Forecast: California Home Prices to Grow by 10 Percent Through 2018

Original Article by Pacific Union, see it here.

  • California home prices rose by 5.8 percent year over year in May and are projected to grow by 9.7 percent by next spring.
  • U.S. rents rose by 3.1 percent on an annual basis in May, further eroding affordability.
  • Although home values throughout most of the Bay Area are currently considered normal, most are projected to be overvalued by 2022.

Golden State homes should appreciate at almost double the national rate by next spring, though price growth and increasing rental costs do not bode well for affordability.

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights report says that U.S. home prices rose by 6.6 percent from May 2016 to May 2017. California home prices grew by 5.8 percent in that time period, while the San Francisco core-based statistical area saw 4.6 percent annual appreciation.

Single-family rent inflation grew by 3.1 percent year over year in May, a reflection of constrained housing inventory and yet another obstacle for those hoping to enter the housing market while mortgage rates remain historically low.

“For renters and potential first-time homebuyers, it is not such a pretty picture,” CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said. “With price appreciation and rental inflation outstripping income growth, affordability is destined to become a bigger issue in most markets.”

Housing affordability is already a national problem, dropping to a near nine-year low in the second quarter, according to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions. That analysis said that home prices grew faster than wages on an annual basis in 87 percent of U.S. housing markets, including most of the Bay Area.

California’s affordability problem is unlikely to improve in the coming year if CoreLogic’s forecast is accurate. The HPI calls for 9.7 percent home price appreciation through May 2018, compared with 5.3 percent appreciation nationwide.

Although the Bay Area has some of the nation’s priciest homes, most parts of the region are still considered to be valued normally. CoreLogic says that the San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Napa, and Vallejo CBSAs had normal home values as of May. San Rafael is currently considered undervalued, while Santa Rosa is overvalued.

Looking ahead, CoreLogic expects that homes in the San Jose, Oakland, Napa, Vallejo, and Santa Rosa CBSAs will be overvalued by May 2022. Home values in San Francisco and San Rafael are projected to remain normal over the next five years.

(Photo: iStock/SerrNovik)

Real Estate Roundup: East Bay Suburb Named California’s Best Place to Live

Original article by Pacific Unionsee it here.

fpo_53_SAN_RAMON_-_03_smHere’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious.

High home values, sizable incomes, and low unemployment rates place Bay Area communities high on the list of the best places to live in the Golden State.

SmartAsset ranked 345 California cities using seven criteria to determine the state’s best places to call home. Contra Costa County’s San Ramon took the No. 1 spot, scoring a perfect 100 on the study’s scale. With a median home value of $754,700 and a median annual household income of $128,916, San Ramon is noted for being the location of Chevron and 24 Hour Fitness corporate headquarters, as well as the West Coast headquarters of AT&T.

The East Bay claims five of the top 10 spots on SmartAsset’s list. Alameda County’s Dublin (No. 3), Pleasanton (tied for No. 5), and Fremont (No. 9) benefit from their proximity to San Francisco and its thriving job market. No. 10 Hercules, in Contra Costa County, has the most affordable housing of the top cities, with a median home value of $395,800.

Silicon Valley also had two cities make the top 10. No. 4 Foster City has the fewest number of residents without health insurance — 2.8 percent. Best known for being the home of Apple’s headquarters, No. 7 Cupertino earns points for its median household income of $141,953.

Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley are not only among the best schools in the state and the nation, they count among the most prestigious on the planet.

That’s according to the 2017 World Reputation Rankings from Times Higher Education, which ranks the world’s top 100 universities based on a survey of leading academics. Stanford University takes the No. 3 spot behind Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while University of California, Berkeley ranks No. 6. Both schools ranked in the exact same positions in the previous year’s poll.

More than half of the world’s top 25 universities are in the United States. Two other Golden States schools are among them: California Institute of Technology (No. 10) and University of California, Los Angeles (No. 13).

Nine out of 10 Americans and Canadians believe that owning a home is one of life’s greatest achievements, and that same number are concerned about finding a solution for affordable housing.

A survey by Habitat for Humanity International found that inflated costs are the top barrier to homeownership, cited by 84 percent of Americans. Two-thirds of U.S. homeowners have struggled with costs at some point in time, and one-quarter report grappling with it now.

Aware of the current housing inventory shortages in both countries, Americans and Canadians aren’t particularly optimistic that affordability will improve. Seventy-two percent of Americans think that housing costs will increase over the next five years, while 84 percent of Canadians feel the same.

Although housing starts and home sales took a hit this spring, low mortgage rates and a robust job market should help propel the U.S. housing market to another strong year.

That’s according to Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti in the company’s June 2017 Outlook. The forecast says that housing starts fell by 2.6 percent from March to April, while existing home sales declined by 2.3 percent and new home sales dropped by 11.4 percent. But those trends should reverse thanks in part to a strong economy; May marked the 80th consecutive month of job gains, and the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent.

Citing intense demand for housing along with low supply levels, Freddie Mac says that it expects home prices to grow by 5 percent by the end of the year.

California Home Prices Climb to a 10-Year High in May

Original Article by Pacific Union. See it here.

  • The median sales price for a single-family home in the Bay Area rose to almost $900,000 in May, with all nine counties reporting year-over-year appreciation.
  • Inventory declined in all nine Bay Area counties from one year ago. Statewide, new listings dropped for the 23rd consecutive month.
  • All nine Bay Area counties saw sales volume increases from both April and from May 2016.


California home prices hit their highest level since the previous housing boom in May, as demand continued to outstrip supply, both statewide and here in the Bay Area.

The latest monthly home sales and price report from the California Association of Realtors puts the median price for a single-family home at $550,200 in May, up 5.8 percent from one year earlier and the highest since August 2007. All major regions of the state saw annual appreciation, with home prices in the nine-county Bay Area rising to $899,730, a year-over-year increase of 6.0 percent.

Home prices were up in all nine local counties from May 2016, ranging from 4.1 percent in Alameda County to 10.4 percent in San Francisco. The region has the state’s only four seven-figure real estate markets: San Francisco ($1,501,680), San Mateo ($1,480,000), Marin ($1,315,000), and Santa Clara ($1,200,000) counties.

In a statement accompanying the report, CAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young attributed the price growth to persistently low inventory and said that rising mortgage rates will further erode already challenging affordability conditions. Statewide, the months’ supply of inventory fell to 2.9, down on both a yearly and monthly basis. Forty-two of 51 California counties included in the report saw inventory drop from one year earlier, and new listings fell for the 23rd straight month.

The Bay Area’s monthly supply of inventory ended May at 2.1, the lowest of any major California region. All counties saw the number of homes for sale shrink from May 2016, and four local counties had the lowest supplies in the state: Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara (1.7) and San Francisco (1.9).

Despite the lack of inventory, sales volume increased statewide and in all major regions, which CAR President Geoff McIntosh said could be driven in part by the lowest mortgage rates in six months. All nine Bay Area counties saw sales volume climb on both a monthly and yearly basis, with annual gains ranging from 0.5 percent in Sonoma County to 17.3 percent in Napa County.

Surging Demand Pushes Bay Area Home Prices Higher in May

Original Article by Pacific Union. See it here.

Executive Summary:

The Bay Area housing market heated up again in May, pushing home prices 7 percent higher year over year. San Mateo and Marin counties saw the biggest jumps in median prices in, at 13 percent.
Buyer competition is back; homes sold in less than two weeks, and seven in 10 homes again sold over the asking price. The premium paid over asking price averaged 9 percent.
Competition intensified in relatively pricier markets, such as Silicon Valley, and for homes priced between $1 million and $2 million.
The breakdown of home price changes by ZIP codes shows less-accessible markets struggling, while markets closer to urban job centers continue to thrive.
Some San Francisco neighborhoods — particularly ones like South of Market with a higher share of new developments — saw a pause in price growth.
A look at Bay Area housing market activity in May shows the continuation of many trends discussed over the previous months, with the most notable development the strong median home price increase. At $860,000, the Bay Area’s median home price was 7 percent higher than last May and up 8 percent year to date. The largest jump in home prices from last May occurred in San Mateo and Marin counties, where they increased by 13 percent. Contra Costa County showed a 10 percent increase, while the median price in Napa County remained relatively flat. Keep in mind that the median price is affected by the mix of sales, and the number of lower-priced homes has been declining for the last few years. However, while more sales of higher-end homes helped push the median price upward, other home price measures also showed continued steady appreciation. Figure 1 illustrates median home prices by Bay Area county in May of 2016 and 2017.

May’s jump marks a new high for median prices in many Bay Area markets and particularly in San Francisco, where there has been some concern over declining home prices. Click here to read our most recent analysis of San Francisco home prices.

Figure 1: Median prices for single-family homes and condos by Bay Area county, May 2016 compared with May 2017     StraightTalk_61317_Chart1-700x392

Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2017.

Overall Bay Area housing market activity is trending very similar to last year, with a few outliers. Sonoma County activity declined by 5 percent year to date, while sales in Napa and San Francisco counties increased by 4 percent. When compared year over year, May declines were largest in Sonoma and Contra Costa counties. This is interesting given the relative affordability of the two regions and the general assumption that buyers are fleeing to such areas. While affordability remains the main factor in relative home price appreciation, the luxury market has shown incredible resiliency. Sales of higher-end homes, priced at $2 million and up, saw the largest sales increase year to date, with 17 percent more transactions than last year.

However, while the number of units sold is constrained by available inventory, which again dipped in May, other housing-market indicators suggest solid interest from buyers. For example, in primary home markets in Sonoma and Napa counties and parts of Marin County, homes flew off the shelf, lasting on the market less than two weeks before going into contract (Table 1).

That’s also the case in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and the East Bay. Both Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties showed a median time of 10 days on the market in May. The market’s pace did not change much from last year, and it sped up in San Francisco, where homes sold five days faster than they did last year, the largest such pickup in the Bay Area. And it’s not only the affordable segment of San Francisco’s housing stock that saw the pace of sales increase; homes priced at $3 million and higher sold 10 days faster this May than last, in about 16 days. It is the lowest-priced homes, those less than $1 million, that are sitting the longest on the market in San Francisco, which may be the function of overpriced listings and buyers and sellers not being on the same page.

Table 1: Median days on the market in May by price range


Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2017.

The housing market’s quick pace also reflects the return of bidding wars. After a notable slowdown last winter in the share of homes that sold over the asking price, about seven in 10 homes in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and the Easy Bay again sold for more than original price in May. And again, while the general competition in the Bay Area loosened somewhat for homes priced below $1 million, it intensified for higher-priced homes.

Homes priced between $1 million and $2 million saw the highest share sell over asking price, 72 percent for the entire Bay Area. In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, more homes sold over the asking price in that range than in any other price range. The trend is not surprising given that the median price is also between $1 million and $2 million, and most buyers are competing for the few properties left at that price point. Note that the for-sale inventory in those two areas has shown the largest year-over-year decline for that price range. In other words, bidding wars reflect strong demand for declining inventory of “affordable” homes in those markets.

Figure 2: The share of homes that sold over asking price in May.

StraightTalk_61317_Chart4-700x389 (1)

Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2017.

Again, despite concerns over softening housing demand in San Francisco, the area still enjoys the highest premium on homes selling for more than asking price. The premium is highest for sales between $1 million and $2 million. Figure 4 summarizes the premium paid by price range and across Bay Area counties.

Alameda County numbers stand out, with the highest premiums for homes priced between $2 million and $3 million. However, a smaller share of homes in that price range sold over the asking price, and there are fewer homes in that price category, hence the overall premium in Alameda averaged 10 percent. What is striking from data shown in Figure 3 is that homebuyers are still willing to pay an average of 9 percent more than the asking price for seven of 10 homes. That suggests a very competitive market, unexpected this spring given extraordinary high home prices and softening appreciation in the second half of last year.

To see how home prices have changed across neighborhoods, we analyzed year-to-date (January through April) home prices at the ZIP code level and compared them with the same period last year. Figure 4 shows changes in median home prices by ZIP code (excluding those with less than 10 sales year to date in 2017). Click here to see median sales price changes in individual Bay Area ZIP codes.

Figure 3: Premium paid for homes that sold over asking price in May


Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2017.

Figure 4: Year-to-date change in median home price by ZIP code


Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2017.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that not all neighborhoods and price ranges are equally benefiting from renewed buyer optimism. Buyer optimism could reflect falling mortgage rates, which were again at a 2017 low for the week ended June 8, and the sentiment that now is the last opportunity to enter the market at such low rates. The Federal Reserve meets again this week, and the prevailing expectation is for another increase in interest rates. Regardless of the meeting’s outcome, it appears that other macroeconomic and political factors have helped keep rates low and may continue to do so for the rest of the year.

Selma Hepp is Pacific Union’s Chief Economist and Vice President of Business Intelligence. Her previous positions include Chief Economist at Trulia, senior economist for the California Association of Realtors, and economist and manager of public policy and homeownership at the National Association of Realtors. She holds a Master of Arts in Economics from the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo, and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design from the University of Maryland.

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Suburb Is Still the Hottest U.S. Real Estate Market

Original Article by Pacific Union, See it here.

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious.

America’s housing market is experiencing the most intense demand on record this spring, as throngs of buyers compete for a limited number of homes for sale. That’s certainly the case in California and the Bay Area, where homes are attracting the most interest in the country.

That’s according to’s latest monthly rankings of the nation’s 20 hottest real estate markets, as gauged by the most listing views on its website and the fastest pace of sales. Nationwide, homes sold in a median 60 days in May — 8 percent quicker than one year ago — and one-third of them sold in less than a month.

For the fourth consecutive month, the Vallejo metropolitan area ranked as the nation’s hottest housing market in May, with home shoppers presumably seeking a more budget-friendly alternative to more expensive Bay Area enclaves. Still, much pricier San Francisco is nearly as popular this spring, ranking in the No. 2 spot for the fourth straight month. San Jose fell to the No. 9 position, which says is the city’s lowest ranking in months.

The other Golden State cities on the hot list: Sacramento (No. 4), Stockton (No. 10), Santa Cruz (No. 14), San Diego (No. 16), Santa Rosa (No. 19), and Chico (No. 20).

The average U.S. credit score has climbed to an all-time, which could allow more homebuyers to secure financing at favorable rates.

A blog post from the National Association of Realtors says that the average American FICO score is now 700, the highest on record. At the same time, the number of consumers with a rating consider risky — less than 600 — is at an all-time low, representing about 20 percent of those with credit scores.

Americans’ recovery from bankruptcies or foreclosures suffered during the Great Recession is helping boost the national credit score. More than 6 million consumers will have bankruptcies cleared from their reports over the next five years, while foreclosures disappear from credit scores after seven years.

Silicon Valley‘s job growth is expected to slow this year, but economic conditions remain strong in spite of the region’s housing-supply crunch.

The Mercury News reports on a summit held last week at San Jose State University, where Economist Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics projected that Santa Clara County would grow jobs by 2 percent this year, the lowest rate in the past five years. Thornberg attributed slowing growth in part to a shortage of places for workers to live but also a general lack of laborers.

Santa Clara County lost jobs during the first four months of this year, but the tech sector appears to be rebounding. In an analysis of the Bay Area’s latest job numbers, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp said that the information sector added 3,900 positions in Santa Clara and San Benito counties in April, the 87th consecutive month of annual gains.

Mortgage rates again reached a 2017 low last week, though more hikes are likely after the Federal Reserve’s meeting later this month.

According to Freddie Mac, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell to 3.94 percent for the week ended June 1, down from 3.95 percent the previous week and up from 3.66 percent one year early. Fifteen-year, fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged from the previous week at 3.19 percent and up from 2.92 percent year over year.

Economists expect the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates at its June meeting, with another hike projected for the second half of the year.

(Photo: iStock/Ingrid_Hendriksen)

First-Quarter U.S. Home Sales Hit Strongest Pace in a Decade

Orginal Article by Pacific Union, view it here!

Homebuyers were active across the country in the opening months of 2017, further depleting inventory and pushing prices higher. Major Bay Area housing markets were among those to see annual price appreciation, and they remain the nation’s most expensive.

That’s according to a new report from National Association of Realtors, which says that there were 5.62 million existing single-family home and condominium sales in the first quarter on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the most since the first quarter of 2007. There were a total of 1.83 million homes listed for sale as the quarter ended, down 6.6 percent year over year, conditions that NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says are continuing to drive home price appreciation.

“Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while their increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter,” Yun said. “Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others — especially for those in the starter-home market — which in turn quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years.”

Nationwide, the median sales price was $232,100 in the first quarter, a year-over-year gain of 6.9 percent. Eighty-five percent of measured markets recorded annual home price growth, and 17 percent saw double-digit increases.

The San Jose metro area was one of the 30 U.S. markets to see a double-digit-percent price increase from the first quarter of 2016 — 10.3 percent. With a median sales price of $1,070,000, San Jose remains the nation’s most expensive real estate market.

Golden State cities account for four of NAR’s five priciest housing markets. San Francisco ranks No. 2, with the $815,000 median sales price up 6.5 percent from a year earlier. Anaheim’s $750,000 median price ranks it No.3, while the median price in No. 5 San Diego is $564,000.

Although the median U.S. household income rose to $71,201 in the first quarter, affordability weakened due to both rising mortgage rates and home prices. Yun said that while demand for housing should continue throughout the summer, many areas of the country need additional construction to prevent prices from rising too fast.

California and Bay Area home shoppers are certainly no strangers to exceptionally tight inventory and eroding affordability. In fact, 16 of the nation’s 20 least-affordable housing markets are located in the Golden State as of the first quarter, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

For the 18th straight quarter, the index ranks the San Francisco metro area the nation’s least-affordable large real estate market, with only 11.8 percent of homes sold in the first quarter affordable to households earning the median income. Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, and San Jose round out the top five least-affordable large markets, while Salinas, Santa Cruz, Napa, San Luis Obispo, and San Rafael are the country’s least-affordable small markets.

(Photo: Flickr/Todd Lappin)

Pacific Union’s August 2016 Real Estate Update

WOW! Note the growth in the East Bay as we approach the end of another strong year. Great graphical displays of the median sales price, days on the market, and other interesting statistics! Click Below


Original article by Pacific Union: See it here

Although annual home price appreciation continued to moderate throughout much of the Bay Area as summer drew to a close, two of our second-home markets — Sonoma Valley and Lake Tahoe/Truckee — enjoyed gains of more than 20 percent. Our two most expensive markets, Silicon Valley and the Mid-Peninsula, saw prices move in the opposite direction, with the median sales price down from August 2015.

Click on the image accompanying each of our regions below for an expanded look at local real estate activity in August.


The median sales price in Contra Costa County dipped to $1,160,000 in August, down slightly from July and in the same range it has been since the spring. The months’ supply of inventory (MSI) fell to 1.5, also in line with numbers recorded for most of this year.

Homes sold in an average of 23 days, two days quicker than in July, and buyers paid 99 percent of original prices.

Defining Contra Costa County: Our real estate markets in Contra Costa County include the cities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


At $957,500, the median sales price in the East Bay finished August up about 13 percent from one year ago. Sellers continue to receive significant premiums, taking in 112 percent of asking prices.

The East Bay was also Pacific Union’s fastest-paced market in August, with homes selling in an average of 19 days. Supply conditions remained exceptionally tight, with the MSI at 0.6, the lowest in the Bay Area.

Defining the East Bay: Our real estate markets in the East Bay region include Oakland ZIP codes 94602, 94609, 94610, 94611, 94618, 94619, and 94705; Alameda; Albany; Berkeley; El Cerrito; Kensington; and Piedmont. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


August’s median sales price in Marin County was nearly unchanged from July at $1,187,500. The MSI ended the month at 1.8, also almost identical to July.

Homes sold in an average of 47 days, and buyers paid 96.4 percent of original prices.

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


Napa County’s median sales price ended August at $615,000, not radically different from the previous two months. Buyers paid 96.4 percent of original prices, identical to numbers recorded one year ago.

More homes hit the market as summer neared its end, with the MSI rising to 3.2. Homes sold in an average of 65 days, two weeks quicker than in July.

Defining Napa County: Our real estate markets in Napa County include the cities of American Canyon, Angwin, Calistoga, Napa, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Yountville. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes in Napa County.


The median sales price for a single-family home in San Francisco dropped to $1,281,500 in August, the lowest since January. Homes took an average of 34 days to find a buyer, a slight increase from the two preceding months.

The MSI ended August at 1.6, with sellers netting 107.6 percent of asking prices.


Condominium sales in San Francisco slowed as summer wound down, with homes selling in an average of 50 days, the longest time on the market in the past year. The median sales price was $1,099,118, virtually unchanged from July.

Even as the pace of sales slowed, supply conditions tightened, with the MSI dropping to 1.8. Sellers took home an average of 100.7 percent of original prices, the smallest premiums recorded over the past 12 months.


Summer’s end also found the pace of sales slowing in our Silicon Valley region, with homes taking an average of 44 days to leave the market. The MSI stood at 1.9, down slightly from July.

At $2,500,000, the median sales price declined 9 percent from August 2015, tying its one-year low. Buyers also enjoyed the biggest discounts of 2016, with homes selling for an average of 96.6 percent of original prices.

Defining Silicon Valley: Our real estate markets in the Silicon Valley region include the cities and towns of Atherton, Los Altos (excluding county area), Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park (excluding east of U.S. 101), Palo Alto, Portola Valley, and Woodside. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes in these communities.

Mid-Peninsula Subregion

The median sales price in our Mid-Peninsula subregion was down on both a monthly and yearly basis, closing out August at $1,475,000. The pace of sales remained brisk, with homes finding a buyer in an average of 22 days.

The MSI dipped slightly from July to 1.3, and sellers received 101.1 percent of original prices.

Defining the Mid-Peninsula: Our real estate markets in the Mid-Peninsula subregion include the cities of Burlingame (excluding Ingold Millsdale Industrial Center), Hillsborough, and San Mateo (excluding the North Shoreview/Dore Cavanaugh area). Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes in these communities.


Sonoma County’s median sales price rose to $590,000 in August, a year-over-year increase of 9 percent. Supply conditions weren’t much changed from the previous five months, with the MSI at 1.8.

Properties sold in an average of 61 days, nearly identical to last August’s pace of sales, with buyers paying 96.6 percent of original prices.

Defining Sonoma County: Our real estate markets in Sonoma County include the cities of Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Windsor. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes all single-family homes and farms and ranches in Sonoma County.


Sonoma Valley‘s median sales price climbed to $779,500 in August, a one-year high and an annual gain of 22 percent. The MSI dropped substantially from July to 1.9.

Properties left the market in 79 days — the slowest pace of sales since January — and sold for an average of 92.5 percent of original prices.

Defining Sonoma Valley: Our real estate markets in Sonoma Valley include the cities of Glen Ellen, Kenwood, and Sonoma. Sales data in the adjoining chart refers to all residential properties – including single-family homes, condominiums, and farms and ranches – in these communities.


Single-family homebuyers in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region had far fewer properties to choose from than they did one year ago, with the MSI at 4.1 percent as August ended. The median sales price jumped to $746,250, an annual gain of 37 percent and a one-year high.

Single-family homes sold in an average of 86 days, with buyers paying 93.7 percent of asking prices.

Defining Tahoe/Truckee: Our real estate markets in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region include the communities of Alpine Meadows, Donner Lake, Donner Summit, Lahontan, Martis Valley, North Shore Lake Tahoe, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, Tahoe Donner, Truckee, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.


The median sales price for a condominium in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region rose to $410,000 in August, its highest level so far in 2016. The gain came in tandem with a sharp drop in supply; the MSI ended the month at 5.8, its lowest level in one year.

Units in the region sold in an average of 87 days, and buyers paid 95.4 percent of asking prices.

Defining Tahoe/Truckee: Our real estate markets in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region include the communities of Alpine Meadows, Donner Lake, Donner Summit, Lahontan, Martis Valley, North Shore Lake Tahoe, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, Tahoe Donner, Truckee, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes condominiums in these communities.

Bay Area Suburb Continues Its Run as Hottest U.S. Housing Market

By Pacific Union: See the original article here

The national housing market is still scorching as summer comes to a close, and a Bay Area suburb again tops the list of the hottest places for home buyers and sellers.


The Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo.

That’s from’s latest monthly analysis of the country’s 20 most in-demand
real estate markets
based on the quickest pace of sales and most listing views on its website.  The U.S. housing market is having its best August in 10 years, with homes selling 2 percent faster than they did one year ago.

Nationwide, home prices hit an all-time high for August, rising 8 percent on an annual basis to $250,000. According to Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke, the company’s website traffic also rose to a record high in August, although overall buying activity is tapering off, a typical seasonal pattern that creates a window for buyers who have been unable to seal a deal in what has been a very busy summer.

“With the school year starting now in most of the country, we’re seeing some drop-off in immediate buying interest,” Smoke said. “The current conditions provide more opportunity for any frustrated buyers still in the market to face less competition as we close out the summer.”

For the fourth consecutive month, the Vallejo-Fairfield metro area sits atop’s list of the most-in demand real estate markets, having dethroned San Francisco in the spring. Solano County is by far the Bay Area’s most affordable enclave, with a median single-family home sales price of $381,000 in July, according toa report from the California Association of Realtors.

San Francisco retained its previous month’s spot on August’s list, holding down the No. 4 position. CAR’s data puts the median San Francisco single-family home price at $1,362,500 in July, making it the Golden State’s most expensive real estate market. Along with San Mateo County, San Francisco has California’s largest housing inventory constraints, with a 2.1-months’ supply in July.

California cities continue to dominate the hot-markets list, accounting for more than half of this month’s representatives. Stockton again ranks No. 5, followed by San Diego (No. 6), Sacramento (No. 10), Yuba City (No. 12), Modesto (No. 13), San Jose (No. 14), Fresno (No. 15), Santa Cruz (No. 17), and Santa Rosa (No. 19).

Bay Area Home Styles: Spotlight on the Craftsman

Own a Craftsman Style Home? Learn more about their history below!

By Pacific Union: See the original article here

Craftsmen Home PU

 A Craftsman-style home in San Jose

This is the first installment in a series of bimonthly posts about architecture styles, each dedicated to a popular home type that can be found in the Bay Area.

The Craftsman home is a piece of work. Literally. And by that we mean that the home builder’s highly skilled work is prominently on display.

Simple and natural, the Craftsman home often features porches with round columns or stone supports, low-pitched gable roofs, wide eaves with brackets or exposed rafters, and handcrafted stone or woodworking. The Craftsman home’s emphasis is indeed all in the craft — the pared-down, simplistic quality of the workmanship. In its original era, it was also a response to the ornamentation of the Victorian home.

Craftsman-style homes were built from approximately 1905 until the Great Depression. They were constructed all over the country and can be found scattered in most older Bay Area neighborhoods. Many homebuyers look specifically for the Craftsman-style home and make a project of restoring it to its original glory.

The bungalow is a popular version of the Craftsman, and though the name might suggest a small home, this isn’t always the case. There are definitely Craftsman bungalow-specific enthusiasts, and this website is an excellent resource for them and those who want to learn more.

There is plenty to say about the Craftsman home, but here are a few highlights:

The Arts and Crafts Movement

In the mid-1880s, the Arts and Crafts Movement made its way from Britain to Europe and the U.S. This decorative and artistic style presented a more natural, less ornate style of décor and architecture. This movement was the inspiration behind the Craftsman-style home.

The Prairie-Style Home

The Prairie-style home was popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago school of architects. Built from 1905 to 1920, it was said to be the first American architecture style. Prairie-style homes feature an open floor plan, strong horizontal lines, a central chimney, and built-in cabinetry.

“The Prairie style had many similarities with Craftsman-style bungalows — including a low, horizontal form and roof lines with wide, overhanging eaves,” according to a post at Historic Home Blog.


What does Sears have to do with the Craftsman home? The department store actually sold them through its catalog from 1908 to 1940. Sears had a selection of more than 400 different designs, ranging from small bungalows costing $450 to large two-story homes priced at $4,500. It sold approximately 700,000 kits that were shipped to buyers via boxcar and came with instruction books and 10,000 to 30,000 pieces. There are several ways to tell if you do indeed have a Sears-catalog home — check them out here.

The Internet is teeming with photos of, and resources for, the Craftsman-style home. You can check out 10 Bungalow Restorations from Old House Online. Houzzoffers a gallery of Craftsman homes to further acquaint you with its unique features. HGTV will take you on a few tours that will give you decorating ideas. Better Homes and Gardens will give your some layout, design, and color inspiration.

If you do end up choosing a Craftsman-style home for your residence, congratulations on a great investment. You now own a work of art in a sturdy, square package. Enjoy!

(Photo: Flickr/David Sawyer)