Market Update - Stephanie Witt's Blog on Marin County Real Estate

Real Estate Roundup: California Home Sales Catch Fire This Winter

Stephanie Witt - Monday, March 31, 2014
March 31, 2014 by Pacific Union

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:

CALIFORNIA PENDING HOME SALES JUMP FOR SECOND STRAIGHT MONTH
Maybe it’s the unseasonably warm California winter or the lack of rain, but Golden State pending home sales were more vigorous in February than normally expected.litmatch

According to the California Association of Realtors’ February pending and distressed home sales report, pending home sales spiked 14.2 percent from the previous month, the second consecutive month of gains. In January pending-home-sales growth was even stronger, increasing 23 percent from December 2013.

Distressed sales dipped slightly across the state from January to February and now account for 15 percent of all total transactions. All Bay Area counties included in the report, with the exception of Solano, bested or matched the state’s distressed-sales average.


ARE COASTAL CALIFORNIA MARKETS NEARING A BUBBLE?
Although the U.S. housing market appears to be in little danger of approaching a bubble any time soon, a recent Trulia study depicts most coastal California markets as currently overvalued.

Trulia estimates that homes across the nation are 5 percent undervalued in the first quarter, far below 2006 peaks, when properties were 39 percent overvalued. California regions dominate the company’s list of the top 10 overvalued metro areas, taking seven of the positions.

Locally, San Jose ranks as the sixth most overvalued U.S. market, with home prices 8 percent above a combination of incomes, historical prices, and rents. In San Francisco, Trulia calculates that 7 percent of properties are overvalued.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY TOPS LIST OF MOST POPULAR NEW-HOME FEATURES
Cutting energy-usage costs is one of the most important concerns for buyers of new homes, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders.

Builders included in the poll rated energy-efficient appliances and windows and programmable thermostats as the most sought-after new-home features. Citing data from a 2009 study, the association’s press release says new homes owners typically save 13 cents per square foot on electricity compared with homeowners overall.

What other new-home features are moving the needle in 2014? Granite countertops, walk-in closets, high ceilings, and patios are all in-demand commodities, the survey found.


HOMEBUILDERS HOME IN ON CENTRALLY LOCATED LOTS
Builders of new homes increasingly favor lots closer to major metro areas rather than those in outlying regions, which is helping drive land prices skyward.

Referencing John Burns Real Estate Consulting statistics, The Wall Street Journal reports that lot prices in the country’s pricier, more centrally located regions are back to levels seen nearly a decade earlier. In the article, CEO John Burns says builders cannot easily turn a profit in outlying areas because home prices are too low.

The Wall Street Journal notes that builders’ distaste for purchasing lots in more remote locations is one factor helping to impede new-home sales, along with rising prices and the absence of first-time buyers.

(Image: Flickr/Jeff Turner)


Worried About Interest Rates? Just Be Glad It’s Not the 1980s

Stephanie Witt - Friday, March 28, 2014
March 28, 2014 by Pacific Union

Rising interest rates are a real concern today, but a recent blog post on Freddie Mac’s website helps put the topic in perspective.

Illustration of a home sitting atop stacks of moneyThe average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage this week was 4.4 percent, up from 4.32 percent last week and 3.57 percent a year ago.

But in the 1990s, a comparable mortgage averaged 8.12 percent, and in October 1981 mortgage rates peaked at 18.63 percent. Ouch!

Freddie Mac, a federally chartered agency that works to make more money available for home loans, acknowledged that rates aren’t likely to return to November 2012′s record-low 3.31 percent any time soon, but it pointed out that they remain very low by historical levels:

  • In the 1970s, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 8.6 percent. Monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage were $1,589.
  • In the 1980s, The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 12.7 percent. Monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage were $2,166.
  • In the 1990s, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 8.12 percent. Monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage were $1,484.
  • In the 2000s, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.29 percent. Monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage were $1,237.
  • This week, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is 4.4 percent. Monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage are $1,002.

What is the likelihood that mortgage rates might soon return to double digits? Freddie Mac advises that you don’t lose any sleep over it. (And no one wants to revisit this scenario from 1981: At 18.63 percent, monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage would be $3,117.)

Freddie Mac’s blog post also noted that rising interest rates and prices make many homes unaffordable for a median-income family in high-priced markets such as the Bay Area.

A map accompanying the blog post identifies San Francisco and San Jose as among the least affordable metro areas in the U.S. It also boasts an interactive component that allows you to determine mortgage payments in various cities for a median-priced home.

According to Freddie Mac’s tool, a San Francisco homebuyer who planned to put 20 percent down on a house with a mortgage rate of 4.4 percent would need to pay $3,974 a month to afford the median sales price of $682,000. San Jose buyers would be in for an even heftier monthly commitment: $4,513 to qualify for the $775,000 median price.

If you plan to buy a home in the Bay Area or the Tahoe/Truckee region, Pacific Union’s mortgage partner, Mortgage Services Professionals, can offer loan advice and consultation to help make your purchase a success.

(Image: Flickr/401(K) 2013)


Freddie Mac Issues Bright 2014 Housing Forecast

Stephanie Witt - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 25, 2014 by Pacific Union

Strong home sales in 2014 are dependent on job growth, according to a new report from Freddie Mac, and that’s good news for the Bay Area’s housing market.light_bulb

The local economy has roared back to life over the past year, with unemployment levels below the national average and technology companies bringing thousands of new jobs to the region.

“In order to have solid home sales in 2014 we need to see continued improvement in the labor market,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“With more jobs, wage growth should continue to accelerate, giving American households much-needed income to help sustain the emerging purchase market,” Nothaft continued

In its latest Economic and Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac said it expects U.S. home sales to grow along with wages this year. The agency is projecting a 3 percent rise in home sales, a 20 percent rise in new home construction, and home price appreciation moderating to an annual growth of 5 percent.

Long-term interest rates will gradually rise in 2014, Freddie Mac said, with 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages expected to average 4.9 percent by the fourth quarter, up one-half of a percentage point from the first quarter.

Rising  prices made homes less affordable over the past year, but the agency said solid increases in wages — up 2.5 percent in February alone — helped keep buyers in the market.

Freddie Mac’s report suggests that the Bay Area real estate markets will be particularly busy in 2014. Earlier this month, we reported that the nine-county Bay Area added nearly 117,000 jobs in 2013 – nearly one-third of all positions created in the entire state — while unemployment in January fell as low as 4.7 percent.

(Image: Flickr/Rachel Melton)

FEATURED LISTING: 140 Terrace Ave, San Rafael CA

Stephanie Witt - Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Brand New 2014 Construction in San Rafael! Celebrating NEW!


OPEN SUNDAY MARCH 30 FROM 1-4


Displaying all the bells and whistles one would expect from a NEW home this Craftsman like custom built house defines itself with a formal entry, a living room and fireplace, kitchen/family room, formal dining area, four en suite bedrooms and one half bath! If that were not enough, there is a separate bonus room to use as a home gym, home office, media room or playroom for projects. The wine cellar is ready to be outfitted for the best and brightest wine collection. This area has a separate entrance, too. The 2-car garage opens directly into the house for the easiest of access.

All bedrooms are on the same lower level with two choices for a master suite. High ceilings and a spacious hall define the downstairs area for even more space for desks and a photo gallery. All bedrooms and bonus area have direct access to the garden and level Heavenly Greens area.

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Markets Best in U.S. For Sellers

Stephanie Witt - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 24, 2014 by Pacific Union

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:

SAN JOSE, SAN FRANCISCO NUMERO UNO FOR HOME SELLERS THIS SPRING
This spring is shaping up to be best for sellers in the West, particularly in parts of the Bay Area, according to a recent report from Zillow.home_for_sale

Zillow’s report ranks the San Jose metropolitan area as the No. 1 market for home sellers in the country, followed by San Francisco. The company bases its rankings on shortest time on market, highest sales-price-to-list-price ratio, and lowest frequency of price reductions.

The Bay Area’s healthy job growth, which leads the state, is a key factor driving the trajectory of our region’s housing market.

“Relatively strong job markets in the West are helping spur robust demand, which is being met with limited supply, causing rapid home value appreciation and giving sellers an edge,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries said in a statement.

The report also ranked San Jose and San Francisco home values as the highest in the nation, at $748,800 and $648,700, respectively.


OAKLAND AREA INVENTORY CRUNCH EASING
Hopeful buyers in our inventory-constrained East Bay region may get a springtime lift from the latest National Association of Realtors National Housing Trend Report.

According to the association’s data, the number of homes for sale in the Oakland metropolitan region in February spiked 42 percent year over year, the seventh largest gain in the nation. There were 2,715 homes for sale in Oakland in February, a jump of almost 19 percent from the previous month.

While the San Francisco and San Jose regions showed year-over-year declines in the number of homes for sale, both saw a rebound from January, with inventory increasing by double-digit percentage points.


NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS PLANNED IN WALNUT CREEK, OAKLAND
In addition to the aforementioned NAR report, there’s more good news that could eventually help ease the inventory shortage in the East Bay: a pair of housing developments in Walnut Creek and Oakland.

The Contra Costa Times reports that Hall Equities Group has proposed a four-story, 24-unit luxury condominium development in downtown Walnut Creek on the site of a current strip mall. The units would range from one to three bedrooms up to 2,500 square feet in size, and the developer claims they would be the “very nicest” and “most expensive” on the Interstate 680 corridor.

Over the hills on the banks of the Oakland Estuary, Signature Development Group and Zarsion Holdings Group are breaking ground on what the Oakland Tribune has dubbed a “mega-development.” The $1.5 billion project is slated to yield 3,100 new homes, as well as shops, outdoor space, and a marina.

The development, known as Brooklyn Basin, should also help goose Oakland’s economy by creating nearly 10,000 construction jobs.


NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION STALLS ACROSS THE U.S.
Home construction declined slightly in February but far less than in the previous month, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Citing statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department, the publication reports that housing starts fell 0.2 percent in February, compared with 11.2 percent in January. The article blames frigid temperatures in other parts of the country from hindering both builders and prospective buyers.

Building permits were up 7.7 percent from January to February, an optimistic sign that activity could reinvigorate this spring, the Journal said.

(Image: Flickr/Mark Moz)

California Distressed Home Sales Plummet Over Past Five Years

Stephanie Witt - Thursday, March 20, 2014

Robust price appreciation throughout California is restoring equity to more of the state’s homeowners, which in turn has led distressed sales to decrease substantially – especially in parts of the Bay Area.Cal_map_promo

According to a new report from the California Association of Realtors, the level of distressed single-family home sales in the state has dropped nearly 55 percentage points since the thick of the U.S. housing market crisis.

In January 2009, distressed sales — including short sales and real-estate owned (REO) properties — accounted for 69.5 percent of home sales in the state. By January of this year, distressed sales made up just 15.6 percent of all transactions.

“Significant home price appreciation over the past five years has lifted the market value of many underwater homes, and as a result, many homeowners have gained significant equity in their homes, resulting in fewer short sales and foreclosures,” CAR President Kevin Brown said in a statement.

CAR says that the median sales price in the Golden State has skyrocketed 64 percent in the past five years, from about $250,000 in January 2009 to $411,000 in January 2014.

Recovery in Santa Clara County is outpacing that of the state overall. In January 2009, distressed sales accounted for 68 percent of activity – roughly the same as the California average. By January of 2014, distressed sales had declined by about 60 percentage points to land at 7.7 percent.

The five-year drop was not as dramatic in San Mateo County, where the amount of distressed sales fell about 41 percent, to close January at 6.8 percent. However, in January 2009 the percentage of distressed sales in San Mateo was also well below the state average.

Other figures published by CAR at the end of February show that while San Mateo and Santa Clara currently have among the fewest distressed sales in California, most other Bay Area counties are still faring a bit better than California as a whole.

In January, distressed sales accounted for 10 percent of transactions in Alameda County, followed by Sonoma County (11 percent) Contra Costa County (12 percent), and Marin County (13 percent).

Napa and Solano counties had higher incidences of distressed sales than the California average, at 17 and 22 percent, respectively. However, the number of Solano County homes in distress improved nicely, slowing 37 percentage points since last January.

(Image: Flickr/Photologue_np)

Pacific Union’s February 2014 Real Estate Update

Stephanie Witt - Saturday, March 15, 2014

Although the traditionally busy spring buying season is still a couple of months away, some homebuyers in the region decided to beat the rush in February. In every one of our Bay Area markets, properties sat on the market fewer days than they did in the previous month.

And while this pattern didn’t hold true in our Tahoe/Truckee region, the median sales price for both single-family homes and condominiums there increased by double-digit percentages month over month in February. Single-family homes in San Francisco also showed healthy monthly price appreciation, and prices in all regions were up from levels recorded in February 2013.

Click on the image accompanying each of our regions below for an expanded look at real estate activity in February.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Home prices in Contra Costa County rose less than 1 percentage point from January, but the median price of $753,500 is 25.5 percent higher than it was at the end of the previous February.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_CoCo

After five consecutive months of sellers receiving slightly below list price, the sales-price-to-original-price ratio climbed back to 100 percent. The months’ supply of inventory (MSI) also expanded slightly, up from 1.7 in January to 1.8 in February.

Homes left the market in an average of 30 days, 5 days shorter than in January and identical to what we saw in February 2013.

Defining Contra Costa County: Our real estate markets in Contra Costa County include the cities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


EAST BAY

The median sales price for an East Bay home was $725,000 in February, a month-over-month gain of 3 percent. As has been the case for the past year, sellers continued to enjoy premiums, this time netting an average of 6 percent above asking price.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_EastBay

The MSI in the East Bay was up to 1.9, the highest it has been since last fall. Buyers took an average of 27 days to close the purchase of a home, the same amount of time as one year earlier.

Defining the East Bay: Our real estate markets in the East Bay region include Oakland ZIP codes 94602, 94609, 94610, 94611, 94618, 94619, and 94705; Albany; Berkeley; El Cerrito; Kensington; and Piedmont. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


MARIN COUNTY

The median sales price approached the $1 million milestone in Marin County, finishing February at $995,000. Marin prices surpassed the $1 million mark only once in 2013.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_Marin

Homes stayed on the market an average of 74 days, 10 days fewer than in January but still longer than last spring and summer. The MSI shrunk slightly from the previous month to 2.2.

Sellers in Marin County took home an average of 98 percent of original price, the most since October.

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.


NAPA COUNTY

Napa County home prices tumbled 12 percent month over month in February, but the $470,000 median is still up 9 percent on a yearly basis.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_Napa

The average home stayed on the market 106 days, three weeks less than in January but the second longest in the past 12 months. The MSI grew modestly from the previous month to 3.7. Napa County currently has the largest supply of inventory in any of our Bay Area regions but still leans in favor of sellers.

Buyers paid 91.5 percent of list price, just a bit more than they did the month before.

Defining Napa County: Our real estate markets in Napa County include the cities of American Canyon, Angwin, Calistoga, Napa, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Yountville. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes in Napa County.


SAN FRANCISCO – SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

With a February median sales price of $1.075 million, single-family homes in San Francisco were more expensive than they had been at any point during the previous year. Home prices in the city have now increased more than 34 percent since February 2013.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14SFSFH

Since December, buyers have steadily been quicker to purchase homes, and in February the average San Francisco shopper closed on a sale in 37 days. After reaching 1.9 in the first month of 2014, the MSI fell again in February to 1.6.

Sellers enjoyed sales-price premiums of nearly 8 percent, the largest since September.


SAN FRANCISCO – CONDOMINIUMS

Condominium prices reached one-year peaks in San Francisco in January, and February’s median price of $945,000 was just a MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14SFCondotiny decrease. Since February 2013, condo prices in the city have risen 15.5 percent.

Buyers paid an average of almost 106 percent of list price in February, the highest amount observed since midsummer.

The MSI took a month-over-month dip to 1.7, and condos took an average of 40 days to sell, a week faster than in January.


SILICON VALLEY

The median sales price for a home in our Silicon Valley region was $2.33 million, a small decline from January but the second highest in the past year. Sellers raked in 4.5 percent above asking price, the highest premiums achieved in the past year.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_SilVal

The MSI expanded by a hair, to 2.4, but the most dramatic movement in Silicon Valley was seen in average days on market. Homes sold in an average of 28 days in February, 96 percent faster than in January, when they took nearly two months to leave the market.

Defining Silicon Valley: Our real estate markets in the Silicon Valley region include the cities and towns of Atherton, Los Altos (excluding county area), Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park (excluding Alpine Road area and east of U.S. 101), Palo Alto, Portola Valley, and Woodside. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes in these communities.


SONOMA COUNTY

Prices in Sonoma County have been steadily easing since December, but February’s median price of $449,500 is still up about 18 percent year over year.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_SoCo

The MSI compressed from January to 2.2, and homes stayed on the market an average of 72 days. Buyers paid nearly 96 percent of original prices, nearly identical to levels recorded in the fall.

Defining Sonoma County: Our real estate markets in Sonoma County include the cities of Cotati, Healdsburg, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Windsor. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes and farms and ranches in Sonoma County.


SONOMA VALLEY

The median sales price for a property in our Sonoma Valley region inched up by a fraction of a percentage point from January to February, to $611,000, a year-over-year gain of 23 percent. Buyers took an average of 77 days to make a purchase, just a few days less than in January.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_SoVal

The MSI increased from 2.1 in January to 2.4 in February. Sellers received 92 percent of asking prices, essentially unchanged from the preceding month.

Defining Sonoma Valley: Our real estate markets in Sonoma Valley include the cities of Glen Ellen, Kenwood, and Sonoma. Sales data in the adjoining chart refers to all residential properties – including single-family homes, condominiums, and farms and ranches – in these communities.


TAHOE/TRUCKEE – SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

The median price for a single-family home in our Tahoe/Truckee region grew 15.5 percent month over month, to finish February at $699,000. Prices for a single-family home have spiked more than 38 percent on a year-over-year basis.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14_TahoeSFH

Unlike in the Bay Area, homes in the region stayed on the market longer than they did last month, an average of 100 days. The MSI dropped substantially to 5.5 and is now roughly at levels observed in December.

Single-family homebuyers paid about 91 percent of original price, not wildly different from what they did throughout 2013.

Defining Tahoe/Truckee: Our real estate markets in Tahoe/Truckee include the communities of Alpine Meadows, Donner Lake, Donner Summit, Lahontan, Martis Valley, North Shore Lake Tahoe, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, Tahoe Donner, Truckee, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


TAHOE/TRUCKEE – CONDOMINIUMS

The median sales price for a Tahoe/Truckee condo recovered greatly from January to February, growing from $262,000 to $404,000 – an impressive 54 percent jump.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Feb14TahoeCondo

The 13.0 MSI also spiked healthily from January and is now at its second highest level of the past year. Condos in the region took an average of 121 days to leave the market, a full month faster than in January.

Sellers took home 96 percent of asking price, the largest premiums received in the previous 12 months.

Defining Tahoe/Truckee: Our real estate markets in Tahoe/Truckee include the communities of Alpine Meadows, Donner Lake, Donner Summit, Lahontan, Martis Valley, North Shore Lake Tahoe, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, Tahoe Donner, Truckee, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes condominiums in these communities.

The 7 Best Improvements to Make Your Home Sell Faster

Stephanie Witt - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

David Barca, vice president of Pacific Union’s Silicon Valley region, wrote the following article, which originally appeared in the Palo Alto Weekly on March 6.

stainless_steel_kitchen

Stainless steel kitchen appliances can up your home’s appeal with prospective buyers.

If last year was any indication, 2014 should be another exceptional year for home sellers across the Bay Area. In the Palo Alto market, 2013 was an amazingly strong year, with the median sales price averaging $2.1 million. In Menlo Park the average median sales price clocked in at $1.6 million.

Inventory was slim in both cities throughout the year as eager buyers jumped on the region’s most desirable homes.

A home’s price, size, floor plan, neighborhood, and school district remain the primary factors by which buyers judge its attractiveness. Still, it’s important not to lose sight of smaller details that you can control, and some home-improvement projects will go a long way in helping your property stand out above others.

These seven upgrades have the most influence on buyers – and can help your home sell more quickly.

1. High-end kitchen appliances

One trend we’ve noticed across our region is that buyers gravitate toward homes with modern kitchens. In particular, stainless-steel cooktops, dishwashers, and refrigerators from high-end manufacturers are quite popular these days. Pacific Union’s real estate professionals in Silicon Valley also report that gas stoves with at least six burners are a must-have kitchen feature for many home shoppers.

2. Natural stone countertops

While you’re renovating your kitchen, you might also take a look at upgrading the countertops with a stone-like material. Although granite remains a popular and cost-effective countertop option, limestone and marble are among the most desirable materials today and will help imbue kitchens with a sense of luxury.

3. Fine-tuned details

Although updating faucets, light fixtures, and cabinet knobs in kitchens and bathrooms might slip below the radar of some home sellers, a local interior designer has assured me that such renovations definitely add value.

4. Lighter, brighter  floors

When it comes to replacing worn-out hardwood floors, our real estate professionals have noted that some sellers are bypassing traditional, darker stains in favor of lighter and brighter shades of oak, walnut, and pecan. In an even newer trend, some homeowners are opting for matte flooring materials, albeit those with a natural appearance.

5. A garage that’s more than a warehouse

While buyers likely will pay the most attention to the living spaces of homes they’re touring, the condition of a property’s garage is becoming an increasingly important concern.

Many people will use a garage for its intended purpose, but others may employ the space as an extra room for living, working, or recreational activities. As such, you might consider installing a coated, lightly textured surface on top of the standard concrete floor.

Finishing a garage with sheet rock is yet another improvement that can make the space feel more livable. Custom-built garage cabinetry can also add resale value to a home, particularly if the cabinets are elevated on the walls to help maximize space.

6. Improved curb appeal and landscaping

Hiring a landscape architect to reinvigorate your home’s yard could also land you a better offer when the time comes to sell. If your neighbors’ homes are quite close by, you might be able to create a sense of greater privacy by adding plants or trees that act as screens.

Our real estate professionals in Silicon Valley have also seen increasing use of manicured, artificial turf rather than grass. Such turf-based lawns don’t require as much maintenance as grass, and they will keep an aesthetically pleasing appearance year-round – even when there’s a drought.

7. A new coat of paint

Last but not least, remember that giving your home a new paint job is another way to add value to your property and offers perhaps the biggest bang for your improvement buck. If you don’t have any experience with interior design, you might choose to hire a professional to assist you with color selection.

Knowing what appeals to homebuyers in the current local real estate market can go a long way to helping you decide what improvements will carry the most weight and net you the best offer. And the more money you make on your current home, the more options you’ll have when you buy your next.

(Image: Flickr/James Brooks)

Job Growth in the Bay Area Even Better Than First Reported

Stephanie Witt - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bay Area counties have led the state in new-job growth in recent years, but recently revised statistics show that our region’s economic engine is even stronger than experts had reported.Workers

The California Employment Development Department had previously reported that nearly 70,000 jobs were added to the nine-county Bay Area economy between December 2012 and December 2013, but updated data puts the new-job total at almost 117,000  – nearly one-third of all the jobs created in the entire state.

“The Bay Area growth was much stronger than the already strong growth that had been reported,” according to Stephen Levy, director and senior economist of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy., who analyzed the updated EDD numbers in his latest monthly jobs report.

The Bay Area, Levy said, “remains the job growth leader” in the state.

While the number of new jobs statewide rose 2.6 percent over the past year, Levy said they increased 4.4 percent in the San Jose metropolitan area and 3.6 percent in the San Francisco metro area. In the East Bay, sluggish job growth reversed course and rose 2 percent.

Those numbers spell good news for the region’s real estate markets, with rising employment awakening interest among homebuyers and sellers alike. In fact, as we reported yesterday, robust job growth had led home price gains to far outpace number of units sold in four San Mateo County communities over the past three years.

And as new-job numbers rise, unemployment rates continue to fall.

The state’s jobless rate dropped to 8.1 percent in January, the lowest level in more than five years, according to the latest EDD employment update, while unemployment in Bay Area counties fell as low as 4.7 percent.

Marin County‘s 4.7 percent unemployment rate was the lowest in the state. San Mateo County had the second-lowest rate, 4.9 percent, and San Francisco had the third-lowest, at 5.3 percent.

All but one of the remaining Bay Area counties also posted jobless rates far below the state average: Santa Clara County, 6.1 percent; Sonoma County, 6.2 percent; Napa County, 6.4 percent; Alameda County, 6.7 percent; and Contra Costa County, 7.0 percent. Solano County matched the state average at 8.1 percent.

In the Tahoe/Truckee region, unemployment was 7 percent in Placer County and 7.3 percent in Nevada County.

(Image: Flickr/Thompson Rivers University)

NEW LISTING 28 Mirabel Ave Mill Valley CA

Stephanie Witt - Saturday, March 08, 2014

28 Mirabel Ave, Mill Valley CA


$2,195,000


Set on an approximately one third of an acre with sun, views and a private location, this gated, gracious and airy 4/3 space with an open and practical floor plan will captivate and charm you. All 4 bedrooms are on the second floor along with a spacious and bright family room with views and a gas fireplace.


Recent Posts


Tags

Distressed Home Sales Plummet 2014 Real Estate Update Third Quarter Buying a Home in the Bay Area Bay Area Market Appreciation Maui at Napili Shores 2014 San Francisco Bay Area residential housing market 2014 Housing Forecast 1039 Erica Road, Mill Valley CA Interest Rates Bay Area Real Estate Dipsea Race San Francisco Home Price 85 Coronet Ave Napili Bay Sweetwater Music Hall Blithedale Canyon neighborhood Mt Tamalpais Mill Valley Real Estate Market Warming Parcel Tax Tamalpais Park Bay Area Markets Bay Area job growth Home price appreciation pricing your home cascade canyon Better Homes and Garden Muir Beach Neighborhood Single Family Homes Middle Ridge Mill Valley Real Estate Update Home Improvement Projects That Pay You Back Bay Area Housing Recovery San Rafael Real Estate Blithedale Canyon Mill Valley Patch Homes Make Your Home Sell Faster Senior Exemption First Quarter Global Warming Piatti's buyers energy efficient economic recovery Home Sales Rise in Bay Area 2 Tamalpais Avenue Marin IJ Marin Terrace Neighborhood California Home Prices 10 Best Markets for Sellers Tam Valley Mill Valley School District Condos & Townhomes Strong Yearly Home Price Gains mill valley Tennessee Valley BAY AREA HOME PRICES California Distressed Homes Saving Tax Dollars Market Update Sycamore Park 301 laverne ave stephanie witt Mill Valley homes for sale HOMESTEAD VALLEY NEIGHBORHOOD 85 Coronet Ave, Mill Valley Downtown Mill Valley California Home Sales neighborhood Eucalyptus Knoll neighborhood property taxes Sycamore parks Marin Theatre Company West Blithedale Canyon 511 Lovell Avenue mill valley ca 157 Ethel Ave taxes Market Action Index Job Growth in the Bay Area Mill Valley Neighborhoods Marin properties at a record Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival 40 Hillside Avenue Mill Valley, CA 39 Octavia St, San Rafael CA MORTGAGE RATES Old Mill Neighborhood maui MLS 39 Ethel Ave, Mill Valley CA Bay Area Home Sales boyle park neighborhood Home Price Gains U.S. HOME SALES consistent market activity Q1 2013 135 Cascade Dr, Mill Valley Gerrianne Sakamoto Mill Valley Film Festival U.S. homebuilders Lending Standards Loosen boyle park Mill Valley Golf Course Bidding wars sellers buying a home San Francisco metro area Freddie Mac Homes for sale Tamalpais parks Wall Street Journal California Association of Realtors real estate napili micro-climates Marin County Mill Valley Homes 28 Mirabel Ave, Mill Valley CA Clutter market fluctuations hawaii vacation rental

Archive

pacific-union