Bay Area Real Estate- No Bubble Burst

By: Hamid Grinage

Oakland California real estate shot through the roof during the period from 2001 to 2005, with appreciation reaching 120% in some areas. Homes were routinely selling for 60-100k over asking price and more! It was not uncommon for a desirable property to fetch 30-40 offers. I remember one home in the Oakland Hills went for over 300k over asking price!

However that type of market by nature is not sustainable, and the current market is proof of that. Starting in early 05', us Realtors started seeing a noticeable slowdown in activity, which has continued to this day. The ironic thing is, prices are still high. They have taken a slight dip(approximately six percent) in the last year, but our median price is still around 500k. There is much more opportunity for buyers right now, because there are plenty of homes on the market which means buyers have more choices and more negotiating power.

Sellers have had to come to the realization that they can't just get any price they want for their home, and the days of putting up a sign and the next day it's sold for 60k over asking price are OVER. Sellers have to do more to prep the home for sale now, and staging is much more common. The most important thing of course if price though. I don't care how nicely a home is staged, if it is not considered a value compared to the others in the area it WON'T SELL. This is, unless your home happens to have historical significance or is in an especially desirable area.

One example of an exception to the rule was a house that just closed last week in Piedmont. It had great square footage, (I personally viewed it on our office tour) but it was in need of a lot of TLC. The bonus was that it was in a particularly exclusive neighborhood in Piedmont and had been designed by a locally renowned architect. The agent also had contractors and interior designers at the open houses to help give buyers ideas. The home went on the market for $1.4 million, and ended up selling a few weeks later for over $1.7 million! Yes, 300k over asking price!

However the reality for most sellers of Oakland real estate today is that they need to price their home attractively and prepare the home for sale if they expect to get it sold.

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