October 22, 2016

Sellers Now Realize Word Is Out

A report from The Independent in California. “Livermore is on track to meet the goals and objectives of its housing element. Staff noted that at the current rate of development, Livermore would exceed the projected housing need under the current Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA), for years 2015-2022, by approximately 28 percent. In 2015, the city issued building permits for 436 units. The number was well above the average of 128 building permits issued annually during the previous eight years.”

“The maximum home price that a moderate income-household of four could afford is about $394,000. The starting prices for the new townhouse/condo units in Livermore range from the mid-500’s to the low-600’s. For the single family detached houses, starting prices range from the mid-600’s to about one million. While the townhouse/condo units are priced about $100,000 less than the new single family-detached units, all of these units are considered affordable only to above moderate-income households.”

“City Manager Marc Roberts stated that extremely low and low income housing requires outside funding. The affordability piece is challenging. ‘We are in compliance.’ In response to a comment that low income in Livermore for a family of four would be $72,000, Roberts said, ‘You have to be very rich to be poor in Livermore.’”

The Washingtonian. “It’s been almost two years since Washington got word that a $10.5-million condo had hit the market. The unprecedented price was all the more surprising because of where the building was going up—not somewhere predictably luxe like the West End or Georgetown’s waterfront, but downtown Bethesda. The listing was the ultimate symbol of a trend that real-estate watchers had been nearly uniformly predicting: Increasing numbers of wealthy baby boomers would trade their 10,000-square-foot Potomac spreads for a downsized lifestyle in walkable, urbanized (but not too urbanized) Bethesda. But making the swap for upscale condos hasn’t been so easy.”

“‘I have a new listing coming on this week in the $2-million range, in Potomac, and that’s where the owners want to go: to a condo in Bethesda,’ says Washington Fine Properties agent Lori Leasure. The catch? ‘They tried to sell the house this spring with a different Realtor, and it didn’t work, so I’m the second one in. Potomac is just so quiet right now.’”

“Other Montgomery County agents tell versions of the same story. ‘The whole ‘live urban’ trend means buyers for Potomac have all but disappeared, unless the deal is really, really good,’ says Coldwell Banker’s Jane Fairweather.”

“And that’s a problem for Bethesda’s supply of new multimillion-dollar condos. The median sold price of condos in downtown Bethesda’s 20814 Zip code has dropped by more than 9 percent this year, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence, the authority on local data. Meanwhile, homes in Potomac are sitting on the market for an average of 75 days, a 19-percent increase. The most expensive tend to linger much longer—such as an $11-million, ten-acre estate listed for nine months or a 25,000-square-footer for $9.25 million, on the market nearly two years.”

“The Darcy began selling in 2013 while the building was under construction. Agents say that two or three years ago, sellers in Potomac were more willing to risk putting contracts on condos without first offloading their houses. ‘Now they realize word is out and their home is not going to be an easy sell,’ says Compass agent Gretchen Koitz.”

The Sun Sentinel in Florida. “South Florida home sales sputtered in September, but that didn’t hurt prices, data from local Realtor boards show. Larry Revier, a real estate agent in east Fort Lauderdale, said he’s seeing a ‘massive difference’ in the number of buyers this year compared to last year. ‘We just don’t have buyers lining up and saying, ‘I’ll take it,’ Revier said. ‘Every transaction is very difficult because buyers are less motivated than they were before.’”

From Tulsa World in Oklahoma. “According to data released this month by the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors, home sales in September grew by close to 9 percent over the same month last year. Pete Galbraith urges sellers to consult with their real estate professional for correct market trends. ‘The market is very, very time-sensitive,’ said Galbraith, president-elect of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors. ‘Although there may have been a great comp four months ago that justified a certain price for a listing, there subsequently may have been two or three sales close by that have shown a decline.’”

“Sellers this time of year also usually have to sell, be it for work or family. So buyers shouldn’t be shy about haggling. ‘The whole goal of every home seller is not necessarily money-driven,’ Galbraith said. ‘In a lot of cases, it’s time-driven: ‘I’ve already bought a house and I need to sell my house in 30 days.’ A lot of people will price their house accordingly.’”

The Houston Chronicle in Texas. “Sales of Houston’s most expensive homes fell 7.9 percent during the first eight months of 2016 compared with the same time last year, a new report shows. The decline corresponds with a significant loss in high-paying energy jobs. In fact, Houston was the only major metro area in the state with a decline in so-called luxury housing — homes that sold for at least $1 million, according to the Texas Association of Realtors’ Texas Luxury Home Sales report.”

“Buyers closed on 974 luxury homes in the Houston area at a median price of about $1.4 million. The median was down 2.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the report. ‘New construction in the luxury housing market can easily reach $500 or $600 per square foot, particularly among high-rise condominiums in urban centers,’ Leslie Rouda Smith, the association’s chair, said in a report, noting higher overall home prices and steeper development costs.”

“The report noted the slowdown in other ways: The number of luxury homes on the market as of August was 1,449, a 29 percent spike from a year earlier. Luxury homes spent an average of 85 days on the market, an increase of 11.8 percent over last year. Bill Baldwin, of Boulevard Realty in the Heights, said the first six months of 2015 were record-setting in Houston real estate, so ‘comparing this year is difficult.’ ‘Overall, I think we’re doing fine,’ he said.”