East Bay Real Estate Market Defies What Is Happening Nationally
All we hear is “blood & guts” from the media regarding the real estate markets. Foreclosures, pricing falling like rocks with no end in sight, and the economy in turmoil. Remember that “if it bleeds it reads”. What the consumer does not ever hear is that all real estate markets are “local”, they are not “national”! So, let’s look at the Bay Area’s East Bay’s real estate markets.
I am not saying that everything is all roses in the East Bay. There are lives that are being ruined in the East County of Contra Costa – from Bay Point to Oakley. However, if you look at the Pleasanton-to-Orinda corridor you will discover a very healthy micro-economy compared to anything you are hearing about the national real estate market. This is not to say that there aren’t some price corrections happening today with the BIG run-up in home prices during the past five years. But, a disaster is not happening in real estate in this portion of the East Bay. Maybe in the past two years there has been up to a 15% price adjustment in the Pleasanton to Orinda corridor, but the pricing is impacted even by the neighborhoods in this corridor – even more mini-micro in this market.
If you look at what region of the nine Bay Area counties have been fueling the it’s economy it has been the East Bay – at one point even more than all of the other regions combined! Our region has added as many new jobs in the past six years as all of the eight other Bay Area counties combined. The diversity of the corporations based in the East Bay has helped insulate our region from most of the effects of the past market down turns in other regions. We expect that to hold true all the way through 2008.
“Days on the market” is one of the measures of a Buyer and Seller’s market. From Pleasanton to Orinda it varies from five months to ten months. There are parts of the Bay Area where there are 30+ months of inventory on the market! Yikes! A Buyer’s market is typically defined when there are four or more months on the market. So, we can all agree it is a Buyer’s market. But, when is a home is priced appropriately for the neighborhood, it is in turn key condition, it’s location is excellent, it will sell faster than the typical market time. (We listed a home two weeks ago in Danville with all of these conditions in perfect order and it sold in two days for full price.)
Obviously, Buyers have much more inventory to choose from today, so Sellers need to remember that Buyers are not using much imagination when they are previewing a home. They want to walk in, empty their moving boxes and start living. Mortgage money has gone up in price the last few months, but there are still some very attractive plans for Buyers that are allowing them to make the home purchases they want. Plus, mortgage rates are still the lowest in the last 20 years!
So, as consumers are continuing to read the newspapers, we as REALTORS – “the local economists,” need to be providing them with the local information about the real estate markets they are considering. It is and always will be a local real estate market, not a national one. Contact me if you would like the detailed real estate information about your specific neighborhood. I am standing ready to serve you! Until next time…
(Jim Walberg and Ann Marie Nugent are the owners of The Bay Area Team, a real estate company affiliated with Keller Williams Realty in Danville, CA They are also the owners of CaribbeanIslandsRealty.com which markets real estate throughout the Caribbean. Mr. Walberg’s contact information is; Jim@JimWalberg.com; www.TheBayAreaTeam.com ; and, www.CaribbeanIslandsRealty.com.)