Jerry’s Journal of 2004-2005

12-26-05. Well, the year is about to come to a close. 2005 was very much like 2004 in the Eichler real estate business, and we’ll soon see how 2006 starts off. Don’t expect much to happen during January – the spring season around here really begins in February, as long time viewers have heard repeatedly. Have a fun week and a “great 2006! Perhaps I can meet and help you next year!


12-19-05. As I said about this time a year ago, it’s the time of year for family and friends, and less to real estate. Interesting – if you have a moment, take a peek at my comments here about this time last year. Remarkable similarities!


Have a week full of joy, and a very merry Christmas!


12-12-05. I’ve been out of town for about a week – without email – (what a bummer!) so little to report. Actually there has been little to report anyway, as you may
have followed during the week. While not “emailable”, I was able to keep track of activity and post it on the site. Keeping you informed – – – – -!


12-5-05. While I wouldn’t characterize it as busy, the market is acting a bit busier than normal for this time of year. Maybe just a brief blip – we’ll see. The Eichler Market Data page of this site certainly reflects the typical seasonal slowing. The 6 month activity of all sales statuses is about 20% off its September high. It will be interesting to see just where that bottoms out – likely in February or March of next year.


11-28-05. Brr-rr! What a change in weather! From the 70’s and 80’s a week or so ago, to the 40’s and 50’s. Really can’t complain about our marvelous weather though – we’re blessed. The chill still hasn’t had much effect on our market. While we haven’t had much in the way of sales happening, a couple of new listings just occured just after Thanksgiving. Days on the market are creeping up – no big surprise if that continues. Hope
you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!


11-21-05. We’re almost at the time when things normally slow down in this business – Thanksgiving – and last weeks activity of 1 new listing and 2 sales seem to presage just that. The “slower time”, i.e. Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday, has been not so hot for home sellers, but often a good time for home buyers to finally
    score! Even though the inventory of homes usually becomes smaller and smaller, those homes that come onto the market often remain there longer – sometimes much longer.


Have a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday!.


11-14-05. My offerings in this weekly summary last year, on 11-15-04, contained
    some statements from the Chief Economist of the California Association of Realtors. Her
    comments, during the then very low inventory and lower interest rates, indicated her
    projection of a strong finish to the year (2004) even though “the pace always slows
    while the public takes a break for the holidays.” She then offered that 2005 would
    “mimic” 2004, at a slightly slower pace, and that several other economists
    forecasted a market heating up in 2006 and 2007 to the “pre-dot-com” level. She
    also projected beyond 2007 – but as I indicated then, the farther out these projections
    go, the less accurate they usually are.


So,was she right about 2005? She sure was – in fact the pace exceeded her projections.
    We’ll have to wait about 3 months -until February 2006 – to see if that “heating
    up” projection materializes.


11-7-05. The “pause” continues and undoubtedly will continue for the
    balance of the year. New listings will certainly continue to appear and the ones that show
    well and are priced well – reflective of the current market – will likely go rather fast
    anyway. My listing in Foster City was a good example of that! There are a good many home
    buyers still out there. Hopefully the increase in mortgage interest rates won’t offset any
    price moderation that occurs for them during this relatively slower market.


10-31-05. Well, we’re finishing off the month of October is a rather calm way,
    much the way it was a week ago. Very little happened last week in the way of new listings
    or sales. Yesterday however, started the week on a high note. As always, it is always
    great to meet new folks, and renew acquaintenances with past clients at my Sunday Open
    Houses. Yesterday’s Open at Sanderling St. in Foster City was a huge success, with many
    neighbors of course, some old friends and clients, and quite a few new folks dropping by
    to say hello, and see how nice the Burgess Eichler was. The Foster City Eichlers,
    virtually all of Claude Oakland design, are, as many of you know, nestled among the many
    other homes in that area in a rather random fashion. Many Eichler “enclaves” in
    other communities are located all together in a specific development. Not so in Foster
    City – they’re spread all around, not in a contiguous fashion. Eichlers on the Stanford
    campus grounds are placed the same way.


Here’s to probably the last rather active month of the year in real estate- November.
    Happy Halloween!


10-24-05. There is absolutely no question about it. The real estate market
    around here is changing – pausing before the next leg at the very least – from the rather
    hectic if not insane market of 2005. 90+% percent of the homes that were on the market
    when I was out of the office for a week or so, were still there when I returned. If you
    wish to see another example of the changing market, just look at the Cupertino page of
    this site. Three listings – three reduced prices. So – everyone, including folks thinking
    of selling their homes will benefit from a more normal market. It’s about time.


Please take a look at our new listing in Foster City. A lovely example of retaining the
    original elements of Eichler architecture, but upgrading those areas that benefit from new


10-19-05.Just a quick note after my trip. Little activity in 8 days and a
    resultant “DOM” that is increasing surely says that we are transitioning into
    more of a normal market. For the record, the average days on the market as of today –
    excluding one listing that has been on for 155 days – is 29.8 days – a growing increase.


10-11-05. Even though October has continued to be a busy fall month, I and
    realtor associates of mine are beginning to see and feel a “transition” occuring
    in the market place. That transition or softening usually occurs a bit later in the the
    fall, usually around Thanksgiving. At this point, the transition “translates”
    into homes staying on the market a bit longer, or homes that are stellar from every point
    of view are receiving only a couple of offers, not 10 or 12. In either event, if true, its
    a positive sign for home buyers.


I will be out of the office until the 19th, so there will be no daily updates posted,
    or Eichler Market Data update next weekend. “See you” in a week or so.


10-3-05. I can’t recall the time when the real estate market had so much lay
    press, nationally and locally. Of course the bulk of the articles discuss the speculation
    that has occured in several locales, notably Florida, in particular Miami, and Las Vegas.
    Those articles then segway into “the bubble”, or “bubblettes” more
    accurately. If you’ve been reading this summary for any length of time you know my
    feelings about any “bubblette” occuring around here. While home buyers would
    like to think that is or will be the case, postponeing any purchase around here because of
    those expectations is virtually like trying to time individual stocks in the stock market.
    Most of the folks that try that don’t succeed either.


9-26-05. As expected, the inventory of Eichlers has increased nicely since the
    beginning of the month. We started out the month with 8, and of course it has more than
    doubled. While the “universe” is really too small do draw definitive
    conclusions, “DOM” or Days on the Market before a sale occurs is definitely
    increasing. If that continues as new listings continue, the pendulum should begin to swing
    back towards the home buyer. We’ll see.


9-20-05. I’ve been off for a few days, but upon return I see that the new fall
    listings continue to increase. It seems to never fail – Labor Day comes and so do the new
    listings after the slower summer season. You’ve heard this from me before, but summer is
    definitely not the active season in real estate. Interesting – aside from a couple of
    areas in the valley, listings are staying around a bit longer. We’ll see if this portends
    a change in buyer attitude.


9-13-05. The fall real estate season has indeed begun, and we advance from the
    single digit listing numbers of late summer. If you go back and read my commentary of
    approximately 1 year ago, you will find the old axiom, “… the more things change,
    the more they stay the same” to be true. The past 12 months have been and continue to
    be a profitable time for home sellers. Unfortunately for home buyers, there is nothing on
    the horizon that says it will be any different during the next 12 months.


9-5-05. Labor Day has arrived – what a week! The fall real estate season begins.


8-29-05. Well, Labor Day is around the corner, so we’ll soon see if it marks the
    beginning of a busier real estate market. It usually does. The Eichler Market Data page is
    again up and running with current data posted as of last Saturday. The graphic will


8-22-05. Much the same as last week, with the summer doldrums continuing. The
    news media is really stuck on the real estate bubble isn’t it. It seems rather old hat to
    us in silicon valley, but obviously not to middle America. Always remember, like politics,
    real estate is local, and around here, with virtually countless mico-markets, it is very


8-15-05. And the relative doldrums of the silicon valley real estate market
    continues. I say relative, because this summer has been more active than most. It’s always
    nice to see publications carry articles on the Eichler home, or in some favorable way make
    mention of what Joe Eichler did. For example, the “Glide-house” of architect
    Michelle Kaufmann that is on exhibit at the Sunset Magazine headquarters in Menlo Park
    prompted an article in the Mercury News, and elsewhere, that makes reference to the
    Eichler. The Sunset home editor was quoted in saying, “This place to me feels
    revolutionary, much like the early Eichler homes must have seemed in their day.” The
    August 2005 of Sunset Magazine also features this home.


Also, the August/September 2005 issue of “Lifescapes Magazine” includes an
    article on a very tastefully “re-furbished” Eichler in Southern California. The
    article was entitled, “Melding Simplicity with Timelessness.” Some lovely
    photographs accompanied the article. I can’t help but smile. I can remember well – many
    years ago – when my interest in contemporary architecture and the Eichler in particular
    was rather poo-pooed, in particular by the real estate community when I started this
    company. Well – pure and simple, great design is simply timeless, and there indeed are
    folks that appreciate it.


8-8-05. I missed the single digits by a week, but it’s now here. We’ll see if it
    stays that way. Some of you may have seen the recent article in the WSJ by Neil Barsky
    entitled “What Housing Bubble?” A worthwhile read, and to quickly summarize, it
    discussed 3 current myths about the real estate market: 1- Too much capacity (new
    building), 2- Risky mortgage products, and 3- Speculators are driving home prices. Those
    myths are obviously a national view, which as I’ve mentioned before, doesn’t work well on
    a local level. In Mr. Barsky’s opinion, they don’t work well nationally either. Anyway,
    it’s interesting that the talk of such a bubble seems to be off the front pages lately –
    even disappearing in many quarter.


8-1-05. Well we didn’t hit the single digits yet, but we’re trying to. It was a
    10 or 11 all week. For those of you that take the San Francisco Chronicle, the Magazine
    section of yesterdays Sunday paper contained another well done article on the Eichler home
    by Zahid Sardar, with some lovely photographs. Those photos really show how relatively
    inexpensive it is to “remodel” an Eichler – bringing it back to its almost
    original condition – and how well tasteful appointments and furniture of classic design,
    or more recent contemporary design work so well in the home. Many of my past clients have
    looked and found homes with that potential. These photos illustrate just why they did
    quite well.


7-25-05. I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin to show listings going down to
    single digits. Even though we see about half of the current number – 12 – with increasing
    days on the market (over a month), this market is active enough to generate sales on those
    in time, and on the others more quickly. It really is warming up – temperature wise!


7-18-05. The warm weather slows things up a bit, as usual, and listings stay
    around a bit longer with the exception of the the “exceptional” ones, but
    activity still continues. It appears that my comments of last week could be repeated this
    week. Tabulating the Eichler Market Data page gives some interesting insight into the
    seasonality of this market place. If you look at the early weeks of the period being
    covered this week, you’ll see the reason why the total number of listings will continue to
    grow until about the end of this month. When the last couple of months of a rolling 6
    month period include December and January – with little activity – the total number should


7-11-05. It appears that the relative frenzy that accompanied the spring selling
    season has abated, and we’re into the more normal summer market. Unless the property is
    outstanding in all respects, in particular location, it is staying around awhile longer
    with the number of days on the market increasing. This climate will normally lead to a
    softening of prices. We’ll see. It seems we’re hearing less talk about “the
    bubble”, and I think rightly so. Enjoy the warm weather!


7-5-05.The long weekend was a busy one for home buyers, with 3 of the listings
    sold, but as is usually the case, no new listings were posted. It is interesting that many
    if not most folks think of summer as a busy time in the real estate business, but it
    usually is not. Too much else going on, including vacations, and those that are moving to
    find new school districts have already made that move. The Eichler Market Data page now
    shows 122 homes in the Active, Pending and Sold statuses. That number will likely continue
    to grow for 3 or 4 more weeks, then begin to decline as we enter the slowest 6 months of
    the real estate market. That’s the time that usually benefit home buyers. We’ll see if
    that happens this year!


6-27-05 It does appear that we are in the seasonal transition time – from a
    hectic spring to a less hectic summer. While certain new listings still go quickly, many
    listings are hanging around longer, and a few even undergo a price reduction or withdrawal
    from the market. However, as long as the mortgage interest rates remain at this 40+ year
    historical low, the activity seems to continue at a level a bit higher than summer


6-20-05. There is not much new to comment on this week as we approach the
    “first day of summer. I know we all are looking forward to some warm days and
    sunshine. “Spoken as a true Californian, Ditto!”


6-13-05. Pardon the delay in getting the Eichler Market Summary updated and up
    and running. Computer operator error – namely me – but it’s all fixed now. We’re now up to
    105 on that list. The national media seems fixated with the real estate “bubble”
    doesn’t it. While home prices have indeed advanced nicely during the recent past, the
    speculative activity in Florida and Las Vegas really has gotten their attention. As you’ve
    undoubtedly heard by now, if you are not a speculator – but a home buyer – not
    investor/speculator, there is little to be concerned about, in particular in silicon
    valley. Remember, average Eichler prices that fell during the 2000 “dot-com”
    bubble – around 10-15% – made up their ground in a couple of years. Now, they are
    considerably higher. God Bless Silicon Valley!


6-6-05. We wound up what I think is the busiest time of the real estate year –
    February through May – with a good week of activity. We’ll see if that view holds up
    throughout the summer. Speaking of that, I plan to delete these summary comments for the
    period prior to these last 12 months. For those of you that retain them – (thank you,
    that’s a compliment) – if you haven’t already transfered or printed those months, please
    do so before next weekend. They’ll be gone after that. Have a good week and enjoy the
    warmer weather!


5-31-05. Hope you had a nice holiday! Well, we’re closing out a busy month by
    reducing that “healthy inventory” of Eichlers by about 50% from a couple of
    weeks ago. Even though the frenzy has definitely abated, the nice well priced homes still
    find their buyers quickly. While the low interest rates have always been thought of as an
    impetus of this seller’s market, without question, being able to secure a 30 fixed
    mortgage around 5.3% is now a major driving force. I hope the folks that found an interest
    only loan attractive at a lesser percentage, really look at the current fixed rates.
    They’re approaching the rates that returning WWII vets were offered with their GI Loans!
    And that’s when the early Eichlers were priced around $9,000!


5-23-05. The inventory took a healthy jump during the past week, virtually
    doubling from a couple of weeks ago. This seems to happen often during the last weeks of
    spring. I suppose that folks that have been thinking of selling their home have seen some
    rather dramatic price increases, and decide to join the fray. In the past, this inventory
    increase during the late spring cycle has usually signaled a moderation of buying frenzy,
    and ultimately prices. We’ll see if that happens this time. That healthy inventory
    increase of 14 homes brought the total homes shown on the Eichler Market Data page to 93.
    It will be into the 100’s before a cyclical peak occurs.


5-16-05. Much the same kind of activity last week as the week before. 4 or 5 new
    listings, and the same number of sales. We’re staying at roughly 15 listings for several
    weeks now. Local and national news reporters keep the commentary coming about the
    overheated real estate market. When you see all the ads appearing in local newspapers
    promoting the concept of making a quick fortune with “no money down”, be
    careful! Remember, like politics, real estate is very, very local. What may work in
    certain areas of the country, may not work in others. The same goes for “market
    conditions”. Booms, busts or bubbles in one area – city, county, state or regional
    area – won’t necessarily apply to your or other areas.


5-9-05. Maybe the rain will really end this week. When you’ve lived in
    California as long as I have, this late spring and late rain gets to you. Anyway, there’s
    little new on which to comment. The spring market still has a few weeks to go, and buyers
    and sellers are still taking advantage of this busy season. A bit fewer sales occured last
    week -6-, and even fewer – 5- sales occured. One week does not make a market or trend!


5-2-05. Another busy week in the spring real estate market. 7 or 8 new listings
    appeared and another 7 or 8 were sold. A very typical “DOM” for those that were
    sold. Around 10 to 12 “days on the market”, really means a rather instant sale.
    Here’s why. An agent or broker puts the home on the multiple listing service, “day
    zero”, usually 2 or 3 days before real estate agents/brokers tour the property. In
    todays market, sellers wish to have the home exposed to the public – and more potential
    buyers with Open Houses – which takes another 2 or 3 days (sometimes more). Offers, and
    again, today there are usually more than 1, are heard 2 or 3 days later, giving time for
    the buyers and their agents to put one together and present it to the seller. It may be
    accepted then, or a bit later if counter-offers are appropriate, and then – the
    agent/broker notifies the MLS of the sale. As you can see, all of that takes around 10
    days – plus or minus a couple – for a typical “instant sale”.


4-25-05. I still see the plateau forming – selectively. You’ve recently seen a
    few price reductions in the Eichler marketplace, and in the market in general. As a rule,
    those reductions may not have happened a couple of months ago. But now, as is the case in
    “normal” markets, homes that suffer from poor location, busy streets, or of
    course prices that worked earlier in the spring, are not being snapped up as they once
    were. Homes that do not suffer from any of those weaknesses still enjoy a lot of interest
    – and usually offers.


4-18-05. Well the beat goes on, but the DOM (days on the market) begins to inch
    up, bringing the total listings up to 17, the highest in several months. It may well be
    that the market in general is approaching a plateau – taking a breather – and that would
    be quite healthy for everybody, in particular for home buyers. There’s nothing like
    consolidating gains to establish prices for home sellers and buyers.


4-11-05. My oh my, and the beat goes on. During my update of the Eichler Market
    Data page last weekend, I couldn’t help but shake my head – on behalf of Eichler home
    buyers! 4 of the 6 new Eichler listed last week were priced in excess of $1,000,000, and
    to top that off, one of the pending sales that was listed for $1,195,000, actually sold
    for $1,425,000. On a different note, those of you living or interested in an Eichler
    designed by Jones and Emmons will find the current May 2005 issue of Architectural Digest
    interesting. It features a cover and story of a home designed by A. Quincy Jones for the
    screen legend Gary Cooper. Located in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles, the home
    features the clean lines, expanse of glass and open space that Mr. Jones incorporated in
    his designs for Mr. Eichler.


4-4-05. Last week was simply more of the same. Hard to “read any tea
    leaves” about the market other than it continues on its spring pace. There are no
    signs that homebuyers are slowing down because of the rising interest rates. And there are
    no signs that home sellers are coming onto the market timidly. While the home search
    services I subscribe to indicate list price reductions from time to time, no Eichler list
    prices have been reduced this year in order to affect a sale.


3-28-05. Sure wish it would stop raining! While its way to early to project a
    change, I see a couple of things happening in our marketplace. Listings are staying around
    a bit longer – more “days on the market” (DOM) than we’ve been experiencing
    lately, and even though not in the Eichler marketplace, some listings are having price
    reductions occur. Again, \ while certainly early, and perhaps just a “blip” it
    would be nice for homebuyers to see a bit of a return to “normalcy”, if that
    ever occurs. My thanks it those of you commenting on the new Eichler Market Data page. It
    is being well received. You’ll note I updated it over the weekend, with several Pending
    and Sold properties updated.Have a great week!


3-21-05. If you have not as yet gone to the Eichler Market Data link, I
    would encourage you to do so before you leave my site. The 36 Pending or Sold listings
    that you will find there esssentially represent the slowest 6 months of sale activity that
    we’ll have all year. Under “normal” conditions, if we ever have that, it would
    not be unusual to see a 6 month period from say, February to July incorporating double
    that amount of sales activity. Will advancing prices slow down the number of sales? We’ll
    just have to wait to see.


3-14-05. Whether it’s the sunshine, warmer weather or whatever, new listings
    began to appear in our marketplace. Thank goodness. We’ll hope for more of the same. An
    economist and financial advisor, whose opinions I respect, recently made an interesting
    comment about our silicon valley real estate market. He likens it to a secular, or long
    term bull market in equities. Evidence has always pointed to advancing prices-a “bull
    market”- with occasional corrections along the way. Our “trophy” area,
    along with about 4 others in the country, enjoy that favorable description. If true, and
    in my experience it is, both home buyers and home sellers benefit.


3-7-05. While the Eichler inventory has increased dramatically, percentage wise
    i.e., from 3 to 5 – it is still at all time lows. Hopefully the lack of rain and some
    continuing sunshine will prompt sellers to get going and put it on the market! For those
    of you who are relatively new to my site, and the numbers I refer to, there have been
    times during the past 12-13 years that the Eichler inventory has been in the 30’s during
    the busy time of the year – like now! Times certainly change, and the obvious investment
    character of real estate versus common stocks, in addition to interest rates, et al, have
    really been a major impetus to the change.


2-28-05. We’re closing out the month with a remarkably low inventory – the
    lowest I’ve seen this time of year in over 13 years. One home in Palo Alto, and 3
    condominiums constitute our Eichler inventory! That is in a geographic area of about 7000
    Eichler homes! The lack of inventory of homes in general is of course a major contributor
    to rising prices, and with interest rates still at historic lows, the Seller market


2-21-05. Happy Presidents Day! Even though we had a relatively wet weekend, our
    Open House at Wright Place in Palo Alto was bulging with visitors on both Saturday and
    Sunday. A continuing sign of home buyer interest in Silicon Valley. And – a continuing
    sign of home buyers being tuned in, for many asked the questions, “When are you
    looking at offers, and do you have a disclosure package?” There’s no question. It is
    tough being a home buyer around here, in particular if you are a first time homebuyer.
    But, believe me, while it is quite difficult now, it has been that way for many, many
    years – actually decades. Not much of a consolation, but it is true.


2-14-05. And it does appear that the games are beginning. Activity over the
    weekend included both sales and several new listings. Let’s hope that the inventory of
    Eichlers begins to provide homebuyers with a good selection. Prices will likely be on the
    upswing as “spring” begins – it always seems to set the stage for the year.


2-7-05. The Super Bowl is over – “now let the real estate games
    begin!” It certainly seems like it will very shortly. Newspaper articles appearing in
    the San Jose Mercury News last Thursday, and in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle may
    give further impetus (if needed!) to home sellers in silicon valley, and encapsulate the
    difficulties in being a home buyer around here. “You don’t get much for a million
    bucks in Silicon Valley” was the headline of the Merc’s article, and the Chronicle’s
    article was what a million bucks will buy in areas other than our bay area. Let’s just
    hope that an increasing inventory of all homes, and Eichlers in particular will begin to
    bring some sense of normalcy to our marketplace. Interestingly enough, the “million
    bucks” reference is quite meaningful for Eichler enthusiasts as well. As of today, of
    the 6 Eichlers currently on the market, 4 of them are priced over $1,000,000, and of the 2
    that aren’t, 1 will likely sell for more than that amount, and the other may indeed
    approach or exceed that mark as well. This spring should be very, very interesting!


1-31-05.The rain has stopped, at least for a while, we’ve come to the close of
    the month of January, and the pace of real estate activity is beginning to pick up. New
    listings are lasting about a week to 10 days – the length of time for an open house,
    weekend ads, listening a evaluating offers – and bingo, they’re sold. The same old song
    continues to be sung. Home sellers continue to enjoy their good fortune, home buyers are
    having to spend one. But – that simply is the silicon valley marketplace, with no apparent
    change in the offing.


1-24-05. The “low hum of activity” continues as we get closer to the
    “official” beginning of the real estate year around here. We’ll likely see that
    continuing for the next couple of weeks as we ramp up to a more active time. The silicon
    valley marketplace, Eichlers included, will probably continue the pace that ended last
    year, for there is seemingly nothing happening to change that. Interest rates continue to
    be at record low rates, and even though you hear that they will be rising – and likely
    will to a degree – the mortgage interest rates are still unbeliveably low, at 40 year old
    levels and beyond. And the inventory, while beginning to increase is very, very thin. From
    my perspective, different Eichler communities still have different levels of interest from
    home buyers, but all of the areas certainly have enough to make home sellers pretty happy.


1-18-05. A low hum of activity continues on this Martin Luther King holiday,
    with it all coming during the latter part of the week. It is – the market – getting ready
    though. I can tell by the number of all homes that are new listings, that are part of the
    “Broker’s Open House” tour schedule as they are first listed. Brr-rr-r! Sure is
    cold around here this January.


1-10-05. Another relatively slow week, but 1 pending sale and a couple of new
    listings provided a bit of a spark, wet weather or not. It is perhaps a bit odd to mark an
    event or period by Super Bowl Sunday, nevertheless, that event, always in late January or
    early February, seems to be the launch for the busy spring real estate season. If the
    listings begin to occur in number before then – early February this year – that might
    fortell an even busier spring for us.


1-3-05. Happy New Year! We begin the year in much the same mode as we left 2004
    – as expected. If all holds as in the past, we will stay in this relatively quiet mode for
    the next few weeks. Over the weekend, the real estate sections of our local newspapers
    summarized the very active year that we just finished – saying much the same thing that my
    weekly updates have been saying for some time. My forecast for 2005? Very much like 2004.


12-27-04. Trust your Christmas holiday was a joyous one! This week between
    Christmas and New Years will be a slow one in the real estate business – but I’ll keep
    watching as usual. Those of you that take the SF Chronicle likely saw the article fronting
    the Real Estate Section discussing our market during 2004. I’ll abstract a couple of
    thoughts/paragraphs. “During the late spring and early summer, those who plunked
    “For Sale” signs on their front lawns enjoyed a close facsimilie of the 2000
    frenzy, with all-out bidding wars and many contingency-free offers. But it was a tough
    year for first time buyers. Amid concerns about rising interest rates and a flagging
    economy, economists in 2003 had speculated that the U.S. and Bay Area housing markets
    would sag in 2004. Instead, the nine-county region posted its best year ever, sailing past
    the records of 2003 and the halcyon days of the Internet boom.” Indeed that was the
    case for the bulk of the year, and certainly the case for the Eichler home market.


Here’s to another active year in 2005. All signs seem to point in that direction!


12-20-04. More of the same – not unexpectedly. ‘Tis the time of year when we all
    devote more time to family and friends, and the spirit of the season, and less to real
    estate – as it should be! Have a wonderful week, and a glorious Holiday!


12-13-04. December activity inches along as per usual. A bit of activity but not
    much. Yesterdays San Francisco Chronicle carried an extensive article about bay area real
    estate. If you didn’t see it you may wish to pick it up – at a newstand or on the web.
    Three well know personalities/experts in the field give you their views on what has and
    likely will be happening in the future. In general, it simply is more of the same – good
    for home owners, and more impetus for home renters to become home owners. Easier said than
    done around here! Stay warm.


12-6-04. Chilly weather around here, and an understandable chill slowing the
    market. It’s just the time of year! A couple of listings and a couple of sales, and the
    inventory remains at an all time low. This time of year gives real estate agents and
    brokers a time to “chill out”, and that’s exactly what’s happening!


11-29-04. We’re almost in December, and the listing activity – inventory –
    really reflects that. Take a minute to scroll down and review my Monday commentary of a
    year ago. As you’ll see, we were enjoying an active market right up to Thanksgiving,
    nonetheless, the inventory of Eichlers started the month of December at around a dozen,
    far different than we have today. And for those of you that monitor the price levels, you
    probably won’t be surprised to hear that the prices are about 15 to 20% higher than they
    were then. On and on it goes!


11-22-04. Well we’ve come off the almost zero inventory with some lovely new
    listings. It will be interesting to see just how long they hang around. My prediction –
    not long. A lovely fall real estate season, brisk and relatively free of rain is about to
    end with our Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll see if the normally slow winter season –
    Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday -follows the traditional pattern.


11-15-04. The Chief Economist and VP of the California Association of Realtors
    spoke here recently, and a few of her comments will likely be of interest to you. As she
    mentioned, “We can expect a strong finish to this year. Inventory is low (I’ll say!),
    and the buyers are still out there with low interest rate loans in their pockets. As in
    former years, the market will slow its pace down while the public takes a break for the
    holidays. The coming year will mimic this year but at a slightly slower pace. According to
    several other economists, the market will heat up again to the pre-dot-com level in the
    years 2006 and 2007, with the market turning in 2008 or 2009. CAR’s Chief Economist
    doesn’t believe the market will “cool off” until 2012, acknowledging that that
    may a bit too optomistic. It seems all do agree that we are in for a ride for the next
    couple of years.”


While it is the economists job to make predictions, the farther out they go, the less
    accurate those predictiions. Suffice to say that near term, our bay area market is and
    likely will continue to be a busy, busy area in real estate transactions.


11-8-04. Well, if there ever was a time to set records, this had to be the time.
    There has never – repeat never, at least since 1992 – been a time when the Eichler
    inventory has been lower than 3 homes in the market area I serve, San Jose to Burlingame.
    Now there are 2. This has to be a commentary, in and of itself, about the silicon valley
    real estate market, interest rates, state of the economy, and more. I have a sneaking
    hunch that next springs market will be a barn burner of historical proportions. Great if
    you’re a seller – not so great if you haven’t found one first!


11-1-04. And the diminishing inventory continues. To give you some perspective,
    I keep careful track and report on some 9000 Eichler homes in my marketing area –
    Burlingame to San Jose. And as of today, there are only 5 of those 9000 on the market. You
    do the math! ‘Tis a great time to be a seller – not so great if you are trying to buy one.
    Here’s a plug for Eichler Homes Realty – my clients bought one this weekend!


10-25-04. Well we are in single digits inventory shape as of the moment, and it
    will likely continue that way for awhile. Two ways to look at that. A good time for home
    sellers, for there are fewer homes from which to choose, but it can also be a good time
    for home buyers, for homes can languish on the market during the upcoming winter real
    estate season.


10-18-04. The rains have come, at least in a small way, but the fall selling
    season still rolls along. We’re almost down to single digits again. Incredible interest
    rates and loan packages, and a very thin home inventory still keeps the home seller in a
    very good position.



Categories: Eichler Insights

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