Friday, November 20, 2015

Price Peaks and Energy Savers

Well, today we get, or YOU get, a doubleheader! Following below are the latest price stats with new area highs around the Bay Area; and some insulation info going into the winter to keep you safe and warm without breaking the bank!

First, value highs:

Pacific Union’s October 2015 Real Estate Update

The number of homes on the market remained in short supply across Northern California as the fourth quarter kicked off, with the months’ supply of inventory (MSI) dropping from September in each of Pacific Union’s Bay Area regions except for Napa and Contra Costa counties. Meanwhile, the median sales price hit a one-year high in Marin and Napa counties.


Marin County‘s median sales price has been above $1 million since March and hit a yearly peak in October at $1,222,500. The average home sold for 98.3 percent of asking price, nearly identical to numbers recorded one year ago.PowerPoint Presentation
After seeing a solid increase in September, the MSI fell to 1.6, while the pace of sales picked up, with the average home selling in 48 days.
Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.

Second, Winter Warmth:

Is Your Home Properly Insulated? Are You Sure?

InsulationTrade organizations are notorious for sending out press releases claiming their products and services are critical to the survival of mankind. No doubt the cellulose-sponge industry ranks itself right up there with cancer researchers and firefighters in terms of lives saved.
So you can understand our skepticism when we received word from the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association alerting us that 90 percent of American homes don’t have enough insulation. Right. And the solution is to rush out and buy gobs more insulation.
This time, though, the press release had solid facts to back up its claims, and it opened the door to some fascinating research on home energy use and conservation. For instance:
  • Homes built in 2000 and later are, on average, 30 percent larger than those built before 2000, yet they consume only 2 percent more energy. That’s because of more-efficient heating equipment and better-insulated building shells. Homes today use 21 percent less energy for space heating than older homes.
  • In 1993, heating and air conditioning accounted for 57.7 percent of home energy consumption, but by 2009 that figure had dropped to 47.7 percent. Energy use for appliances, home electronics and lighting, meanwhile, jumped from 24 percent to 34.6 percent.
  • California households use 31 percent less energy than the U.S. average. Increased conservation efforts may play a part, but the main reason is the Golden State’s mild climate. More than 40 percent of our homes do not use air conditioning, and 14 percent are not heated.
Much of the data on home-energy consumption was developed with the help of researchers from the nearby Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In fact, the insulation manufacturers group mentioned above used Lawrence Berkeley’s methodology to determine the energy savings possible with increased home insulation levels.
The trade group found that home electricity use nationwide would drop by 5 percent — and natural-gas use by more than 10 percent — if all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, developed in part by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Increased home insulation reportedly would also reduce levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
“The fall is when many homeowners around the country begin thinking about home improvements to increase comfort and reduce their energy bills as temperatures drop come winter,” Curt Rich, the trade group’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Research like this should reinforce our message to homeowners, and to policymakers, that added insulation has real and significant benefits.”
For help determining proper home-insulation levels and information on insulation products, visit the trade group’s website, which includes content on installing insulation yourself.

Beyond this, if you need assistance in getting to a good insulation contractor--or any other assistance--give us a call! The numbers are easy: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.  And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Looking Forward

For those of you interested in looking into the future here in the Bay Area, the following will alert you to a detailed incisive forecast of the coming few years.

Pacific Union, John Burns Real Estate Consulting Offer Bay Area 2018 Outlook

Pacific Union is excited to share the news that, for the second straight year, we will join forces with Irvine, Calif.-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting to forecast real estate activity and economic conditions across the Bay Area and the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region over the next three years.jbrec2018_blog
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 5 p.m. PST, we will present our exclusive, live, one-hour outlook — followed by a cocktail reception — at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, the site of the 2014 event. This year, we’re proud to have The Wall Street Journal co-sponsor the presentation.
Pacific Union CEO Mark A. McLaughlin will lead the presentation, with esteemed economists JBREC CEO John Burns and Senior Vice President Dean Wehrli offering their expertise on our local markets. The panel will delve into factors that will shape the Bay Area’s economy and individual real estate markets through 2018, as well as take a look back at how last year’s projections played out.
As we did for last November’s event, we will simulcast the presentation in real time in both English and Mandarin; you can check out a video of last year’s presentation here. To register for this year’s webcast, click here. To learn more about attending the event in person, please contact your Pacific Union real estate professional.
If you need assistance on your particular real estate needs, by all means, call us! Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091. We'd be happy to help!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Most Cash Buyers 'Putting Down Roots'

When someone buys a house 'all cash' there are any number of reasons why no loan is involved.  One of these may be that the buyer has no intent of remaining very long for any number of reasons. Previously, it was rarely a case of the buyer planning to stay for some extended period of time--'putting down roots' as it were.
Well, that appears to be changing here in the Bay Area.
Two-thirds of Pacific Union’s all-cash buyers are purchasing homes as primary residences, while a smaller than expected percentage is employed by a tech company.
Those are among the key findings from an internal analysis of Pacific Union all-cash sales from Feb. 1 to June 30 of this year. We looked at 323 all-cash deals in eight of nine Bay Area counties (excluding Solano County) in an effort to learn more about this crucial segment of the market, which makes up about 30 percent of our firm’s business.
Primary Homebuyers
Sixty-six percent of our firm’s all-cash buyers purchased a home in the Bay Area as a primary residence. The overwhelming majority of these buyers are domestic, with foreign citizens accounting for just 6 percent of all-cash sales. Eighty percent of buyers in the tech industry purchased a home for a primary residence, a testament to the region’s economic bread and butter. The majority of these tech buyers purchased homes in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
However, of those 323 all-cash transactions, only 40 – 12 percent – were made by tech workers. Two-dozen of those sales occurred in the ultracompetitive San Francisco market, where all-cash buyers have a distinct edge over those who require financing.
The other 82 percent of all-cash buyers were basically split in half between domestic white-collar professionals and those categorized as “other.”
Long- and Short-Term Investors
Investors were responsible for 34 percent of all-cash deals. These buyers purchased property with three strategies in mind: a long-term hold plan, a source of rental income, and flipping.
Twenty-four percent of all-cash investors purchased a property as a secondary home. Domestic investors accounted for 20 percent of these sales, while international and tech buyers represented the other 4 percent.
Seven percent of investors plan to take advantage of the high-dollar world of Bay Area rents by buying income-generating properties. These buyers are all wealthy Americans, and not a single one hailed from overseas. Flippers accounted for the final 3 percent of cash investors, an unsurprisingly small number given that the Bay Area’s hefty home prices can make for relatively slim profit margins.
Tech and International Buyers Paying More
As a final note of interest, our analysis shows that although international and tech-industry buyers accounted for just 18 percent of Pacific Union’s all-cash sales, these buyer groups tend to spend substantially more on homes.
Domestic other and professional buyers paid average sales prices of $1.32 million and $1.68 million, respectively. For all international buyers, the average sales price was $2.26 million, with Chinese buyers spending $2.66 million. Techies had the highest average sales price of any of the buyer groups, at $2.78 million.
Editor’s Note: Pacific Union has an approximate market share of 10 percent in the Bay Area, with much larger market share in certain areas (like San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood) and lower market share in other areas (such as the Mission District), so the results of this analysis might differ if a 100 percent sample size were taken.
This doesn't mean you have to do the same if you're buying. A mortgage is still a fine way to go fore any number of reasons--personal financial reasons, tax deduction and so on.  A suggestion, whether you're a Buyer or Seller: CALL US!  You know the numbers: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091. We'd be pleased to help in any way possible.