Monday, November 29, 2010

Mixed Messages:

Well, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday--lots of friends and family from everywhere. We pared our table from last year's record 30 guests to a mere 23 this year and still had a wonderful time!

Now for housing: The latest stats seem to be throwing mixed messages at us. Nationally, prices dropped, although here in Marin, they showed increases in the under $1 million market and some reductions above that, on average. However, many statistics showed increases in numbers sold over the like period from a year ago.

What does this mean for you? Well, it shows a couple of things. First, many folks are still concerned about the market, and yet are willing, for the right price, to jump in and buy. It also seems to be occurring during the long-traditional holiday slowdown that occurs almost every year at this time, and continues until a couple of weeks past New Year's Day. So, while people are buying, seeing prices flat, or in some cases down, isn't entirely unusual at the present time.

Should you place your home on the market now? That depends on whether you have to sell, or are willing to wait for the start of the 2011 market. Analysts are predicting a slow and very gradual rise in prices overall beginning next year. Does a month really make that much difference? It can definitely have an effect. How much depends on how people feel at that time, and we'll have to wait to see just how things look then to be certain.


still a great time to jump in and grab a home, whether it's a normal sale, a short sale or taking a foreclosed home off a bank's hands. Either way, give us a call--we'd be happy to help!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Well, rates finally jumped this week--up roughly a full quarter point from the prior week's record-equalling lows. However, even at 4.42% for 30 year fixed rates mortgages, we're still near all time lows, and STILL in a range where it pays to be seriously house hunting--and holiday time off be damned! Prices seem to be in a state of flux when compared to recent weeks and months. While there had been a general upward trend--slow but upward, this past week has shown somewhat of a reversal of that compared to the prior month's figures. No-one is yet certain if it is more financial uncertainty or just a reaction to the election's results from a couple of weeks ago.
From this observer's point of view, however, for buyers prices are still bargains as compared with levels of a couple of years ago and, even if they rise, they're still going to be bargains for a while. Rates also are still hovering at very low levels and should be grabbed.
For sellers, we are seeing things very much on a property by property basis. Properly priced, homes are getting offers and closing. However, sellers still dreaming of the days of 2006 and 2007 are getting a rude intro to reality when/if they persist in pricing at those levels. Not saying we'll not get back there, but for now, let's be more reasonable in our pricing goals.
Also, for you followers in Mill Valley and Tiburon, if you're not yet receiving our printed quarterly report on prices and sales, and you want to get it, by email or snail mail, send me an email at, and we'll be happy to oblige.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Latest:

Well, not a lot of new items since last week. However, in weekly figures just released yesterday, mortgage rates again hit all-time low levels. This after a couple of weeks of marginal increases, albeit an increase of two or three basis points (100 bp's to a percentage point) really doesn't mean a whole lot at these historic levels. This week's rates matched those of a few weeks ago: 4.17% for a thirty year fixed rate loan.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you've held off buying due to interest rates, there is no time like NOW to jump into the market and BUY! Prices are still relatively low, and, although signs are showing they may have passed bottom and begun a turnaround, they're a long way from the heights of late 2007. Take advantage of this opportunity!

Sellers: my advice to you is to consider this as an opportunity as well. True, you won't get anywhere near what you could have three years ago, but there are hordes of buyers on the market looking at present. Talk with your Realtor and prepare the home for sale to get the best possible price even in today's market. Consider staging, and, most important, price it correctly. If the comps show value at $700,000, don't shoot for $900,000. It ain't gonna' happen, and all you'll do is delay any sale by a number of months, costing yourself Dollars in sale price below what you could have reasonably expected had you priced it correctly to begin with.

Questions? Call us at: (415) 380-2133 or email at: . Good luck and see you next week!

Friday, November 05, 2010

A Couple of Things:
This week a couple of interesting things happened. Both should bode well for the housing market as time passes, although how much time will have to pass is something that's open to debate.

First, the Fed announced it is establishing a QE2 policy, and, NO, that isn't the large boat they're talking about. QE2 is quantitative enhancement. IN normal people speak, that means that they will buy another $600 Billion of US Government notes. The net effect of this is that interest rates will likely drop another 25-50 basis points over the next few months. In case you don't recall, there are 100 bp's to one per cent of interest. Lower rates will simultaneously make home purchases easier (if you're a seller, get that house ready to go!); and help stimulate the economic recovery by making it easier for businesses to finance their operations.

Second, the latest jobs report, out just today, shows the creation of over 150,000 new jobs in the private sector. This is where jobs most need to come from, as the private sector runs the economy and is not an artificial type of job category such as temporary government positions like cencus taker. Unemployment is still at 9.6%, but the new jobs number is certainly a step in the right direction--an important one!