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Silicon Valley Home Sales Activity Slows but Not in All Price Ranges

October 20, 2016 by Selma Hepp Executive Summary: Silicon Valley sales slowed but not consistently across all price ranges and generally due to different factors. A lack of inventory and buyer fatigue are holding back sales in the most affordable price range. Higher price ranges have suffered due to global and financial uncertainties. Buyer frenzy has diminished, and pressure on prices has slowed notably. Nevertheless, venture-capital (VC) activity has picked up again and job growth remains robust, which will translate into continued sales activity in the coming quarters. It has been an interesting year for the housing market, as well as global markets in general. Much anticipation has surrounded interest-rate increases, the upcoming presidential election, the slowing of VC investment, and ambiguity over continued job growth. As for the Bay Area’s housing market, overall conditions have slowed in 2016 when compared with the last few years. The slowdown is mostly in the number of units sold and buyers’ willingness to compete, while home prices have generally continued to appreciate. The total number of units sold year to date (January through September) in the Bay Area declined by 6 percent. The largest drop was for homes priced below $1 million, which is due to price appreciation and shifting of the price segment into points above $1 million. The number of units sold priced between $1 million and $2 million in fact increased by 7 percent during the same period, while sales of units priced above $2 million fell by about 4 percent regionally. In Silicon Valley, home sales trends generally followed the regional pattern, with a 6 percent decline in...

San Francisco: America’s Greenest City in 2016

October 20, 2016 Bay Area homeowners who have made energy-efficient or other environmentally friendly upgrades to their properties may have some additional leverage when the time comes to sell, as four local cities count among the nation’s 10 greenest this year. That’s according to WalletHub’s 2016 rankings of the greenest cities in America, which ranks 100 communities on a scale of 100 based on four major areas and 20 smaller criteria. Gauges of a city’s overall greenness include air quality, amount of green space, transportation factors, renewable-energy sources, and number of installed solar panels. San Francisco ranked as the nation’s No. 3 greenest place in last year’s study behind New York City and Portland, Oregon. In 2016, San Francisco moves to the top of the list, with an overall score of 75.64. The City by the Bay ranks No. 1 in the country for green lifestyle and policies, including job opportunities, local green-energy programs, and number of farmers’ markets. San Francisco particularly shines in the latter department, tying three other cities for the most amount of farmers’ markets per capita in the nation. San Francisco also scored very high according to the study’s transportation criteria, earning the nation’s second highest bike-friendly rating behind Minneapolis. The city was also the West Coast’s lone representative to rank in the top five for fewest number of commuters who drive. This is in part thanks to San Francisco’s excellent public transportation, which another study ranked as the nation’s second best earlier this year. San Jose, which didn’t crack the list of America’s 10 greenest cities in WalletHub’s 2015 analysis, took the No. 3...

Most Bay Area Counties Have Surpassed All-Time-High Home Prices

October 19, 2016 Although California single-family home prices are still short of their record highs, the majority of Bay Area counties have eclipsed the peaks that they attained during the previous housing boom. That’s according to the latest monthly home sales report from the California Association of Realtors, which puts the median sales price for a single-family home in the state at $514,320 in September, up 6.1 percent on an annual basis and the sixth consecutive month above a half-million dollars. The Golden State’s median home price is still 14.5 percent lower than its all-time high of $594,530, set in May 2007 according to CAR’s historical data. Before the recession, California home prices were higher than $500,000 for 31 consecutive months. The median sales price for a single-family home across the nine-county Bay Area was $770,150 in September, a year-over year gain of 4.9 percent. The Bay Area’s median sales price reached a new peak of $848,580 in May but has declined every month since. Home prices increased in every local county year over year in September, ranging from 2.5 percent in San Francisco to 11.3 percent in Solano. San Mateo overtook San Francisco for the dubious honor as California’s most expensive county, with a September median sales price of $1,290,000. The Bay Area is home to the state’s three other current million-dollar real estate markets: San Francisco ($1,218,750), Marin ($1,165,000), and Santa Clara ($1,000,000) counties. All four of those counties, along with Alameda, have seen home prices reach new highs at some point during 2016. Prices in Contra Costa, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties have not yet returned...

Real Estate Roundup: China Home Price Growth Far Outpaces San Francisco

October 10, 2016 by Pacific Union • Posted in Weekly Real Estate News Roundups Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious. SAN FRANCISCO RANKS LOW ON GLOBAL HOME PRICE APPRECIATION SCALE California and the Bay Area are popular destinations for affluent Chinese homebuyers, thanks in part to excellent educational opportunities, thriving economies, and pleasant weather. And even the high-priced Bay Area remains a bargain by global real estate standards — particularly China — as a new report underscores. That’s according to Realtor.com, which examined the top 150 global markets for home price appreciation based on a study by Knight Frank. Six of the top 10 markets for highest annual appreciation were in China, led by Shenzhen, where home prices grew by a staggering 47.4 percent in the second quarter. Shanghai ranked No. 2, with 33.8 percent appreciation, followed by Nanjing at 35.1 percent. The only U.S. city to rank in the top 20 for annual home price growth was Portland, Oregon, with 12.6 percent growth. San Francisco was even further down the list at No. 58, with 6.5 percent annual home price appreciation. According to Realtor.com, one reason that appreciation in San Francisco is slowing is because prices are already so high that there is little room for additional growth. SONOMA COUNTY: HOME TO MORE STARTUPS THAN SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco and Silicon Valley have long been known as hotbeds of tech startups, but Sonoma County is beating them both in terms of job growth by new businesses. Citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau, cost-information website How Much says that startups...

San Francisco Returns to Top of Hottest U.S. Housing Markets Rankings

October 4, 2016 by Pacific Union • Posted in Market Conditions San Francisco, which lost its title as the hottest U.S. real estate market to a Bay Area suburb back in the spring, returned to the head of the class in September, coinciding with a miniature Indian summer heat wave in Northern California. That’s according to Realtor.com’s recurring monthly list of the nation’s 20 hottest housing market, as gauged by the briskest pace of sales and the most listing views on its website. Homes in these metro areas typically sell 23 to 43 days faster than the national average and can receive nearly four times as much online traffic. For much of the past year, San Francisco has topped that list but was usurped by the Vallejo-Fairfield metro area in May. In September, the San Francisco metro area — which includes nearby cities such as Oakland and Hayward — regained the No. 1 position, up from No. 4 in August. Vallejo fell one spot on the hot list to end the month at No. 2. California cities have been mainstays on the hot-markets list since its inception, and September was no exception, with the state claiming 10 of the 20 spots. The rest of the Golden State pack: San Diego (No. 5), Stockton (No. 6), Sacramento (No. 8), San Jose (No. 9), Modesto (No. 11), Yuba City (No. 13), Santa Rosa (No. 15), and Santa Cruz (No. 17). All 10 of those communities made the hot list in August, while Fresno dropped off in September. The rankings come shortly after Realtor.com named the country’s 10 hottest ZIP codes, based...