market are priced to induce offers and are selling in less than 10 days. The markets of Los Altos and Mountain View are still very strong and extremely robust.
Curious what your home is worth today? Visit: What’s my house worth for a free home valuation or call or email us at 415.846.1899 Frank@FrankCastaldini.com
Frank Castaldini has been a consistent award winning top producer of fine real estate in San Francisco for 10 years, focusing on exceptional client experience, serving with the highest standards and creating a long list of satisfied clients who refer business to him regularly. Aligned with the largest leader in San Francisco real estate, Compass. He along with his team provides the finest in service and marketing. Consider The Frank Castaldini Group for your real estate needs if you seek the very best service, superior market knowledge and execution, and unmatched results.