Monday, June 20, 2011

June Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Comments

Here are my observations of the most recent May transactions 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.

> General Market Observations and Comments -- Closings increased a bit more in May than in April but continues to be less than the average May over the past ten years. Inventory, or the number of homes available for sale (supply) has increased but it, too, continues to grow at a slower rate than the ten-year average.

Demand continues to point to single family residences (SFR) and away from condos/townhouses. My advice for buyers: if you prefer the life-style of a condo or townhouse, there are better buys possible. Yes, they have homeowner association dues that often cover additional ownership features and benefits (e.g., utilities, pool/spa, exercise rooms, and the like) but the owner doesn't have to worry about it.

As for the available homes for sale -- we're seeing a bipolar market. Homes priced well and in good condition, sell quickly and get the most activity (i.e., higher prices, quicker sale). Overpriced homes or those in poor locations or in poor condition (bank-owned or short sale homes are mainly in this category) stay on the market far longer and eventually sell with lower prices or as "fixer uppers" or "fix and flips".

As was the case last month, one of the hot markets was the area comprising the cities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto. This area had the lowest DUI reading in Santa Clara County of just 37 days, clearly a seller's market. Next door, Sunnyvale and Cupertino had a DUI of 50, balanced to seller's market. Some of us are calling this the "Facebook" effect. By contrast, the DUI for Los Altos Hills is 153, clearly indicating a buyer's market.

Days of unsold inventory (DUI) for Santa Clara County by price range is interesting. Overall, the DUI reading was 58. The DUI for homes priced under $450,000 was just 35 days; those priced from $450,000-600,000 was 59 days; those priced from $600,000-750,000 was 74 days; from $750,000 to $1 million was 66 days; from $1.0 million to $2.5 million was 74 days; from $2.5 million to $5.0 million jumped to 225 days and finally, those priced above $5.0 million was 1,330 days! Clearly, the higher priced homes may have to undergo more aggressive price concessions to move in this bipolar market environment.

Days of Unsold Inventory is an indicator I use to gauge whether the market is a Buyer's market, Seller's market or what we call a Balanced market. In Santa Clara County, the Buyer's market are for those areas above 90 DUI a Seller's market would have a DUI reading under 45. Balanced markets are those in between.

Reversal for Reverse Mortgages -- Wells Fargo, following Bank of America's lead a couple of months ago, announced they were leaving this market. This means that the two large banks controlling 50% of this market left! This does not bode well for the future as less competition means even higher rates and fees, something not pleasant for the consumer. Reverse mortgages were inherently high-cost items to begin with and in the past I've recommended clients being extremely careful of them. In theory reverse mortgages were good but more difficult certainly in practice.

Mortgage rates remain very favorable in the range in the high 4's. Since most buyers need a loan to purchase a home, mortgage rates are a major consideration in the decision and ability of the buyers to purchase.

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.

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