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December 23, 2005

Sales Of New Homes Tumble

US new home sales fell 11% in November, the biggest drop since 1995, and at 1.25m homes sold, the lowest pace since January. It is important to note that new home sales are considered to be even more of a leading indicator of market health than existing home sales (which dropped 10.8% last month in the Bay Area).

New home sales tumble 11 percent [CNN]
New Home Sales Fall More Than Expected [SFGate]
QuickLinks: Housing Sales Slowdown [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:25 AM

December 19, 2005

2006 California Housing Forecasts

Economic forecasts for 2006 are hitting the wire. With respect to 2006 housing prices, Wells Fargo is forecasting a 5.7% increase for Northern California, while FORTUNE is forecasting an anemic .1% growth for San Francisco in 2006 (-2.9% in 2007). From FORTUNE:

Nationally, the overall outlook seems reasonable: 7 percent appreciation for 2006 and flat for 2007. But markets that have seen the greatest appreciation over the past five years appear to be vulnerable.

Indeed, at some point in the next two years, according to the forecast, a third of the nation's 100 largest metro areas (accounting for 60 percent of the U.S. population) are expected to see modestly falling house prices.

Real estate bear markets often come in the form of steady declines over many years, rather than sudden sharp drops...As inflation gradually gnaws away at the value of nominal home prices, regular folks might not take much notice [ed: emphasis added]. But in the long run the loss of wealth becomes all too real.

For newcomers to the market and those with low-money-down deals who may have overleveraged themselves with adjustable-rate mortgages, even a modest downturn could mean financial jeopardy.

So keep reading SocketSite and avoid becoming one of those aforementioned "regular folks"...

Exclusive forecasts for the 100 largest markets [CNN/Money]
Wells Fargo Northern California Economic Report - pdf [Wells Fargo]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:36 PM

Those Damn Neighbors

2401 Vallejo (on the corner)

The listing price for the two bedroom house at 2401 Vallejo has been reduced $230,000 (to $1.99m). The property had been sitting on the market at $2.25m when their next-door neighbors put their more modern house on the market for $1.95m. Those damn comps (and neighbors).

Listing: 2401 Vallejo, $1.99m [Pacific Union]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM

December 15, 2005

QuickLinks: Housing Sales Slowdown

Bay Area home sales dip, but prices remain strong [SFGate]
Sales of new homes plunge [sacbee]
Resale housing market continues to cool [Auburn Journal]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:12 PM

December 12, 2005

FSBO: SF

NY: 29 Tiffany

Perfectly said by the folks at apartment therapy, “In an effort to help apartment owners who are looking to sell without a broker and to show off cool apartments to readers looking for them, we are posting good ones that we stumble upon.” We like it, and we’re running with it in San Francisco.

If you’re not using a broker (i.e. For Sale By Owner), and trying to get the word out on your spectacular condo or house, let us help (submit an overview and media to fsbo@socketsite.com). And if you’re in the market, keep an eye on the site. Please note that we reserve the right to be (very) selective in what we choose to profile.

4 Sale by Owner: 29 Tiffany, Bklyn, NY [apartment therapy]
FSBO Listing: 29 Tiffany 6L, Brooklyn ($599k)

Posted by socketadmin at 6:42 PM

San Francisco's Shrinking

U-Haul

More coverage of the net migration out of San Francisco that we first reported in June: according to CNN/Money, three percent of San Francisco's population has moved to Stockton, Sacramento, and Vallejo. That’s 21,000 fewer buyers/renters milling about the city.

High housing prices are driving residents from many U.S. metro areas [CNN/Money]
San Francisco Population Drops 4.2% [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM

December 11, 2005

San Francisco Perspective: Condominium Developments

Numerous new San Francisco condominium developments have recently, or will soon, come on the market. The nine developments below represent approximately 1,300 new condo units and are but a few of the new developments in the works within the city limits. For perspective, there are currently 427 San Francisco condominiums listed for sale on the SF MLS.

The Beacon, 595 units
The Palms San Francisco, 300 units
The Watermark, 136 units
St. Regis Residences, 102 units
The Lansing, 82 units
Sierra Heights, 67 units
69 Clementina, 18 units
939 Jackson Street, 9 units
Shipley Square

Posted by socketadmin at 11:24 PM

Feel Our Pain (And Avoid Your Own)

A corrupt hard drive reduced our office to ruble (and our staff to tears) last week. Take it from us, spending four days reinstalling software, recovering files from a week-old backup, and then trying to recreate a week of Outlook calendar, inbox, and story changes could drive a person mad, is a complete waste of time, and just plain sucks.

Never again! This week we’re installing a Lasso Continuous Data Protection Appliance. We’re biased, but no blog (or business) should be without one. We had to learn the hard way. You don’t.

And now back to what we really should have been working on over the past four days...

Posted by socketadmin at 10:55 PM

December 7, 2005

UCLA Anderson’s California Economic Forecast

The Chronicle highlights the most recent UCLA Anderson Forecast:

1. Slower job growth but no recession
2. Home prices flatten but don't plunge
3. A change at the Fed adds to uncertainty

Sluggish growth seen for state; Experts say real estate boom will cool [Chronicle]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:33 AM

December 3, 2005

SocketSnaps: Hayes Valley Holiday Block Party 2005

Hayes Valley Holiday Block Party.jpg

Hopefully you made it to the Hayes Valley Holiday Block Party. It was perfect holiday weather, shopping, and cheer.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM

December 2, 2005

Yes, Yes, No!

Here we were, just about to close the office early and start getting ready for the Hayes Valley Holiday Block Party, when a story from The Bakersfield Californian lands in our inbox with a thud...

When house prices plummeted in the early 1990s, especially in Southern California, there was a serious recession, said Delores Conway at the University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate.

Thousands of people lost their jobs and put their houses on the market, creating a huge surplus.

“As long as we have a steady job growth then people are not forced to sell,” Conway said. Even if house prices do dip, it should be a minimal drop, she said.

You have got to be kidding. Yes, house prices in Southern California plummeted in the early 90’s. And yes, individual financial hardship resulted in a huge surplus of properties. But NO, in this environment it’s not going to be “steady job growth” that determines whether or not people are forced to sell.

This time around, think over-leveraged buyers holding short-term interest only or adjustable rate mortgages, and novice "investors" with a portfolio of negative cash flow properties (and limited cash reserves). These are the new factors that will lead to forced selling (and potential surpluses). With, or without, job growth.

Economist: Local housing market should stay strong [Bakersfield.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:04 AM

Confessions Of A Real Estate Agent

Bernice Ross opens up on Inman News today. The first two paragraphs of her article:

The buzz at NAR [National Association of Realtors®] is that even the most heated markets are now slowing. Inventories are increasing at a dramatic rate. Could the next buyer's market be just around the corner?”

“A buyer's market is our industry's worst nightmare. Unlike a seller's market where there is limited inventory and what is listed sells quickly, a buyer's market is one where there is too much inventory and very little activity. Worse yet, while sellers cannot underprice their property in a strong seller's market, in a buyer's market, overpricing is the kiss of death. Imagine a market where prices are going down 1.5 percent per month. (This was the case in Southern California in the early 1990s.) You work hard to obtain a price reduction and then the market takes another nosedive even before you can post your price reduction to the MLS. Your sellers become increasingly more desperate and often blame you because no matter what you do, their property doesn't sell.”

We’re expecting lots of kisses over the next couple of years...

Buyer's market puts scare into real estate agents [Inman News - $]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:53 AM