Thursday, July 16, 2015

Housing Price Map Shows Bay Area Real Estate "Eating Up" US

The latest illustration of just how out of whack the Bay Area housing market is shows local counties overwhelming the United States map, when counties are drawn proportionate in size to their property values.

Real estate tracker and data enthusiast Max Galka created the cartogram map and other intriguing visualizations for his website Metrocosm.

“To create the map (above), I took the total residential property value for every county in the U.S. (the contiguous 48 states), and substituted those values for each county’s land area,” said Galka. “Notice what a small portion of the U.S. land area is actually covered by the red counties.”
Here’s a still image explaining how the colors equate to total residential property value:

As you can see, the Bay Area falls entirely within the $40 billion plus range.
Galka recently did similar mapping of property values by state. The above maps mirror those results in that the top five states in terms of property value greatly outweigh the other 43 contiguous states.
“About half of the total value comes from the top five states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, respectively,” wrote Galka.

Things don’t show any signs of slowing down. In San Francisco alone, prices have shot up more than 30% in the last 2 years. Now, Bravo has announced that they will begin airing a reality real estate program called ‘Million Dollar Listing’ featuring Bay Area properties as the star. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lack of Inventory Could Drive Home Prices Higher This Summer

A lack of houses for sale has had two main effects: it has reduced the selection of homes that consumers can choose from while making those that are available more expensive than they might otherwise be.

Higher prices have had some positive effect, helping homeowners regain some lost equity, but the lack of inventory has mostly been a negative, keeping down the number of home sales.
That now appears to be shifting as's Advance Read on June Trends finds inventories are rising. It says that could lead 2015 to be the best year for housing since the bubble-peak year of 2006.

Rising rates a factor

“Factors lending themselves to the market’s upswing are the psychological effect of recently increased mortgage rates as well as the specter of the Fed raising interest rates later this year, said chief economist Jonathan Smoke. “Although demand has been strong all year, in June we’re finally beginning to see an uptick in supply as sellers become more confident about home prices.”

But the rise in home prices may be slowing – which you might expect with rising inventories – and that could have the short-term effect of spurring sales.

"What we're seeing is the passing of the baton, as mortgage rates begin to rise and incomes and household formation rates increase – from a stimulus-driven housing market to one driven by fundamentals," said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, a competing real estate site. "This transition from housing recovery to a more normal market is a good thing in the long-term, but we can expect some bumps along the way. In the end, increasing household formation and stronger income growth should be able to overcome the headwind of rising mortgage rates and return markets to health."

First time buyers are back says other demand drivers include an increase in the number of first time home buyers – many of whom are Millennials who previously had been held back by challenging market conditions. carefully analyzes its site traffic to monitor consumer behavior and is able to break it down along demographic lines. In June, it added a survey and found 65% of older Millennials said they intend to purchase a home within 3 months – an increase of 12% compared to just 6 months ago.
Smoke says the National Association of Realtors' announcement this week, which stated that May's pending home sales hit a 9-year high, joins a growing collection of optimistic indicators.
“All show both demand and supply improving, foretelling further gains this summer,” Smoke predicted.

Hottest markets still in California

Some areas are experiencing this improvement faster than others. Three of's hottest June housing markets are in California – San Francisco, Vallejo-Fairfield and Santa Rosa – and its Top 20 list includes 5 other California metros But the list also includes Detroit at number 9, Billings, Mont., at 14 and Ft. Wayne, Ind., at 20. Nationally, the median list price increased to $233,000, up 7% year-over-year and 2% over May.