Monday, January 24, 2011

Nationwide: home prices decline, rental prices increase in 2010

A new study shows home prices declined 9.8 percent last year, while rental prices nationwide increased 11.6 percent during the same period, according to The rental price increase is a factor of uncertainty in the U.S. economic climate, which has forced a transition from a home-buying mentality to one more in favor of renting. The growing number of homes lost to foreclosure in 2010 expanded the number of people seeking to rent, creating a renter surplus, according to the study.
The impact on a State-by-State study gives us an idea of the impact on our local Silicon Valley real estate landscape.
With the U.S. unemployment rate at more than 9 percent throughout 2010, low-risk housing options became more desirable, a trend which may continue in the coming months, according to this report.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Useful school web sites, around Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View etc...

Questions always abound when it comes to schools around here in the Silicon Valley.
This is a collection of web links that, I have found, answers a lot of them:  
- Silicon Valley schools.

This includes for instance an incredibly useful map of the boundaries for the various Los Altos schools. (It has ten layers of information!).
Of course, one should always call the school to double check attendance for a given year.

Thanks for reading.   Francis

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Remodeling: national - and local - "Cost Vs Value Report"

This most recent report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2 percent, nationally, upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70 percent. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8 percent; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5 percent; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6 percent of costs.

Replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal.

For more information on the subject of remodeling and how much one can recoup, follow this page, which also allows you to download the report for your area of interest (most probably close to San Francisco).

To read the full project descriptions, access national and regional project data, and download a free PDF containing data for any of the 80 cities covered by the report, visit . “Cost vs. Value” is a registered trademark of Hanley Wood, LLC.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Los Altos: Home Is Still a Good Investment.

To keep in perspective: nationwide.

Even with several years of price declines, the typical seller who purchased a home eight years ago experienced a median equity gain of $33,000 - a 24% increase - while sellers who were in their homes for 11 to 15 years saw a median gain of 40%.  That's according to the latest survey of home buyers and sellers conducted by the National Association of Realtors.  (available at: )

"85 % of recent home buyers see their home as a good investment, and nearly half think that investment is better than stocks", says Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of research.  "This indicates the long-term view of home ownership as a fundamental goal and value remains sound."

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

California real estate market – a few facts of interest…

As I meet clients, I like to sometimes touch on a few little known facts of the real estate market in our state – which I have experienced myself first-hand in several cases in our local Cities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto.
One of these facts is that buyers continue to face in many instances a competitive market, as evidenced by the following graph, showing that nearly half of properties sold attracted multiple offers:In 2010 the percentage is expected to still be over 50%.

Also, the number of all cash sales typically is around 8 to 10%, year after year. It is now around 20%. (a preference for real estate investment, over other types of investments, which may be perceived as too volatile?)
 However, it is also true that the net cash to sellers has seen big changes:
This information is available from the California Association of Realtors, in a study that I will be glad to send you upon request.
Thank you for reading.

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