December 2017 Market Update

Dec 2017 Price

OMG! The median sales price and the average sales price in November plummeted in American Canyon…by a lot.  And there are only 20 homes for sale. And the number of homes sold dropped by 1/3 year over year…and…and…and…

It’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of the market place and feel like the sky is falling out from under us…which it isn’t. The median price dropped 17.5%± because we’re starting to see a lot of the smaller, older homes come onto the market. Of the nine homes that sold last month, six were in Rancho del Mar or Canyon Creek. Last year, only three of 14 homes were in the Rancho subdivision.

I am seeing one major trend right now: Rancho del Mar is pushing the bottom of the market upwards at a fast pace as investors start to flip homes that they’ve had as rentals since the recession. These homes are (or appear to be) turnkey and buyers are flocking to them. However, buyers are more discriminating than in the past couple of years. Sellers have to do more than put lipstick on a pig; remodels have to be well done or the buyers are willing to walk away.

There are 17 homes that should close escrow soon (if they haven’t already) so I expect December to be a YUGE month. It will be interesting to see how things start to shake out as we look towards another year of rising house prices.

Dec 2017 Sold Pended

Are we in for another housing burst?

I get that question at least once or twice every single open house. Short answer is I don’t think so. The longer answer is always a little more complex. No, we aren’t in for another housing collapse but we are headed straight for another housing crisis…or as one editorial put it: “housing catastrophe.”

It is possible – especially here in the Bay Area where there are myriad high paying jobs in a variety of professions – that home prices will continue to rise. It is possible that agents…good agents…in an attempt to win every possible advantage for their client will continue to write offers without appraisal contingencies or without inspection contingencies. It is possible that we will continue to see 8-10 offers on beautiful homes under $400,000 until there are no more homes under $400,000.

The money and solid loans are there for the market to continue to shoulder the craziness that is this year’s spring market…but in no way, shape, or form is this a healthy market. American Canyon home prices were up 17% year-over-year. It is on the slow march to pre-recession prices.

The Vallejo real estate market is also on the rise. has it as the hottest market in the country for the 4th month in a row.  It deserves it too! Vallejo is slowly re-imagining itself with it’s second Friday art walk and as a foodie’s delight with pop-up dinners on the second Saturday of every month(expect for this one, of course).

So no, I don’t think that we’re in a bubble but there are real concerns about the price of housing. Individuals whose families have lived in the American Canyon-Vallejo area for generations can no longer afford to live here. It says as much about stagnant wages as it does about desirability of the area. My sincere hope is that housing prices even out so that we can keep a diversity of families in the area.

Is Zillow the Amazon of Housing?

I read a few minutes ago that Zillow is rolling out a pilot program called, “Zillow Instant Offer.”  I’m not sure if it’s disgust or dismay but this just feels wrong.  According to Zillow, this program is targeted at people who aren’t interested in the traditional selling process. It is geared towards all-cash purchases from investors.  Presumably, it is geared towards sketchy flippers and slum lords who aren’t interested in disclosing material information as well.

In it’s press release, Zillow says that, “People today expect speed and convenience” when it comes time to make a purchase. There is a reason to move slowly on such a major transaction: due diligence. It takes real time to make sure that a house doesn’t have any defects that a buyer just can’t live with. It takes time to negotiate repairs between both parties. But, and here’s the really important part, it takes time to decide what house you want to buy. You aren’t buying a tent that you can pick up and move anywhere. You are buying dreams and future memories.

Furthermore, offers are only coming from investors who can pay cash. Will this increase the disparity between the haves and have nots? Will this eliminate first time home buyers because they’re directly competing with all cash investors?

There shouldn’t be a “Buy Now” button next to home. It was Thomas Paine who wrote, “That which we gain to cheap we esteem too lightly.” Finding your forever home – or even your “for the next 15 years” home – shouldn’t be easy. It shouldn’t be an impulsive buy. It should be carefully thought out.

RE Market Update 12/19

The big real estate news coming out of last week was the Fed’s decision to raise the short term interest rate .25%. Interest rates rose sharply. The current whispers in the real estate world is how an increase in mortgage rates will effect home affordability – some estimates say that a rise of just 0.5% will prevent over 100,000 potential consumers from making a purchase. Stay tuned…


Weekly Market Update 12/12

All indicators are now pointing to the traditional seasonal slowdown as folks take a breath for the Holidays…the one exception being American Canyon which added 4 new homes to the market last week, including one by fellow office mate Kasama Lee. 500 Wetlands Edge Rd boasts an amazing view and is just a few short blocks from the trailhead.  Can’t wait to see it soon.


Market Recap for 12/5

This slight upward tick in inventory appears to buck the normal trend, but it’s important to hold off on making any significant assumptions. Most leading economists are still predicting a leveling off of inventory and prices in 2017. It may only be a temporary increase in response to rising mortgage rates, but it’s worth watching.


What do Gen Xers want?

“I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want./So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” – Spice Girls, Wannabe

A lot gets written about what the Baby Boomers want and what the Millennials are looking for, but somehow…us Gen Xers get lost in the mix. A generation that identifies as much with Reality Bites and Grunge Music as it does with Forest Gump and Hanson, we’ve always been complex. Now, however, we have grown to middle age and have families of our own. According to a recent CAR survey, here is what we…really, really want.