Tag Archives: Economy

Chief Economist And Forecasters For C.A.R. Say Market Rising…And [Likely] Falling

Herein lies the problem with reporting on real estate: Everybody has their opinion on what the market is doing, but nobody knows for sure. Case in point, just yesterday we posted “San Francisco housing market continues to show promising signs of recovery”. We posted that from information obtained from the San Francisco Association of Realtors, and if you read the whole thing, they basically say all is good, the market is rising, but watch out because there is potential doom on the horizon that could sour the sauce.

It’s no mystery San Francisco’s market performs differently than most markets in California, but check this out:

[For California] distressed sales will account for nearly one-third of sales, inventory will be relatively lean, and the state’s median home prices are forecasted to reach $280,000 in 2010 [that's up from $271,000], according to C.A.R and Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.

In addition, she noted, ‘Sales for 2010 are projected to decrease 2.3 percent to 527,500 units, compared with 540,000 units (projected) in 2009.’

In 2010, agents should see the low-end market attract first-time buyers and investors, with a resulting shortage in the number of homes for sale. Sellers at the high end [that'd be almost ALL of San Francisco], however, will continue to be challenged by the ability of home buyers to secure financing as well as their concerns about where prices are headed [So you see, they don't know where prices are headed...nobody does].

‘Although it appears at this time that lenders are closely monitoring the flow of distressed properties onto the market, there could be an exertion of downward pressure on home prices should a heavier than expected wave of foreclosures come to market next year,’ she said.

They should all be politicians! The market is going up…but wait, if that laundry list of likely scenarios comes to fruition, it could also go down. No sh*t! Thanks for pointing that out.

-C.A.R Forecast 2010

Get While The Gettin’s Good: Sell Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace

We’ve been on a lot of listing presentations lately where the motivation to call us in off the bench has been, in so many words:

We’re thinking we should sell our place now before it gets any worse.

The media (and certain local real estate blogs) are certainly good at creating panic, and Realtor blogs are certainly good at glossing over all the doom and gloom, but what’s really going on? If you’re a buyer, are you really feeling the urge to buy for fear of missing that boat again? More importantly for this thread, if you’re a homeowner and been thinking of moving (within the next 2-3 years), are you getting that feeling? You know, that one you all keep telling us? “We’re worried if we don’t sell now, we might have to wait years.”

Be honest, be anonymous, and please share your thoughts in the comments below. (NOTE: To be totally anonymous, when asked to enter email use, “a@a.com”.)

Thanks! We’re very curious to hear what you have to say.

Can Steve Jobs’ Leave Of Absence Affect SF Real Estate?

Is Steve Jobs so much of a factor that his absence could further derail the economy and possibly even our local real estate market? Certainly Steve Jobs taking a leave of absence until the end of June is not good news for Apple, and not necessarily good news for morale around these parts, but there must be a chain of command capable of taking over the reigns during this time? For chrissakes we just switched to a Mac!

Direct from the San Francisco Business Times Online:

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has told employees that he will be taking medical leave until June.

“During the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought,” Jobs wrote in a message to employees on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well,” Jobs said.

“In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June,” the message continued.

Jobs said Apple COO Tim Cook will handle Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) day-to-day operations, but that Jobs would continue to take part in “major strategic decisions.”

Jobs had skipped his traditional gig as keynote speaker at the Macworld expo in San Francisco last week. Just before the show, he revealed that he has a hormone deficiency that has caused him to lose weight. He had had a bout with pancreatic cancer in 2004 that was treated with surgery.

Godspeed for a healthy recovery!

A Little Holiday Cheer To Take You Into The Weekend

So we got this little text come across our channels yesterday and we thought we’d share it with you.

The Dow is going to drop to 7500 (at least) next year. It’s going to get uglier before it gets better. The hedge funds have yet to implode, and while not as damaging as the big time investment banks, it’s still going to bring the market down further. This is from a [higher up at a higher up bank...not currently going under].

Believe it or not? One thing is for sure, it’s a great time to be a buyer.

Have a good weekend, voting starts next week for our Sexiest Realtor, so make sure to check back on Monday, and feel free to buy a t-shirt for your friends in real estate.

Reduction, Ad Nauseum

I’m not a Realtor, so I’ll tell something I’m more qualified to comment on: buyers’ perspectives. For instance, I can tell you how buyers looks at a property that’s been reduced more than twice. We feel sorry for them. They’re like awkward teenage boys at their first dance, pretending to be terribly busy with their shoe laces to avoid eye contact. We all know these boys can’t really be too picky; they have to take what they can get.

This analogy might not totally work for reduced priced properties. I’m just saying that as a buyer, we tend to feel a lot more powerful when we notice a home’s asking has come down not once, but twice– a feeling that multiplies with each subsequent reduction. That’s why, as a seller, I’d really hope my agent were savvy enough to price my home right. Of course, we can’t, unless we are Dione Warwick, know what the future holds, and some of the current meltdown has caught us by surprise. Still, the writing’s been on the wall awhile. Most literate people, I’d think, would have read it.

Case in point the next three properties, whose reduction history goes from bad to worse.

1. Studio TIC at 1059 Leavenworth St #5 San Francisco, CA 94109. Current price: $325,000. In over 120 days on the market, the list price has come down thrice:

Jul 02, 2008 $399,000
Jul 03, 2008 $329,000
Sep 09, 2008 $325,000 

2. 532 Clipper St #B San Francisco, CA 94114, currently at $539,000 is a 2 bed/1 bath TIC flat. In over 170 days on the market, it’s suffered 5 reductions, each one not very big, but the conglomeration of so many price cuts is pretty damning:

May 14, 2008 $679,000
Jun 11, 2008 $659,000
Aug 13, 2008 $639,000
Aug 28, 2008 $599,000
Sep 25, 2008 $570,000
Oct 28, 2008 $539,000

3. 3630 22nd St., San Francisco, CA.  A 2bed/1bath detached cottage TIC, this one I’ve saved for “worst” because though it has not been cut as often as the above property, the overall slash down is quite dramatic. In over 100 days on the market:

Jul 18, 2008 $749,000
Sep 05, 2008 $649,000
Oct 06, 2008 $589,000
Oct 29, 2008 $499,000

In this last case, the current price seems a lot more fair. I went to the open house yesterday and the listing agent informed me the place needed about $250K in repair and pest control. I have to wonder who would have ever, ever, ever paid the original list price.

I also wonder what other SF real estate agents or buyers or sellers think of these reductions overall, so I’m serving this blog up on the Front Steps for commentary. Take it easy on those awkward teen age boys though. Everyone, and everything, is fragile right now.

Congress Fails to Deliver $700 Billion Check. Will San Francisco Real Estate Finally Fall Victim?

Surely you heard the news yesterday of the failed passing of the $700 Billion economic recovery bill, but today the Monkey gives one last effort to convince Congress to act before he rides off in the sunset to tend to his hogs.


[Photo Credit: New York Times]

The stock market has rallied today, but what about our market? Is this going to be the final blow that knocks us down for the count?

-Bush Urges Congress to Pass Bailout [New York Times]

Taking Over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Some Clarification

If you’ve been wondering what all of this Government takeover of Fannie and Freddie means, you’re hardly alone, so we just went ahead and copied what we just read to give you some different perspectives of what is being said in the real estate world. We take zero credit for this, it all came from the San Francisco Association of Realtors Advantage Online:

[Update: And we just discovered more info on Trulia].

“NAR: What the Government Takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Means to Housing Industry

In short-term, home sales should improve as mortgage rates fall Continue reading

Labor Day is over…now what?

Labor Day is behind us, which typically marks the beginning of Real Estate season. Many buyers are waiting for that special place to hit the market, and many sellers are getting their homes ready to place in the increasingly critical public eye, and hoping they sell prior to the looming Holiday Doldrums. More and more real estate blogs and “watch dogs” are among us, countless real estate listing sites have sprung up, and the mortgage market continues to spiral downward. Considerable amounts of money (new and old) are still pouring into the San Francisco economy, and those with means still have no problem qualifying for, and attaining, top-notch loans at insanely low rates.

By all accounts things are going to be interesting. Specifically, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. Generally, I think I’m lucky.

So now what?

Our (extended) backyard is getting more affordable, Lake Tahoe luxury real estate takes a dip

It’s not very often that we get excited about a dip in median or average sales price, but when we’re talking our favorite playground and extended backyard, we have to admit we’re a bit giddy.

From a recent article in the Reno Gazette Journal:

“We had an absolute record-breaking year for the high-end market in 2007,” said Susan Lowe, corporate vice-president of Chase International. “Lake Tahoe usually averages two sales over $10 million around the entire lake each year. Last year, there were 11.”

Since January, however, Tahoe has seen a softening in its high-end market, Lowe said.

The decline is reflected in Dickson Realty’s latest quarterly report, which saw the number of houses sold drop by 72 percent in South Lake Tahoe, 71 percent in Incline Village and 46 percent in Zephyr Cove compared with the same period last year.

The same report also found that median prices in the first half of 2008 dropped by 1 percent in South Lake Tahoe to $1.3 million and 40 percent in Zephyr Cove to $1.7 million compared to the same period in 2007.

Incline Village was the exception, reporting a 24 percent increase in median sales price to $3.2 million.

Nancy Fennell, president and chief executive officer of Dickson Realty, attributed the softening to pressure in the lower end of the luxury market.

For the first time, Dickson Realty’s real estate-owned and short-sale division is seeing foreclosures and short sales in the $1 million to $1.5 million market from Tahoe to the Reno-Sparks area.

Truckee was the only area that remained flat for both number of properties sold and median price.

“We’re starting to see the general kind of distress in the economy creep up into the $1 million to $1.5 million range of the luxury market,” Fennell said. “I don’t think it’s going to look quite so dismal by the end of the summer. But I think there are definitely going to be fewer sales in the luxury market in 2008 compared to 2007.”

Skills we possess to earn our keep in your new Tahoe pad:

1) Back-of-hand knowledge of all ski areas in and around Tahoe

2) Ski tech

3) Sun lotion applied in smooth even strokes

4) Valet Parking and bar-tending skillz (in that order)

5) Friends in real estate in and around Lake Tahoe ;-)

-Tahoe homes on tour define luxury [Reno Gazette Journal]