2018 California Housing Forecast

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Commentary

Watch the 2018 California Housing Forecast Video Also available in audio-only format on the Bay to Bay Podcast Last October, I was fortunate enough to attend the California Association of Realtors Conference and Expo in San Diego.  One of the highlights of the multi-day event was the presentation given by Leslie Appleton-Young, the Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).  The presentation was a 2018 California Housing Forecast, and included very detailed charts and statistics. I recorded the audio of the presentation on my iPhone and received the PowerPoint slides later from Leslie herself.  With the audio and the slides, I was able to create the video you see here on this page. It should be noted that the much of the presentation details what had already happened in California in 2017.  After all, much of what will happen in 2018 will be dictated by what happened in the past.  And some of the presentation is intended for the audience seated in the hall that day, that is to say, members of the California Association of REALTORS. But most of the information will be of considerable interest to anyone who is concerned with housing in California.  Given the incredibly high cost of housing here, I figure you’ll be interested in a lot of this information whether you rent or own. Key Points from the 2018 California Housing Forecast US economic and job growth expanding Job growth continuing, but slowing, in California Mortgage interest rates rising to 4.3% average for year U.S. GDP to grow … Read More

How Can You Get Multiple Offers on Your Home?

sebfreyCommentary, Marketing

Getting an Offer on your Home

Many homes in our area sell for over asking price – sometimes, a lot over asking. However, that doesn’t just happen by magic!  Almost always, this is the happy result of a good old-fashioned bidding war. But how can you get multiple offers when you go to sell your own home, and ignite a hot bidding war? In a nutshell, you need a carefully crafted marketing strategy to create a strong perception of value in the minds of prospective buyers so that they will come running, cash and offers in hand. The number 1 way to create value is to set a price that will attract buyers in droves. You’ll need to couple that price with an incredible online presentation that showcases your home and really makes it stand out against all the competition in the price range. Make it look like a home that buyers will absolutely have to get in the door to see. “ Set an offer deadline to create a sense of urgency among buyers. ”   You should also set an offer deadline to create a sense of urgency. If the buyer doesn’t move fast enough, they’ll miss it. Don’t review any offers before the deadline; you want to make sure that you have multiple offers in hand so that you can work the buyers against each other. Then, discover the one who loves your home more than the others; they will pay dearly for that feeling. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. In fact, I’ve … Read More

Can You Trust the Zillow Zestimate?


Zillow Logo

I’ve been getting asked a lot about the Zillow Zestimate lately. Here are a few of my thoughts. As you may or may not know, the Zestimate is created by using an algorithm that compares your home to others that have recently sold in the area. While this algorithm does take square footage, bedroom count, and other market data into account, there are many things that it doesn’t. “ Zillow is fun, but it’s not very accurate. ”   Things such as remodels, roof condition, the view, and the neighbors all have an impact on the home’s value. The Zestimate takes none of this into account. Zillow even said that the Zestimate is just a tool and shouldn’t be relied upon to determine a home’s value. It’s right on their website. Even the CEO of Zillow had his home overvalued by 40%. I like Zillow and I’m sure you do too. It’s a fun way to browse homes. However, if you’re trying to determine your home’s true market value, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help do that for you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update December 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

Real Estate Report

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and it may not be white, but at least it’s wet! I heard that the Sierras have seen the most snow this fall than any time in the past 30 years – so is it time to hit the slopes? Not for me – not yet, anyway. I would be remiss if I blew town before providing you with the latest news in this Santa Cruz Real Estate Update December 2016. This is the real estate market that just refuses to die. I listen to a number of real estate podcasts and pundits and they’re saying the sky is falling, or about to fall. Most of them don’t actually have any data to back up what they’re saying, and often fall back on the tired myth that real estate runs in 7-10 year cycles so we must be due for a correction, yes? Because around here, the market is – at least for the moment – in rude good health. The median price for single family homes in Santa Cruz county in November 2016 was $795,000 – and that’s up a hearty 13.6% from a year ago, when the median price was a measly $700,000. We also sold more homes this year compared to last – 145 homes closed in November, that’s up 12.4% from a year ago when only 129 homes sold in November 2015. And homes sold quicker this year, too – in an average of just 41 days, compared to 54 days this time … Read More

What Donald Trump’s Victory Means for Your Home’s Value

sebfreyCommentary, Mortgage

Donald Trump's Hair

Given the media coverage and all the polling predicting a narrow but solid victory for Hillary Clinton, many in California were surprised – some horrified, appalled, and outraged – when Donald Trump won enough states to claim an Electoral College victory and has been named President-Elect of the United States. However you may feel about The Donald and what it says about and means for America, the question that concerns me at the moment is what Donald Trump’s victory means for your home’s value? It’s an important question, of course, because so much of our net worth is tied up in our home values. If a Trump presidency turns out to mean even higher home prices, that’s good news for folks who already own homes, or who buy them, quick. On the other hand, might Trump’s administration result in a global trade war, total economic collapse, plummeting home prices and waves of foreclosures – again? The thing about the real estate market is that it is comparatively slow to react to changes in the economic landscape. The results of changes to fiscal or monetary policy can take months – or often times years – to work their way through the real estate market. Other markets, though, are much quicker to react. You may have heard that bond prices took a dive immediately after Trump’s victory. This is because the bond market believes that a Trump administration means sharply increased government borrowing and a rise in inflation. When bond prices take a dive, the inverse of that … Read More

The Honest Truth about Your Home’s List Price


Watch this Video First I want to be brutally honest with you about something that’s going to be very important to know, should you decide to put your home up for sale. It’s about the price that you choose to put your home on the market for. I want to give you the honest truth about your home’s list price. Ready? Here it is: in most cases, your home’s list price actually has little to do with what your home is going to sell for. In reality, your home’s list price is actually all about your marketing strategy. When deciding on a list price, one of the key questions you want to ask yourself is, “How long do I want my home to be on the market?” It is perhaps not surprising to hear that the higher the initial listing price (relative to competing properties for sale in your market), the longer you can expect it will take for your home to sell. Sales statistics show that the longer your home sits on the market, there is an increasing likelihood that your home will sell for less than list price, and that typically, the longer it sits, the greater the “discount” off list price. It’s a hard way to learn that you’ve overpriced your home. Funnily enough, sales statistics also show that the opposite is true: when homes sell quickly, they often sell at full asking price, and in our market, they commonly sell for a healthy premium over asking price. So when it comes to … Read More

California 2017 Real Estate Market Forecast

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Local, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

California 2017 Real Estate Forecast

Last week, I attended a presentation by Leslie Appleton-Young, who is the Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors (CAR). She gave a very interesting presentation, most of which was actually about what’s happened so far in 2016, finishing up with a California 2017 real estate market forecast.  Listening to what she has to say really helps understand why the California real estate market looks the way it does today. While much of her discussion was about today’s real estate market, she did devote considerable time to where the market is headed in 2017.  I recorded the audio of the presentation on my iPhone, and downloaded her deck of PowerPoint slides. I married up the audio with the slides to create a video presentation – it’s nearly 50 minutes long, and you can view right here: Video Presentation:  California 2017 Real Estate Market Forecast There’s a whole lot of detail and a ton of interesting insights into the California economy and housing markets, and if you do have the time, it’s highly worth listing to and watching. But in case you don’t, I wanted to pull out a few tidbits, quotes, and statistics I think you will find interesting. They are here: According to Leslie, the Bay Area economy is strongest, fastest growing economy in the country CAR is projecting a 6.2% median home price increase for 2016 California as a whole has a median price that remains 12.6% below the prior peak Santa Cruz county is up 5.6% over prior peak Santa Clara up 21.4% San Mateo … Read More

Jerry Brown and the California Governor’s Mansion


California Governor's Mansion

A month or so ago, I went to Sacramento for the California Association of Realtors Legislative Day.   I had been hearing about “Leg Day” for years, but this is the first year I’ve attended – and, I must admit, it was a really great experience.  I won’t get into everything that went on at Leg Day, but I wanted to share this video I shot on my iPhone, of California Governor Jerry Brown talking a bit about the newly-restored California Governor’s Mansion, which he recently just moved in to for the first time. Video: Jerry Brown and the California Governor’s Mansion The story of Reagan’s “Taj Mahal” in Carmichael (an unincorporated area just outside the Sacramento city limits) has been reported many times, but hearing the governor tell the tale about how they found the $4 million to refurbish the historic Governor’s mansion – overly baroque and gauche though it may be – was news to me. I think it’s an interesting historical footnote, so I just thought I’d share. 🙂 The mansion had been open to the public for many of the years after the Reagan family moved out (check out the Yelp reviews). As the Governor is now occupying the mansion, it is no longer open to the public. I did however find a document from the California State Parks circa 1981 with a lot of pictures and descriptions of the building which I thought some of you might enjoy.

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update May 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

2102 West Cliff Drive

Did you see the newspaper headline from a couple of weeks back?  Here it is, check it out: This is the basically the same news I’d brought you a week before, with my Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Update for April.  But that’s yesterday’s news – so how is the market doing today, another month into spring? The median home price for single Family Homes in Santa Cruz county in April 2016 was…are you ready…$775,500.  This is a bit of a drop from both February and March, but it is up 3.4% from April a year ago, when the median home price was a cool $750,000. What’s YOUR home worth in today’s market? The Santa Cruz median home price has barely changed compared to a year ago – but how much is YOUR home worth in today’s market? Find out now with this free, quick, and accurate tool! An interesting fact is that homes sold in an average of just 30 days in April.  That’s an average.  That’s a really low average, which basically means that homes are selling like hot cakes.  For comparison purposes, a year ago, homes took 45 days to sell – and last April was certainly a blisteringly hot real estate market by anyone’s measure. My question is:  can it get any better for sellers than right now?   I don’t really see how. One thing I do see though is that some sellers are starting to get greedy.  They are setting asking prices higher than the market will bear, and for … Read More

Santa Cruz Real Estate Update April 2016

sebfreyLocal, Santa Cruz Real Estate

It wasn’t supposed to happen until 2022. That’s what they said after it all went south, anyway. We weren’t supposed to see home prices like we’d been seeing for 15, 16 years – well it just goes to show what “they” know, doesn’t it? The big news in the Santa Cruz Real Estate Update April 2016 is that the median home price in Santa Cruz county has now exceeded the prior all-time high set in November 2005. With just three complete months of home sales data under our belts in 2016, two months this year have already beaten the prior all-time high of $789,500. The median price for single-family homes in Santa Cruz county in February 2016 was $794,500 – and it was $790,000 in March 2016. What’s YOUR home worth in today’s market? The Santa Cruz median home price has barely changed compared to a year ago – but how much is YOUR home worth in today’s market? Find out now with this free, quick, and accurate tool! For those of you who can still vividly recall the bad-old days of 2005-2007, you may remember the debate surrounding the froth of the housing market. Irrational exuberance, housing bubble, any of that ring a bell? Now that we’ve exceeded these prior high prices, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves if we’re in an asset price bubble once again? Anyone? Bueller? Want the best price for YOUR Santa Cruz home? Have you checked out the SellForSure Home Sale System? It’s everything you need to know about making a … Read More