Local BMR Units Coming To Market

Posted on November 20, 2014 by  
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100 First StreetThree significant construction projects in Los Altos should be completed within the next 12-18 months, and all include affordable housing units.

According to Los Altos Planning Services Manager David Kornfield, the city is slated to add 24 below-market-rate (BMR) units – including 17 rentals – in the next year and a half. The new BMRs will be offered at the 48-unit condominium project at 100 First St., the Colonnade apartments at 4750 El Camino Real and the mixed-use office and 20-unit condo development at 86 Third St.

“We’ve got a lot of good projects coming online,” said Kornfield, who added that the city’s affordable housing program is administered via Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley (NHSSV), a nonprofit real estate services agency. “Our production (of affordable housing) is limited by developer investments in the city, so we’re fortunate to have these.”

Kornfield noted that developer Randy Lamb’s 100 First St. complex, former site of the post office, is scheduled to wrap up in early 2015, the first of the projects completed. The development will offer five BMR units for sale: three one bedrooms and a pair of two bedrooms. He added that four of the residences are designated as moderate-income units, with one single-bedroom unit classified as low income.

According to NHSSV, low-income BMR units are available to eligible buyers earning no more than 80 percent of the Santa Clara County Area Median Income (AMI) – $59,400 for a single person. Moderate-income dwellings are limited to prospective buyers making no more than 110 percent of the AMI.

Other factors – such as priority criteria outlined by the city – limit the pool of eligible buyers for the deed-restricted units.

In addition to Lamb’s soon-to-be completed development, city officials anticipate the completion of the 167-unit Colonnade apartment complex – located on the former Los Altos Garden Supply site – next spring. That development, Kornfield noted, includes 17 BMR rentals – 11 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units. Of those, 16 are designated very-low-income units, 50 percent of the AMI, while the other is rated a low-income unit.

Finally, developer David Luedtke’s mixed-use development at 86 Third St. will eventually add two new BMR units – one moderate-income three-bedroom unit and one low-income two-bedroom unit – to the city’s stock. Kornfield said he expects the project to be completed by the end of 2015 or early 2016.


Los Altos Home Values Rank #1

Posted on November 18, 2014 by  
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Estrellita-Front(photo of 1030 Estrellita Way, Los Altos, sold by David & Carol Casas)

Los Altos just barely beat out Newport Beach as the most expensive real estate market in the country for larger homes, according to a new industry analysis. The report analyzed the average listing price of over 50,000 four-bedroom, two-bath homes across the country and found that Los Altos topped the list with an average of $1,963,100 for a home of that size.

Lack of inventory is a strong reason behind that high average price tag. Other than Newport Beach, which was just about $60,000 shy of stealing the top honors, the rest of the top-five most expensive markets were all in Silicon Valley as well. Saratoga came in third, with an average listing price of $1,867,980.

There was a sizable drop to $1,430,329 for Redwood City/Woodside at number four, followed by Los Gatos at $1,307,408. San Francisco was in the number six position—coming in just $30K over Sunnyvale’s seventh place average listing with $1,294,250. Moraga and San Mateo took the eighth and ninth spots with an average listing of $1,129,300 and $1,093,346, respectively.

Finally, rounding out the top ten was an actual non-California city: Wellesley, Massachusetts ($1,090,088). On the other end of the spectrum, Cleveland took the top spot for the most affordable city to buy a larger home with an average list price of $64,993—which is equivalent to about three years of property taxes on the same-sized home in Los Altos.


Luxury Home Sales Still Rising

Posted on February 6, 2014 by  
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StonebrookSilicon Valley’s luxury housing market capped a strong year in 2013 with sales edging up 8.9 percent in December over a year ago, according to the latest luxury housing market report.

The figures are based on Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold for more than $1.5 million in December 2013 in Santa Clara County.

A total of 122 luxury homes sold in December, up from the 112 sales in December 2012. On a monthly basis, high-end December sales were below November’s 151 transactions, though a decline from November to December isn’t unusual.

The median December 2013 sale price of a luxury home in Silicon Valley was $1.9 million, nearly 1 percent higher than the previous month but down 3.6 percent from a year ago, when the median price was $2 million. The upper end of the luxury market recorded 59 sales of more than $2 million, up from 57 a year ago. The 13 sales in excess of $3 million were down from 19 a year ago.

Other key market indicators improved on an annual basis, with homes selling faster on average in December versus a year earlier and sellers receiving a higher percentage of their asking price on average.


Lots To Be Thankful For In Housing This Year

Posted on November 26, 2013 by  
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A flurry of mixed housing news hit the airways this week. We’ll look at the highlights, add some context and insight and come up with our own conclusions.

First, pending sales continued their monthly decline in October, falling for a fifth consecutive month, according to the latest data set from the National Association of Realtors. Pending sales are important to watch because they track homes that are under contract and are predictive of where the market is heading in coming months when those transactions close.

NAR GraphSome are concerned because the decline has happened so quickly. In June, pending home sales were up 11% from year-ago levels. And by October, pending sales were down 1.6% from year-ago levels.

What happened?

For one, we’ve entered the season that’s typically a bit slower for the housing market each year. And coming off one of the hottest summers the market has seen since the downturn may be causing the decline to seem more dramatic.

Also, the reality of limited inventory continues to plague some markets. Rising interest rates and climbing home prices are also pricing some buyers out, which is likely slowing a few markets down.

Should we be worried?

We don’t expect the slowdown to greatly impact the continued momentum we expect to see in 2014. Part of our reasoning here has to do with a bit of great news that came out on the housing market this week: declining foreclosures.

Foreclosure pre-sale inventory at the national level has fallen to its lowest point since 2008, according to new data from Lender Processing Services. The inventory represents 2.54% of all mortgages homes in LPS’ October data, a 3.23% drop from the previous month and a nearly 30% drop from the previous year.

Pre-sale foreclosure inventory means the number of loans that are in some stage of foreclosure. This aspect of the housing market has been a key part of the big story for several years now. It appears that this nightmare is quickly becoming part of the past.

What does it all mean?

Again, we’re at that time of year when things do start to slow down and prognosticators start sending out messages about where we’re headed next year. Our philosophy is that it’s best to look at as much data as you can before drawing conclusions – and it’s best to always keep your local market in context.

We think we’re headed for another strong year for housing next year. And while it may start a little slower than last, all the requisite parts are in place for markets to improve or even thrive, depending on where you are located.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Great Investment Opportunity

Posted on January 24, 2013 by  
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979 PINTO PALM TERRACE, #19, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Listed at $388,000 / Sold at $410,000
1 Bed / 1 Baths / Home: 764 sqft / Lot Size: 465 sqft
Represented: Seller & Buyer


Los Altos #1 in average list price

Posted on January 15, 2013 by  
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U.S. home prices have begun to rebound in the past year. And in the most expensive markets, where the average home sells for well over $1 million, recoveries are among the strongest, increasing between 20% and 50% in most cases.

According to a recent analysis, there are at least 10 U.S. cities where the average listing price for a home in the first six months of this year exceeded $1.2 million.

The majority of these cities are on or near the California coast. For example, in Los Altos, homes sold in the first half of the year averaged a $1.7 million price tag.

These expensive markets are concentrated around the tech industry, which has remained strong throughout the recession. As a result, most of these cities and suburbs are near the heart of Silicon Valley.

Income in the expensive housing markets is among the highest in the country. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, median household income in these cities far exceeds the U.S. median income by at least $20,000. In Los Altos, the median income is nearly triple the U.S. figure of $51,914.

Two cities outside California are on the top 10 list, one of which isn’t even the continental U.S.

Based on the published data, 24/7 Wall St. identified the country’s most expensive cities for buying a home. Homes in these cities had the highest average listing price between January and June of this year. Markets with less than ten four-bedroom, two-bath homes were excluded from the survey.

And now, the Top 10 …

1. Los Altos, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,706,688
Median household income: $149,964
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 43.6%

In Los Altos, the average four-bedroom, two-bathroom home lists for nearly $50,000 more than any other city in the nation. For that price, a buyer could purchase 28 similar homes in Redford, Mich., the nation’s cheapest housing market. In Redford, the average home lists for just $60,490. Currently, asking prices in the San Jose metro area have risen 12.7% year-over-year. This is more than nearly every other metro area in the country.

Carol & I have two new Los Altos homes coming to market in the next week. We also have additional properties that we’ll bring to market in the coming months. If you are thinking about selling in 2013, let us help you get your home ready for market.

2. Newport Beach, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,658,000
Median household income: $107,007
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 37.6%

Located in Southern California, Newport Beach is the 2nd most expensive city to buy a home. Orange County as a whole has a vacancy rate of just 1.5%, among the ten lowest in the nation. Despite a 32.7% drop in home prices from peak to trough during the recession, Orange County’s median price per square foot is $265. This trails only the Honolulu, New York, San Francisco and San Jose metro areas.

3. Saratoga, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,582,434
Median household income: $145,023
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 43.1%

Though home prices in the nearby metro area fell by 25.1% peak-to-trough, Saratoga is yet another example of how the Silicon Valley housing market has recovered. Currently, the median price per square foot for homes in San Jose is $337, more than all housing markets except San Francisco and Honolulu. As of 2010, 43.1% of Saratoga households earned more than $200,000 per year, while 40.9% of adult residents had a graduate degree, versus 10.3% nationwide.

4. Menlo Park, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,506,909
Median household income: $107,860
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 34.9%

Menlo Park is one of just four cities where the average listing price for a four-bedroom home exceeds $1.5 million. As of 2010, the median income in the city was slightly below $108,000. However, the recent Facebook IPO has been a windfall to the area. In June, a real estate listing service reported that the “proportion of million-dollar listings” in Menlo Park — where Facebook is headquartered — rose by 87% between the company’s IPO filing and its first day as a public company.

5. Palo Alto, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,495,364
Median household income: $120,670
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 39.3%

In Palo Alto, 48.7% of adults have a graduate or professional degree — well more than four times the national rate of 10.3%. The city’s proximity to Stanford University, one of the top universities in the nation, may be partly the reason behind the city’s highly educated population. Among the companies headquartered in the city are Hewlett-Packard and Tesla Motors. The city is a large employer of highly skilled employees, as 25.3% of its workers are employed in professional, scientific and management occupations, well above the 10.4% of workers nationwide.

6. Los Gatos, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,444,214
Median household income: $120,971
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 37.5%

Los Gatos is one of several cities near the Los Altos on this list. Like these cities, Los Gatos likely benefits from the overall boom in the local real estate market, which currently has the lowest vacancy rate of all metro areas at just 1%. Currently, a number of unique properties are available in the city, including an 11,000 square feet property with an eight-stall horse barn and a garage that fits 12 cars listed at slightly under $13 million.

7. Rye, NY

Avg. listing price: $1,312,250
Median household income: $146,069
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 53.0%

The average listing price for a four-bedroom home in Rye is more than $1,300,000, or more-than $1 million above the U.S. average. Employees in the often high-paying finance and insurance industries accounted for a 27.8% of employed population in Rye in 2010, well above the 7% average rate nationwide. Among the properties available for sale is a five-bedroom, 7,446 square feet waterfront home for $12.9 million and a 34.2-acre plot of land for $19 million.

8. Kailua, HI

Avg. listing price: $1,238,208
Median household income: $91,082
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 14.7%

Kailua is one of just two cities on this list not located in California. The Oahu Island city is 12 miles northeast of Honolulu, which had a vacancy rate of 2.7% — better than most areas but considerably worse than the other areas on the list. As of October, the median price per square foot for a home in the Honolulu area was $398, more than in any other metro except for San Francisco. A 3/4-acre plot of land, which includes 128 feet of beachfront, is currently for sale for $16 million in Kailua.

9. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,232,167
Median household income: $74,489
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 18.7%

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small coastal city in California, is well known for its former mayor, actor Clint Eastwood. Currently, the average four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the city lists for more than four times the nationwide average listing price of $292,152. One house, despite being not much larger than 2,000 square feet, is currently listed for nearly $4.5 million.

10. San Carlos, CA

Avg. listing price: $1,230,880
Median household income: $110,929
Pct. households $200,000+ income: 30.3%

As of 2010, the median income of households in San Carlos was more than double the U.S. median of $51,914. Over 30% of households in San Carlos earned more than $200,000 per year, more than five times the national rate of 5.4%. Over a twelve-month period, ending in October, it had the nation’s highest median home price per square foot at $473 among all homes listed. In San Francisco, the median age of home inventory was just 45 days as of the third quarter of 2012, lower than in all but seven markets.


To get more information about 24/7 Wall St., the original article, or the data they analyzed … click here


Crescent Park Charmer

Posted on December 15, 2012 by  
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1466 DANA AVE, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Listed at $2,998,000 / Sold at $2,900,000
4 Beds / 3 Baths / Home: 3,074 sqft / Lot Size: 7,745 sqft
Single Family Detached
Represented: Buyer


A Great Investment

Posted on December 14, 2012 by  
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152 & 154 SOUTH BERNARDO AVE, Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Listed at $1,248,000 / Sold at $1,195,000
3 Beds / 2.5 Baths & 2 Beds / 2 Baths – Building: 2,656 sqft / Lot Size: 8,343 sqft
Residential Income (2-4 Units)
Represented: Buyer


Modern Living

Posted on October 14, 2012 by  
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3716 REDWOOD CIRCLE, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Listed at $1,500,000 / Sold at $1,500,000
5 Beds / 3 Baths / Home: 1,952 sqft / Lot Size: 7,056 sqft
Single Family Detached
Represented: Buyer


Unique Gated Estate

Posted on September 20, 2012 by  
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10691 MORA DRIVE, Los Altos Hills, CA 94024
Listed at $3,795,000 / Sold at $3,700,000
5 Beds / 6 Baths / Home: 5,091 sqft / Lot Size: 47,700 sqft
Single Family Detached
Represented: Buyer


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