September 7, 2013

Planning on Selling? You waited too long!

Should have sold this spring when there wasn’t any competition!

Bay Area home sales hit seven-year high

130906-sales-houseBy Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
POSTED:   08/15/2013 11:48:29 AM PDT | UPDATED:   22 DAYS AGO

The Bay Area’s housing market staged a breakthrough in July, reaching the highest level of sales for any month in nearly seven years, according to a report Thursday.

The housing recovery has been bogged down by a lack of inventory. This month’s report indicates that is no longer the case, as sellers respond to double-digit price increases.

July’s median sale price of $562,000 for all types of homes is up 33.5 percent across the nine-county Bay Area in 12 months, according to real estate information company DataQuick, meaning that homeowners who have been sitting on the sidelines for years can finally sell at a profit.

Along with the news that the average Silicon Valley house is selling for over a million dollars, perhaps we’ll hear from some Deluded Renters about how smart it is to buy a house NOW and how they can’t wait to sink every penny they have into a 30 year obligation.

Also note the lack of recent Real Estate news in the Murk. Maybe nobody is buying or selling anything anymore.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 am

February 9, 2013

More Bubblicious Signs of Bubbling Bubblicity

Sometimes, there’s a message out there with your name on it, so you get hit on the head with it again and again and again.  Here are some of the messages we got yesterday, and they all add up to the same thing.

130208-bubble-foreclosureFirst, looks like HELOCs are coming back.  No, they’re not at the insane rate of the glory days of 2006, but there’s more in 2012 than 2011.  So that’s something for us to keep an eye on. 

One of the problems with HELOCs was HELOCity, where every homedebtor used the line of credit not for major home improvements or emergencies, but as a full-time ATM.  People bought a lot of giant-ass SUVs and vacations and bling using the equity in their homes.  Why would they do something that stupid? Do they really think they’d never have to pay it back?  Some of us actually do remember when second mortgages were subprime mortgages throughout the industry.

Speaking of subprime, you know what else is back? Subprime mortgages! That article we featured last weekend on the Dignity Mortgage wasn’t the only sip of subprime sangria.  Gotta love this quote:

The Revival of Subprime: Will This End Badly?

By Matt Clinch | CNBC – February 8, 2013

The sub-prime market – risky mortgage backed securities – is hot again and its revival is exceeding many people’s expectations, the chief market strategist at Rosenblatt Securities says. He believes this will end badly.

The subprime mortgage crisis which led to the financial crash of 2008 involved institutions making loans to those that had difficulty maintaining their repayment schedule.

Wall Street brokerage firm Rosenblatt – which has been monitoring the situation since the last storm – says the credit-led bull market is well under way.

"The subprime market’s revival is proving to be even stronger than we had anticipated," Brian Reynolds said in a research note. "This is just a credit cycle, and it will eventually end badly like the others."

We are sure you are thinking the same thing we are: How can we best profit from so many other people’s stupidity?

130208-bubble-pamaiNext, several different reports of an increasingly skewed seller’s market.  We’ll have one up bright and early to start the week, and it’s a doozy.  Here’s a smaller example, an on-the-ground report from Definitely Not the Real Bay Area.  This poor agent says she listed a Blossom Valley property and now her phone is ringing every ten minutes.  Won’t someone let her get some quiet time and please offer twice the asking price already? 

130208-bubble-downpaymentBuyers now have to write beg letters to get noticed when there’s 40 offers on the table. And who can forget the lottery line for just 4 Gale Ranch models in San Ramon.  Need we remind you, Gale Ranch is not only in the East Bay, it’s in a place where they are still making more land. 

If you haven’t already seen this 2007 (!!!) video, enjoy it.  And if you have, sing along, because HERE COMES ANOTHER BUBBLE.

Comments (32) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

February 3, 2013

Top Ten Reasons You Should Ignore Realtard’s Columns

Today we’re going to have a look at a realtard’s piece over on Trulia’s blog.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Estater for letting us know about this essay.

Tough Year Ahead: Top 10 Issues Facing Bay Area Buyers

East Bay Real Estate Focus — Providing Definitive Information for the East Bay Area
Carl Medford | Agent in Fremont, CA
Posted under: Market Conditions in Alameda County, Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Ownership in Alameda County  |  January 26, 2013 8:22 AM  |  257 views  |  1 comment

“TWO recent national surveys of real estate agents suggest that first-time buyers are on the decline, their access to the housing market blocked by tight credit and eager investors,” states Lisa Prevost, of The New York Times (12/20/212).

Old news. In fact, I’ve been saying the same thing since August, 2012.

Truth is, no one knows exactly how many have decided to sit things out a bit until the market calms down. Although we’ve seen a decline in the number of buyers “actively in the hunt,” in reality, there are not “fewer” first-time buyers – if anything, there are more. LOTS more. The problem is that less of them are actually managing to buy a home, and, unfortunately, that’s the primary statistic that is being measured. No one is sitting outside open houses counting the bodies as they hit the front door and then compiling the numbers to a national database. If they did, a much different story would be on the evening news.

Buyers trying to purchase a home in the existing market conditions are facing into the teeth of a perfect storm, real-estate style, and it doesn’t appear that it will be ending anytime soon.

Here are the Top 10 issues facing Bay Area buyers:

130202-top10-suitcaseActually, as realtard happyprop goes, this is a little bit better informed than most.  It does say something other than “NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY,” and best of all, the disturbing faceless and sexless icons include the ever-popular, we swear we are not making this up, Dude With A Suitcase Full of Cash.  We know you won’t believe without seeing, so here he is.  (And from the minimal clothing, it’s either a Dude or it’s Annie Hall.)

Here’s that Top Ten list. If you’ve been a regular reader of Burbed, none of these should surprise you.

  1. Sorry, you missed the bottom.  Sucks to be you.  Medford says February 2012 was the official bottom.  Maybe it was… in the East Bay.
  2. Inventory? What inventory?  Raw meat, here’s the sharks.
  3. Prices are going up.  Some areas are up 40% from last year.  Actually, if Mr. Real Estate Person had read the actual data instead of just looking at a piece in the Chron, he’d have seen that some areas are up a lot more than 40%.
  4. Lots of cash buyers out there.  Yeah, and not just in the hellhole that’s the East Bay.  RBA too, only these aren’t investors.  On this item the realtard confuses the difference between “Central County” (probably Alameda County given the link) and the entire Bay Area in claiming 30% of all offers are cash.
  5. Crowds lead to multiple offers.  Take low inventory and desperate sellers, what do you expect, other than the author citing hard numbers with his opinion columns from a different site.
  6. FHA or VA buyer? Don’t even bother in this market; even conventional buyers are losing out to Mr. Suitcase.  And Mr. Suitcase doesn’t care about appraisals.
  7. 130202-top10-house-familyNew homes are in demand againaccording to CNN, that is. That doesn’t apply to the RBA because they still aren’t making any more land.  Why the realtard didn’t quote this local story in his own backyard is left as an exercise to the reader.
  8. Appraisers haven’t a clue prices are up, which is preventing prices from going up even faster.  Includes helpful link to another of his columns mostly about packed open houses with one throw-away graf about appraisers.  What stayed with us was the tsetse flies.  But there was something useful mentioned: appraisers were blamed for the last bubble, and they’re not ready for this one.  Yet.
  9. Banks are mucking up your loan even more than usual, although the link provided explaining the loan approval process doesn’t look to us like anything has changed much.  We suppose if you’re a realtard remembering the glory days of If You Can Fog This Mirror You Can Buy This House, you’d have a different opinion.
  10. Bank underwriters especially are being poopy-heads, and Medford’s happy to give some examples. Most of them look like underwriters working through a pile of documents, marking off inconsistencies, and resolving them later, where later is some period greater than the five minutes realtards think is appropriate.

While we are perfectly capable of posting house after house in the five mile radius of The Googleplex, we would never confuse the RBA with the entire Bay Area.  Just because an agent can write a column even longer than one of ours doesn’t mean he won’t commit the Fallacy of Composition.  The East Bay isn’t the entire Bay Area any more than the South Peninsula is.  Market conditions vary, so may your mileage, and definitely will housing prices. 

But we can guarantee there will always be some real estate professionals out there who take a few shortcuts.  Let’s give this one a golf clap for giving the appearance of a housing market review, even if he found ten different ways to say You Are Now Priced Out Forever.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

September 17, 2011

Cash Licks Loans in Low-End Bay Area Housing Market

Looking for a house because you figure the market’s finally hit bottom?  Hope you have suitcases full of cash, because if you don’t, there are other people hefting full TravelPros!  And we aren’t talking about foreigners, either.

Home buyers find themselves aced out by investors

By Eve Mitchell, Contra Costa Times
Posted: 09/10/2011 03:00:00 PM PDT, Updated: 09/11/2011 04:33:48 AM PDT


As husband Mark looks on, Kathryn Bressem gives son Lyndon, 5, a push on the swing in the backyard of their home in Hercules, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. Competing with all-cash investment buyers, the Bressems had been frustrated in their home-buying efforts before purchasing this house. (Kristopher Skinner/Staff)

After getting the good news on a Friday night that their offer topped all the others on a foreclosure in Vacaville they wanted as their retirement home, Jack and Donna Pfister spent the weekend packing.

But the following Tuesday they were told the bank had decided to go with an all-cash buyer, whose offer was $25,000 less than the $475,000 offer from the Pfisters.

“My husband was heartbroken,” said Donna Pfister, of Rodeo. “I was heartbroken because he was heartbroken. … Right now, we both feel kind of let down.”

The Pfisters are far from alone. In the Bay Area, about one-fifth of all homes sold in July were purchased by absentee buyers, mostly investors looking for rentals or properties to fix up and then sell, according to DataQuick, a real-estate reporting service. About six out of 10 absentee buyer transactions (which can also involve second-home purchase) were all-cash purchases. In July 2010, absentee buyers accounted for 17.4 percent of home sales, and the average for all months since 2000 is 13.8 percent.

Supposedly these people living in East Contra Costa County are losing out on houses to… investors from Silicon Valley!  They’re also snapping out homes in East San Jose.  Some investors are buying the homes as rentals, and others fix the properties up and flip them.  It’s also difficult to get a loan on a property needing extensive repairs, which is why so many flippers are bottom-feeding now.

So, would-be Silicon Valley investors: why go all the way to Brentwood, Antioch, or even Hercules to look for homes?  There are plenty of crapboxes in Redwood City and San Jose to choose from.  Plus that’s one less thwarted family complaining in what’s left of the newspaper that they didn’t get their dream home.  As in they must be dreaming if they think buying now is a good idea.

This is an Open Thread.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

February 13, 2011

Big Spenders Buoy Housing

Big Spenders Buoy Housing

The U.S. housing market may be weak, but many big spenders are still lavishing money on luxury homes in the Bay Area.

Homes selling for more than $2 million spiked in 2010 in the Bay Area, with the most pricey home sold in San Francisco for $15.5 million. Pui-Wing Tam talks with Stacey Delo.

Across the nine-county region, sales of homes priced at $2 million or more soared in 2010 over 2009, according to a preliminary analysis by DataQuick Information Systems. The number of such sales reached 1,216 last year, up nearly 20% from 1,016 in 2009, said DataQuick. While that was still far below the levels of 2005 through 2008, when more than 1,500 such sales a year took place, it was also far stronger than in the early part of the decade when less than 1,000 such sales a year occurred.

And the numbers might be even higher than indicated. DataQuick, which culls its data from public records, said its numbers don’t include the last week of 2010 and might not show all transactions priced above $2 million because some super high-end deals don’t show up in the public record for long periods.

The strength of high-end Bay Area home sales last year underlines the region’s recovery and how wealth here was relatively unaffected, compared with other parts of the nation. Indeed, over the past year, many technology companies have come roaring back, start-ups have started popping up all over Silicon Valley and San Francisco, and hiring wars have broken out.

Congrats to the Bay Area for having such an amazing economy! I knew we would be back! We’ve done it!

We’re on our way to beating London, Moscow, Hong Kong, and our arch nemesis, Manhattan!

We cannot rest until every property, even a condo in East Palo Alto, starts at $1M.

Together, we can do it!

Comments (28) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:07 am

September 26, 2010

Let the housing market crash!

Housing Woes Bring a New Cry: Let the Market Fall

As the economy again sputters and potential buyers flee — July housing sales sank 26 percent from July 2009 — there is a growing sense of exhaustion with government intervention. Some economists and analysts are now urging a dose of shock therapy that would greatly shift the benefits to future homeowners: Let the housing market crash.

When prices are lower, these experts argue, buyers will pour in, creating the elusive stability the government has spent billions upon billions trying to achieve.

“Housing needs to go back to reasonable levels,” said Anthony B. Sanders, a professor of real estate finance at George Mason University. “If we keep trying to stimulate the market, that’s the definition of insanity.”

The further the market descends, however, the more miserable one group — important both politically and economically — will be: the tens of millions of homeowners who have already seen their home values drop an average of 30 percent.

The poorer these owners feel, the less likely they will indulge in the sort of consumer spending the economy needs to recover. If they see an identical house down the street going for half what they owe, the temptation to default might be irresistible. That could make the market’s current malaise seem minor.

I agree. There’s no reason why we Real Bay Area folks should support the housing markets across the nation. It’s time we stopped giving them hand outs, and invest in ourselves. How else will we ever surpass our enemy to the east: Manhattan.

If anything, tax dollars should be flowing to the Bay Area to help boost house prices here to set an example for the rest of nation on what’s desirable: unaffordable housing.

California leads, the nation follows. It’s time we led again.

Comments (172) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:59 am

August 22, 2010

Nobody Move! Bay Area Home Sales Seize Up (July Insider Report)

Nobody Move! Bay Area Home Sales Seize Up (July Insider Report)

Redfin’s monthly Bay Area real estate insider report draws from our proprietary database of information on homes for sale and that just sold, along with insight from our agents to get a sense of what’s going on in the market right now. If you’d like to receive the report via email, just sign up.

Howdy Bay Area Redfinnians!

Even though we’ve been busy adding school ratings to our website’s map, Redfin just cranked out our latest analysis of the Bay Area housing market, based on proprietary data and local broker insights.

The news is not good, at least for real estate agents: as federal and then California home-buying credits expired, the overheated Bay Area market began to cool in July, except where technology-driven employment continues to be strong.

From June to July, the mix of buyers has likely shifted away from the first-timers responding to the tax credit. In these situations, you expect to see median prices increase, but even so median home prices were down or flat from June to July in five of six counties.

While inventory declined slightly except in the beleaguered East Bay market, across all six counties sales volume fell through the floor. We think demand is going to continue to ease for the rest of the year, as buyers now take their time, unhurried by either interest rates or tax credits.

Whoops, this is a bit dated as I should’ve posted this earlier, but do click on the link to read more about the situation from Redfin!

Obviously, as we head into Fall bounce, and then Winter bounce, everything will change for the better!

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:34 am

August 21, 2010

Buyer Tax Credit Ends, Bay Area Home Sales Plummet

Bay Area home sales tumble 22.5%

Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, August 20, 2010

Bay Area home sales slumped by almost 23 percent last month compared with last year as the federal home buyer tax credit expired and buyers stayed on the sidelines despite record-low interest rates, according to a real estate report released Thursday.

"It was a significant drop," said Andrew LePage, an analyst with MDA DataQuick, the San Diego real estate service that released the report. "It was to be expected (after the tax credit expired), but no one knew the magnitude. For seasonal reasons, you normally see a bit of a drop from June to July, but this was triple that."

A total of 6,773 homes, including existing homes, condos and new homes, changed hands in the nine-county region in July, DataQuick said. That was a 22.8 percent decline from the same time last year and represented the lowest July sales volume in 15 years. For existing single-family homes, sales were down 22.5 percent to 5,104 homes.

The median price edged up as more high-end homes changed hands. For existing homes, it rose 5.9 percent to $432,500. For all homes, it was up 1.8 percent to $402,000. The median is skewed by the mixture of homes sold.

caution-housePlummet.  Tumble.  Drop.  Dive.  Head South.  Collapse.

No matter what your metaphor, properties are not flying through windows anymore.  Foreclosures are up in Silicon Valley, too.  Inventory is rising, many properties listed as pending are actually short sales that banks can put into limbo, while foreclosures loom on more and more high-end properties.  Check out this lovely location that just received a Notice of Default.

The average monthly sales drop between June and July is 6.3 percent, according to MDA DataQuick.  Wow, this spring had extra bounce from the federal tax credits!  It’s not every year you get a 22.8% drop once it’s over!

Those Debbie Downers over at the SF Chronicle just can’t stop the gloom and doom.  The article mentions double-dip several times.  Hey, you want a double dip?  How about two scoops of ice cream!  That should turn your frown upside down!  Then take a couple of swim sessions in your backyard pool… before the bank repossesses it!

Here’s more great news!  The average mortgage payment in the Bay Area is down to $1641 a month, down from $1709 last month.  Woo-hoo low interest rates!  If you adjust for inflation, that payment is 35 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989 (the peak of the last real estate cycle).  And compared to the July 2007 peak… it’s down 54.5 percent.  These numbers are not just affected by the record low interest rates.  Difficulty in getting jumbo financing keeps home loan amounts down as well.  Jumbo mortgages were 36.1 percent of July’s Bay Area loans.  That’s certainly up from January 2009’s 17.1 percent (the low for jumbos)!  Boo-ya!

But just to give you an idea how much RBA (Real Bay Area) Kool-Aid was being served recently, back before the credit crunch in August 2007, the percent of jumbo mortgages was… (are you ready?)

Over.  Sixty.  Per cent.

I can’t see why this should put any downward pressure on RBA home prices, though!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 14, 2010

Million dollar house sales in the Bay Area

Vital Signs

In a sign that some Bay Area residents still aren’t comfortable shelling out the big bucks, sales of homes priced at $1 million or more fell by 27% in the region last year, outpacing the 24% decline in such sales statewide, according to MDA DataQuick. The Bay Area saw 7,261 sales of million-dollar-plus homes in 2009, down from 10,006 in 2008 and 18,926 in 2005. Santa Clara County saw the most, with 2,378 sales of such homes, while Solano County had the fewest, with 20. Reluctant buyers and a tight mortgage market contributed to the decline, DataQuick said. Meanwhile, Bay Area home sales at all price levels rose 16% last year from 2008, while sales statewide climbed 17%. One in 25 California home sales crossed the $1 million mark in 2009, compared with one in nine in 2006, according to DataQuick.


Yipes. That certainly doesn’t look very good to an untrained eye. But real estate professionals, they know that this is normal – after all, real estate is cyclical.

2009 was the bottom out year 2010 is when the chart is going to come back up. Haven’t you seen all those billboards on 101 plugging Zynga? The startup community is back… and with a vengeance! Jobs are starting to flow like water from the sierra nevadas.

It’s only a matter of time before million dollar homes become the norm again. You just wait.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:49 am

September 21, 2009

Silicon Valley home sales dip in August; fewer bargains on the market – San Jose Mercury News

The other day a Burbed commenter wrote this:

Valley’s uptick eclipses state: As California faces long, slow recovery, local economy poised for quick rebound with tech help – San Jose Mercury News | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog –
mike Says:
September 16th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I hate the Merc.

It’s always rah rah bull; almost worse than realtards.


Well how about this then!

Silicon Valley home sales dip in August; fewer bargains on the market – San Jose Mercury News
For the first time since January, both the number of homes sold in Santa Clara County and their median price fell from the previous month, a surprising reversal in a housing market that had been steadily climbing out of the burst real estate bubble.

Home sales plunged 21 percent in August from July, a sharper drop than in any other Bay Area county, and the median price dropped to $515,000, a 5 percent decline from July and down 13 percent from August last year, according to a report Thursday from MDA DataQuick.

The numbers appear to reflect just how fragile the market is, with real estate professionals and analysts offering a number of varying reasons for the month-to-month changes, from fewer foreclosed properties listed for sale, to new rules that have resulted in longer escrows, to higher mortgage rates.

“Part of the midsummer pause in the market could have been caused by home shoppers becoming frustrated by market conditions they didn’t anticipate,” John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president, said in a statement released with the report, citing fewer cheap foreclosures and the high number of all-cash deals and multiple bids. “It might have driven some back to the sidelines,” he said.

The nine-county Bay Area saw the median price of previously owned single-family houses fall 8 percent from July, to $375,000.

“It’s not unusual to get 10 offers” on “reasonably” priced foreclosure properties, said Judi Seip, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Cupertino.

Some are intentionally underpriced, other agents said, which sometimes means 20 or 30 bidders make offers.

One of Seip’s clients recently offered about $16,000 more than the asking price on a home priced about $440,000, and had a 50 percent down payment, but still lost the house to another bidder. Seip said she’s working with several buyers who hope to find homes and close escrow by Nov. 30, which is the deadline to purchase a home and receive a credit of as much as $8,000 on federal taxes, an element of the economic stimulus plan. “What happens in December is anybody’s guess,” she said.


See? It’s not always rah rah news. But there’s no need to despair… it’s clear that the reason for this is that interest in houses have simply taken a nap. There’s so much hot startup activity right now (and look! facebook is break even!) that people don’t have time to shop around for houses.

Come this spring… back to July 2007 prices! You heard it here first!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 6:58 am