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Palo Alto homes sales going way over asking price in first month of 2012

February 1, 2012 Real Estate News No Comments
Palo Alto homes sales going way over asking price in first month of 2012

Desirable Palo Alto started off the New Year with many home sales exceeding asking price by crazy amounts. The year began with a total of 21 sales in the first 3 weeks of the month compared to 17 total closings in January 2011 and, on top of that, many of the homes were sold significantly higher than the listing price.

Palo Alto luxury real estate is on fire right now and some of the homes were high double digits over asking and most had multiple offers.  I don’t believe this is a case of real estate agents under pricing the home with the hopes of multiple offers as all the homes have been priced very fairly for the size, location and condition.  I think it’s a case of buyers with pent up energy looking for homes and just not enough inventory out there.  Going back to my days of basic economics, high demand and low supply means… overbidding.

This is a good sign for sellers of Palo Alto homes, especially for the homeowners who have been sitting on the fence and waiting to get out from under water as now is definitely the time to sell.

There are more, but just a couple of examples of recent Palo Alto homes for sale with high ratios of sales versus asking price are:

185 Walter Hays listed at $1,398,000 and sold for $1,655,000 in 7 days (18.4 % over asking price)

769 Rosewood Drive listed at $1,050,000 and sold for $1,515,000 in 4 days (44.3% over)

971 Maddux Drive listed at $1,195,000 and sold for $1,361,000 in a week (14.1 % over)

I work on a lot of off market sales too and information throughout our offices are further verifying the asking price to sale price ratios listed above.  Off market, or off  MLS, are probably 20-30% of sales happening in Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park, so make sure your agent is well connected to get you in the game, or call me.

Menlo Park Real Estate Update – Statistics for September 2011

Menlo Park Real Estate Update – Statistics for September 2011

A short video that shows the important real estate statistics for Menlo Park sales figures for the month of September, 2011 compared to September 2010. This is a good indicator on how the real estate market for Menlo Park is doing and helps buyers and sellers determine timing for buying or listing a home for sale.

High End Homes on Peninsula are selling.

High End Homes on Peninsula are selling.

In case you missed it, here is an excerpt from a recent article about the high end housing here on the Peninsula and how well it is selling.  Los Altos Hills  has had the big sale while Palo Alto is consistent and almost a sellers market.  Atherton and Menlo Park and moving along nicely with Atherton getting the high end sales.

Atherton Market Update

March 22, 2011 Real Estate News No Comments
Atherton Market Update

Again this week we see a downward notch for Atherton luxury real estate prices. Pricing has been weak in recent weeks and versus their absolute-high levels. Market Action Index is a good leading indicator for the durability of this trend. Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks. However because of excess inventory, prices have not yet stopped falling. Should the sales trend continue, expect prices to level off soon and potentially to resume their climb from there. Watch prices as the market transitions from a Buyer’s market to a Seller’s market. Demand measured by the Market Action Index is increasing and days-on-market is trending downward. Even as more properties come available, these are positive trends for the market.

The median list price for a home in ATHERTON this week is $4,669,000.

Median List Price: $ 4,669,000

Asking Price Per Square Foot:  $968

Average Days on Market: 156

Median House Size: 6502 SF

Median Number of Bedrooms: 4.5

Menlo Park Real Estate Market Update

March 21, 2011 Real Estate News No Comments
Menlo Park Real Estate Market Update

The median list price home in Menlo Park this week is $1,098,500.

Inventory has been lightening lately and the Market Action Index
has been trending up. Though days-on-market is increasing, these
are mildly positive indications for the market.

Supply and Demand

Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks.
While still a Buyer’s market, prices seem to have responded by
moving upward. If the demand trends continue, expect prices to
keep marching upward, especially once we see a Seller’s Market.

Market Action Index: 19 (strong buyer)
Index above 30 implies Seller’s Market conditions. Below 30, conditions favor the buyer.

Real-Time Market Profile Trend
Median List Price $ 1,098,500
Median Lot Size  6500 SF
Average Days on Market (DOM) 97
4,501Median House Size (sq ft) 1690
Median Number of Bedrooms: 3
Asking Price Per Square Foot $636

Despite this week’s down tic, price trends have generally been
moving up lately. Prices are below the market’s high point, and
so watch the Market Action Index as an indicator of how long this
trend will last.

Palo Alto Home Sales Stay Strong

November 11, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Palo Alto Home Sales Stay Strong

Home sales in Palo Alto for the 3rd quarter in 2010 remained up compared to the same time period in 2009. The total number of homes sold as well as the prices were up a strong 10%.  When you combine that with the numbers showing the average days on market for the sale of a home in Palo Alto were down 15%, you have the feeling that inventory is still moving and buyers still want to be in this beautiful city.  The leaves are falling and temperatures are cooling, but the real estate market is staying on the hot side as multiple offers are still happening.  Let’s hope for a good final quarter of the year.

Palo Alto                              3rd Q/09                             3rd Q/10                        Change
# of Sales                                 105                                        116                                  10%
Average Price ($000)    $1,463                               $1,616                                10%
Average DOM                         59                                         50                                   -15%

Atherton Sales Prices Stay Strong Despite Drop In Sales Volume

October 15, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Atherton Sales Prices Stay Strong Despite Drop In Sales Volume

Sales prices in Atherton of luxury real estate stayed strong in the 3rd quarter of 2010 compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009.  Despite the economy and general gloom and doom news, it was surprising to see the prices jump for the Atherton real estate market.  Prices increased while the number of sales took a big dive, dropping almost 40%.  Since the inventory levels also took a huge increase, this means that the inventory is there, but buyers are being very selective.

Realtors and home sellers are hoping for an end of the year surge in sales.  The best case scenario for a buyer is in place due to the high amount of inventory on hand.  Atherton real estate was just named by the Wall Street Journal as the second priciest area in the country, coming in only behind an area of New York.  So, in essence, real estate in Atherton is the most expensive on the west coast.

Atherton                            Q3 2009         Q3 2010               Change

# of Sales                                  26                        16                       -38%

Avg Price (000)                   $ 3,424              $ 3,972                  16%

Avg DOM                                  94                         64                      -32%

Months of Inv.                     3.2                         13.3                    316%

The Rich Are Defaulting On Mortgages At Alarming Rate

The Rich Are Defaulting On Mortgages At Alarming Rate

Don’t look around at your neighbors too closely, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.

The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like the many luxury real estate towns we service along the Peninsula. Menlo Park luxury real estate, Atherton luxury real estate, it’s all in the same boat.

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population according to David Streitfeld.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic. Homes priced over a million dollars are considered luxury real estate in many areas.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.

Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.

“The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist.

As a recent example, five luxury properties in Los Altos were scheduled for foreclosure auctions in a recent issue of The Los Altos Town Crier, the weekly newspaper where local legal notices are posted. Four have unpaid mortgage debt of more than $1 million, with the highest amount $2.8 million.

Not so long ago, said Chris Redden, the paper’s advertising services director, “it was a surprise if we had one foreclosure a month.”

In Las Vegas, Ken Lowman, a longtime agent for luxury properties, said four of the 11 sales he brokered in June were distressed properties.

“I’ve never seen the wealthy hit like this before,” Mr. Lowman said. “They made their plans based on the best of all possible scenarios — that their incomes would continue to grow, that real estate would never drop. Not many had a plan B.”

The defaulting owners, he said, often remain as long as they can. “They’re in denial,” he said.

Here in Los Altos, where the median home price of $1.5 million makes it one of the most exclusive towns in the country, several houses scheduled for auction were still occupied this week. The people who answered the door were reluctant to explain their circumstances in any detail.

At one house, where the lender was owed $1.3 million, there was a couch out front wrapped in plastic. A woman said she and her husband had lost their jobs and were moving in with relatives. At another house, the family said they were renters. A third family, whose mortgage is $1.6 million, said they would be moving this weekend.

At a vacant house with a pool, where the lender was seeking $1.27 million, a raft and a water gun lay abandoned on the entryway floor.

Lenders are fearful that many of the 11 million or so homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will walk away from them, especially if the real estate market begins to weaken again. The so-called strategic defaults have become a matter of intense debate in recent months.

The delinquency rate on investment homes where the original mortgage was more than $1 million is now 23 percent. For cheaper investment homes, it is about 10 percent.

With second homes, the delinquency rate for both types of owners was rising in concert until the stock market crashed in September 2008. That sent the percentage of troubled million-dollar loans spiraling up much faster than the smaller loans.

“Those with high net worth have other resources to lean on if they get in trouble,” said Mr. Khater, the analyst. “If they’re going delinquent faster than anyone else, that tells me they are doing so willingly.”

Willingly, but not necessarily publicly. The rapper Chamillionaire is a plain-talking exception. He recently walked away from a $2 million house he bought in Houston in 2006.

“I just decided to let it go, give it back to the bank,” he told the celebrity gossip TV show “TMZ.” “I just didn’t feel like it was a good investment.”

The rich and successful often treat their homes as business investments and make decisions on their personal items in a similar way that they would for their businesses.  Bottom line decisions without the emotion that other homeowners may have towards their residences.  A default is a strategic default, not a failure.

“They may be less susceptible to the shame and fear-mongering used by the government and the mortgage banking industry to keep underwater homeowners from acting in their financial best interest,” Mr. White said.

The CoreLogic data measures serious delinquencies, which means the borrower has missed at least three payments in a row. At that point, lenders traditionally file a notice of default and the house enters the official foreclosure process.

In the current environment, however, notices of default are down for all types of loans as lenders work with owners in various modification programs. Even so, owners in some of the more expensive neighborhoods in and around San Francisco are beginning to head for the exit, according to data compiled by MDA DataQuick.

In Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and the most expensive neighborhood in adjoining Mountain View, defaults in the first five months of this year edged up approximately 10% over 2009 and over 400% from 2008.

The East Bay suburb of Orinda had eight notices of default for million-dollar properties, up from five in the same period last year. On Nob Hill in San Francisco, there were four, up from one. The Marina neighborhood had four, up from two.

The vast majority of owners in these upscale communities are still paying the mortgage, of course. But they appear to be cutting back in other ways. Many of the luxury real estate areas have downtown areas that are filled with empty storefronts, typically unusual in well to do areas.  Discretionary spending of the rich is affecting the little guys, who of course have mortgages to pay, thus the vicious circle.

But this is still Silicon Valley, where failure can always be considered a prelude to success.

In the middle of a workday, one troubled homeowner here leaned over his laptop at the kitchen table, trying to maneuver his way out from under his debt and figure out the next big thing.

His five-bedroom house, drained of hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity over the last 13 years, is scheduled for auction July 20. Nine months ago, after his latest business (he has had several) failed in what he called “the global meltdown,” the man, a technology entrepreneur, said he quit making his $9,000 monthly payments.

“I’m going to be downsizing,” he said.

The man spoke on the condition of anonymity because, he said, he did not want his current problems to interfere with his coming reinvention. “I’m a businessman,” he explained. “I have to be upbeat.”

Things seem to be turning a bit as some areas are showing nice price increases and we all have to stay upbeat and fight to keep on top, irregardless of whether you are looking to buy or sell off your luxury real estate.  If things don’t look great, just look around at your neighborhood, you’re not alone.

1st Quarter Sales Figures In: Looking Good!

As expected,  sales figures for San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties for the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009 were up in all major areas.  This is a good start to showing that the deadly silence of real estate activity in 2009 is behind us and people are optimistic about buying and selling homes again.  It doesn’t mean that the entire country is real estate happy again, it just means that our neck of the woods is taking positive steps in the right direction.  Here are the numbers.

Santa Clara County

# of Sales*                                 1,965          2,177           11%

Average Price ($000)*             $575           $711           24%

Avg Days on Market (DOM)**   104                   63          -39%

Months of Inventory**                 5.7              2.6           -54%

San Mateo County
# of Sales*                                   624                 769            23%

Average Price ($000)*             $745              $913            23%

Avg Days on Market (DOM)**      84                   54           -36%

Months of Inventory**                 6.1                  3.8           -38%

Schwarzenegger’s New Homebuyer Tax Credit Starts May 1

April 30, 2010 Real Estate News No Comments
Schwarzenegger’s New Homebuyer Tax Credit Starts May 1

Different Than The Previous First Time Buyer Credit

Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 183, the Homebuyer Tax Credit legislation, into law last week.

AB 183 will provide $200 million for home buyer tax credits, allocating $100 million for qualified first-time home buyers of existing homes and $100 million for purchasers of new, or previously unoccupied, homes. The eligible taxpayer who purchases a qualified personal residence on and after May 1, 2010, and on or before Dec. 31, 2010, or who purchases a qualified principal residence on and after Dec. 31, 2010, and before Aug. 1, 2011, pursuant to an enforceable contract executed on or before Dec. 31, 2010, will be able to take the allowed tax credit.

The credit is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, in equal installments over three consecutive years. Under AB 183, purchasers will be required to live in the home for at least two years or forfeit the credit (i.e., repay it to the state).

The previous federal home buyer tax credit was considered a success as nearly 40 percent of first-time home buyers said they would not have purchased a home if the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers was not offered, according to C.A.R. research conducted last year.  It also ran out of tax credits by the end of June 2009, eight months before it was set to expire and just as housing markets appeared to be turning a corner.  Unlike last year’s legislation, AB 183 adds a tax credit for the purchase of an existing home by a first-time home buyer.

AB 183 will help to incentivize first-time home buyers to purchase homes that have been abandoned, foreclosed upon and returned to the lender, or have been sitting on the market for extended periods of time.

What is still to be figured out is the purchase of new construction or previously unoccupied homes as that extends to any buyer, not just first time buyers.

My Contact Information

Gary Kurtz
BRE# 01710776

Kathy Kurtz
BRE# 01876966

HOM Sotheby's International Realty
1200 Newport Center Drive, # 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660

949.565.5201 (cell)
949.478.7769 (office)
650.796.5507 (Silicon Valley #)

Contact me now with any questions:

Kurtz Real Estate Group

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