Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Comments

Here are my observations of the most recent December 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 -- The amount of homes (single family and condos and townhouses) available for sale continued their downwards trend in December. The most interesting thing about this trend toward fewer homes on the market is twofold: one, this occurs every year but this time the level is at its lowest since 2005; and two, the portion of lender-controlled homes (short sale and bank-owned) has diminished. Inventory, or the number of homes available for sale (supply) resembles what it was in December 2005. Many of will recall that the real estate market was super active then with almost no lender-controlled listings.

Still the case is a bifurcated market condition. Homes available for sale have a median days on market of about 70 days whereas those homes that closed escrow have a median days on market of less than 35 days. 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.

Mortgage rates remain very favorable for buyers in the range in the high 3% to low 4% area. 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. Even with lowered sales figures, escrow companies seem to be busy with loan refinance or refi activity. I've advised those buyers who purchased last year to refinance their "low" 4 3/4% loans and lock in a high-3% loan rate for the long haul.

For December, median price for single family residences, half above and half below or the middle transaction, stood at $530,000, a slight decrease from November and down about 1% from December 2010. Not too much you can make of this as the mix of homes is in constant change mode. Better to look at a smaller area or even neighborhood to get an idea of the price trends. When you do this analysis of various areas, we find prices actually increased a bit in a range of 4-8%!

Got that "love" note from your landlord or property manager yet?
Rents have been impacted by demand from those who lost homes to foreclosure, new family formations and an improved employment picture in Silicon Valley. So much so that rents have increased about 12-15% from last year. Any end in sight? I don't think so as available homes to rent which has been steady in recent times will go up a bit as there are some developments of apartments going. The amount is insufficient to offset the increased demand that has and is taking place. Time for investors? That's what I've been saying for a while now.

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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