Livermore real estate update

November 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches, United States 

LivermoreRecent Yahoo! Real Estate updates show the median price for Livermore homes decreasing 2.7 percent from August to just $510,000 while the price for foreclosed homes dropped 1.5 percent to just over $450,000.  This spells good news for Livermore real estate which has suffered significantly less compared to similarly-sized communities throughout California and the western United States.  In fact, percentage changes below five percent are often regarded as insignificant decreases, according to industry experts.

Livermore homes for sale were also mentioned in a recent Associated Press article published on September 25, 2009, locally by the Oakland Tribune.  The article claims that the Bay Area, including Livermore, experienced much of the same negative change as the rest of the nation.  The report states that “home resales dipped unexpectedly last month, falling 2.7 percent from a month earlier, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday, reversing steady monthly gains since April.”  The author also hypothesized that “the drop in sales last month may reflect delays in completing sales due to tough lending standards and new rules for appraisals.”  Additionally, while low mortgage rates are helping to increase the number of people eligible to purchase homes, uncertainty has certainly played a role in keeping shaky buyers away from signing purchase papers.

However, there is relief for some.  Robert B. Jones’ September 27, 2009 article in the Contra Costa times explained that “even with the significant downturn in the real estate market, some first-time homebuyers can find it difficult to come up with a down payment to buy a home. Others may find it difficult to qualify for a loan at all.”  For people interested in purchasing properties in the Bay Area, including real estate in Livermore, there are programs that may make housing more affordable.  The article claims that “the City of Livermore offers a city program that helps to defray the cost of home ownership or even offers certain properties in designated developments at set prices.”  While this may be attractive for cash-strapped home buyers, these homes typically come with restrictions on resale and valuation attached.

Pleasanton real estate update

November 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches, United States 

PleasantonOn September 17, 2009, reporter Robert Jordan of the Contra Costa Times featured a Pleasanton couple, Hin and Holly Liu, in his Silicon Valley Mercury News article about the economic turmoil and global recession.  The article focuses on the economic uncertainty of many of Pleasanton’s residents who are finding the economic environment even tougher for looking to purchase Pleasanton homes for sale.  In fact, with employers cutting wages and jobs being removed outright from several companies, many people and families are more concerned with maintaining sufficient cash flow to cover their needs.  Jordan believes that economic uncertainty of future jobs or wages might be a secondary explanation of why real estate in Pleasanton and several other similar communities has continued to suffer.  Hin Liu is quoted as saying, “During a poor economy there are good deals that would be nice to take advantage of. On the other hand you can’t take advantage because no matter how cheap it is, it still costs money.”

However, there is relief for some.  Robert B. Jones’ September 27, 2009 article in the Contra Costa times explained that “even with the significant downturn in the real estate market, some first-time homebuyers can find it difficult to come up with a down payment to buy a home. Others may find it difficult to qualify for a loan at all.”  For people interested in purchasing properties in the Bay Area, including Pleasanton real estate, there are programs that may make housing more affordable.  “The City of Pleasanton operates an affordable housing program that has resulted in the development of more than 120 affordable homes in 10 separate developments. The prices of these home have ranged from the low $100,000 to low $200,000 range.”  While this may be attractive for cash-strapped home buyers, these homes come with restrictions on resale and valuation.

James Pethokoukis wrote in his September 15, 2009, Reuters article that real estate in Pleasanton and other Bay Area communities is expected to begin revival by 2012 but also cautions that in the near-term, major rent declines will be in the San Francisco area and Manhattan, “as much as twenty percent.”  He also writes that “Despite falling cash flows and a drought of available financing for sales, owners are still hanging onto their properties as banks extend fixed-rate loans and floating rate loans remain manageable.”  Pethokoukis also warns of significant long-term trends that may impact commercial real estate valuation for a while.

kauai real estate update

October 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Hawaii, Home Searches 

kauaiKauai real estate, like the rest of the housing market in Hawaii, has suffered great lengths since the beginning of the global economic recession years ago.  Much of the real estate on Kauai has been affected by an astronomically-high foreclosure rate, reported Allison Schafers of the Honolulu Star Bulletin on September 16, 2009.  The article claims that Kauai surpassed the other major islands in Hawaii in terms of outright foreclosures.  In fact, “RealtyTrac recorded 212 foreclosures, or one for every 138 households in Kauai.”  To make things worse, “there were 175 foreclosures in Lihue in August, an increase of 1,246 percent over the prior month and a 40 percent rise over the prior year.”  Realtors who specialize in Kauai properties claim that distressed properties now command the majority of the island’s housing market and make up the largest percentage of Kauai homes for sale.

kauai2However, there is a glimmer of hope for a recovering local property market.  The Pacific Business News reported on September 8, 2009, that while single-family home sales has slipped, the “sale of condominiums on Kauai picked up in August.”  In fact, “the median price of a Kauai condo last month was $300,000, just up from $299,000 in August 2008.”  On the other hand, “The median price of a single-family home on Kauai last month was $471,000, down 11 percent from $530,000 in August 2008.”

Janis L. Magin wrote on September 22, 2009 in the Pacific Business News that “Kauai residents overall saw their average net worth go down by 11 percent, the same as Oahu.”  This was a direct effect of a significant drop in previous home values.  Even some of the island’s wealthiest zip codes experienced significant drops in average net worth.  While the statistics may point to drastic changes in the local market, analysts believe that with time and improving home prices, those figures will recover in the coming year.

Palo Alto real estate update

October 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches, United States 

palo-alto-mountain-club-in-boquete“After four-straight months of price gains, the median sales price of a Bay Area home fell by $35,000 from July to August while the number of homes sold also fell on a month-to-month basis,” reported Eve Mitchell of the Silicon Valley Mercury News on September 17, 2009.  Fortunately, Palo Alto real estate has not been forced to bear the brunt of these massive price drops.  In fact, Pete Carey of the San Jose Mercury News reported on August 11, 2009, that “home values in Palo Alto were off only 3.6 percent for the year.”

However, the article mentions real estate Jeff Barnett’s predictions for what the future holds.  Barnett claims that “high-end markets have just recently kicked in and even the more affordable parts of these pricey areas have not seen steep declines.”  While there haven’t been large wholesale price reductions on some of Palo Alto’s most expensive homes, there will definitely be price cuts in store for even the largest pieces of real estate.

Regardless of declines in sales and price cuts affecting many Palo Alto homes for sale, the Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index released on September 24, 2009 listed Palo Alto as the “fourth most expensive for homebuyers.”  Interestingly, the report includes several other California cities that follow Palo Alto.  San Francisco is ranked sixth while San Mateo is tenth.  The report also claims “Southern California has five markets in the top 10: La Jolla, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Newport Beach and Palo Verdes. “

According to an Associated Press article published in the New York Times on September 23, 2009, real estate in Palo Alto is like that of Beverly Hills and La Jolla where properties can command a premium for their sunny weather and more importantly close proximity to a large city.  For this reason, the article pinpoints Palo Alto’s median house price at $1,489,726.  Interestingly, a house of similar size and quality built in Michigan might only cost a shade over $100,000.  With land still holding a premium value to most prospective buyers, it is unlikely Palo Alto will continue to suffer from reduced house prices into the future.

Capitola real estate update

October 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches 

capitola-mAs a part of the greater Santa Cruz area, most Capitola real estate follows similar trends and patterns in relation to its much larger counterpart.  However, real estate in Capitola generally follows the changes and adjustments noticed as a part of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Eric Young’s article in the San Francisco Business Times on September 16, 2009, claimed that despite the Bay Area’s competitive advantages, the global recession that has hit almost every housing market around the world would continue to “inflict pain on the region into next year.”  In fact, Young’s article points to late 2009 as the peak of unemployment in the region.  Even scarier, “commercial real estate is in serious decline across all areas for all types of space: office, retail and industrial. Rents continue to fall as vacancy rates rise and net absorption of space is negative.”  Despite these negative figures, the article brings hope to those desperately seeking the end of this especially harmful time of recession.

The San Francisco Examiner recently released figures regarding the Bay Area’s housing market’s improvement for buyers.  The article published on September 17, 2009, states that “Bay Area real estate market shows a decline in home prices for August after a steady increase since April of this year.”  Capitola homes for sale suffered a similar fate, according to the research.  To make things worse, international investment in Capitola and other Bay Area communities has decreased significantly as well, reported Hibah Yousuf of  While U.K. and Canada remain steady shareholders in the real estate market, many other countries reduced their ownership in the area.

According to an article written by Jondi Gumz in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on September 19, 2008, the median for a single-family home was $582,000, down from $770,000 in August 2007.  In the previous year, according to Scotts Valley real estate agent Bob Henkel, real estate in Santa Cruz experienced significant foreclosure rates due to “very creative loans that should never have been allowed.”  Much of the real estate in Capitola followed this trend from Santa Cruz due to city’s proximity to the core of the much larger metropolitan area.

Colorado Springs real estate update

October 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Colorado, Home Searches 

colorado-springs-page-memorial-park-balloon-classic-fullThings are looking up for people interested in purchasing Colorado Springs real estate, but the bustling city is not out of the dark yet.  The traditional summer season, sometimes known as the “homebuying season” is predicted to extend into the fall, says Prashant Gopal in a September 11, 2009, article in BusinessWeek.  In August, 27% of listing prices were cut in a similar fashion to several other cities like Kansas City, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Milwaukee.  From his point of view, Gopal sees the sales season extending into the fall as prices are more aligned with consumer demands and as people rush to meet the November 30 deadline for U.S. federal government tax benefits.

According to Rich Laden’s September 11, 2009, article in the local newspaper, The Gazette, the number of Colorado Springs homes for sale faced a slump similar to that of the rest of the nation, caused by “too many mortgages sold to buyers with poor credit histories and who fell behind in their payments.  Fred Crowley, an economist at the University of Colorado believes that the housing slump bottomed out in the earlier portion of the year and will experience a very slow and long re-growth process.  Some improvement has been noticed lately.  From June to August, single-family home building permit applications have risen, home sales increased, foreclosures are steady, and significant improvement in valuation has been noticed.

Following the release of the third annual Pikes Peak Quality of Life Indicators report on September 15, 2009, Christina Salvo’s article as part of the Colorado Springs Independent provided a great status report on real estate in Colorado Springs.  The report stated that “the city of Colorado Springs is an affordable place to live, as a large result of a slowing economy.”  Because of the worldwide recession and its lingering effects that will last for several years in the United States, the article hints that people who are just scraping by in other cities may considering finding a home in Colorado Springs to take advantage of the affordable cost of living in the area.

Oahu real estate update

October 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Hawaii, Home Searches 

oahuLocal economist Howard Dikus reported on his webpage that military construction and spending dollars has helped to stabilize the Hawaii real estate, especially on Oahu, by ensuring dozens of transactions and property purchases every day.  However, there was good news to report: “After predicting that Oahu median home prices would fall nearly 5% in, now the forecast is for a decline of less than half that much.”  Another glimmer of home was the end to a long-time slowing of home sales in July.  The “rebounding number of sales was also bottoming out prices as well.”

Oahu real estate has fared much better than the other neighbor islands, reported Allison Schaefers of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  The September 16, 2009, article claimed that “Oahu posted 302 foreclosures in August, or one per every 1,109 households.”  However, this doesn’t mean Oahu was completely immune to disastrous foreclosures.  Ewa Beach posted 65 foreclosures in the month, making it the third-worst zip code in the entire Hawaiian island chain.  In fact, “Kapolei, Mililani, Waianae, Kaneohe and Waipahu also posted high activity.”  For these reasons, real estate on Oahu has become especially volatile and reactive to just slight changes in the market.  Interestingly, in light of these depressing statistics, Jessica Holzer wrote in the Wall Street Journal on September 23, 2009, that the FHFA monthly index, calculated using purchase prices for homes backing mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, climbed 1.6% in Hawaii while most other regions saw declines between 0.3% and up to three percent.

oahu2The number of Oahu homes for sale has risen due to a number of factors, among them the dwindling rate of vacation renters.  According to the PR Newswire on September 23, 2009, occupancy rates of Oahu vacation rental homes dropped to sixty-one percent, based on the top 2, 373 vacation homes and condos operated on Oahu.  The lowest occupancy rate was 40% in February while the peak of summer saw 80% occupancy – a time when most rentals are usually booked to full capacity.  As more homeowners who previously rented out their properties for short-term stays, they are finding it much better financially to sell the home outright instead of worrying about an erratic income from renters.

La Jolla real estate Update

October 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches 

lajollaHints of a firming housing market are beginning to reinstate trust into one of the most adversely affected industries in the United States.  Kelly Bennett of the Voice of San Diego wrote on August 25, 2009, that local home prices for La Jolla real estate have been on an increase from June, the first change of direction for two-and-a-half years.  According to Bennett, “The price news came as a glimmer of stability even amid a confusing housing market that still shows very different characteristics depending on neighborhood and price. Even while homes priced less than $300,000 attract major interest and spark bidding wars, financing difficulties define the market at the higher levels.”  The article also mentions that while most areas of San Diego are still suffering deflated prices, La Jolla has always maintained relative stability and continues to strengthen every day.

An Associated Press article published October 4, 2009, in the Baltimore Sun, agreed with Bennett in proclaiming the La Jolla market pulling away from the depths of the housing crisis.  In fact, the author draws a comparison between a $112,000 Michigan home that includes four bedrooms and 2.5 baths and several similar La Jolla homes for sale that are selling for prices in excess of $2.1 million today.

LJDecreasing beach property prices doesn’t mean some of San Diego’s most elite residential communities will be inundated by new people.  Roger Shawley of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote on September 24, 2009, that La Jolla was still the most expensive housing market in the United States, despite the hurting housing market.  As much of the real estate in La Jolla is amongst the most pricey in San Diego, the exclusivity of the area seems to have been reserved thus far.  In fact, “La Jolla and No.?2 Beverly Hills were the only markets among the top 10 most expensive housing markets that saw a price increase from 2008.”  To the surprise of many economists, maintaining this rank is surprising, given the state of California’s high cost of living, cost of doing business, and high taxes.

New York real estate update

October 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Searches, New York 

new-york-500Good news is always welcome in this day and age when the worldwide economic meltdown had affected the pocketbooks of most people around the globe.  J.W. Elphinstone of the Associated Press reported October 2, 2009, that “Sales of apartments and co-op units in Manhattan soared between 46 and 69 percent from the second to the third quarter, according to a handful of reports.”  However, the article clarified that “the median price in the July-September period slipped 2 percent from the second quarter, and was down between 8 and 18 percent from last year to a range of $760,000 to $850,000.”

While many people believe that New York real estate is on the upswing, Elphinstone’s report cited Jonathan Miller, the president of real estate appraisal for Miller Samuel, Inc., as saying that “this is all good news but doesn’t suggest we’re at the bottom yet.”  This is somewhat scary for many New Yorkers hoping to get through this century’s scariest and most devastating economic downturn.  However, for the homebuyer, two percent more got their asking price, compared to the previous quarter where only ninety-three got what they wanted when selling their real estate in New York

Also on October 2, 2009, Les Christie of CNNMoney reported that “the cost of entry onto the crowded island of Manhattan, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation, may have gotten a little steeper in the past three months.”  This is welcome news as so many New York homes for sale have gone for much less than they would’ve just a couple of years ago.  According to reports, the median price of a home in Manhattan rose 1.7 percent to just about $850,000.  Unlike the Associated Press Report, Christie and the contributors to the report claim that the market is stabilizing.  Part of this stabilization is most likely due to an increase of buyers who have returned to the market.  Several analysts saw a “surge of activity” as a result of reduced home prices.  They warn, unfortunately, that there is still “much more pain to come” and that “we may not have reached the bottom of bottoms yet.”

cupertino real estate update

October 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches, United States 

CupertinoCupertino is known for its relatively upscale properties that host some of America’s best and brightest.  This attention has been garnered to Cupertino ever since the Apple Company became a world-renown leader in technology innovation.  Because of the associated prestige of living in Cupertino, real estate in Cupertino has traditionally stayed relatively stable through housing market shifts and outright declines.  However, with the worldwide recession affecting everyone around the world, Cupertino has not been able to stay above surrounding areas like it has in the past.

According to Eve Mitchell’s September 17, 2009 article in the Mercury News of Silicon Valley, Cupertino real estate is included in the statistics that found “the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos in the nine-county Bay Area for August stood at $360,000, down 8.9 percent from July and 19.5 percent lower than a year ago.”  The article cites Mark Hanson, a principal of Field Check Group, a market research firm, as believing the decrease in home prices was a result of the market being controlled by the weakest market players – “the first-time home buyers and the investors.”

While Cupertino homes for sale felt some of the effects of the global recession and ensuring real estate market collapse, Pete Carey wrote on August 11, 2009, in the San Jose Mercury News that “Los Altos, Cupertino and Saratoga saw an erosion in home values of about 10 percent, about half San Jose’s one-year price decline.”  The article implies that Cupertino and a host of other places was partially saved from the devastating effects of the tightening of the housing sales market.

Sue McAllister also noted similar dips in home sales in the Silicon Valley and Cupertino specifically.  In her September 17, 2009 article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News, McAllister quoted realtor Quincy Virgilo who tried to explain the decrease.  He believed that “decreasing inventory, especially of bank-owned foreclosure homes, and longer escrow times are additional reasons August sales were significantly less robust than July’s. With new rules about home appraisals that went into effect in May, escrow times grew as summer progressed, also contributing to less sales.”  Still yet, it wasn’t unusual to receive over ten offers on reasonably priced foreclosed homes during the same period.

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