September 1, 2008
Credit for this post really goes to 3 Oceans contributor Eric Trailer who sent me this content in a letter this week. My clients got it last week, and the blogoshpere can now benefit. We can assume that Eric has better things to do on Labor Day than blog. I’m guessing something involving his lovely wife and son . . .
To see current market data and price trends over the past year for local communities and confirm or refute Eric’s prognostications on the local market in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities,
CLICK HERE to see real-time market data, courtesy of our friends at Altos Research.
As you have likely been hearing, there continues to be more and more evidence that it will cost prospective home buyers more to purchase a home in select areas of the Bay Area as they allow time to go by.
Why? Let’s look at the basic reasons, then review an example:
1. The median price across the board in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities has risen since the beginning of the year.
2. On a national basis, the trough of the market was reached in April.
3. The conforming loan limit will DECREASE over $100,000 in 2009 to $625,000.
4. Rates have risen about .5% since the beginning of the year, despite the increase in the conforming loan limit to $729,750
5. Loan qualifications are becoming more restrictive with each passing week.
6. More restrictions on loans and a tighter supply of money forces rates to go up
7. Because loans require more work to process them (requirements today are 4x what they were a year ago), rates will go up.
8. Inflation is the number one concern of the Fed, and should be the number one concern for all of us.
Let’s say for a moment that you agree that rates are on the rise, but feel as though prices may come down on a $1mm property today; thus, you want to wait. Let’s further assume that you are right and the future price is $950,000, but rates have increased .5% at that future time. Using 20% down, waiting just cost you an ADDITIONAL $117 per month-over $1,400 per year.
But now let’s be more realistic given the appreciation rates of desirable areas of the Bay Area. If rates increase and the $1mm home appreciates to $1,050,000, you are looking at an ADDITIONAL $550 PER MONTH-OVER $6,000 PER YEAR!
What’s the take-away here? Price matters much less than true cost… My motto has always been that it always pays off to buy sooner than later, provided your holding period is greater than four years. And to prove that I walk the walk, I am happy to share my personal situation written as an article titled, “How to Afford a Home in Palo Alto Without a Trust Fund.”
To call Eric on his walking the walk comment, and get a copy of his article, “How to Afford a Home in Palo Alto Without a Trust Fund.”, click on his pretty picture over there in the contributor column to send him an email.
Tags: 4---mortgage-mania, absolute mortgage bank, mortgage rates, Mortgages, palo alto home prices, Palo alto housing market, palo alto market, palo alto real estate market
January 5, 2008
Recent sightings of Vendus Encourigitis — a local Palo Alto insect that emits pheromones that make sellers drop everything they’re doing and get their home on the market immediately — indicate that 2008 may turn out to be a similar year to several of its predecessors.
Here’s how this insect affects the local inventory cycle…
Buyers, sellers, and real estate agents go into Trypophan-induced hibernation around Thanksgiving, and tend not to wake up till early January. Not many new homes come on the market during that time, and not many buyers are out looking for them. This tends to be a time of uncertainty in the market: sellers are not confident about putting their homes on the market because, well, other sellers aren’t putting their homes on the market; similarly, many buyers are spooked out of the market because they aren’t seeing crowds of competition at open houses — ergo, this must not be a good time to buy.
Putting aside all questions of whether such assumptions and actions are rational or not, come January, swarms of Vendus Encourigitis descend on the city and — kablooei!!! — before you know it, the market gets unstuck, sellers finally put the for-sale sign up, and inventory starts its predictable upward march. Shortly thereafter, a related insect — Achetus Encourigitis — begins its work on the buyers, and sure enough, they descend en masse on open houses and begin buying.
Data provided by our friends at Altos Research shows us the pattern for the last couple of years: inventory is at a low at the end of the year, and begins to increase as soon as January rolls around:
A number of nearby towns exhibit similar patterns…
What’s interesting about Los Gatos is that its beginning of the year inventory is somewhat higher than it normally is. Arn Cenedella* of Coldwell Banker notes a similar pattern in Menlo Park real estate, while Dave Blockhus*, also of Coldwell Banker, notes that Los Altos’ real estate inventory pattern is more similar to Palo Alto’s.
Further up the Peninsula, Burlingame has a similar pattern:
Roughly the same trend happens in many of the marquee towns up and down the Peninsula, while in the less tony towns a completely different picture is emerging — more on that in a later post.
* Dave and Arn are both clients of 3 Oceans’ sister company Domus Consulting.
Tags: Altos Research, Buyers, Coldwell Banker, Inventory, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Real estate, Sellers
July 30, 2007
After a wonderfully fun — and occasionally frustrating — evening of hacking around, I’m please to present this mashup of Bay Area housing price trends. The graphs are from our friends at Altos Research, and the Google Maps were created using Zeemaps from Zeesource.
For a larger map, click here.
Tags: Altos Research, Consumer, Google, Industry, Mapping software, Real estate 2.0, Real estate data, Real estate mapping, Zeemaps, Zeesource
March 11, 2007
Tags: Altos Research, Consumer, Industry, Local, Real estate, Zeemaps
There’s always a story in the numbers…creating FUD from that story is the media’s job; making sense from it is mine
October 25, 2006
If there’s one thing I learned from my tenure in consulting (apart from the names of the cabin crew on the mid-Sunday afternoon American Airlines flight from SFO to JFK…) it’s that the numbers always tell a story.
Statistically-challenged reporters (is there another kind?) look at this and concoct two dramatic headlines, depending on whether you look before or after July 2006: “Prices drop dramatically!” or “Prices increase dramatically!”
Both headlines are, technically, true — in the same sense that your favorite team’s one-game loss could be a “losing streak” and a one-game win could be a “winning streak.”
What’s behind these numbers?
Quite simple: The variation in prices this year in Palo Alto is due nearly entirely to the difference in home size. Put another way, home prices fell between January and July because smaller homes were selling, and home prices rose between July and October because larger homes were selling. Boring facts like that don’t sell newspapers, however, which is why you’d never get an explanation like that in the San Jose Mercury News.
Check this out: