Friday, April 25, 2014

Good News for PacUnion and You!

Well, this week, we've got a pair of news items--BOTH of importance to you and your real estate needs. First, Pacific Union was awarded a very prestigious award.
We’re very excited to announce the news that Christie’s International Real Estate has named Pacific Union its “Affiliate of the Year” for 2013.
Pacific Union, one of 139 global affiliates in the Christie’s network, won the top honor for its creative and effective marketing, superior branding, and innovation. Christie’s presented the award earlier this month at its annual global conference in Barcelona, Spain.
“A true industry leader, Pacific Union has long been known for its innovative programs and quality services, and we are proud to award the company with this prestigious distinction,” Bonnie Stone Sellers, CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate said in a statement.
Pacific Union CEO Mark A. McLaughlin calls the accolade a “deep honor” resulting from collaboration and teamwork.
“We are deeply honored to receive this award and look forward to continuing our fantastic collaboration with Christie’s for many years to come,” McLaughlin said. “Our exclusivity with this prestigious brand undoubtedly helps us deliver the very best in Northern California luxury real estate to clients from around the globe.”
Second, prices in Marin County (and San Mateo) have penetrated the Million Dollar median level.
As we noted in a March 20 blog post, the median sales price in three Bay Area counties approached the $1 million milestone in February. And in March, two of those markets actually surpassed it, according to the California Association of Realtors’ most recent home sales and price report.briefcase_money
The median sales price in San Mateo County shot up to $1.16 million in March, a gain of nearly 21 percent since February. Home prices in Marin County didn’t trail by much, at $1.04 million, but posted far less dramatic gains of 5.7 percent. San Mateo has now overtaken Marin as the most expensive county in the state for buying a home.
Across our nine local counties, the median price grew by 7.3 percent from February to March. The increase was largest in Napa County, at 25.5 percent. San Francisco was the only Bay Area county where prices depreciated from the previous month.
CAR’s report also shows that the months’ supply of inventory in the Bay Area decreased from 3.2 in February to 2.8 in March. Inventory declined or held static in eight counties from the previous month, with Napa County being the lone exception.

Need help in locating your next home or valuing and selling your present one? Give us a call! We'd be happy to assist you in every way! Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Cleaning--Important for a Seller!

Spring cleaning? I'm writing about spring cleaning in a real estate blog?  Really? YES, Definitely! One of the most important things a seller can do for their house when it's time for selling is to have it as attractive as possible for buyers. In fact, the only thing that may be more important is staging, but that's for another post.
If you plan to put your home on the market over the next few months, you have some work ahead, starting today. As a seller, you’ll be competing for the attention of buyers, and nothing will catch their interest like a bright, inviting home that’s so clean it sparkles.
Of course you’ve been keeping your home clean and well-maintained all along, but take a look at this to-do list to make sure nothing has fallen by the wayside.
Wash all windows (and mirrors), and pull back the curtains or blinds to maximize sunshine. Scrub light-switch plates, bathroom and kitchen faucets, and the areas around cabinet handles to remove grime and fingerprints.
Paint walls and replace worn carpeting. Some real estate professionals say painting and new carpeting are the cheapest fixes with the biggest payback.
Get rid of clutter, particularly in the kitchen. Homebuyers love to open cabinets and closets, and sparsely filled storage spaces look bigger than those packed full of items. Consider renting a storage unit for items that aren’t essential to your daily life.
Take family photos off the walls and put them, along with other personal mementos and family heirlooms, in the storage unit you rented. Buyers want to imagine their own photos on the walls, and yours will just get in the way.
If your home needs repairs to the electrical system, or plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, do it now. Buyers will quickly lose interest — or make lowball offers — if your home needs additional work.
First impressions are hard to shake, and an overgrown yard can turn away buyers before they get to your front door. Rake the yard, trim back bushes and tree limbs, and remove leaves from gutters.
A manicured lawn tells buyers you pay attention to details. Edge the lawn along sidewalks, driveways, and walkways, and mow the lawn diagonally to make your yard appear larger.
No flowers in your front yard? Buy some container plants, or transplant tulips and daffodils for a quick springtime facelift.
If your real estate professional has scheduled an open house, help to make your home even more welcoming. Fill the kitchen sink with ice and several dozen bottles of water. Weary home shoppers will be grateful — and remember your courtesy.
If the weather outside is unpredictable, put a mat outside your door so visitors can wipe their feet before entering. And have space handy for umbrellas.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bay Area Price Gains Continue to be Large

As Marin is part of the Bay Area, take note of these numbers! You'll find them quite interesting.
The San Francisco metro area is just one of two U.S. regions where year-over-year home prices have increased by more than 20 percent for the 11th consecutive month, according to the January S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.house_money331
In the opening month of 2014, home prices in San Francisco were up 23.1 percent from the previous January. Meanwhile, sales prices in the region have grown by more than 20 percent since March 2013, the only metro area in the country besides Las Vegas to enjoy such a long stretch of increases.
San Francisco was one of seven metro areas included in Case-Shiller’s 20-city composite that showed positive month-over-month home price gains, increasing 0.5 percent from December to January.
Home prices across the U.S. were up 13.2 percent year over year in January but have declined 0.1 percent for the past three months. Despite the recent seasonal slips, S&P predicts continued price gains in the coming year, although they’ll likely be less dramatic than those seen in 2013.
“Expectations and recent data point to continued home price gains for 2014,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “Although most analysts do not expect the same rapid increases we saw last year, the consensus is for moderating gains.”
A closer look at Bay Area prices reveals double-digit percentage increases from January 2013 in each of Pacific Union’s eight regions.
After two straight months of modest declines, Sonoma Valley single-family home prices roared back in January, posting year-over-year gains of 54 percent. In San Francisco the median home price surpassed the $1 million mark and was up 44 percent from last January.
Napa County saw year-over-year price hikes of 29 percent, followed by Contra Costa County (28.5 percent), Sonoma County (27 percent), the East Bay (20.5 percent), Marin County (18 percent), and Silicon Valley (11 percent).
So, if you're planning to sell or buy, it's definitely time to give us a call and let us help you get the best possible deal. Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Unemployment Continues to Drop--Good for Housing!

Well, once again the Bay Area, with Marin, continues to show the way to the rest of the country on reducing unemployment figures. Even though Marin's figure edged up very slightly, it still leads the state in the lowest unemployment figure.
As we reported earlier this week, Freddie Mac recently issued a sunny 2014 forecast for the U.S. housing market but noted that job growth will play a key role in the ongoing recovery. California’s February unemployment report bolsters Freddie Mac’s optimistic outlook here in the Bay Area, with every one of our nine counties boasting lower jobless claims than the state average.helpwanted
California’s unemployment rate dropped to 8 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, down 0.1 percent from the previous month. In that same period, jobless claims across the country rose from 6.6 to 6.7 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics.
Although California’s unemployment rate is still higher than the national average, the state has bounced back from the recession faster than the rest of the country.
“This is now clearly a solid and sustainable recovery led by sectors with good future growth prospects,” Stephen Levy, director and senior economist of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, said in a statement. “After a long and deep recession, the state has outpaced the nation in recovery for four straight years and looks to build on that record in 2014.”
Job gains were particularly vigorous in the construction sector in February, with 14,100 new positions added. Since February 2013, the construction industry has seen employment upticks of 6.2 percent – the largest in the state – in what Levy calls a “triple winner.”
“Building activity creates job in other sectors as well as in construction, most construction jobs pay good wages, and building housing and infrastructure addresses two of California’s key economic competitiveness challenges,” Levy said.
While unemployment increased in some Bay Area regions in February, all nine counties still came in below statewide rate.
Jobless claims inched up by 0.1 percent in Marin, but the county still has the fewest number of unemployed workers in California, at 4.8 percent. Unemployment also grew 0.1 percent in San Mateo County to finish February at 5 percent, the second lowest in the state.
The unemployment rate improved from the previous month in San Francisco (5.2 percent), Napa (6.1 percent), and Solano (7.9 percent) counties.
Job growth was static in the rest of our local counties, where unemployment numbers remained unchanged from January. Santa Clara County closed February with a 6.1 percent jobless rate, trailed by Sonoma (6.2 percent), Alameda (6.7 percent), and Contra Costa counties (7 percent).
So, what does this mean for you if you're thinking of selling your home? Well, the most obvious thing is that more people are working, which means that more folks can qualify for a mortgage and thus have funds to purchase your home.  Add in the continued shortage of inventory, and you're in great shape to sell your home.
If you'd like to know more, call us! We can provide you with the latest data on the market and how things are going on the mortgage market as well. If you'd like a free valuation of your home to help in your decision, we'd be happy to provide one! Call: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091. We're here to help you make the best decisions.