Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cost vs. Value Report - 2010-2011

Remodeling Magazine, published by Hanley-Wood, LLC, Washington, D.C., has been publishing the "Cost vs. Value Report" annually for more than twenty years. The 2010-2011 version compiles information for 80 markets, same as last year on 35 home improvement projects included in the analysis by HomeTech Information Systems , which publishes estimating software for professional remodelers. This information is collected and compiled from their national network of remodeling contractors and suppliers. Adjustment factors are employed to account for regional pricing differences.

What do the latest numbers have to say? Continued downward home prices (nationwide) have brought the overall cost-to-value ratios down to their lowest levels in the last ten years. So, the best rule of thumb is to be pragmatic as lowered home values have moved remodelers to those projects which don't require, in most instances, large outlays of capital. Of the top five projects, only one (minor kitchen remodel), involves costs of more than $14,000.

The least expensive of the 35 projects, an entry door replacement, actually had the highest return on investment nationally at 102.1% and 112.1% in the Pacific region. Generally, the replacement projects like entry door and garage door (improves curb appeal), have a much higher percentage of cost recouped.

Higher cost estimates for projects coupled with lower resale prices have tipped the percentages to below 100% with one exception -- the previously mentioned entry door replacement (steel). The report's findings underscored the fact that the percentage of cost recouped on upscale additions and remodels were significantly lower than mid-range additions, remodels and replacements. As you might suspect, many upscale projects are not undertaken using an investment return mentality and so I recommend against them if the project(s) are contemplated for resale of a home.

If interested, check out the full national Cost vs. Value Report. A map on the site shows cost comparisons by region. You may click on the region to make the information more relevant to your needs and even peruse past reports. For instance, click for the Pacific region report.

Here are selected 2010-2011 remodel and replacement projects for the Pacific region along with its average percentage of cost recouped (last year's report values in parentheses):

* Bathroom addition - 63% (68%)
* Deck addition (wood) - 76% (91%)
* Family room addition - 71% (73%)
* Master Suite addition - 67% (72%)
* Bathroom remodel - 79% (77%) (Only one to have increased from 2009-2010 report)
* Home office remodel - 54% (56%)
* Major kitchen remodel - 77% (84%)
* Minor kitchen remodel - 84% (94%)(project I have advised my clients to consider)
* Roof replacement - 65% (68%) (recommended sometimes to improve curb appeal)
* Siding replacement (fiber cement) - 72% (92%)
* Windows replacement (vinyl) - 80% (88%) (project I have advised my clients to consider)
* Entry door (steel) 112% (not in last year's report) (recommended to improve curb appeal)
* Garage door 77% (not in last year's report) (recommended to improve curb appeal


Hope this information is of help to you as you decide on remodeling projects to either enhance the value of your home for immediate reselling or to enjoy the lifestyle benefits of the improvements and have no plans to sell. Please remember that not all remodeling projects will result in higher resale values. Many folks think that someone will want to pay $100,000 more for their remodeled home that costs them $50,000 to complete. Not too likely as it depends upon on the project, the neighborhood, the likely market conditions upon completion, and other factors. If you are considering remodeling for a sale or just want to see what projects may cost and understand the process, I recommend reading the book "Remodel or Move?" by Dan Fritschen available at Amazon.com.

If you want a professional opinion of how the market will react to your proposed project and as a way to save time, money and hassle, please contact me. I would provide you a market assessment of your contemplated remodeling project and if you want, a referral to a licensed trades-person who can provide free estimates or just to talk it over with as you firm up your plans, please let me know. I would do this whether or not you would be doing the project for resale as I work exclusively by referral so regularly provide referrals to my clients to help them maintain or improve their homes. By the way, these referrals are from the heart, not the wallet as the only thing I get for a referral of this type is the satisfaction that you will be well-cared for by a licensed professional.

Thanks for reading Tom McEvoy's blog! Post your comment here or send me an email through my website.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of November transactions and market comments for Santa Clara County real estate and San Mateo County real estate. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. If you have questions or a comment, please leave them here, or feel free to contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- The last several months has seen a continual decrease in the amount of sales in both counties, an indicator of slowing markets and something we see each year as we enter the fall and holiday season. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County jumped a bit from last month to 820 but was 8.8% lower than the same month a year ago. For San Mateo County, closings were 330, virtually the same level as November 2009. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory), which was increasing later in the year (far longer than in most years), has now reversed course and is following historical trends in both counties. As usual for this time of year, inventory tends to drift lower. I'm sure we'll again see a major drop-off at the end of the year as many listing agreements expire on 12/31 of each year. Ask me why this is an extremely poor strategy that will set sellers up to lose money. Still, the market overall remains more positive in Santa Clara County. However, inventory levels were 37% higher in Santa Clara County and 33% higher in San Mateo County than the same month a year ago.

* 40% of sellers in Santa Clara County get at least list price for their single family homes! In San Mateo County, the corresponding percentage is a bit over 34%. This is another indicator that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County. Also, these indicators have drifted lower and underscore a slowing market in both counties -- usual though for this time of year.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues to move lower. If this trend continues, it could portend a market that is gaining strength and could point to more positive market conditions next year. We watch this important indicator closely. As we have discussed, DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A higher figure for DUI, then, means the market is becoming weaker. For November, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 70 for SFR's, 84 for condos/townhouses and 140 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 94 for SFR's, 122 for condos/townhouses and an even higher number of 487 for multi-unit properties. Once again, notice that all readings were lower, hence more positive, for Santa Clara County.

> Seller Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are Milpitas, the area comprising the cities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto, East Valley (SJ), Evergreen Valley (SJ), South San Jose. For San Mateo County, we see hot markets in Foster City and Redwood Shores. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices with a potential of price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Saratoga, Willow Glen (SJ), Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Almaden Valley (SJ). Saratoga is my current "Best Buy" area in the county. For San Mateo County, we see buyer's markets in Menlo Park, Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Redwood City and especially the San Mateo Coast cities. What makes a "buyers" market is the relationship of supply to demand -- simply put as higher supply and lower demand. The characteristics of a buyer's market is a longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median price situation has changed in Santa Clara County -- The median price for SFR's in Santa Clara County which has mainly remained flat to slightly nudging upwards for several months has turned down. It now stands at $590,000, versus $641,500, or an 8.0% decrease from last month and a decrease of 2.5% from the same month a year ago. The median price for condos/townhouses was $315,975, down 4.25% from $330,000, last month a 10.4% drop from last year. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $723,000, up from $675,000 last month but a decrease of 0.3% from the same month a year ago. The median price for San Mateo County condo/townhouses was $415,000 or 9.2% higher than the $380,000, last month and decreased 6.5% from last year. I continue to advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market. To formulate an effective strategy, I recommend the use of the supply-demand characteristics for the neighborhood under consideration.

> Buyers get going -- I've mentioned that buyers need to think about a time of year when there is historically less activity and a good time of the year to do that is when we approach and are in the holiday period of the year -- like NOW. We're seeing the inventory of available homes decrease and those homes remaining on the market, in all likelihood, have sellers that have a higher motivation to sell. In Santa Clara County currently there is a tendency for buyers to search for single family residences but there are better deals in condos/townhouses due to greater supply compared to demand in the $450,000 to $750,000 price range. Same goes for San Mateo County -- good deals are probable in all price ranges but the lowest price range ($450,000 and below).

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to arm you with market intelligence to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sunnyvale Community Services Annual Christmas Holiday Auction

As you may know, I serve on the board of directors for Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS), a nonprofit organization since 1970 that works to prevent hunger and homelessness for thousands of local community members. Matter of fact, I was just named its Treasurer and volunteer my time and talents.

Unfortunately, the number of struggling families and individuals in Sunnyvale has grown as the recession continues as people lost their jobs or have had their hours cut back. In fact, last year we served three times as many people as we did in 2005.

I’m contacting you today to invite you to:

• Sunnyvale Community Services Annual Christmas Holiday Auction
• 5-7:30 p.m., Thursday, December 2nd
• 725 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, CA 94086
• Please bring an unwrapped toy or gift for a child, teen or household


The auction features delicious food and beverages as well as a chance to bid on wonderful gifts and vacation packages, all donated by local businesses and friends of SCS! Of course, all proceeds go to SCS, enabling us to provide food and financial support during the holidays and throughout the year. You can do your holiday shopping and help others at the same time by joining in this fun community event! (For a list of auction items, please visit our website.)

The auction also doubles as a Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce mixer, so you can do your business some good as well! Remember to bring your business cards. This is a festive night of food, friends, helping out, and having fun, and I would personally love to see you there! Remember, the price of admission is a toy or gift.

If you can’t make it to the holiday auction, you can still help local families by making a financial gift to SCS. We’re striving to raise more than $500,000 during the holiday season to serve more than 8,000 individuals in the coming year. Every dollar donated makes a difference, helping to keep struggling neighbors housed and fed. (For example, a gift of $50 keeps a family sheltered for one night, and $1,000 buys 300 jars of peanut butter for hungry families.)

To donate to SCS or learn more about our services, our clients, or how our funds are used, please visit our website. You may also call me directly at 408-830-0092. I would be delighted to talk with you!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of October transactions and market comments for Santa Clara County real estate and San Mateo County real estate. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. If you have questions or a comment, please leave them here, or feel free to contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- The last several months has seen a continual decrease in the amount of sales in both counties, an indicator of slowing markets. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County decreased and were at 780, 24.0%lower than the same month a year ago. Even though the amount of sales in San Mateo County rose a bit from September, the same general decline exists. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory), which was increasing later in the year (far longer than in most years), has now reversed course and is following historical trends in both counties. As usual for this time of year, inventory tends to drift lower. We'll see, I'm sure, a major drop-off at the end of the year as many listing agreements seem to expire on 12/31 of each year. Still, the market overall remains more positive in Santa Clara County.

* 44% of sellers in Santa Clara County get at least list price for their homes! In San Mateo County, the corresponding percentage is a bit over 39%. This is another indicator that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County. Also, these indicators have drifted lower and underscore a slowing market in both counties -- usual for this time of year.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) has turned the corner and is now heading down. this could portend a market that is gaining strength and could point, if it continues, to a more positive market condition in 2011. We shall keep an eye on this important indicator. As we have discussed, DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A higher figure for DUI, then, means the market is becoming weaker. For October, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 70 for SFR, 87 for condos/townhouses and 193 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 99 for SFR's, 136 for condos/townhouses and a whopping 395 for multi-unit properties. Once again, notice that all readings were lower, hence more positive, for Santa Clara County.

> Seller Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, East Valley (SJ), Milpitas, North Valley (SJ) and the area comprising the cities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices with a potential of price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Almaden Valley (SJ) and Willow Glen (SJ). Almaden Valley is my current "Best Buy" area in the county. What makes a "buyers" market is the relationship of supply to demand -- simply put as higher supply and lower demand. The characteristics of a buyer's market is a longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median price situation -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's has mainly remained flat to slightly nudging upwards. It now stands at $641,500, an increase of 8.1% from the same month a year ago. The median price for condos/townhouses was $330,000, a 8.6% drop from last year. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $675,000 and represented a 3.8% decrease from the same month a year ago. The median price for San Mateo County condo/townhouses was $380,000, a drop of 5.0% from last year. I continue to advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market. To formulate an effective strategy, I recommend the use of the supply-demand characteristics for the neighborhood under consideration.

> Short Shift? -- REO's (bank-owned homes) and short sale listings are termed "lender-controlled" transactions. Bottom line is that short sale homes sell but are a lot less apt to close. Here's a chart of the latest breakdown to illustrate my point:

You can see that short sales, comprise 25% of the available inventory and 35% of the pendings, only comprise 16% of the closings.

> Buyers get ready -- Last month I mentioned that buyers need to think about a time of year when there is historically less activity and a good time of the year to do that is when we approach and are in the holiday period of the year. We're seeing the inventory of available homes decrease and those homes remaining on the market, in all likelihood, have sellers that have a higher motivation to sell.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to arm you with market intelligence to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Real Eats -- Tommy Toy's Restaurant, San Francisco, CA


It's not often that I my wife and I are completely impressed with all aspects of a dining experience. This happened at Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise in San Francisco. There recently for a birthday celebration dinner for my wife's uncle, who turned 84, we've been raving about it ever since.

My wife's uncle chose his favorite restaurant and not having been to the restaurant before, we followed his lead and joined in having Tommy Toy's Signature Dinner.

Now, where do I start? First, we began with an appetizer and then embarked on a culinary adventure in the six-course, famous Tommy Toy's Signature Dinner. An extravaganza of excellent food, all were well prepared and expertly presented and served.

My wife's uncle is a well-known patron here which was a benefit to all of us as we were served a complimentary appetizer of deep-fried won tons filled with crab mousse served with plum sauce.

The first course of the Signature Dinner was squab and pine nuts wrapped in iceberg lettuce leaves. Delicious and crisp. This was followed by their Seafood Bisque soup served in an open coconut shell, oven-baked and covered with a flaky pastry. Simply marvelous! Then came a fresh whole Maine Lobster! This was served on a platter with a small amount of mixed greens with a vinaigrette dressing. The lobster was chopped and cooked with red and green pepper and served over a bed of delicious vermicelli noodles. Our next course was Medallions of Filet Mignon. This was served over fried rice with asparagus spears. Whole Peking Duck was presented to the table and then carved table side and served with lotus buns.

Our dessert, complimented the various flavors, textures and tastes, a Peach Mousse served in a strawberry sauce was light, cool and refreshing.

One of our guests chose two very nice wines to accompany our meal. One, a Bordeaux and the other, a Riesling, slightly sweet. Both were well-paired and enjoyed with the Signature Dinner.

Wow, if you ever get a chance to experience a fusion of Chinese and French cuisines, consider Tommy Toy's in The City!

Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise
655 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-397-4888
Tommy Toy's Website

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Eats -- Tommy Toy's Restaurant, San Francisco, CA


It's not often that I my wife and I are completely impressed with all aspects of a dining experience. This happened at Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise in San Francisco. There recently for a birthday celebration dinner for my wife's uncle, who turned 84, we've been raving about it ever since.

My wife's uncle chose his favorite restaurant and not having been to the restaurant before, we followed his lead and joined in having Tommy Toy's Signature Dinner.

Now, where do I start? First, we began with an appetizer and then embarked on a culinary adventure in the six-course, famous Tommy Toy's Signature Dinner. An extravaganza of excellent food, all were well prepared and expertly presented and served.

My wife's uncle is a well-known patron here which was a benefit to all of us as we were served a complimentary appetizer of deep-fried won tons filled with crab mousse served with plum sauce.

The first course of the Signature Dinner was squab and pine nuts wrapped in iceberg lettuce leaves. Delicious and crisp. This was followed by their Seafood Bisque soup served in an open coconut shell, oven-baked and covered with a flaky pastry. Simply marvelous! Then came a fresh whole Maine Lobster! This was served on a platter with a small amount of mixed greens with a vinaigrette dressing. The lobster was chopped and cooked with red and green pepper and served over a bed of delicious vermicelli noodles. Our next course was Medallions of Filet Mignon. This was served over fried rice with asparagus spears. Whole Peking Duck was presented to the table and then carved table side and served with lotus buns.


Our dessert, complimented the various flavors, textures and tastes, a Peach Mousse served in a strawberry sauce was light, cool and refreshing.

One of our guests chose two very nice wines to accompany our meal. One, a Bordeaux and the other, a Riesling, slightly sweet. Both were well-paired and enjoyed with the Signature Dinner.

Wow, if you ever get a chance to experience a fusion of Chinese and French cuisines, consider Tommy Toy's in The City!

Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise
655 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-397-4888
Tommy Toy's Website

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

38th Annual Sunnyvale Community Services Holiday Affaire


Please join us at this special annual event sponsored by Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS). Many items including ornaments, quilts, baked goods, jams, knit and crocheted items, jewelry and more will be available. 100% of the proceeds benefit SCS. We thank the SCS Auxiliary for donating their time, energy and creativity to make this happen each year!

WHERE: Sunnyvale Community Services, 725 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

WHEN: Saturday, October 23rd from 9:30am to 3:30pm

Sunnyvale Community Services is a non-profit organization who's mission is to prevent homelessness and hunger in Sunnyvale. I am a proud member of the Board of Directors of SCS.

38th Annual Sunnyvale Community Services Holiday Affaire




Please join us at this special annual event sponsored by Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS). Many items including ornaments, quilts, baked goods, jams, knit and crocheted items, jewelry and more will be available. 100% of the proceeds benefit SCS. We thank the SCS Auxiliary for donating their time, energy and creativity to make this happen each year!

WHERE: Sunnyvale Community Services, 725 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

WHEN: Saturday, October 23rd from 9:30am to 3:30pm


Sunnyvale Community Services is a non-profit organization who's mission is to prevent homelessness and hunger in Sunnyvale. I am a proud member of the Board of Directors of SCS.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of September transactions and market comments for Santa Clara County real estate and San Mateo County real estate. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- The last four months has shown a general decline in the amount of sales. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County decreased and are at levels just below those seen in either September of 2009 and September 2008 but above the level seen in September 2007. Same holds true for San Mateo County which saw a lower level for the past three months. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) is trending upwards in both counties these past nine months which is usual for this time of the year. However, the rate of increase has slowed significantly in Santa Clara County and is well below record levels. San Mateo County inventory, while also trending higher for the past nine months, is close to record levels. The market overall remains more positive in Santa Clara County.

* More than 40% of sellers in Santa Clara County get at least list price for their homes! In San Mateo County, the corresponding percentage is a bit over 30%. This is another indicator that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County. Also, these indicators have drifted lower and underscore a slowing market in both counties -- usual for this time of year.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues an upward trend translating into a slowing market. However, as we enter October, we've seen a reversal of direction so we'll have to see if it continues. As we have discussed, DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A higher figure for DUI, then, means the market is becoming weaker. For September, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 74 for SFR, 88 for condos/townhouses and 172 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 104 for SFR's and 140 for condos/townhouses. Notice that all readings were more positive for Santa Clara County.

> Seller Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, East Valley (SJ), Milpitas, Evergreen Valley (SJ) and Cupertino. I very-recently listed a Cupertino home in the Monta Vista High School attendance area and had some 250 people through for the two open houses. It generated multiple offers with a sale price exceeding list price. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices with a potential of price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos, Almaden Valley (SJ), Saratoga, Campbell, and Willow Glen (SJ). Los Gatos is my current "Best Buy" area in the county. What makes a "buyers" market is the relationship of supply to demand -- simply put as higher supply and lower demand. The characteristics of a buyer's market is a longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median prices drop a bit -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's decreased slightly after five months of increase this year. It stands at about $625,000. The median price for condos/townhouses dipped a bit more in percentage terms. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's has dropped to just above $700,000 from the $790,000 level. I continue to advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration.

> Boo! Buyers get ready -- Historically, a good time to buy is approximately at the time of Halloween or a bit after. I don't see it any different this year. As we enter the early holiday period just before Thanksgiving, those homes on the market, in all likelihood, have to be sold by their owners.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to arm you with market intelligence to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of August transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- Since the March-April 2009, we've seen a general improvement in market conditions but lately the market has slowed. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County decreased to 864 from 1,008 last month and was down 11.7% from the same month a year ago. San Mateo County saw a slightly higher SFR closings level of 395 versus 387 last month and up 8.2% from the same month a year ago. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) is trending upwards in both counties these past six months which is usual for this time of the year. However, the rate of increase has slowed significantly. Inventory in both counties are higher than the same month a year ago.

* 48.7% of sellers in Santa Clara County get at least list price for their homes! In San Mateo County, the corresponding percentage is 41.3%. This is an indicator that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County. Also, these indicators have drifted lower and underscore a slowing market in both counties.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues an upward trend translating into a slowing market. DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A higher figure for DUI, then, means the market is becoming weaker. For August, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 81 for SFR, 87 for condos/townhouses and 176 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 106 for SFR's and 133 for condos/townhouses. Notice that all readings were more positive for Santa Clara County.

> Seller Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose and Santa Teresa parts of San Jose, Cupertino, and East Valley and Evergreen Valley parts of San Jose. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices with a potential of price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, Campbell and Cambrian. Willow Glen, Campbell and Cambrian are my current "Best Buy" areas in the county. What makes a "buyers" market is the relationship of supply to demand -- simply put as higher supply and lower demand. The characteristics of a buyer's market is a longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median prices flatten out -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's increased 12.4% to $629,500 from $560,000 in August 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $347,500 or 5.3% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $790,000, 15.3% higher than the same month a year ago, whereas condos/townhouses was $443,750, 8.5% lower. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks so that they can sell more newspapers! However, I advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients of the appropriate strategy they should employ to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

> Boo! Buyers get ready -- Historically, a good time to buy is approximately at the time of Halloween. I don't see it any different this year. I recommend sellers sell now and buyers buy later in the fall.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to arm you with market intelligence to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Friday, August 13, 2010

August Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of July's transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- It's been over a year since we called the bottom of the real estate market in Santa Clara County -- March-April 2009. Since then we've seen a general improvement in market conditions and this remains more apparent in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County decreased to 1,008 from 1,084 last month and was down 18.2% from the same month a year ago. San Mateo County also saw lower SFR closings at 387 from 446 last month and was down 1.5% from the same month a year ago. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) is trending upwards in both counties these past six months which is usual for this time of the year. What is not usual is that while the inventory in Santa Clara County is 18.5% higher than the same month a year ago, the inventory in San Mateo is 31.7% higher!

* 55.4% of sellers in Santa Clara County get at least list price for their homes! In San Mateo County, the corresponding percentage is 43.7%. This is an indicator that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) starts an upward move -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this number translates into a faster market. DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A lower figure for DUI, then, means improvement. For July, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 75 for SFR, 80 for condos/townhouses and 199 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 101 for SFR's and 103 for condos/townhouses and 325 for multi-unit properties. Notice that all readings were more positive for Santa Clara County.

> Seller Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, North Valley, East Valley, Evergreen Valley parts of San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices with a potential of price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- We call them buyer's markets but everything is relative, right? For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Willow Glen part of San Jose, Saratoga. Los Gatos/Monte Sereno and Willow Glen are my current "Best Buy" areas in the county. What makes a "buyers" market is the relationship of supply to demand -- simply put as higher supply and lower demand. The characteristics of a buyer's market is a longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median prices continue upward trend -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's increased 7.6% to $650,000 from $590,000 in July 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $345,000 or 4.5% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $820,000, 6.9% higher than the same month a year ago, whereas condos/townhouses was $435,000, 4.5% lower. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks so that they can sell more newspapers! However, I advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients of the appropriate strategy they should employ to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

> Distress Sales Watch -- Santa Clara County's real estate market has changed over the past year. Last year there were more bank-owned listings, this year more short sale listings. Both categories are what we call "lender-controlled". However, the surprising thing is that last year there were 56% of the closings were normal but this year normal transactions have jumped to 71% of the total.

> Why shorts take a long time to close! -- Bank-owned transactions are similar to normal transactions as to length of escrows but short sales can try a buyer's patience. Matter of fact, they try all parties patience. Banks tell us they are working to reduce the process time for short sales but with a number of decision makers involved in a short sale, its anybody's guess. Here's some details as to why they take much longer AND there's no guarantee that they close! The ultimate decision rests with the Investor or owner of the loan. Most people think that if they get a loan through Wells Fargo or Bank of America, the bank owns the loan. Not true, as most of the loans have been sold to other investors (e.g., Fannie, Freddie, FHA, private investor groups, etc.). With this situation, the bank services the loan (collecting payments, producing statements, etc.) but does not own the loan, earning a fee for doing so. Each loan they sold, freed up funds to loan to someone else! Each Investor (and there could be more than one), tries to minimize their losses, each has their unique contractor guidelines (FHA requires TWO appraisals) and there are other interested parties (e.g., mortgage insurance company, Second lien mortgage holder. In fact, where there’s more than one loan, they could easily be held by different banks complicating the process even more. All the parties must be in alignment before a home can be sold. Banks or Investors don't give away properties and when they decide to sell, they are considered sophisticated sellers.

> Back to the Future with Mortgage Rates! -- Remember the movie, Back to the Future, which took place in the 1950's? Well, mortgage rates have fallen to levels not seen since that time. Recent rates are hovering in the low to mid-4% range. Many of today's buyers couldn't believe that mortgage rates hit 18.5% in 1981! With the loan payment being the carrying cost of a purchase and with price adjustments that have already taken place, the affordability of homes is higher.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill - Sunnyvale - Pre-Opening Celebration

“Doing good never tasted so good!”

Where: Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill; 108 E. El Camino Real at Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

When: Wednesday, August 18th, 5:00-8:00pm

How Much: $10 donation requested per person, $5 per child 12 and younger

How to Participate: By Monday, August 16th, please RSVP by email with number to ccasebeer@rubios.com

Proceeds Benefit: 100% of proceeds will go to the Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS)

Why this from me: I volunteer my time as a member of the Board of Directors of SCS to help the organization continue its mission of working to prevent homelessness and hunger in Sunnyvale.

“Doing good never tasted so good!”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of June's transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- It's been over a year since we called the bottom of the real estate market in Santa Clara County -- March-April 2009. Since then we've seen a steady improvement in market conditions and this remains more apparent in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County decreased to 1,084 from 1,230 last month and was down 8.9% from the same month a year ago. San Mateo County actually saw higher SFR closings at 446 from 418 last month and was up 6.2% from the same month a year ago. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) is trending upwards in both counties these past six months which is usual for this time of the year. What is not usual is that while the inventory in Santa Clara County is 2.9% higher than the same month a year ago, the inventory in San Mateo is 25.8% higher!

* 53% of sellers in Santa Clara County get at least list price for their homes! In San Mateo County, the corresponding percentage is 43.7%. This is another indicator that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues a positive trend -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this number translates into a faster market. DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A lower figure for DUI, then, means improvement. For June, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 68 for SFR, 78 for condos/townhouses and 216 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 97 for SFR's and 92 for condos/townhouses and 332 for multi-unit properties. All readings were more positive for Santa Clara County.

> HOT Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, East Valley, Evergreen Valley, Santa Teresa areas of San Jose. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices and the potential of price appreciation.

> Cool Markets? -- We call them buyer's markets but everything is relative, right? For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Saratoga, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, and the Almaden Valley and Willow Glen portions of San Jose. Saratoga and Willow Glen with Los Gatos/Monte Sereno are my current "Best Buy" areas in the county. What makes a "buyers" market is the relationship of supply to demand -- higher supply and lower demand. The characteristics of a buyers market is a longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median prices continue upward trend -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's increased to $637,500 versus $550,250 or 15.9% increase from June 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $360,000 or 3% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $792,000, 2.9% higher than the same month a year ago, whereas condos/townhouses was $451,000, 3% lower. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks to sell newspapers! However, I advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients of the appropriate strategy to employ to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

> Distress Sales Watch -- Santa Clara County's real estate market has changed over the past year. Last year there were more bank-owned listings, this year more short sale listings. Both categories are what we call "lender-controlled". However, the surprising thing is that last year there were 56% of the closings were normal but this year normal has jumped to 69% of the total.

> Shorts are Long! -- Bank-owned transactions are similar to normal transactions as to length of escrows but short sales can try a buyer's patience. Matter of fact, they try all parties patience. Banks tell us they are working to reduce the process time for short sales but with a number of decision makers involved in a short sale, its anybody's guess. Here's some details as to why they take much longer AND there's no guarantee that they close! The ultimate decision rests with the Investor or owner of the loan. Most people think that if they get a loan through Wells Fargo or Bank of America, the bank owns the loan. Not true, as most of the loans have been sold to other investors (e.g., Fannie, Freddie, FHA, private investor groups, etc.). With this situation, the bank services the loan (collecting payments, producing statements, etc.) but does not own the loan, earning a fee for doing so. Each loan they sold, freed up funds to loan to someone else! Each Investor (and there could be more than one), tries to minimize their losses, each has their unique contractor guidelines (FHA requires TWO appraisals) and there are other interested parties (e.g., mortgage insurance company, Second lien mortgage holder. In fact, where there’s more than one loan, they could easily be held by different banks complicating the process even more. All the parties must be in alignment before a home can be sold. Banks or Investors who hold mortgages are sophisticated sellers.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of May's transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are welcome. If you have an update as to what you are witnessing in your neighborhood, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- It's been over a year since we called the bottom of the real estate market in Santa Clara County -- March-April 2009. Since then we've seen a steady improvement in market conditions and this remains more apparent in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County increased to 1,230 from 975 last month and was up 23.7% from the same month a year ago. San Mateo County also saw higher SFR closings at 418 from 344 last month and was up 28.6% from the same month a year ago. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) is trending upwards in both counties these past few months which is usual. What is not usual is that while the inventory in Santa Clara County is 12.7% lower than the same month a year ago, the inventory in San Mateo is 10.1% higher.

* Headline you don't see in the San Jose Mercury News -- "HALF OF HOME SELLERS GET MORE THAN LIST PRICE FOR THEIR HOMES!" The sale price to list price ratio continues above 100% and stands at 100.9% in Santa Clara County and 100.0% for San Mateo County. Big news continues in the percent of closings where sale price exceeded list price -- Santa Clara County was 48.2% and San Mateo County increased to 40.9%. This indicates that the overall market remains stronger in Santa Clara County.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues to show improvement -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this number translates into a faster market. DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio and represents a calculation using both supply and demand. A lower figure for DUI, then, means improvement. For May, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 61 for SFR, 73 for condos/townhouses and 167 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 89 for SFR's and 100 for condos/townhouses.

> HOT Markets? -- For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, East Valley, Santa Teresa, North Valley and Evergreen Valley areas of San Jose. For San Mateo County, the hottest markets are those bay-side cities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and San Mateo. A seller's market has shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers with a tendency to have multiple offers and sale prices generally exceeding list prices and the potential of price appreciation.

> Cool Markets? -- We call them buyer's markets but everything is relative, right? For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos, Saratoga and the Willow Glen portion of San Jose. Saratoga and Willow Glen with Los Gatos/Monte Sereno are my current "Best Buy" areas in the county. In San Mateo County, besides the more expensive areas, there are buyer's markets in the coastal communities like Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. To refresh you, characteristics of a buyer's market are longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median prices jump in Santa Clara County -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's jumped to $630,000 versus $490,000 or 29% increase from May 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $383,500 or 24% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $750,000, 2.9% higher than the same month a year ago. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks to sell newspapers! However, I advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients of the appropriate strategy to employ to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

> Friday Before Memorial Day -- What's so significant about that date? Well, looking back over the last 15 years or so, Santa Clara County's real estate market usually peaks for the year in terms of activity levels and also generally in prices, as well. So far, we have a May peak this year as activity levels have eroded into June thus far so we'll see.

> What a change from a year ago in the market! -- Last year at this time saw 49% of the closings in Santa Clara County being distress sales (bank-owned and short sales or lender-controlled transactions). This year, just 28% are that type! Normal transactions accounted for 51% of the total last year and 72% this year.

> Why do newspapers always report lower prices for the area? They use DataQuick services which scans ALL transactions even though there's no money changing hands like in the case of family to family transfers, divorce settlements, etc. My calculations are based solely on arm's-length transactions through our Multiple Listing Service or MLS.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of April's transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are welcome. If you have an update as to what you are witnessing in your neighborhood, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- It's been over a year since we called the bottom of the real estate market in Santa Clara County -- March-April 2009. Since then we've seen pretty much a steady improvement in market conditions and this is more apparent in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County increased to 975 from 917 last month and was up 7% from the same month a year ago. San Mateo County also saw higher SFR closings at 344 compared to 294 in the same month a year ago. Higher activity levels and more buyers willing to make the decision to purchase is what we're finding. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) has trended upwards these past few months after more than a year of continual decline. This is taking place in both counties. However, the levels still remain substantially below the year ago levels. Santa Clara County inventory of available SFR's increased 7% from last month and San Mateo County's inventory increased 16%.

* Headline you don't see in the San Jose Mercury News -- "HALF OF HOME SELLERS GET MORE THAN LIST PRICE FOR THEIR HOMES!" The sale price to list price ratio continues above 100% and stands at 101.0% in Santa Clara County and 99.2% for San Mateo County. Big news continues in the percent of closings where sale price exceeded list price -- Santa Clara County was 48.6% and San Mateo County was 37.8%. This indicates the overall market is stronger in Santa Clara County.

* Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues to show improvement -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this number translates into a faster market. DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio, where a higher number means improvement. Whereas a lower figure for DUI means improvement. For April, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 43 for SFR, 48 for condos/townhouses and 72 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 44 for SFR's, 57 for condos/townhouses and 83 for multi-unit properties.

> HOT Markets? -- You bet and there are more of them, too! For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are Santa Teresa, Cupertino, North Valley, East Valley, South San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, and Sunnyvale. For San Mateo County, the hottest markets are those bay-side cities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and San Mateo. The characteristics of a seller's market are shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers which translates into a higher probability of multiple offers, sale prices generally exceeding list prices and a tendency towards price appreciation.

> Cool Markets? -- Yes, but there are fewer of them. For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Willow Glen, Saratoga. Los Gatos/Monte Sereno is my current "Best Buy" area in the county. In San Mateo County, besides the more expensive areas, there are buyer's markets in the coastal communities. To refresh you, characteristics of a buyer's market are longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion or based on price levels but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI).

> Median prices jump in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's jumped to $630,000 versus $470,000 or 34% increase from April 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $342,500 or 28% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's was $754,000, 24% higher than the same month a year ago. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks to sell newspapers! However, I advise my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell or time the market but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients of the appropriate strategy to employ to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

> Crazy Silicon Valley! -- If you told someone in most areas of the country that one-half of all closings are sold above list price, AND that the average sold price to list price ratio is 101% AND that 50% of closings sold within 20 days, they'd think you were crazy!

> Two-thirds of closings are regular transactions -- last year the figure was just 45%. Those REO-only agents have seen an average overall drop of about 65% in their business activity in a year.

> Bottom-Line Santa Clara County Market Analysis -- When you have about 1,000 closings of SFR homes out of an available inventory of about 2,500 or 40%, that's a HOT market!

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Give me a call or email me for a no-obligation consultation and research to help you make a better, more-informed decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of March's transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are welcome. If you have an update as to what you are witnessing in your neighborhood, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- It's been a year since we saw the bottom of the real estate market in Santa Clara County. Since then we've seen pretty much a steady improvement in market conditions and this is more apparent in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County. Closings of single family residences (SFR) in Santa Clara County were 917 versus 633 last month and 721 in March 2009. San Mateo County also saw higher SFR closings at 322 compared to 250 in the same month a year ago. Higher activity levels and more buyers willing to make the decision to purchase is what we're finding. Buyers seeking low prices AND a chance to garner a tax credit or two are a little late to the scene. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) has turned upwards after more than a year of continual decline. This is taking place in both counties. However, the levels are still substantially below the year ago levels. Santa Clara County inventory of available SFR's increased 8% from last month and San Mateo County's inventory increased 12%.

* Headline you don't see in the San Jose Mercury News -- "HALF OF HOME SELLERS GET MORE THAN LIST PRICE FOR THEIR HOMES!" The sale price to list price ratio continues above 100% and stands at 100.9% in Santa Clara County and increased a bit to 99.6% for San Mateo County. Big news continues in the percent of closings where sale price exceeded list price -- Santa Clara County was 49.7% and San Mateo County was 39.9%. This indicates the overall market is stronger in Santa Clara County.

* The Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues to show improvement -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this number translates into a faster market. DUI is conceptually the inverse of inventory turns ratio, where a higher number means improvement. A lower figure for DUI means improvement. For March, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 44 for SFR, 41 for condos/townhouses and 68 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 45 for SFR's, 45 for condos/townhouses and 105 for multi-unit properties.

> HOT Markets? -- You bet and there are more of them, too! For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, East Valley, Evergreen, North Valley, and Milpitas with Cupertino not far behind. For San Mateo County, the hottest markets are those bay-side cities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and San Mateo, followed by more expensive areas of Menlo Park, Woodside, and Portola Valley. The characteristics of a seller's market are shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher demand by buyers which translates into a higher probability of multiple offers, sale prices generally exceeding list prices and a tendency towards price appreciation.

> Cool Markets? -- Yes, but there is fewer of them. For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos Mountains and Los Gatos/Monte Sereno. Los Gatos is my current "Best Buy" area in the county. In San Mateo County, besides the more expensive areas, there are buyer's markets in the coastal communities. To refresh you, characteristics of a buyer's market are longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower demand by buyers which translates into a lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price stabilization or even depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion thing but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI). Additionally, this is not based on price levels or my opinion but a supply-demand relationship.

> Median prices jump in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties -- Santa Clara County median price for SFR's jumped to $600,000 versus $450,000 or 33% increase from March 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $375,000 or 57% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median price for SFR's reached $800,000, 38% higher than the same month a year ago. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks to sell newspapers! I advice my clients NOT to use an entire county's median price level to decide whether to buy or sell but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients of the appropriate strategy to employ to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Contact me at Tom.McEvoy@remax.net for a no-obligation consultation and research to help you make a better decision.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of February's transactions and market comments for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are welcome. If you have an update as to what you are witnessing in your neighborhood, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market Overview -- March 2009 saw the trend change to improve in Santa Clara County. It's been almost a year of improved market conditions and is more apparent in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County. Closings in Santa Clara County were 633 versus 593 in January and above February 2009 figure of 579. San Mateo County also saw higher closings. Higher figures are expected as the seasonal aspects point to higher levels of activity in the late winter/early spring. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) has turned upwards after more than a year of continual decline. This is taking place in both counties. Part of this is seasonal as sellers are rushing to get their home listed in the early part of the year after trying to sell unsuccessfully last year (did someone say "overpriced"?). Santa Clara County inventory of available single family residences increased 16% from last month and San Mateo County's inventory increased 20%.

* The sale price to list price ratio continues above 100% and remains at 101.3% in Santa Clara County and increased a bit to 99.5% for San Mateo County. Big news is the percent of closings where sale price exceeds list price -- Santa Clara County was 49.8% and San Mateo County was 36.6%. This indicates the overall market is stronger in Santa Clara County.

* The Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues to show improvement -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this number translates into a faster market. For February, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 39 for single family homes, 37 for condos/townhouses and 80 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 42 for single family homes, 45 for condos/townhouses and 121 for multi-unit properties.

> Super-heated Seller's Markets? -- We will always have some market areas performing better than others. For Santa Clara County the hottest (seller) market areas are South San Jose, Blossom Valley, North Valley, East Valley, Evergreen (lower priced homes only!) and Cambrian. For San Mateo County, Foster City remains the hottest market followed by the Bay-side communities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and San Mateo, followed by the expensive areas of Woodside, Portola Valley, Hillsborough and Atherton. The characteristics of a seller's market are shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher probability of multiple offers with many sale prices exceeding list prices and a tendency towards price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- Yes, there's a couple of them, too. For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos Mountains, Saratoga, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno and Almaden Valley. Saratoga exhibits the highest Days of Unsold Inventory in the county at 144 due mostly to low demand and is my current "Best Buy" area in the county, followed by Los Gatos/Monte Sereno. In San Mateo County, besides the more expensive areas, there are buyer's markets in the coastal communities. To refresh you, characteristics of a buyer's market are longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower probability of multiple offers and a tendency for price depreciation.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion thing but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI). Additionally, this is not based on price levels or my opinion but a supply-demand relationship.

> Median prices -- Santa Clara County median price for single family homes now stands at $550,000 versus $450,000 or 22.2% increase from February 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $352,000 or 10.0% higher than the same month a year ago. San Mateo County's median reached $600,000, 4.4% higher than the same month a year ago. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! Or, perhaps they use this intentionally to scare folks! I advice my clients to NOT use an entire county's median price level to decide on whether to buy or sell but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration and advise my clients to use an appropriate strategy to maximize their dollars if they are selling and maximize their house if they are buying.

Need help with understanding the market in your area? Contact me at Tom.McEvoy@remax.net for a no-obligation consultation and research to help you.


Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Highlights

Here are the highlights of January's transactions and market actions for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Your comments and questions are welcome. If you have an update as to what you are witnessing in your neighborhood, please don't hesitate to share with us. You may leave comments here, or contact me through my website.

> Market steady improvement with seasonal swings -- March 2009 saw the trend change in Santa Clara County -- a trend that continues to date, interrupted only by the seasonal aspects of the holiday season from Mid-November through early January. Closings in Santa Clara County were 593 versus 938 in December 2009, but an increase over 568 in January 2009. Even though median prices continued to decrease from December, seasonal factors outweigh the direction as smaller homes sell this time of year -- fully 7% smaller since last month and 8% smaller in San Mateo County. My analysis of the transactional information reveals:

* The supply of homes available for sale (inventory) has turned upwards after more than a year of continual decline. Part of this is seasonal as sellers are rushing to get their home listed in the early part of the year. Santa Clara County inventory of available single family residences increased 19% from last month and San Mateo County's inventory has increased 12%.

* The sale price to list price ratio continues above 100% and stands at 101.3% in Santa Clara County and stands at 99.3% for San Mateo County.

* The Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues to show improvement with minor fluctuations. Current levels show a vast improvement from year ago levels -- as readers will remember that a lowering of this amount translates into a faster market. For January, Santa Clara County had a DUI of 58 for single family homes, 44 for condos/townhouses and 100 for multi-unit properties. San Mateo County had a DUI reading of 72 for single family homes, 67 for condos/townhouses and 107 for multi-unit properties.

> Super-heated Seller's Markets? -- Still! For Santa Clara County the hottest market areas are East Valley, South San Jose, Milpitas, North Valley, Evergreen (lower priced homes only!) and Cupertino. For San Mateo County, Foster City remains the hottest market followed by the Bay-side communities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and San Mateo. The characteristics of a seller's market are shorter time on the market, fewer number of homes available for sale, higher probability of multiple offers with many sale prices exceeding list prices and a tendency towards price appreciation.

> Buyer's Markets? -- Yes, there's a couple of them, too. For Santa Clara County, we see buyer's markets in Los Gatos/Monte Sereno and Saratoga, with them both improving. Los Gatos/Monte Sereno exhibits the highest Days of Unsold Inventory in the county at 149 due mostly to low demand and is my current "Best Buy" area in the county, followed by Saratoga and the very high priced areas of Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills. To refresh you, characteristics of a buyer's market are longer time on the market, higher number of homes available for sale, lower probability of multiple offers or even an offer with most sale prices below list price. The tendency is to have price depreciation or stable prices at best case under this market condition.

Where do I get "Seller's" and "Buyer's" market information? This is not an opinion thing but a calculation I make using the number of homes for sale (supply) and the number of sales (demand) in the prior month which results in days of unsold inventory (DUI). Additionally, this is not based on price levels but a supply-demand relationship. Generally, we see that the hottest markets are currently those in the more affordable price areas but Cupertino and the Cupertino Schools area of Sunnyvale which have much higher prices are extremely hot.

> Median prices -- Santa Clara County median price for single family homes now stands at $531,650 versus $450,000 or 18.1% increase from December 2009. The median price for condos/townhouses was $321,000 or 16.7% higher than December 2009. San Mateo County's median reached $640,000, 15.3% higher than the same month a year ago. Notice that with prices I don't use month to month changes but year over year. This eliminates seasonal fluctuations and is something that newspapers and most online pricing sources haven't figured out yet! I advice my clients to NOT use an entire county's median price level to decide on whether to buy or sell but use the trend information in a general manner. To formulate an effective strategy, I use analysis of the supply-demand characteristics of the neighborhood under consideration.

> Sellers Be Sooner Still -- I continue to maintain my recommendation for sellers of higher-priced homes, especially those above $1 million that they should consider selling sooner and having an initially more-aggressive list price as the market usually softens when we get into the winter season. Sellers need to be positioned properly otherwise they risk languishing on the market.

For those considering a purchase of a home in an expensive area like Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Saratoga, an opportune time for negotiating is upon us! Some motivated sellers are reducing their list prices but as you may know, not all sellers have to sell. Some sellers have "sticky" prices and some sellers have to sell and are highly motivated, thus reducing their list prices more aggressively. Some sellers can't believe their home has fallen in value from what they thought it was worth. As many of my consistent readers and subscribers know, markets are not made between agents.



Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor -- Let me know your comments, questions, observations you may have or any future topics you'd like me to address.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

World Class Chocolates in the Valley of Hearts Delight

You've made dinner reservations at a romantic restaurant (I did at Birk's Restaurant in Santa Clara, CA) and you might have picked up a little something for her at her favorite store, perhaps even some nice long-stems. Of course, there's always sweets for your sweets for Valentine's Day.


Here are some world class chocolatiers from Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz:


Chocolate Dream Box



* 710 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos. 408-356-2626

Pictured are hand-crafted chocolates in beautiful boxes by Chocolate Dream Box

Fleur e Cocoa Patisserie Chocolaterie



39 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos. 408-354-3574

Pictured are selected handmade chocolates from Fleur de Cocoa


Richard Donnelly Chocolates

* 1509 Mission Street, Santa Cruz. 888-685-1871


Saratoga Chocolates

* 14572-B Big Basin Way, Saratoga. 408-872-1431


Chocolatier Desiree

* 165 South Murphy Avenue, #C, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 408-289-1562


Shokolaat

* 516 University Avenue, Palo Alto. 650-289-0719


Sugar Butter Flour

* 669 S. Bernardo Avenue, Sunnyvale. 408-732-8597



Pictured is Dark Chocolate Ganache Truffle from Sugar Butter Flour



How About Wine with Chocolate?

Testarossa Vineyards

Testarossa Vineyards (formerly Novitiate Winery) is hosting a wine and chocolate pairing event on Saturday, February 13th and February 14th from 12:00am to 4:00pm. Check their details on their website. Cost is $10.00 per person.

J. Lohr Winery

Saturday, February 13th at 7:30pm

Explore different tastes, textures and aromas of Snake & Butterfly homemade, organic chocolate paired with six different J. Lohr wines. Tickets must be paid for in advance, check details on their website. Cost is $10.00 per person.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lunar New Year Events - 2010


Happy New Year! OK, Happy Lunar New Year! In the Chinese calendar, the longest chronological record in history dating back to 2600 B.C., this year marks the lunar year 4708 -- Year of the Tiger. The first day of the lunar year is February 14, 2010. Wow, same day this year as Valentine's Day.


Famous people born in the Year of the Tiger include: Agatha Christie, Alanis Morissette, Beatrix Potter, Bill Murray, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Enya, H.G. Wells, Hugh Hefner, Jay Leno, Jodie Foster, John Bon Jovi, Kenny Rogers, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lionel Richie, Ludvig Van Beethoven, Marco Polo, Marilyn Monroe, Paula Abdul, Penelope Cruz, Phil Collins, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Tom Cruise, Tony Bennett, Wesley Snipes. Guess what? I also was born in the Year of the Tiger!


Here are selected local events celebrating the Lunar New Year in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties.


Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County:

* Spring Festival Silicon Valley 2010 - Chinese New Year Gala. Featuring San Jose Taiko, Ballet San Jose, Ustad Farida Mahwash. Saturday, February 20th at 7:30pm. San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose


*Lion Dancing. Enjoy traditional dim sum or dinner at a Year of the Tiger celebration featuring The Young Lion Dancers. 12:30pm, February 21st, Ming's Chinese Cuisine & Bar, 1700 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto.


San Mateo/San Mateo County:

* Chinese New Year Celebration. Features several performances on the Amphitheater Stage and Chinese food. Thursday, February 11th from 12:30pm to 2:00pm, Free. Cañada Community College, Redwood City


San Francisco:

San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade began in 1860 and was named by the IFEA to be one of the top ten parades in the world! It is also one of the remaining night illuminated parades left in the country. Since 1958 the parade has been organized and directed by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

* 2010 Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, Saturday, February 27th. 5:15-8:00 pm, Market and Second Streets to Kearney and Jackson. Check out "Gum Lung", the 201-foot-long Golden Dragon!

YMCA Chinese New Year Run. This event raises funds for the YMCA's youth and teen programs. This year's proceeds will benefit PEP, the Physical Education Program serving more than 1,100 youth in Chinatown with weekly physical fitness programs. Sunday, February 21st, 7:00am starts at Grant and Clay, San Francisco


A Hundred Years of the Chinese Calendar (1924 to 2024) --

The Chinese Calendar names each year after an animal and legend has it that a person born under a certain animal will display traits of that animal. What sign are you in the Chinese 12-year calendar cycle? Look up in the table below what year you were born and the corresponding animal.

Rat: 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008 2020

Ox: 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009 2021

Tiger: 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010 2022

Rabbit: 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011 2023

Dragon: 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012 2024

Snake: 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013

Horse: 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014

Ram: 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015

Monkey: 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016

Rooster: 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017

Dog: 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018

Boar: 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019


Gung Hey Fat Choy! Happy Year of the Tiger!

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Happy Year of the Tiger!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Client Appreciation Dinner Party - 2010


This past week, I held my annual, private Client Appreciation Dinner Party. To be invited to the party, invitees must have either referred me to a prospective client (closed transaction or not) or have been a recent client that I represented on a purchase or sale that closed escrow. So, you too, can be invited by referring someone you care about for expert advice on the purchase or sale of residential or commercial real estate.


As in the past, we had a dinner party at Midori Japanese Restaurant in Sunnyvale. The manager of the restaurant, Jeff, made sure we wouldn't go about disturbing other patrons by reserving their tatami room for us. Food was excellent and included a selection of tasty sushi and sashimi appetizers, soup, salad with miso dressing, a wide variety of entree combinations, dessert and beverages (including adult beverages).


Each invitee was allowed to bring an adult guest and those that attended received a gift bag with a wonderful bottle of Steven Bannus Russian River Sauvignon Blanc wine, bag of chocolate truffles from Harry and David's and a gift card to use on their next visit to Elephant Bar Restaurant. Each attendee was eligible for drawings of wonderful gifts from Crate & Barrel that were specially chosen and wrapped by my lovely wife, Carol.

A second special gold gift bag was presented to those that had referred someone to me and those clients had closed on a transaction. The gold bag included a bottle of superb Beaulieu Vineyard's BV Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and their very own Passport Unlimited unrestricted gold membership card to save them money when dining at a great selection of fine restaurants!


Some of the invitees were attending their second or even third Client Appreciation Party!


The variety of invitees ran the gamut from first time home buyers to those referring prospective clients and came from as far away as San Francisco and included such occupations as a financial planning firm officer, architectural photographer, registered nurse, attorney, software engineer, residential mortgage and commercial loan professionals, insurance sales representative, stay-at-home mom, comedy club owner/operator along with my sons, David and Kevin, and wife, Carol. Just so you know -- she's my COO - Chief Organizing Officer! There were multiple, interesting conversations going on up and down the table on a variety of topics.


Everybody had FUN and didn't go away hungry! I know this because absolutely nobody complained!


I can't wait to have another Client Appreciation Party because I get to thank some of those that are the heart of my business. And, getting close to Valentine's Day, it makes perfect sense!


Thanks for reading my blog!