At the end of each quarter Vanessa Bergmark, Red Oak’s Owner and CEO, addresses over a hundred agents and staff members at the company’s weekly meeting to give an overview of the East Bay’s residential real estate market and present the sales figures from the closing quarter. Looking at year over year trends and current market conditions, Bergmark provides guidance to agents and often opens the floor to collectively discuss transactions, allowing agents to learn from one another’s experiences by sharing their individual client transactions. The summary below provides an overview of last month’s meeting which closed out the 3rd quarter, 2017.
Overall the real estate market in the East Bay saw less inventory in the third quarter as demand continued and pricing remained consistent and high. Nothing broke $6 million in the East Bay per MLS data, however, despite the year over year rise. Typically the median sales price for single family homes sees a dip in the third quarter, however we’ve noticed a consistent rise of approximately $100k in the East Bay, year over year, proving this to still be one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation.
(Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland & Piedmont.)
We’ve seen a slight shift in 2017 with the second quarter, always the strongest market for sellers, starting about a month earlier than in years past. Keeping this shift in mind, with 44% of properties sold in the second quarter of 2017 with a listing price above $1M, sellers should be preparing their properties now in order to enter the second quarter market in 2018. Think March, not April, especially for those higher priced properties in competitive neighborhoods with strong buyer demand. The non-traditional shifts continued with listings in September and October showing no signs of slowing this year, revealing a very confident market this Fall. This confidence was reiterated by the pace of market closings – very few homes in the third quarter had longer than a 21-day closing period.
Some interesting shifts have occurred in the neighborhood numbers this past quarter as well. For example, we are seeing a 24% increase in median sales price year over year for Upper Rockridge coming in at $1.8M, outpacing Lower Rockridge whose year over year median price dropped by 6%. In addition to that, Montclair’s median sales price of $1.2M is unusually high, especially for the third quarter.
So what’s a seller to do? Trends are revealing that what matters most to buyers these days is their time, especially as it relates to time spent commuting in traffic and/or remodeling their homes. Kitchens matter more than ever, buyers want a finished kitchen and an accessible backyard. Space remains a big draw for buyers, many of whom come from the city and compare pricing by square footage. While not an apples to apples comparison when considering East Bay neighborhoods, it remains a measure by which many buyers consider looking at homes.
An additional factor to consider will be the increase in housing demand as a result of the North Bay fires. Inventory plummeted due to the recent fires and houses in the North Bay began going into contract immediately as a result, pushing rental prices up so high that insurance companies began approving rentals to fire victims as high as $20k a month. We should expect to see effects from the fire on housing prices all around the Bay Area, including the East Bay markets.
Overall one of the biggest takeaways revealed in the recent numbers is that we remain in a strong seller’s market, with numbers climbing up each quarter, bucking some of the more traditional trends. What does this all mean? For buyers, waiting to purchase at this point is sure to cost them in the coming months. And sellers interested in taking advantage of the 2Q 2018 market should be getting their homes “Pinterest-ready” now, March will be upon us before we know it.
Data Source: MLS