Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:
BAY AREA HOUSE HUNTERS DON’T TAKE AN AUTUMN BREAK
House hunters in many parts of the U.S. typically back off from the market after Labor Day, but according to a recent Trulia blog post, that isn’t the case in the Bay Area’s largest metropolitan regions.
Trulia says that home searches on its website decline 6 percent in September and October when compared with the annual average. But in San Francisco they don’t decrease at all, making it the third strongest autumn housing market of the 100 U.S. metro areas included in the study. Oakland followed, with just a 1 percent decline, while San Jose usually sees a 2 percent seasonal slip, making it the country’s sixth busiest market in September and October.
According to Trulia, weather plays a key role this trend, and the Bay Area’s traditional Indian summer likely helps boost autumn activity in our local markets.
“Markets where search activity is high in autumn tend to have warm and dry Septembers and Octobers relative to their local climate in the rest of the year,” Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko wrote in the post.
PACIFIC UNION CEO TALKS MARKET DYNAMICS WITH MERCURY NEWS
In a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Pacific Union CEO Mark A. McLaughlin discussed the primary elements driving vigorous home price growth throughout the Bay Area.
McLaughlin cited three main factors helping to push home prices higher: population growth, a very healthy job market, and the Bay Area’s inherent desirability as a place to live. He noted that while our region’s tech jobs get most of the spotlight, other sectors are also creating jobs.
“Of the 25 largest employers in San Francisco, almost half are infrastructure employees,” McLaughlin told the publication. “They’re in government, health care, education, things like that.”
When asked for reasons that Bay Area housing inventory remains so slim, McLaughlin pointed out that move-up buyers aren’t as active in the market as in years past.
CHINESE HOMEBUILDERS FLOCK TO U.S.
Homebuyers from China have been keen on U.S. real estate for the past few years – particularly here in the Bay Area – and now developers based in that country are getting in the game.
According to a CNBC article, Chinese developers invested about $3 billion in U.S. commercial real estate in 2013 and are on pace to match that total this year. Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at Real Capital Analytics, told CNBC that the spike in activity is due to fears about the instability of investing in China.
Although Chinese developers pumped the majority of their capital into the New York City area last year, they have also targeted the Bay Area. The article says that Chinese development company Landsea plans to build an unspecified number of townhouses in San Francisco.
MORE LUXURY HOMEOWNERS REGAINING EQUITY
The number of luxury homeowners underwater declined in the second quarter from the same period last year, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal says.
According to the publication, 2.8 percent of all U.S. homes valued at more than $1 million were underwater in the second quarter, down from 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2013. Citing data obtained from Zillow, the article said that 17 percent of homes at all price points across the U.S. were underwater in this year’s second quarter.
But even the few luxury homeowners who are still underwater may not be short on money. The article notes that such high-end owners may have plenty of cash but take out additional mortgages in order to diversify their investment portfolios.
(Photo: Flickr/John Morgan)