Today’s blog takes a look at sales activity as recorded by our Multiple Listing Service for Woodside California. As of today’s date there are six pending class one transactions(single family homes). List prices for the pending sales range from $1,989,500 to $599,000. There are currently 61 active listings in Woodside. Opportunity is definitely knocking on the San Francisco Peninsula for Woodside buyers. (Information reported by MLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed).
Today markes my final post for my “Spring Fever” series of posts. There is a great portion of the Peninsula Real Estate scene that we have not covered–the goal here is to give a sample of some of the many “micro markets” that make up the San Francisco Peninsula.
Today we visit Woodside Glens. Tucked away just minutes from downtown Woodside is Woodside Glens. Centered around Glenwood Ave (off Canada Road) this area offers close proximity to shopping and major commute corridors in a rural environment Lots here tend to be smaller than one acre.
Our Multiple Listing Service indicates one active listing in this area as of today’s date listed at $925,000. Currently there are four pending sales with an average list price of $1,164,750. (Information from MLS deemed accurate but not guaranteed).
Spring has definitely arrived and my email inbox continues to receive numerous weekly market updates. Today’s blog looks at the entry level real estate market:
“Stress Test Reveals More Work to Be Done By Banks- While Entry Level Local Real Estate Market Heats Up!
This week the results of the long-awaited Stress Test on US banks were released. What the government hoped to accomplish through this Stress Test was to determine how much capital the banking sector currently has, and what level they deem appropriate to withstand the recession. The result was that 10 of the nation’s 19 largest banks will need to raise a total of $74.6 billion in capital. The Stress Test revealed that banks like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan seemed to be better positioned than Citigroup and Bank of America.
At this point, according to Kiplinger, “The stronger banks will actively do what they can to return any money borrowed from the government to get out from under restrictions on dividends and executive compensation. Their ability to sell common stock to the public is far better than their weaker counterparts, who may have to privately sell stock to investors or raise capital with so-called mandatory convertible preferred shares.”
According to industry analysts, it seems that until the banks get back on their feet, credit will continue to be tight. That leaves the Federal Reserve responsible for filling in the gaps with its own programs aimed at jump-starting lending.
On a brighter note, however, the real estate sector of our economy continues to show some positive signs. USA Today reported earlier this week that “More homes for sale are attracting multiple offers as buyers pursue lower-price homes and banks low-ball asking prices to attract competing bids on foreclosures.” It’s exactly what we’ve seen locally, the entry level home buyer market is fueling this recovery. We forecasted this, and now that multiple offers are the norm in the majority of our entry level markets, some frustrated buyers are scratching their heads and wondering what happened to the buyer’s market. We warned that things could turn on a dime, and it seems in many starter home markets, prices are already on the rise.
Here are some links to some interesting news stories from the week:
• USA Today: More homes get multiple offers; downturn may be nearing end (http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2009-05-05-foreclosure-home-sales_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip)
• Business Week: Want to Sell Your Home? Lower Your Price (http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/may2009/bw2009055_075566.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_news+%2B+analysis)
• RISMedia: Relocation.com Survey Shows Consumers Moving Further Due to Economy (http://rismedia.com/2009-05-05/relocationcom-survey-shows-consumers-moving-further-due-to-economy/) – This is a good reminder to consumers on why they should choose an Agent who is affiliated with a large, global real estate company that has the breadth and influence to reach the largest pool of buyers.
• NYTimes: Where Home Prices Crashed Early, Signs of a Recovery (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/business/economy/05turnaround.html?_r=2&hp)
• Realty Times: Real Estate Outlook: Sales Rising in Some Areas (http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20090505_realestateoutlook.htm) “
(Source: Rick Turley, President, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage San Francisco Bay Area)
These articles cited present an interesting look at our current market. San Francisco Mid Peninsula Open Houses continue to be heavily attended with multiple offers becoming more and more likely in the entry level market.
Monday morning always brings interesting information and the following email shed some interesting perspective on first time home buyers credits and pending sales:
"As I was reading through the headlines and news updates over this past week, I was amazed that it wasn’t properly pointed out that when the existing home sales were released on March 23 (up another 5.1%), that right there in black and white, the median and average price of existing homes in the US was UP in February. That’s right, February’s median price was $165,400 versus $164,800 for January AND the average US price for February was $269,900 versus $256,200 in January. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s technically means that we bottomed out in February. “But we need two months for a trend…” some (okay, many) may say, and that is a reasonable response. But when one takes a look at February’s Pending Home Sales Index for February, one sees that buying activity continues to be very strong, up 2.1% nationwide, with the West continuing to lead the way at 89.6. Combine the above with the fact that we are pre-approving or actively working on more purchase transactions for more people in the last thirty days than we have in the last seven months, and it appears very likely that March will follow February to officially set the upward housing price trend to mark the proverbial “bottom”.
Has anyone recently asked you, “If three friends and I want to buy a house together, and we’re all first time home buyers, can we each take advantage of the $8,000 Federal tax credit?” If you have.. and you weren’t sure how to answer, you may want to point them to IRS Form 5405 which seems to allow for the four referenced above to EACH take advantage of the $8,000 credit. “And if my three friends and I want to buy a NEW home to take advantage of the $10,000 CA state tax credit.., can we get that too?” Well, CA seems to be more specific on their Form 3528-A that the max credit per purchase is $10,000… Still, any amount of additional tax credit from the state is obviously better than nothing. Please, please contact a professional tax advisor to guide you properly on anything tax related, as I’m just a mortgage guy.
Regarding mortgages, we had a very big day yesterday with the Financial Accounting Standards Board easing up and clarifying the rules associated with mark-to-market accounting. This has been a necessary first step in helping to stabilize the banks and further free up lending. And we’re not just talking about conforming lending (up to $729,750 in loan amount), we’re talking about NON-conforming lending, which is so critical for our housing market locally. Bloomberg’s article yesterday covered it best, and what really opened my eyes was a question that came to mind as I read the article, “What if suddenly we had $5 trillion dollars to lend and investors began lining up to buy reliable, non-conforming mortgage-backed securities?”
Eric T. Trailer, Principal
Absolute Mortgage Banking
Palo Alto, CA 94306"
My thanks to Eric for providing this interesting insight. Please remember to consult with a tax professional regarding first time buyers home credits as this post is not meant as a substitute for professional tax advice. Spring has definitely arrived and for many buyers this is an outstanding opportunity to enter the San Francisco Mid Penisula Real Estate market.
Spring has arrived and our local open houses continue to be busy. Today’s blog takes a look at some recent market observations:
“From A Slow Crawl…To a Brisk Walk
I heard someone earlier this week say that the housing market has gone from a slow crawl to a brisk walk. I think that is the perfect metaphor to explain the recent changes in the real estate market. The market is coming back. It’s not roaring, but it’s coming back.
This week, according to Reuters.com, mortgage applications jumped as record low interest rates spurred a surge in demand for home refinancing loans. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications, which includes both purchase and refinance loans, increased 32.2 percent to 1,159.4 for the week ended March 20. Refinancing accounted for 78.5 percent of all applications.
Furthermore, interest rates on mortgages fell after the Federal Reserve last week said it would buy Treasury securities for the first time in more than four decades as well as more than double its planned purchases of mortgage-related securities. Reuters.com reported that “Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees, averaged 4.63 percent, down 0.26 percentage point from the previous week, reaching a record low….Interest rates were well below year-ago levels of 5.74 percent.”
Meanwhile, according to Realty Times, housing starts took a surprise jump of 22 percent in February over January's depressed levels. Most of the increase was attributable to apartments and condominiums, but single family starts were up by one percentage point, and new home permits were up by 11 percent, after months of sharp declines.
Existing home sales are also seeing some good trends. NAR reported this week that sales activity for single family, town homes, condominiums and co-ops rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million units in February from a pace of 4.49 million units in January.
The West is leading much of the nation’s recovery, with California leading the charge. Our median listing price is beginning to rise for the first time in three years. Existing home sales in the West increased 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.2 million in February and remain 30.4 percent higher than a year ago.” (Source: Rick Turley, President, San Francisco/Peninsula/North Bay Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
For those buyers who are actively engaged in the San Francisco Mid Peninsula market, there are definitely many opportunities and choices.
Today’s blog takes a look at recent market developments as recapped by Rick Turley, President, San Francisco/Peninsula/North Bay Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage:
“It Was a Week of Surprises…And Best of All, Spring Has Sprung!
First, CNNMoney.com reported a sudden, unexpected surge in U.S.housing starts. According to the Commerce Department, housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 last month, up 22% from a revised 477,000 in January. The big surprise: Economists were expecting starts to decline to 450,000, according to consensus estimates by Briefing.com.
Furthermore, applications for building permits, considered a reliable sign of future construction activity, rose 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 547,000 last month. The other big surprise: Economists were expecting permits to fall to 500,000.
Also interesting this week, retail sales figures fell much less than expected in February, and surprisingly strong January sales were revised even higher. According to CNNMoney.com, “
store sales showed a smaller-than-expected decline in February after an unexpected surge in January that was bigger than originally reported…The Commerce Department said total retail sales fell 0.1% last month, compared with January’s revised increase of 1.8%. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had been expecting a decrease of 0.5% for February.”
So, is it safe to call this a trend? Are we out of the woods yet? It’s tough to say. In all honesty, you don’t know whether or not you’ve hit bottom until you’re on your way back up but it seems some of the critical signs are starting to show signs of life which is welcome relief for our wounded economy.
Also in the news this week, the Federal Reserve announced plans to purchase up to $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities and up to $300 billion in longer term Treasury securities. Our representatives at the National Association of Realtors applauded the plans noting “This is great news for American home buyers and homeowners because mortgage interest rates will continue at historic lows.”
What this means for Americans is that a greater number of home buyers will be able to purchase a home and some homeowners facing challenges will be able to refinance into better terms. As NAR noted, “We already are experiencing a great improvement in housing affordability due to historically low interest rates and the Fed’s move will push affordability conditions to the best levels in 40 years. In addition, continued low rates will lessen foreclosure pressure and help stabilize home prices sooner, as more Americans buy homes and draw down inventory.”
Along the lines of mortgage relief, the Treasury Department this week launched a new website for consumers seeking information about the Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable loan modification and refinancing program. The site, www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov, offers features including interactive self-assessment tools that will empower borrowers to determine if they are eligible to participate and calculate the monthly mortgage payment reductions they could stand to realize under the Making Home Affordable program. This is a helpful site that we should all be sharing with our friends, families and clients alike.
Finally, on Friday, Jim Gillespie, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, participated in a discussion about the state of the housing market, live from the New York Stock Exchange on CNBC, on the “Roadmap to Rebound” segment hosted by Maria Bartiromo. Yale economist Dr. Robert Schiller and Sanjiy Das, CEO of CitiMortgage, also participated. I am proud of Coldwell Banker and really pleased with Jim’s part of the discussion –sticking to the facts of what is still needed to make a significant difference for the housing recovery. Jim calls upon government leaders to enact a $15,000 non-refundable tax credit to ALL buyers and also a mortgage buy down that would bring rates to the 4-4.5% range. This, NAR reports, could generate an additional 840,000 home sales over 12 months. This home buying activity would have major implications in stimulating the overall US
economy since NAR also reports that each home sold generates more than $60,000 in economic activity. The proposal would also have a greater impact on foreclosures than the current stimulus package. Take a look: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&video=1067527935”
For San Francisco Mid Peninsula buyers and sellers, the Spring Market usually brings with it higher levels of inventory and increased attendance at open houses. Spring has definitely arrived!
This week’s blog is a recap of recent market commentary emailed to me by Eric Trailer, Principal, Absolute Mortgage Banking. For those Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, Woodside and Palo Alto buyers concerned about market timing, here is some food for thought:
“There’s an old sports adage that states, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good”. I myself have said that a time or two-hundred on the golf course. And what’s interesting is that many homebuyers in the market seem to be adapting this adage to their approach to buying a home. It’s almost like game mentality has crept into the strategy of buying a home, “I’ll wait until the market shows a turnaround, then pounce on the best deal of the century—(evil voiceover)–ha, ha, I RULE!” It begs the question, “If so many people are waiting for confirmation of a market upswing and are then ready to ‘pounce”, won’t that just drive demand even higher along with price, making the more desirable homes harder to obtain? And aren’t interest rates on the rise? Oh wait, and didn’t I hear that people like President Obama and Ben Bernanke are making direct efforts to spur recovery in places like the Bay Area with support for education, stem cell research and further technological and financial innovation?”
We all know that attempting to ‘beat’ any market is a risky game, especially when we’re talking about the purchase of the largest asset that most of us will ever make. As such, prudence, in my opinion, is the best way to proceed. Consider the following
Money-wise, the credit markets are easing every week, with “jumbo’s” still below 6% and conforming money below 5%. As you know, I tend to avoid detailing rates, LTV allowances and ratio allowances since prescribing the proper mortgage solution requires knowing what an individual’s goals and qualifications are, but any reputable mortgage provider will take the time to understand your client’s goals, perform proper analysis and recommend appropriate solutions.
My sense, based on the tremendous pre-approval activity that we have been experiencing, is that we’re inching ever closer to a Tipping Point (yes, now I’m reading Gladwell’s Tipping Point) in this market, especially as people complete their taxes and can plan accordingly. As such, my hope is that you and your clients go with the real estate buying adage that, “I’d rather be good than lucky.”
Eric T. Trailer, Principal
Absolute Mortgage Banking
Palo Alto, CA 94306
I have recently received many questions from buyers regarding the subject of “hitting bottom” in terms of local real estate prices. I thought this would be a timely moment to share some recent market observations made by Rick Turley, President, San Francisco/Peninsula/North Bay Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, in his March first market comments:
“It May Be Time to Get Off the Fence!
With the Economic Stimulus Package and the Foreclosure Prevention Plan underway, many Americans are anxious to move forward, realizing that there will still be weeks and months of discussion and fine-tuning before all elements will be understood. At the end of the day, some elements will be popular with the majority, perceived as helpful to our recovery – and some elements will remain under heavy criticism and largely unpopular. It’s the American way. But I hope most will agree that it’s time to get back into a position where we feel secure, where we feel confident and where we can once again make strong decisions regarding our future…and that includes decisions we make about real estate.
Many buyers have been on the sidelines. They’ve been waiting to see what will happen to interest rates and to see what the results of the Economic Stimulus Package would be. Some have been on the fence regarding a personal real estate decision even though their down payment and their jobs have been safe and secure. You can’t really blame them for being cautious – but things are definitely starting to change at the entry price levels. Most new offerings listed at a competitive asking price are receiving multiple offers again. Many older listings that have taken notable price reductions are experiencing the same thing.
Now I realize that every individual situation is different so please don’t take this as a broad based brush that I am painting with, but what I can say is that buyers may truly be in one of the best positions than they have been in some 50 years to purchase a home. Consider the benefits to today’s homebuyer:
My point is that Buyers may not want to make the mistake of waiting. Sitting on the sidelines could cost plenty in terms of higher housing prices, increased competition, fewer choices and higher interest rates. We live in one of the most desirable areas in the world and regardless of the recent slowing in the market, there is still high demand where value is perceived –normally value is perceived with respect to condition and competitive pricing.”
Is now the correct time for you to consider purchasing a home? This might be a good time to set up a meeting with your tax accountant to review your personal finances. At the end of the day, the only time we know we have really “hit bottom” is when prices start to increase. If you are viewing real estate as a long term investment and plan on remaining in the area for at least five years now may be the perfect time to make the decision to move forward.
Tucked away just minutes from downtown Woodside is Woodside Glens. Centered around
Nestled near 280 off Woodside Road is the town of Woodside. The vibrant history of the town can be dated back to early Indian settlements. The town has worked vigorously to maintain its unique history. Homes in the area can range from cottages to large gated estates. Current listing data on the multiple listing service indicates 54 active listings ranging in price from $749,000 to $16,800,000 with a median list price of $2,395,000. (as of 7/16)
The town is home to numerous bike routes, hiking trails and equestrian trails. Woodside Road is a popular destination on the weekends. If you decide to visit be sure and stop by Roberts Market at the intersection of Canada Road and Woodside Road or take a hike in Huddart Park up the road.