Welcome to Alan Wang's Real Estate Blogger. Alan specializes in residential Real Estate fully representing Buyers and Sellers with their Real Estate Needs. Check back here for market outlooks, mortgage rates and new listings! I am also available online at http://www.alanwangrealty.com.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Q4 2011 Real Estate Update
Greetings to you all and as the holiday season approaches, I wanted to wish you and your family a holiday season. I wanted to send out a my Q4 Real Estate update before you all head out for the holidays. In my 8 years in this business, this year may rank as the best year in my career. I am blessed and thankful for each and everyone of you who continue to refer me to your friends, family and co-workers; over half of my business was from you as my clients referring my name. Again thank you all for remembering me when it comes to your Real Estate needs.
The market has unfolded as I predicted in 2010. Whereas in 2010 School Sensitive Buyers were buying, this year ALL segments are buying. If you recall earlier this year I said that 2011 is the last year to buy for those of you that wanted to take advantage of the downturn; that bottom has longed passed. Multiple Buyers of mine are looking very hard, but not finding much to buy. Inventory supply levels are low and Buyer demand high. Economics dictates that this means we are in a Seller's market overall. Many of my Buyers are shocked when I say this and the tough lesson gets learned when low offers get rejected while more reasonable offers get accepted. We are in a new market unfortunately so do adjust your expectations accordingly going into 2012. My hope is that there is more inventory in the new year to meet this demand, however right now we are entering a slow period with Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I am expecting inventory levels to remain low.
There has been a surprising come back of Townhomes! My customer segments that do not prioritize schools as high, but rather want to live in a newer town home close to work have taken flight. I think this is a good call as Town homes have been a bargain buy from peak, so much so that there are low inventories in this class of property as well just over the last few months.
Property Taxes Due 11/1 Overdue on 12/10
Remember that property tax is due on 11/1 but you have until 12/10 to pay them without a penalty. After 12/10 penalties will apply. Here are the links to your respective counties accessor sites. You usually can search by your address but if you need your Accessors Parcel Number (APN) let me know!
Santa Clara - http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/tax/
Alameda - http://www.acgov.org/assessor/assrinfo.htm
San Mateo - http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/
I am very excited to announce that I will be featured on House Hunters around the May timeframe next year! We just wrapped up 4 full days of filming a few weeks back, with some finishing touches in November. This will air on HGTV. For those of you that are not familiar with House Hunters, initially they start with the Buyer requirements, I show my client 3 homes and go through the pros and cons of the home. They then weigh the pros and cons then they select the home at the end of the show. Since I announced this, I couldn't believe how many people watch this show! I'll send more details once I get the exact air date. It's been a ton of fun to dabble in acting and even more exciting when you don't need to act, they let me be myself the way I usually operate. Welcome to reality TV!
Mortgage Loan Limit Changes
On October 1st, the Conforming Jumbo loan went away and today a Conforming Loan in Santa Clara/Alameda/San Mateo County goes for loan amounts less than $625,500 while the Jumbo loan are loans above $625,500. For those of you that are buying over the $1 million dollar mark the variable second loan has returned for the delta between $625,500 and the loan amount that you need.
- Possible new pocket listing, fully re-modeled and expanded single family home in San Jose Berryessa, more details to come
- There is a subdivision of 4 brand new homes I've been watching for over a year. It's located in Mountain right on the border of Varsity Park/Los Altos border going between $1,278,000 to $1,358,000 for 1,800 to 2,000 square feet. The schools are Mountain View schools though but an opportunity nonetheless. Let me know if you are interested before they are released.
- There is a new Townhome development in which I really like the 3 and 4 bedroom models in the middle of the Bay Area, great location, 2 of my clients bought already, ask me about them!
- There is a new Santa Clara Townhome development as well let me know
- 5117 Fioli Loop in San Ramon earned my fastest close ever in 14 days! We were $50,000 under market price and $25,000 under the appraisal price, great deal!
- 10220 Sterling Blvd in Cupertino - Sale Pending a lovely brand new home development boasting 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, stunning!
- New Townhome development closed, bought in the first release and lines continue for this lovely model!
If you have thought about selling your home in 2011, do contact me so I can assess where you live. I generally would not advise selling during the holiday season but depending on where you live, this market may allow you to do so and close fairly quickly. Buyers, do expect low inventory at this time which means getting a "deal" most likely won't happen, "multiple offers" is more likely. We have to deploy different strategies in a new market. Not all areas are showing low inventory levels. I've noticed Santa Clara, parts of West San Jose bordering Campbell/Santa Clara, Campbell, Fremont, Belmont, San Ramon seem to have Single Family Homes that have been sitting on the market for a longer period of time than usual. Some of these may need some work, but that is a way to get an under priced home and pour some investment to fixing it up.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
2011 Q3 Real Estate Update
Looking back at Q2 of this year, real estate activity was already equaling that of the entirety of 2010. What is even more amazing is that Q3 has kept me busy beyond what I had imagined and there is no end in site. The bottom line is that Buyers are buying and not enough Seller's are selling. Real Estate in the Bay Area has been on fire to date.
Micro Economy Santa Clara County
We are in the heart of technology and this sector is leading the US economy. Anything social was getting funded this year with most of them founded in the Silicon Valley. A foreign investor told me that it seemed that the United States showed activity in New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area while the rest of the United States is stagnant or in decline. I would agree with this assessment. We live in a unique pocket with Buyers and Sellers taking advantage of the low interest rates across the country to fuel this micro economy that we all live in. We have always had low supply in the Bay Area and there are new migrants of Tech workers arriving here for work everyday with the dream of home ownership. With the upcoming Technology IPO's there will be more money flowing around the valley and real estate will be on the top of minds.
Analyzing Single Family Homes in Santa Clara County, since December of 2010 there has been a non-stop tight race between Pending and Active home sales. Recently Pending homes have been exceeding Active homes which explains the overall low inventory level of homes I've been seeing. Analyzing Condominiums and Townhomes, since February of this year Pending homes have been exceeding Active homes again showing a clearing out of inventory in that class of homes as well.
Overall low supply and high demand is causing the return of multiple offers and I had to stand in line at a new home development on the release morning. It's not the year 2000, but it is slightly reminding me a little of those days.
Macro Economy United States
The US downgrade and concerns on Europe are causing much uncertainty in the market place. The stock market has been in a free fall so we'll have to see how this shakes out. However, there is good news, I've seen interest rates go further downward in the last few weeks. An article today stated that interest rates are the lowest in 50 years. Also the Fed has indicated it will keep rates low as well to try to send some security to the marketplace. The question specific to the valley is how will factors of the Macro Economy affect Venture Capital funding into technology start-ups and ultimately affect companies looking to liquidate and enter the public market place. Also how does consumer spending as well as enterprise spending affect companies in the valley from a Revenue and Cash Flow perspective. This will all trickle down into how much the average worker like you and I have to spend on housing. I do wish our politicians would be able to compile and execute a viable solution to our debt problem but it it not looking as if this is the case.
- There is a subdivision of 4 new homes I've been watching for over a year. It's located in Mountain right on the border of Varsity Park/Los Altos border going between $1.15M to $1.4. The schools are Mountain View schools though but an opportunity nonetheless. Let me know if you are interested before they are released.
- There is a new Townhome development in which I really like the 3 and 4 bedroom models in the middle of the Bay Area, ask me about them!
- There is a new Santa Clara townhome development that I am keeping an eye on, ask me for more details
Top Award in June
Again it is thanks to your trust and referrals that Keller Williams awarded me the Top Associate in Closed Volume, Closed Units and Written Volume. Thank you for all your support over the years and I continue to look forward to supporting you in your Real Estate needs.
Home Sales in Q3
I always like to give my clients real data from the market so you can gauge for yourself how things are going.
- 717 Madrone in Sunnyvale - Beat out 7 offers and did not overpay! It's all about having the right strategy that varies per home
- 107 Holly Terrace in Sunnyvale - Bank owned foreclosure sold to my Buyers under the comparable prices, picked up after another Buyer decided not to proceed
- 1343 Sarita Way in Santa Clara - This listing was in Sale Pending when the kitchen caught fire and we had to re-model and repair the inside. The local mailman went beyond the call of duty and saved the day! Check out the video! http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/category/watch-listen/video-on-demand/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6079667. Happy to say that after all the re-modeling and coordination, the home is now SOLD!
- New Home Development (x2) - Most popular plan in this new community sold to 2 sets of my Buyers. One home was part of a first phase release which typically always have the best prices, we moved fast and secured the home. The second home I had to stand in line for 2 hours before opening on release day and beat out at least 3 other interested parties in line for that exact unit
There is a-lot of uncertainty in the global economy over the last few weeks which is some cause for concern. Up until that point, Bay Area real estate was recovering nicely in Santa Clara County especially homes close to companies. Inventory remains generally low. We will have to monitor how the Macro Economy affects our Micro Economy. My advice if you have a stable job take advantage of the low rates and get out of that increasing monthly rent. If you are a homeowner call me so I can assess where your home is at and whether you should hold steady or sell at this time.
Again thank each and everyone of you for your business over the years and all the referrals you have entrusted me.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Keller Williams 3 Top Agent Awards!
Again it is thanks to your trust and referrals that Keller Williams awarded me the Top Associate in Closed Volume, Closed Units and Written Volume. Thank you for all your support over the years and I continue to look forward to supporting you.
Just Listed 1343 Sarita Way in Santa Clara
3 Bedroom, 2 and a half bath Townhome with 1,845 square footage. Largest floor plan just steps from the pool quietly situated near the center of the community. Elegant kitchen with newer cabinetry and granite counter tops. Pergo floors through out the property and as well as two-toned paint. Spacious backyard and ample parking for entertaining guests.
I'll be hosting an Open House Saturday and Sunday from 1:30PM - 4:30PM. Come visit me!
Click this link for further details:
Sold Single Family Home in Menlo Park
Congratulations to my clients who closed a lovely home in Menlo Park. 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bedroom home build from the ground up. For more new home developments ask me for more details!
Wishing everyone a happy June and as always let me know if you have any real estate needs.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Wonderfully Located Upgraded Townhome in Santa Clara for a Great Price!
- Kitchen Upgraded With Granite Counter tops and Newer Cabinetry
- Pergo Hardwood Floors Throughout
- Elegant Two Toned Paint & Recessed Lighting in Key Areas
- Walking Distance to Award Winning Schools
- Spacious Backyard for Entertaining Guests
- HOA Dues of $421 Include Water, Exterior, Pool and Front Yard Maintenance
- Convenient access to 101, 237 and Lawrence Expressway
Saturday, April 23, 2011
2011 Q2 Real Estate Update
As we approach the end of Q2 this year, I wanted to send on my latest update on the real estate market. As predicted in my 2010 year in review, this year has unfolded as forecasted. Buyers have moved on homes in spades since the New Year. I spent some time in my loan processors office and they have so many files which is clear evidence that our local market is picking up on the buying side. I remember a processor saying that "this is the last year to buy," I fully agree with this statement for you deal hunters out there.
Within my own client base, 1 home closed earlier in the year, 3 of my clients closed on their homes in the last 2 weeks with 2 more homes are in pending and will be closed in the next 2 months.
If you are a Buyer I would suggest not waiting too much longer! Spring has begun and there are fewer homes during this time and Buyer's are starting to emerge. The summer will bring more homes but also more Buyers who will look to move their children during this time to match the summer holiday.
Santa Clara County Inventory Update
I did a study of the trends since the recession over the last few years. I discovered that the Santa Clara County market recovered in May 2009. This is we when the Active homes met the Pending homes and from that inflection point onward, Actives and Pending have maintained a normal distance between each other whereas prior the Active homes were much higher than Pending homes. Inventory was clearing up until May 2009 which is consistent to how busy I was after May 2009 and idle prior to that point in time.
Market Update on Homes in Great School Districts
The old cliche of "Location, location, location" continues to hold true. Homes in Great School Districts are simply on fire overall. A Cupertino home a few weeks back sold with 10 offers and another with 17 offers! Part of the reason is that agents may price homes lower than the comparable prices, the other part is simply the demand driving homes prices onward and upward. Homes that are heavily upgraded and in move-in condition, will generally sell with more offers than a home that needs to be re-done. Either way multiple offers will be prevalent. Ask me how to win these homes, I've won 2 already and we didn't overpay. I've been able to differentiate my clients to beat out multiple offers, ask me how!
Good Elementary Schools
When I say good, I mean schools in the upper 800 API's to possibly lower 900's. There has been slightly a few more homes in these areas that have been on the market. It is unclear why, but if elementary schools are your focus at this time in your life, this maybe an opportunity for you to have your kids get through elementary school, build up equity, save money to make your next move into a better school district if that is your goal down the line.
Market Update on Homes With No School Districts
I've noticed that homes without supporting schools have been fairly slow. There maybe opportunity here for you if you are not looking for schools at this time.
As the Fed's Quantitative Easing 2 comes to a close, there are questions as to whether the Fed's will possibly raise interest rates. With rising pricing overall, there are inflationary concerns with the rate as low as it is. Even with low rates, the rest of the country's real estate market is still in shambles. We are in a micro-economy here where the job market is strong, led by the Tech industry who are hiring for the latest wave of the Social Web. There is another side that says once Quantitative Easing 2 ceases that our economy will falter due to the amount of debt and money press that has been occurring. There is no crystal ball so anything is possible.
Rates have calmed slightly from their rise in December. My clients have seen rates from 4.875% to 5.25% of late. It is unclear what the fed's will do to the lending rate which eventually will hit mortgages in the longer term. That being said, even a rate of 6% would be much better than the 12% my parents paid in the 80's for their mortgage.
New Home Development Phase 1
Ask me about a new home development with homes starting at $1.5M for homes from 2,700 square feet homes with 8,000 square foot lots in a great area! Get in on the first phase, prices will rise after each sale in a great community of 50 homes. Schools are in the upper 800's.
Highlights From Recent Transactions
Recently Sold & Pending Homes
- 1390 LLOYD WY, Mountain View, CA 94040 - SOLD! Single Family home in Mountain View Varsity Park area at the Los Altos border. Home required a re-model but still had one more over bid that beat us in price but I had other ways to differentiate my clients that put us in a winning position. As I mentioned a home not upgraded will not draw as many bidders as a re-modeled home. Still pleased to get this home in a great location with Los Altos Schools! An example that just because another competitor has more money, there are other things that could make a greater difference depending on the situation. - Property Details
- New Home Development, Mountain View's Varsity Park! - SOLD! My clients moved into this wonderful new home development in the sought after Varsity Park going to Los Altos Schools. There is only one more model left ask me where and I can negotiate for you.
- 1684 MARCO DR, San Jose, CA 95131 - SOLD! If you don't need schools right now, this is a great example of an opportunity for you. Over $30,000 under comps, where you can get a Single Family Home re-modeled within 25 years of age for $562,000! A brand new townhome development within 2 miles was selling for $510,000 and for $50,000 more we got a Single Family Home what a great value!
- New Home Development, Sunnyvale, CA 94089 - SOLD! A brand new Townhome bought in the first phase and subsequent prices have increased. Again I always like to get my clients in the first release so you can ride the incremental price increases thereafter! Ask me where this is and if this would fit your family!
- 10535 FELTON WY, Cupertino, CA 95014 - SALE PENDING! A Single Family Home Rebuilt 2 years ago sold for the same price as comps of the same size that are 40 to 50 years old! That is immediate value! I had to competed with 3 other offers but came out on top again due to being knowing how to differentiate my clients better and not overpay.
- New Home Development, Menlo Park, CA - SALE PENDING! This home will close in the month of May as the home was bought during a down market and has already sold out.
Many people ask me high level questions about real estate, but the truth is it always depends. It depends on where you own your house, how much you want to spend and what your values are. Once I analyze those components that make up your dream, I can tie those back to the reality of the market and your budget most importantly. Schedule an appointment with me to explore those dreams and let me help you or someone you know who has real estate needs. Here's to a great Q2 , Q3 and onward!
Again thank you all for your trust and referrals in my 8th year in the business!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Real Estate Industry Survey
Survey link: http://tinyurl.com/4lg8ntf
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
IBM Thinkpad PC to MacBook Air Migration
3 years ago I tried to move from a PC to a Macbook and I struggled to the point of utter frustration. Folks know me as a pretty loyal PC user especially towards IBM Thinkpads. It was easy to fallback on the comfort of what I've been using since I was a child (yes DOS CLI and Windows 3.1 onward). It seems that it is harder on folks who are used to Windows than someone that starts fresh.
This time around I requested a Mac expert to give me a 15 minute quick start and I have to say that was invaluable. He showed me the equivalents on Mac; Explorer = Finder, System Preferences = Control Panel and the Applications folder. Also more importantly all the shortcut keys fn F8 - F12, etc. Another useful one is the Ctrl right bottom corner of the mousepad to right click. Figuring out the 2 finger scrolling and and 3 home and end scrolling really sped up my user experience. Then of course Mail, Calendaring, IM and VMware access.
With this quick start, the ease of us of the Mac took itself away. Right off the bat as I had my PC and Mac side by side, the Mac's multi-tasking ability (thanks to the good old Unix backend) is superior to the PC. On multiple occasions my PC was frozen and rebooting, the Mac continued to run seamlessly. We'll see in the long run if it can sustain this level of performance but so far so good. Since more and more applications run on the web/cloud/saas, there is less of a need for me to have windows specific software, though the ones I need all have a Mac installation.
MacBook Air Wins
- Sleek design and weight hands down excellent
- Stabilility - Thus far much more stable then a PC
- Faster Performance - Though lags occasionally still superior at this juncture
- Printer Setups - Very easy on any printer on the network including home!
- Mail Setups - Easy on every client, Entourage (bit slow on updating mailboxes), I am using Apple Mail now which performs well
- Calendaring - Took a little getting used to but decent on iCal
- Adium - Is an awesome IM tool, much better than Pidgin for IM's and Trillian for IRC on the PC. It's simple to setup and seamless to chat on this interface
- VMWare Fusion - I almost defaulted back to Outlook on the VM but found that iCal and Apple mail perform sufficiently so that I don't need to use calendaring or fallback to Outlook. Remember it's fn + control + alt/option + delete to unlock the desktop to login. I have not had a need to use the VM. But the VM provides a very nice native feel to using Microsoft application if a need ever arised. You could also allocate one of your workspaces for your Windows applications if so desired.
MacBook Air Shortcomings
- Disk space 128GB is a bit on the low side. I moved my documents and critical files over and I only have 40GB left (Did not migrate my Outlook pst file). I hoard e-mail beyond what the Outlook server allows and I move it locally to store in case I need it for the future. If I migrated these mailboxes, space would be chewed up very quickly. My concern is if folks need native applications to do their jobs there may not be enough space as well.- Does not allow me to dual screen on my 2-24 inch monitors- Lack of some kind of dock as I dock frequently at work and at home (no home solution yet)- Battery Life - It's not bad for the size of the computer but I've managed to get as much as 5 hours or as little as 4 hours if I am constantly working on the machine- I've heard complaints on the Network jack extension needed, I haven't had a need for it but with spotty wireless or need for faster download/upload times I understand the possible need for this
The Bottom Line
I will be keeping the MacBook Air and saying goodbye to my PC, I don't think that I can ever go back. It's a whole new world!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Real Estate 2010 Year in Review
Real Estate 2010 Year in Review
I wanted to wish you and your families a Happy New Year! I first and foremost wanted to thank each and every one of you for your trust in your own transactions as well as your referrals. It is because of you that I am able to sustain this business through very difficult economical times.
The first question I am typically asked is the status of the Bay Area real estate market. Most people expect a pessimistic answer but they are often surprised by my reply. I continue to see 2 markets; areas with good school districts and areas without. Many of my clients have been competing for homes in Los Altos, Cupertino and Mountain View and each time I have been met with 5 to 10 offers on these homes extending beyond the list price. Even homes with high API elementary schools have been competitive, with low overall inventory levels for these locations. On the other hand homes not supported by schools have generally seen less activity especially town homes and condominiums.
Interest rates saw some lows down to 4.5% for conforming jumbo loans, but have now increased in the last 2 weeks closer to 5%. It will be interesting to see what interest rates will do in the New Year but still very attractive interest rates nonetheless. It is unclear why the mortgage rates are on the rise, some are tying this to the recent action by the feds that Ben Bernake calls "Quantitative Easing" which was supposed to help the economy but maybe having the opposite effect on rates. We will look towards 2011 to see what the rates do.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that if you are living in one of these locations supported by a great school district it is a sell opportunity. If you are looking to buy in one of these locations, don't expect a deal, come in strong on terms, price and be able to close fast. If you are living in a location that is not supported by schools or in a condominium or townhome, I would generally say hold for now, unless you have a ton of equity we can evaluate your situation. If you are a Buyer that is looking to purchase in a non-school supported area or a townhome or condominium, this is a great buy opportunity. These are general trends I am seeing, be sure to meet with me to analyze your particular home situation.
Buyer's will continue to pursue homes in good school districts as they always had, however most recently my Buyers of the second market have began to inquire on homes. I expect that in 2011 both markets will continue to purchase real estate and lead the Bay Area market through a slow recovery.
2649 Media Way in San Jose - Multiple offers sold to my Buyers
1104 Castleton Way in Sunnyvale - Sold $50,000 under list price to my Buyers
608 Angus Drive in Milpitas - Listing sold with multiple offers
3436 Chemin de Riviere in San Jose - Multiple offers sold to my Buyers
20211 Merida Drive in Saratoga - Listing sold with multiple offers
309 Homewood Lane in Menlo Park - Negotiated a low price for my Buyers
593 Angus Drive in Milpitas - Listing sold pre-market to my Buyers
Marilyn Drive in Mountain View - Negotiated a great price and package for my Buyers
Here's to 2011!
If you, your family or friends have any real estate needs please don't hesitate to contact me. I am always ready to assist you in any way possible. I wish you a prosperous 2011!
Happy New Year!