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.

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.

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.

East Bay real estate update

September 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches, United States 

eastbayIt’s not all bad news for those who own or are interested in homes in East Bay, located in Northern California.  A Reuters article published on September 15, 2009, by James Pethokoukis, claimed that recent surveys see East Bay real estate being among the first markets to recover from the global recession that has hurt economies around the world.  A quarterly survey commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers sees a recovery beginning around 2012 and first affecting Washington D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Long Island.

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.”  The article claims that real estate in East Bay will experience sales declines through 2010 and plateau in 2012.  The thought of such a long and extended period of lackluster home market sales is scary for many current homeowners looking to sell their properties or move in the next few years.

A September 24, 2009, article in the San Francisco Real Estate Examiner had a slightly different outlook.  For prospective home buyers, East Bay homes for sale were selling at bargain prices to those who could afford the purchase without extensive financing.  With sellers looking to move their houses, many times properties have been sold with little to no up mark.  The article also envisions a blossoming opportunity for entrepreneurs: “the rental market will stay strong, or get stronger, as more and more people face foreclosure in the coming years. They have the cash and are willing to spend it to get the income stream that comes from owning rental properties.”

Some of the Best Places to Live in America

August 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Searches, United States 
A view of Albuquerque's twin high rise buildings.
Image via Wikipedia

When thinking about the best place to live, many people only think of those large, famous cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, or Seattle, but what many people don’t realize is that often the best places to live are those slightly less known towns and cities. In these communities you will often find a more peaceful, close-knit atmosphere and slightly slower pace of life. However, if smaller towns and cities don’t have everything you want from a big city, many of these cities are located within driving distance from other major cities.

One of the best places to live is Albuquerque, New Mexico. With its sunny climate and beautiful natural landscapes, Albuquerque has a rich history and unique mix of American Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures. The city is especially popular for its International Balloon Fiesta and numerous golf courses and hiking and biking trails. Another great city to live in is Austin, Texas, which is the ideal place to live for any music or barbecue lover. Numerous performing arts venues can be found in Austin, and the city offers a high tech economy, with major employers including Dell and IBM. Some other excellent cities to live in include Boise, Idaho, Durham, North Carolina, Loveland, Colorado, and St. Augustine, Florida.

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Best Places to Live

June 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: United States 
Boulder, CO | Pearl Street
Image by lawgeek via Flickr

Whether you’re a couple looking for your first house or an individual looking to relocate to a new city, you have a lot of concerns when it comes to finding your ideal place to live. There are plenty of considerations to take into account, ranging from simple considerations such as weather and climate to more complex concerns. Far more subtle than geographic location and temperature patterns are the reputation of local schools and organizations, the demographic make up of the community, convenience, and the specific attributes that you are looking for in a city. There are a number of web sites and magazines that attempt to rank the best places to live in the United States and the world, which often use similar methodologies based off of the preferences of individuals and demographic groups.

One of the most important variables in determining the quality of life of a location, area, or community is the reputation of the local schools, service businesses, and other organizations. The educational opportunities of a town are of particularly great concern to relocating families, both on the primary and secondary levels. Suburbs of large cities often have an advantage in this area, since they usually boast better funded school districts as well as a wider selection of colleges and universities. For families that have elderly dependents, the ready availability of high quality nursing homes is critical. Equally important are sports leagues, civic improvement organizations, and athletic clubs.

The physical location and demographic background of a city also goes a far way into determining whether the community is one of the best places to live. Most families are uncomfortable with living in an excessively isolated location, simply because there are fewer places to shop and dine as well as fewer things to see and do in general. Some individuals place a higher weight on a particular socioeconomic status, while others prefer a certain demographic breakdown in terms of diversity. One might also consider the availability of public transportation and major interstates and traffic arteries.

The simple truth is that it is extremely difficult to say with confidence that one city or town is the “best” place to live in the nation or the world. There are of course a number of organizations that attempt to do exactly this, including the Cable News Network, Forbes Magazine, and Sperling’s, but they rarely reach a consensus on any particular community. For example, Relocate America’s top ten list focuses on medium sized and large cities while the top ten list compiled by Sperling’s emphasizes small cities and suburbs. Perhaps more helpful are rankings that emphasize a particular group’s preferences or theorized ideals. These include rankings based off of the ratio of males to females and vice versa, income levels, affordable real estate, and job market. There are even best places to live lists based off of “manliness”, romantic airports, and levels of crime. You can even find rankings personalized to your preferences that recommend a great place to live just for you and your family.

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