Statistical Tables | Mortgage Rate Outlook | 10 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A Home

Trends at a Glance
(Single-family Homes)
  Aug 17 Jul 17 Aug 16
Median Price: $925,000 $922,000 $777,250
Average Price: $993,596 $997,404 $874,803
Home Sales: 868 783 938
SP/LP Ratio: 106.7% 106.4% 105.8%
Days on Market: 21 21 21
  Aug 17 Jul 17 Aug 16
Median Price: $620,000 $588,500 $557,000
Average Price: $623,127 $624,015 $562,779
Condo Sales: 305 270 319
SP/LP Ratio: 104.4% 105.5% 104.1%
Days on Market: 20 18 20

August was Scorching!

And I’m referring not only to the weather.

The median prices for both single-family, re-sale homes and condominiums/lofts were up by double-digits, again!

The median price for homes gained 19% over last August. That's three months in a row the median price has been higher by double-digits.

The average price for homes was up 13.6%.

The median price for condos gained 11.3%, the third month of the past five with double-digit gains.

The average price for condos was up 10.7% over last August.

Multiple offers continue to be the norm. The sales price to list price ratio, or what buyers are paying over what sellers are asking remains at triple digits: 106.7% for homes and 104.4% for condos.

The ratio has been over 100% since May 2012 and for both homes and condos.

Home sales were down, again, off 7.5% year-over-year.

Condo sales were also off, dropping 4.4% from last August.

August Sales Statistics

Sales momentum…

for homes fell 0.5 of a point to –1.0.

Pricing momentum…

for single-family homes rose a full point to +8.4.

We Calculate…

sales momentum by using a 12-month moving average to eliminate seasonality. By comparing this year's 12-month moving average to last year's, we get a percentage showing market momentum.

In the chart below…

the blue area shows momentum for home sales while the red line shows momentum for pending sales of single-family, re-sale homes. The purple line shows momentum for the median price.

This is an extraordinarily tough market for buyers. It's important to be calm and realistic. If you don't know what to do or where to begin, give me a call and let's discuss your situation and your options.


Alameda County Days on Market

The real estate market is very hard to generalize. It is a market made up of many micro markets. For complete information on a particular neighborhood or property, call me.

If I can help you devise a strategy, call or click the buying or selling link in the menu to the left.

Monthly Statistics

Complete monthly sales statistics for the Alameda County are below. Monthly graphs are available for each city in the county.

August Sales Statistics
(Single-family Homes)
  Prices Unit     Change from last year Change from last month
Area Median Average Sales DOM SP/LP Median Average Sales Median Average Sales
County $925,000 $993,596 868 21 106.7% 19.0% 13.6% -7.5% 0.3% -0.4% 10.9%
Alameda $980,000 $1,017,213 33 19 108.1% 8.9% 7.9% 73.7% -8.0% -12.5% -13.2%
Albany $1,003,250 $1,066,806 9 17 106.5% 11.3% 11.9% 12.5% -13.5% -7.3% 28.6%
Berkeley $1,202,500 $1,253,289 56 22 113.9% 0.2% -4.3% -5.1% -3.8% -7.1% -6.7%
Castro Valley $844,000 $878,617 56 28 102.9% 6.6% 9.1% 60.0% 3.6% 4.2% 36.6%
Dublin $1,057,500 $1,100,426 52 19 100.7% 14.3% 9.3% -8.8% 4.2% 3.5% 4.0%
Fremont $1,020,000 $1,166,895 129 20 101.0% 9.1% 14.7% 3.2% -0.5% 1.0% 7.5%
Hayward $644,500 $685,363 108 19 101.9% 17.2% 13.5% 13.7% -3.1% -6.2% 11.3%
Livermore $805,000 $936,037 96 25 99.8% 15.7% 18.4% 18.5% 1.2% 8.7% 12.9%
Newark $830,000 $863,126 27 20 102.0% 13.0% 19.7% 22.7% 0.0% 1.6% 42.1%
Oakland $722,500 $848,335 238 22 110.8% -1.7% 3.2% -0.8% -0.3% 3.7% 16.7%
Piedmont $1,900,500 $1,935,101 10 18 0.0% -3.4% -8.0% 0.0% 18.8% 5.7% 11.1%
Pleasanton $1,200,000 $1,353,090 70 24 98.7% 17.9% 16.3% 25.0% 9.1% 0.9% 7.7%
San Leandro $650,000 $669,916 59 18 104.0% 7.7% 10.4% -13.2% 0.0% 1.3% 3.5%
San Lorenzo $630,000 $622,705 19 18 105.5% 8.3% 10.8% 18.8% 6.4% 6.8% 46.2%
Union City $928,900 $955,381 38 16 100.4% 20.6% 25.4% 2.7% 2.1% 3.4% 52.0%


August Sales Statistics
(Condos/Town Homes)
  Prices Unit     Change from last year Change from last month
  Median Average Sales DOM SP/LP Median Average Sales Median Average Sales
County $620,000 $623,127 305 20 104.4% 11.3% 10.7% -4.4% -0.1% 5.4% 13.0%
Alameda $692,500 $661,113 24 17 105.7% 38.5% 15.7% 60.0% -5.2% 5.0% 100.0%
Albany $549,500 $527,983 6 18 100.2% 15.9% 6.1% 0.0% -16.2% -6.5% 50.0%
Berkeley $668,000 $655,727 11 21 109.8% -0.3% 1.4% 22.2% -13.4% -7.2% -15.4%
Castro Valley $560,500 $617,250 4 18 100.9% 24.6% 20.3% -55.6% -0.2% -10.3% -42.9%
Dublin $699,900 $695,557 29 17 101.6% 11.8% 9.9% -9.4% 6.6% 12.8% -9.4%
Emeryville $550,000 $562,000 13 19 105.0% -2.2% -1.3% -35.0% 6.5% 20.9% 30.0%
Fremont $705,000 $730,410 51 15 103.9% 19.2% 17.5% -5.6% 1.9% -1.1% 15.9%
Hayward $450,000 $470,259 45 26 104.2% 2.3% 7.4% 15.4% -5.5% -8.2% 55.2%
Livermore $626,500 $589,595 25 22 100.7% 13.1% 7.0% 47.1% 8.0% 13.9% 31.6%
Newark $627,500 $619,124 8 8 105.2% 31.3% 24.4% -27.3% 9.1% 10.1% -11.1%
Oakland $625,500 $630,008 66 21 107.2% 6.9% 5.0% -9.6% 0.2% 8.8% -1.5%
Pleasanton $707,000 $705,733 15 23 102.2% 23.5% 18.0% 36.4% 13.4% 16.5% -21.1%
San Leandro $492,500 $476,375 8 13 100.9% 20.1% 13.0% -27.3% 11.0% 5.9% -27.3%
Union City $470,000 $504,750 12 21 103.2% 23.7% 18.4% 9.1% -2.0% -7.4% 0.0%

Mortgage Rate Outlook

Small Dip For Mortgage Rates At Summer's Close

September 1, 2017 -- Closing a summer that saw very little interest-rate drama, mortgage rates eased a little again this week, with the average conforming 30-year fixed rate attaining new 2017 lows. Another missile launch by North Korea, uncertain economic repercussions of the hurricane Harvey massive flooding event and a continuing lack of inflation saw investors edge a little toward safe-haven bonds, even as inflation premiums bled out of them a bit.

Despite a growing U.S. economy and economic improvement around the world, the continuing lack of rising price pressures calls into question the likelihood of another lift in the federal funds rate this year. It has been supposed that the Fed will announce the start of the process of trimming its balance sheet at its next meeting in just a couple of weeks, and that still seems on track, but if inflation doesn't start to reverse a recent trend the Fed will have a difficult time justifying the need for another rate increase.

Construction spending declined in July, falling by 0.6 percent. As has often been the case this year a rise in spending on residential construction projects has been overwhelmed by declines in commercial/industrial and public-works outlays. Spending for residential projects rose by 0.8 percent for the month, double the June pace, but non-residential outlays dropped by 1.9 percent, and public project spending fell by 1.4 percent. Seven months into 2017 and there has been only one month in the black for non-residential spending; retailers continue to struggle in the internet age, and there remains plenty of existing and unused capacity in the industrial sector yet as well. Public works spending has declined in 4 of 7 months so there's not much going on in the roads, bridges, schools and libraries component, either.

Mortgage rates continue to find more reasons to stay low with a slight downward bias than to turn up, and that seems likely to be the case again next week. We may not see any change in pattern until after next week at least, and probably not until after the next Fed meeting on September 19-20.

10 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A Home (That You May Have Missed)

By: Lisa Johnson Mandell

You’ve finally found it: a home you’re swooning over and dying to own. From the exposed ceiling beams to the hardwood floors, this feels like the place. So what’s next? Don’t just stand there dumbstruck; it’s time to dig deeper and ask questions—and not just the kind that randomly pop into your head, either. You need to hit all of the necessary topics head-on, and some of them are not so obvious.

But you’re in luck: We’ve pulled together a checklist of some of the most important initial questions to ask when buying a home:

What is the home’s sales history?

When was the last time the house sold, and how much did the current owners pay for it? This is essential intel, and you don’t even have to ask the seller or your real estate agent about it, because it’s posted on every MLS listing. All you have to do is scroll down to find it. But make sure you know it.

When buying a home, the previous sale price will give you a sense of what the sellers might expect you to pay—but keep in mind that a home’s true market value is based more on what comparable homes are selling for now rather than what it went for in the past, says Los Angeles Realtor® Jennifer Niman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Sales history will also show you whether the home’s price has been trending up or down over time, which can help you hone your negotiating stance.

Did the sellers make any major renovations or additions?

If they’ve overhauled the kitchen, added a bedroom, or finished the basement, you’ll want to know that—and, ideally, see receipts from contractors to get a sense of what they paid for these upgrades.

In general, this will give you a ballpark notion of how much money they’ve sunk into the home—and what they hope to get out. That said, don’t assume you have to fork over as much cash as they put in; home improvements generally reap only a 64% return on average. And that return on investment varies widely based on which renovation is done.

How much are the property taxes?

Property tax history is also typically available right on the listing detail page. If you can’t find it, ask the seller. You’ll want to find out what previous owners paid, but understand that the property tax, since it’s based on a percentage of the value of the house, will probably be affected by your purchase price. This could be a huge additional expense, and you’ll need to budget for that when putting together your offer.

What are the monthly maintenance and utility costs?

Is there any type of homeowners association fee? Find out. Also learn what kind of power the house uses, be it gas, oil, electric, or a combination, and ask what the average monthly bill for each is. Also inquire about water, waste removal, and any other utility costs that are applicable.

Has there ever been a broken pipe? Sewer backup?

This may sound trivial (not to mention unpleasant), but according to the Insurance Information Institute, broken pipes account for an estimated 22% of all home insurance losses. If the homeowner doesn’t ‘fess up, a good home inspector can probably find evidence of either one of these situations, so you might want to put these on your list of questions to ask your inspector, too.

How old is the roof?

The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® says the national median cost of an asphalt roofing replacement is about $7,600. It would be good to know how soon you might need to lay out that substantial amount of cash.

Have there ever been any pest infestations?

If there was an infestation, when were pest control procedures undertaken? No, this won’t necessarily mean the house is pest-free at the time you’re buying it, but it’s a good starting point to know the history. Many buyers require that termite treatment be included in the price; it’s easiest to tent for pest removal when the house is empty, between owners.

Are there warranties on the appliances, HVAC system, garage door, etc.?

And if so, can the homeowner provide the documentation? Ask for it. This can establish how old these features are, and give you an idea of when they might need to be replaced and how expensive it could be. It will also help you decide whether or not to buy a home warranty. 

What are the parking restrictions around the house?

Will guests need parking permits? How many permits are you, as the homeowner, allowed, and can you obtain more if you decide to throw a party? Also, check out the parking situation on the property itself. Will your car(s) fit in the garage? Is there room to park anywhere else on the property other than the driveway?

Does the house have any kind of unusual history?

In many states, owners are legally bound to disclose if a death or major crime has occurred recently on the premises, but there are other circumstances you should be aware of as well. For example: Did anyone famous ever live there? Was it ever used in a film, TV series, or commercial? If so, you might have to deal with fans ringing your doorbell or driving by at all hours of the day or night.

Oh, and if the house has a history of being haunted or paranormally “stigmatized,” you might have a little extra negotiating power when buying a home. Thanks, ghosts.