Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Luxury Home Prices Soar

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Luxury homes abound in San Francisco’s prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood.

HIGH-END HOME PRICES UP BIG IN THE BAY AREA, BUCKING NATIONAL TREND
While nonluxury home prices are rising faster than their swankier counterparts across the U.S., prices for high-end homes in the Bay Area have skyrocketed since the housing recovery began.

Luxury home prices across the country increased 6 percent from May 2013 to May 2014, a recent Forbes article says. During that same time period, prices for nonluxury homes rose by 9.3 percent.

The publication found that high-end homes in two Bay Area real estate market have experienced particularly robust price growth over the past few years. From November 2011 to March 2014, luxury home prices shot up about 38 percent in San Jose to $1.4 million and 34 percent in San Francisco to $1.1 million.


SILICON VALLEY ANNUAL INCOME NATION’S HIGHEST
Slim inventory and a sizzling job market may be the two main drivers of Silicon Valley home price increases, but the fact that the region’s workers pull down the largest salaries in the U.S. surely plays a role as well.

The Atlantic Citylab reports that the average employee in the San Jose metro area takes home more than $75,000 per year, the highest wages in the country. The San Francisco metro area, which includes Oakland, ranks No. 3, with an average annual income of $60,562.

The article found that employees in pricey parts of the country still came out ahead despite higher costs of living.

“Their higher wages more than compensate,” Richard Florida writes in the Atlantic Citylab. “This takes some of the wind out of the sails of the arguments that people are better off moving from higher cost to lower cost places.”


U.S. FORECLOSURES REACH PRECRISIS LOWS
In yet another sign that the U.S. housing market may be edging closer to a full recovery, foreclosure activity has declined to its lowest level in nearly eight years.

According to RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure market report, about 107,000 homes had a foreclosure filing in June, a 16 percent year-over-year decline and the lowest level since July 2006. Foreclosure activity in the first half of 2014 has also dropped a substantial 23 percent compared with the same period last year.

ReatlyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said he expected foreclosure activity to continue improving and return to historically normal levels within the next nine months.


ZILLOW SHOOTS DOWN MLS ASPIRATION RUMORS
Zillow’s recently unveiled Coming Soon feature has prompted many in the industry to wonder whether the company really wants to become an MLS. Speaking at Inman’s Real Estate Connect San Francisco conference on July 17, Zillow Chief Revenue Office Greg Schwartz’s answer was a definitive “no.”

Stating that Zillow was doing just fine in its current incarnation as a media company, Schwartz told attendees that Coming Soon is the firm’s attempt to eliminate confusion about pocket listings. He noted that many users find homes on Zillow and then wonder why they’re not on the MLS.

Schwartz also said Zillow would play nice with MLS operators by offering them Coming Soon listing feeds.

(Photo: Flickr/Skip Kuebel)

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