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San Ramon Valley – Are We In A Housing Bubble

Are We In A Housing Bubble?

CoreLogic reported that home prices in 33 states are at or within 10 percent of record highs. Home prices increased 6.3 percent year over year and with limited inventories across the country, some economists are starting to worry about localized bubbles. (Source: C.A.R. Market Matters)

Investopedia’s Explanation for Housing Bubble

“Traditionally, housing markets are not as prone to bubbles as other financial markets due to large transaction and carrying costs associated with owning a house. However, a combination of very low interest rates and a loosening of credit underwriting standards can bring borrowers into the market, fueling demand. A rise in interest rates and a tightening of credit standards can lessen demand, causing a housing bubble to burst. Other general economic and demographic trends can also fuel and burst a housing bubble. “

We have definitely seen the increase of home prices in the San Ramon Valley upwards of 10% to 15% annually for the past three years in some areas. Much of the run up in prices is due to limited inventories of homes for sale and low interest rates. There is more demand than supply. Let’s look at the average median prices from 2013 thru the first half of 2015 for San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton, Alamo, Walnut Creek.

Comparison of Median Sales Prices

2013 2014 2015
Alamo $1,305,000 $1,477,500 +12% $1,525,000 +3%
Danville $955,000 1,080,000 +12% $1,140,00 +5%
Dublin $740,000 $830,000 +11% $915,000 +9%
Pleasanton $851,000 $915,000 +  7% $983,500 +7%
San Ramon $845,650 $900,000 + 6% $1,042,494 +14%
Walnut Creek $790,000 $875,000 +10% $928,000 +6%

 

 

Lending standards are still tight unlike the last run up. And most people buying today are not doing so on speculation. Their goal is to own a home. These buyers are not highly leveraged as a good portion are making sizeable down payments or even paying cash. The San Ramon area is very strong and has always been due to schools, location, companies in the area and quality of life.

 

Will we see a slowdown in the market – I believe so. As prices keep going up affordability along with an increase in interest rates will certainly decrease demand but nothing like the bubble burst of 2008.  As more than one person stated…the only time we know for sure if it is a bubble is when it pops.

Tri-Valley Real Estate Results 2014 vs 2013

The Tri-Valley real estate results for 2014 versus 2013. The Tri-Valley cities for this report are Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore.

As shown, 2014 was another great year for our real estate market. Prices were up in all the cities. Predictions for going forward are we will see slight increases in home prices as appreciation rates will fall off a bit, 3 to 5% range.

2013

2014

% Change
Alamo
# Sales 215 238 10%
Avg. Sales Price $1,382,817 $1,583,812 13%
Avg. DOM 36 36
Danville
# Sales 629 597 -5%
Avg. Sales Price $1,047,875 $1,186,075 12%
Avg. DOM 23 23
San Ramon
# Sales 766 721 6%
Avg. Sales Price $884,433 $959,081 8%
Avg. DOM 16 19 11%
Walnut Creek
# Sales 595 506 -15%
Avg. Sales Price $845,294 $935,481 10%
Avg. DOM 20 24 16%
Dublin
# Sales 422 507 17%
Avg. Sales Price $776,403 $879,236 12%
Avg. DOM 19 36 53%
Pleasanton
# Sales 655 652 -2%
Avg. Sales Price $1,032,716 $1,092,916 5%
Avg. DOM 21 20
Livermore
# Sales 981 896 -10%
Avg. Sales Price $619,465 $702,083 12%
Avg. DOM 19 24

20%

 

 

 

 

2015 California Housing Forecast

According to CAR (California Association of Realtors), 2015 looks to be another good year for the real estate market. While the double digit appreciation can’t be expected, most areas will achieve modest gains for the next couple of years.  As the economy improves so does the Real Estate Market. Those of us who live in the East Bay are lucky as the jobs in the surrounding areas has kept the demand for single family houses on the upswing. And as the article points out, interest rates will not rise significantly.

2015 California Housing Forecast

With more available homes on the market for sale, California’s housing market will see fewer investors and a return to traditional home buyers as home sales rise modestly and prices flatten out in 2015, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2015 California Housing Market Forecast.”

The C.A.R. forecast sees an increase in existing home sales of 5.8 percent next year to reach 402,500 units, up from the projected 2014 sales figure of 380,500 homes sold. Sales in 2014 will be down 8.2 percent from the 414,300 existing, single-family homes sold in 2013.
“Stringent underwriting guidelines and double-digit home price increases over the past two years have significantly impacted housing affordability in California, forcing some buyers to delay their home purchase,” said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. “However, next year, home price gains will slow, allowing would-be buyers who have been saving for a down payment to be in a better financial position to make a home purchase.”

The average for 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates will rise only slightly to 4.5 percent but will still remain at historically low levels. The California median home price is forecast to increase 5.2 percent to $478,700 in 2015, following a projected 11.8 percent increase in 2014 to $455,000. This is the slowest rate of price appreciation in four years.

“With the U.S. economy expected to grow more robustly than it has in the past five years and housing inventory continuing to improve, California housing sales and prices will see a modest upward trend in 2015,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “While the Fed will likely end its quantitative easing program by the end of this year, it has had minimal impact on interest rates, which should only inch up slightly and remain low throughout 2015. This should help moderate the decline in housing affordability we saw occur over the past two years.”
Source: CAR

4 Year Wait to Purchase a Home?

Fannie Mae may be changing the rules in the next 45 days for the wait period for people who have had a short sale. Currently a buyer could purchase another home after two years of the final short sale completion. Of course, the hardship had to be documented as to the reason for the short sale.

There is rumor — and a strong one— from many mortgage folks that by mid August the rules will change and buyers will now have to wait four years to repurchase.

This is further encouragement for anyone contemplating a home purchase who has had a short sale, to take action now. If you have already exceeded the two year mark and you now have to wait another two years, the market I am sure will be quite different. Higher prices and if not home prices, definitely higher interest rates.

Bottom line if you are in a position to purchase, get moving!

 

What Do Economists Know About Future Home Price Appreciation?

I am constantly being asked if we are in a "bubble" again because of how hight prices have risen in both Alameda and Contra Costa County over the past two years. It is anyone's guess.

Pulsenomics puts out a Home Price Expectation Survey quarterly and the survey is sent to over one hundred economists, real estate expers and investment and market strategists asking what where the believe home prices are headed.

The results of the survey indicate that home values will appreciate on average 4.4% in 2014. Even those that are pessamistic beleive at the very worst nationwide we will see a 2% appreciation rate.

The slower growth rate is good for the housing market and is much more sustainable than the double digit appreciation we have seen here in the Contra Costa and Alameda real estate markets.

Source: kcm.com

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