October 21, 2015

The Rocks Reveal Themselves

The Marin Independent Journal reports from California. “After an almost uninterrupted streak of increases over the last few years, the median price of a Marin home fell 14 percent in September, to $970,000, according to CoreLogic. In this case, the drop in the median price is more apparent than real, according to an analyst and several Marin real estate agents. ‘The drop in the median price reflects a change in the types of homes selling, not a drop in home prices,’ said Andrew LePage, an analyst with CoreLogic. ‘In September 2014, the larger high-end municipalities had 40 percent of the sales in the county,’ LePage said. ‘This September, they had 33 percent. That’s going to tug down the median.’”

“Teya Walkker, an agent with Coldwell Banker, said the healthy market has been fueled at least in part by high prices in San Francisco. ‘The prices in San Francisco are so high, people are looking for alternatives,’ she said. Walkker also said some Marin residents are looking to move to Sonoma County. ‘Marinites who have been living here for a long time feel it’s overcrowded. They are looking for peace and quiet,’ the agent said.”

The Press Democrat. “A significant number of Sonoma County home sellers ended the summer by putting their properties on the market, contributing to the largest number of signed sales agreements in September in at least six years. New listings increased 22 percent last month from a year earlier to 537 single-family homes, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International VP Rick Laws. It was the third straight month where new listings rose on a year-over-year basis.”

“The jump in listings didn’t result in an increase in completed sales last month. Buyers purchased 396 single-family homes in September, a decline of 12 percent from a year earlier. Buyers are no longer feeling pushed by worries over rising prices, brokers said. For the buyers, ‘there’s no sense of urgency,’ said Vicki Roberts, a broker associate with Bertolone Realty in Santa Rosa. Many sellers, meanwhile, have had homes sitting on the market for months, but ‘I don’t see a lot of price reductions.’ The market, she said, is ‘transitioning, and who knows to what.’”

The Mercury News. “Pacific Union agent Wendy Kandasamy, based in Palo Alto, noticed ‘a wobble in the market’ that made for a less robust September for the Peninsula area than she had anticipated. She theorized that late August instabilities in the financial markets had continued to reverberate through the local real estate scene. ‘When the high tide comes — when you have a really high market — it kind of covers all the rocks,’ she said. ‘But this market is not an even market. Now, the rocks reveal themselves.’”

“She offered several examples of the market’s unevenness. In Portola Valley, she represented buyers who went after a $2.7 million home: 2,400 square feet with three modest bedrooms. The buyers got it for $2.65 million: ‘When there’s uncertainty in the market, it gives people the motivation to negotiate,’ Kandasamy said.”

“Around the same time, she listed a 1,600 square-foot home in Menlo Park for $1.7 million. It sat on the market for three weeks, then drew multiple offers after the sellers reduced the price by $100,000 — and finally sold for just under $1.7 million. A $1.8 million home in Foster City — ‘a weaker market’ — also drew a number of offers, but ‘they weren’t strong ones and we ended up not accepting any.’ That property has been taken off the market until spring.”

The Appeal Democrat. “Long-standing plans for the mixed-used Magnolia Ranch development north of Wheatland go before the county planning commission this week — the last step before final consideration by county supervisors. Plans for the project include 3,300 mixed-use dwellings, a 52-acre business park, 60 acres of open space, 45 acres of parks and 18 acres of neighborhood commercial development. Residential is proposed to go in first, developers say, because the infrastructure needed for new homes needs to be in place before industrial development can occur. They also maintain that additional housing in the county will help keep the overall housing market affordable.”

“Opponents maintain there are too many vacant single-family residential lots in Yuba County to start adding more. The project would also result in housing developments that would be too spread out, further creating isolated, ‘leap frog’ communities such as Plumas Lake. County officials acknowledge there are currently about 12,000 vacant residential lots in Plumas Lake and another 3,000 at Edgewater Estates.”

Bits Bucket for October 21, 2015

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