Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alameda Lovely Listings

One of my favorite Real Estate websites is Lovely Listing The site shows how lazy, both sellers and Real Estate Sales People can be with the photos they post to the Internet. In my quest to reproduce this type of post, I found that Alameda's listing had pretty good photos.

In some cases, they provide just one photo which is not good for the cause. In a 2008 survey conducted by the Nation Association of Realtors they found that listings that had multiple photos were viewed more. For three years, customers told NAR that they really want lots of photos, detailed information, and virtual tours. The virtual tour number grew significantly.

So if you are thinking about selling you home, make sure you have lots of good photos: one excellent high resolution exterior photo and several that give a real sense of the living space.

Here are a couple of Alameda Lovely Listings I found (Not as good as the other blog/website):

Indoor Plumbing; Yes! Indoor Bathing; Maybe?

Thinking of going Mauve?

If Pink is not your color how about Green. Same house.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

City Manager Updates Council on Parcel Transfer Tax

How does a week go by so fast?

I was meaning to write about this topic last week, but all of sudden I lost track of the days and poof a week goes by. During last week’s City Council Meeting Michele Ellson from over at
The Island sent me an email regarding the City Manager’s report on the transfer tax.The interim city manager Ann Marie Gallant reported the transfer tax is projected to bring in $2.6 Million this year. The big news it is less than the $4.1Million they estimated at the beginning of the year.

The City Manager stated that as bad as that is, it's also a good thing because the lack of Parcel Transfer Tax means we're not seeing as many homes go into foreclosure. And she also said we are not seeing the property tax amount declines many other cities are likely to face this year, which are in the order of 15, 18, and 19 percent.

It is not very surprising that the new estimate has been significantly reduced. January, February and March sales were very slow and April is not looking much better. The City Manager is correct that foreclosures have been slower in Alameda, but they need to plan for an additional wave if Alt-A loan resets and REO properties begin to flood the market.

Math has not always been my strongest subject, but the report of an increase in year-over-year increase is a bit fake-out. Yes it is an increase from the prior year, double the revenue, but if they projected $4.1 million and are now expecting 2.6M isn't that the real decline for the budget, not the year-over-year?

My favorite comment during the discussion cam from Council Member Lena Tam “An unexpected draconian decline in the real estate market in October of last year . . .” I love the use of the word draconian, but the decline started back in March of 2008 and October just happen to be the one of two up months during the period.

Link to Larger Chart

The Council Members did make a point to remind voters that if they not pass measure P the problem would have been twice as worst. Instead of doubling the Parcel Transfer Tax they would have seen decline of $800-$900,000.

I think that the revised $2.6 Million may be on the optimistic side given that sales have not seen a bump at all. To hit the new target Alameda would need to see nearly $217 Million in property sales. The Multiple Listing Service recorded $19.5 Million in sales for the first three months of 2009. The good news is that April is shaping up to be a good month with over $13 Million in sales with two days left in the month. For what I can assess from the sales pattern that puts the Island on track for total sales between $78 and $137 Million.

At $137 Million that would bring in a little more than $1.6 Million in revenue. Just a small warning about reading the numbers, the Multiple Listing Service is good to get a handle on this, but the MLS does not record all sales, especially commercial property. But frankly I do not see another $70 Million in sales unless the market makes a dramatic shift.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ninety Five Cents On The Dollar

We’re 123rd! In a recently released report by online Real Estate brokerage ZipRealty, Alameda’s 94501 finished in the 123 position out 144 zip codes when you compare sale price to list price for the First Quarter of 2009; the zips were required to have at least 30 sales in the quarter.

The 94501 sales-to-list ratio show that homes are getting ninety-five cents for every dollar of the listing price. Alameda's ratio scored a 95.28% for the first three month of 2009. The range for the Bay Area was a low in Sebatopol’s 95472 (87.46%) to a high in Daly City’s 94015 (110.70%).

For Alameda the data represents 54 sales with an average list price of $521,324 compared to the average sale price of $496,711. Bay Farm’s 94502 did not make the list because it had just 18 sales for the period; those sales did have a ratio of 96.07%.

Sixteen city zip codes were in the 95% range. Here are the top and bottom 10 in the Bay Area.

For the full report go the PR Resouce Section of the ZipRealty Newsroom. The link takes you to the News Room, but you will have to click on the PR Resources for the Home Hunters Report.

Link to the pdf:

Link to Ziprealty Newsroom:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Stop, Listen and Learn

What I love about community events is you get an opportunity to connect with old friends and new neighbors. The gathering allows for discourse and discussion of all things important to the City of Alameda. At this Staurday’s Earth Day, I ran into both Council Members Marie Gilmore and Frank Matarrese, saw SOCA and CASA promoting their ideas for the point. Signature gathers for both the Suncal Measure A change and the Firefighters were out promoting their causes.

I was drawn into a conversation about what should be with Alameda Point and during that conversation we had the opportunity to hear input from someone who has spent more than seven year following the issue. Councilmember Mataresse gave the small group some facts about the base, the clean-up necessary by the Navy and any developer and some basics about the referendum process including Article 26 (a.k.a Measure A).

With these types of discussion, if your mind is open, you will learn something new about something a subject you thought you had a good grasp of the concepts. I believed I was fairly proficient about the Measure, but I was wrong. As the Councilmember pointed out the language of the density Measure has already been modified by its enforcement. Section 26-1 states that “There shall be no multiple dwelling units built in the City of Alameda.”

According to the strict language of this Section it means no duplexes allowed; not just larger units. As Councilmember Mataresse pointed out he looked multiple and the definition is “consisting of, including, or involving more than one.”

The only exception is laid out in Section 26-2: Exception being the Alameda Housing Authority replacement of existing low cost housing units and the proposed Senior Citizens low cost housing complex, pursuant to Article XXV of the Charter of the City of Alameda.

And Section 26-3 goes into maximum density for any residential development within the City of Alameda shall be one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land. This limitation shall not apply to the repair or replacement of existing residential units, whether single-family or multiple-unit, which are damaged or destroyed by fire or other disaster; provided that the total number of residential units on any lot may not be increased. This limitation also shall not apply to replacement units under Section 26-2.

After the referendum was added to the City Charter there was an exception made. Yes a a change to the sacred cow, but not from the electorate.

In Section 30-50.1 Declaration of Policy a City Council declared at the time
determines:a. The proliferation throughout the City of residential dwellings in
attached groups of more than two (2) units has created and, if continued, will
further create, land use densities and other undesirable effects to a degree
which affects adversely the environment and the quality of living conditions
necessary to and desirable by the people. For this and other reasons the Charter
amendment should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of the framers
thereof, which intent is hereby found to be a prohibition against the
construction of dwelling units of more than two (2) attached in the same
structure as hereinbelow set forth.

So a sitting elected group made a change to the interpretation of the language. I wonder if the hardcore “Measure A” people would only want single family houses. I also wonder how the City deals with conflicting language in the Charter.

I understand, and I need to make a public request, that there is a memo written after the implementation of Article 26 that states that Measure A may not stand up to true legal challenge. As I understand, every time the Charter Amendment has come under siege, concessions have been made to keep it in place.

In addition, the Charter Amendment seems to conflict with State policy, and if a developer really wants to take the City to task under the State of California Density Bonus Ordinance there is not much the Council can do about it, even if the project does not conform under Article 26.

Measure A, was a good tool when it was implemented, but as the old saying goes when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail. Since the Measure has been modified in the past by a “Declaration” and may be antiquated given the requirements from State it seems like with the development of Alameda Point this is a great time to review what the goal is and how we move forward.

I like to remember that this originally was brought into the Charter through the referendum process, and now it is that same process that is being used it may be time to modify the 36-year old sentence that “There shall be no multiple dwelling units built in the City of Alameda.”

This week's Inventory Data


Total: 160
94501: 120
94502: 40
SFR: 95
Condo: 38
Multi-Family: 26
Short Sale: 22
Foreclosure: 6
Price Reductions: 60
High List: $2,345,000
Low List: $199,900

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Alameda Earth Day 2009

Today is a rare Sunday Post, but I went Alameda's Earth Day yesterday and just wanted to share a few video clips from the day. I also want to thank Bike Alameda for running the Bike Valet, I rolled up on my bike, they parked it and it was ready to go when I was. This is one of the best and efficient community group projects and these large gatherings, so thank you. For more tips on a sustainable lifestyle check out Ecofabulous link on the right.

For more information on Bike Alameda:

On to the video:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Alameda Snapshot: NAS Alameda 1941

With all the talk about the Development at Alameda Point, I thought a photo of NAS Alameda was appropriate. Here is the Main Street gate being constructed. In the larger version you can see the barracks also being built.

Flickr Photo Courtesy of army.arch.

Link to Larger Version

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Pause for the Cause

Home in Flint, MI; Photo courtesy of Flickr: sarrazak6881

With Alameda heating up over the proposed changes to Measure A, limiting housing density, for Alameda Point I saw a NY Times article about Flint, Michigan that caused me to pause and think about our discussion of the topic and to look at growth from another perspective.

The story details the anguish that the City of Flint is experiencing dealing with an housing meltdown, loss of thousands of jobs and huge budget shortfall. In an effort to save the City from all the elements pushing this once vibrant town into demise the City leaders are considering shrinking the town. The plan is to physically demolish whole block of homes to shrink the city into a more manageable size that will allow for its survival. The goal in leveling these neighborhoods is to head off homes becoming abandoned and after the county forecloses be forced to demolish them at a later date.

Flint has been hit hard by the recession and to continue to provide services to those who still live in the neighborhoods those pushing the plan believe the contraction into a few viable areas is the answer. The net result would be fewer city workers: firefighters and police officers. A smaller population would also mean fewer schools.

Genesee County, where Flint is located, has acquired through tax foreclosure about 900 houses in the city, in a variety of neighborhoods and must decide what should be saved.

Flint is not the only city to do this, Indianapolis and Little Rock, Ark., have recently set up land banks, and other cities are in the process of doing so to begin the process of going smaller.

The one quote that stood out in the article for me in this very depressing story was:
“If it’s going to look abandoned, let it be clean and green,” he said Dan Kildee, the Genesee County treasurer and chief spokesman for the movement to shrink Flint. “Create the new Flint forest — something people will choose to live near, rather than something that symbolizes failure.”

So what does all this have to do with us who live in Alameda?
Well as we talk about expanding the City, population and services on the Island we need to think about how the services to support all this will come into play.

As I see the battle over Public Safety contract gearing up, I ask how we will be able to support the need for even more Police and Fire and the pension obligations that go with every person the City hires. I am sure any growth will require more City Hall employees to handle the growth.

What is the true cost of the SunCal or SOCA plan?

Edmundo Delmundo in a post yesterday asked some good questions about the SOCA vision for the point. My view is that the “SOCA Plan” is lacking details. Anyone familiar with the point understands that the infrastructure will need to be replaced. Green Collar Industry and Sustainable Energy Research will require investment into building and the utilities that service the point. Expanded Solar Energy Generation, is a good goal for the City as a whole but remember Alameda Power & Telecom (a.k.a AMP) studied generation at the point, but that was met with opposition. The Education and Internships for our Youth Parks look like it was just thrown into the list. Open Space would be the only option that would require limited resources, just demolition, but I do not think that SOCA is suggesting the entire demolition of the point.

So what is the point of this long post, well we need to be thoughtful in the process. I do not see Alameda becoming Flint, but we could stress the current City service. The current housing market will not continue to stagnate, but the addition of over 4,000 units to the market will cause some effect to home values. If I new the answer to the effect I would be out promoting it, but at this time we should take a wait and see what the plans contain.

As Edmundo said (I paraphrase) in his post it will cost a whole lot if we dismiss the SunCal plan. I think that can be said for any idea that is positive making a positive contribution to the process.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

94501's Bottom and Top 5

When home sell, the first question almost everyone asks is “What did it sell for?”
As someone who watches the Alameda market very closely I like to add on to that question, “and how much of List Price did they get?”

I took a look at Single Family Residence from January 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, to see how the home pricing is holding up over 15-month period. I think that tracking this list-to-sold percentage is a good way to see if Real Estate salespeople are pricing homes correctly in what has been a very volatile market. Not easy to do.

At the bottom of the list is 1810 Hibbard; the property sold for 75% of the list price for this two bedroom, one bathroom Central Alameda home. Missing the sale price by 25%  is a big margin could mean many things, but most all it says it was way over priced. On the opposite end of the scale, something almost reminiscent of the year 2000, 2253 Clinton sold for 145% of the list price. All the properties that sold in the top five were under $400,000.

View Larger Map

Of the 360 homes sold in this period, 233 sold for under the list price, another 59 sold for the list price and 68 sold over list.

So if you are like me here are Alameda bottom and top five home sales based on sale price to list price

Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking for Rays of Sunshine

What a beautiful Alameda Sunday and today is shaping up to be even a nicer day, I’m positive reading about local real estate is not high on your list of things to do today, so I will try to keep it short. In today’s post we also have a video of the seven foreclosed homes listed on the MLS, I did not included condos in the video, also at the bottom is the weekly inventory report.

Before we get to those two regular items I wanted to drop a quick note about the week. This is report week for all the National housing numbers and those in the industry are expecting to see little rays of light in the housing data. Economy-watchers are searching for signs or a little sunshine that the housing market has hit bottom in recent months and there is some early evidence that the meltdown may be over.

Three key pieces of housing-related data coming out: Existing and new home sales and Federal Housing Finance Agency's price index. Housing sales are expected to hit a bottom and may have already done so with incentives, rock bottom prices and interest rates.

Data on existing home sales in March is scheduled to come out Thursday and new home sales on Friday. Both measures of housing activity picked up in February, a sign that between cheap foreclosed-on houses and low mortgage rates, the volume of sales may finally have stopped falling. March is pivotal to understand how the start of the traditional buying season is getting started.

No matter the March numbers, there are good reasons to think that home sales will improve even though Alameda has continued to stay flat. While foreclosures are set to rise as banks begin to move on delinquent homeowners, that actually could boost home sales as banks auction homes for whatever the market will bear a flood of auction properties in the Bay Area sold over the weekend.

The numbers are slow to tell us what is happening, even if low rates and tax credits bring buyers back into the market, it could take months for that increased demand to meaningfully affect prices.

Alameda Foreclosures

Link to Larger Version


Total -- 162
94501 -- 125
94502 -- 36
SFR -- 91
Condo -- 42
Multi-Family -- 29
Short Sale -- 24
Foreclosure -- 11
Price Reductions -- 60
High List -- $ 2,345,000
Low List -- $ 199,900

Friday, April 17, 2009

Alameda Snapshot: Wall of Hearts

Today's Alameda Snapshot is from inside Spritzers Cafe on Central Ave. The current art being displayed is from the students of Paden Elementary Student body, just down the street. There is a variety of work being displayed, from Andy Warhol replications to quilt work. The wall of hearts caught my attention. Check it out and have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

California Weak and High

Two new reports on the California Real Estate market came out today that details that the market as still very tenuous. New home sales suffered a sharp decline from the prior year and foreclosure filings hit new highs

According to the California Building Industry Association, February sales of new homes in California were down 54 percent from a year ago. This is a modest improvement from the prior month but still a very weak. Sales of single-family homes and townhomes were both down 55 percent from a year ago, while sales of condominiums were off 51 percent.

Not only are sales down but the median base price was also down 15 percent from a year ago and 6 percent from January.

News regarding distressed properties was no better. According to RealtyTrac foreclosure-related filings on U.S. homes during the first three months of the year were up 9 percent from the previous quarter and 24 percent from a year ago, surpassing previous highs for the current downturn.

The 803,489 properties subject to some kind of foreclosure filing during the first quarter -- including default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- marked a record high since RealtyTrac began reporting in January 2005.

The increase in filings can be attributed to legislative action. Many Banks/Lenders have been holding off on foreclosures because of moratoria and legislative delays. With these programs coming to an end these initiate new foreclosure proceedings.

In Alameda, foreclosures that have reach the MLS have been relatively very few. In fact we peaked in November of last year and have reached a 21 week low for foreclosed homes for sale. That number appears to be understated, according to RealtyTrac Alameda has 92 properties in Pre-Foreclosure, 37 Trustee Sales and 73 Bank Owned.

The 73 Banked owned is troublesome, it means that they, the Banks, are sitting on inventory and the 92 properties that have now entered some face of the foreclosure process means that the Island could see it own wave of distressed properties hit the market in the near future.

Demand for distressed properties by first-time homebuyers and investors has picked up in some hard-hit markets, locally in East Contra Costa County, but given the new news there is a new swell of properties entering the pipeline.

California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois accounted for nearly 60 percent of properties subject to foreclosure-related filings during the first quarter, RealtyTrac said. California alone accounted for 29 percent of the properties in some stage of foreclosure -- 230,915 -- a 35 percent increase from the previous quarter, and the highest total seen in the four years RealtyTrac has been issuing reports.

The California State tax credit for new homes purchases in demand with first time homebuyers flocking to the program. The California Franchise Tax Board
said it had received more than 3,100 applications for the tax credit, which is available to qualified buyers making purchases during the year beginning March 1, 2009, or until the $100 million allocated for the program runs out. Applications for $30.6 million in tax credits, or nearly one-third of the program's capacity, have been received so far.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recycled Home

With all the talk lately about "Green Technology" and recycling here in Alameda and in California as whole for real estate, I thought I would share an interesting news piece from environmentally friendly Cole Oklahoma. Or as in the story they call it Hippieville.

If you are looking to Green your Alameda home, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) is offering rebates on Solar Photovoltaics (PV) systems. These systems have traditionally been expensive but now with the rebates these systems have become more affordable.

Solar convert the energy of the sun into pollution-free, renewable, reliable and safe electricity. AMP is offering $4.2 million in rebates over 10 years to customers who install Solar system and in 2009, the $2,000 cap has been removed making the federal tax credit 30% of the cost of a Solar system after AMP rebates. Earth Day is April 22, so if you need to start small put in some compact florescent bulbs in the house. Locally, Alameda will celebrate the day on April 25 at Washington Park.

Solar Rebate

Alameda Earth Day

California's Million rooftop intiative.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Insurance For First Time Buyers

Buying a home is very scary, when my wife and I bought our home, the deposit was the largest check we every wrote, until 30-days later when we wrote an even bigger check to close escrow on our little piece of Alameda. The new mortgage caused additional fear when housing cost became four times the amout we were paying for our little rented townhouse, but the California Association of Relator in an attempt to get people buying again has a new program.

CAR has launched the Housing Affordability Fund has launched this program designed to provide peace of mind to first-time buyers who are concerns about potential job loss, and eventually being unable to meet their monthly mortgage payment.

To qualify for the Mortgage Protection Program, Applicants must:

  • Be a first-time home buyer – someone who has not owned a home in the last three years.
  • Open escrow April 2, 2009, or later, and close on or before Dec. 31, 2009
  • Use a California REALTOR® in the transaction
  • Purchase the property in California
  • Be a W-2 employee (cannot be self-employed)

Esentially what the Realtors organization is doing is taking out an insurance policy for you to protect against potential job loss. The insurance policy is for involuntary unemployment and accidental death & disability. The home buyer receives up to $1,500 per month for up to six months to help make their mortgage payments. A qualified co-buyer can also participate in this program, for a reduced monthly benefit of up to $750 per month for up to six months in the event of a job loss or disability. In addition, the program offers a one-time $10,000 accidental death benefit.

The program has a 6 month vesting period and the the buyer needs 4 months of  concurrent work to be eligible. The benefit appears to be for up to six months.

For a copy of the MPP Application Click here.
This form must be submitted by an active California REALTOR® to apply.
For examples on how the program works Click Here.
For a list of  Frequently Asked Questions Click here

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Short of It

For the past 18-months foreclosed properties have gotten all the attention, but they are only one half of the distressed property inventory. The more likely encounter an Alameda Buyer will have is with a short sale. There are four times as many shot sales in Alameda as foreclosures, so I thought it would be a good topic to give a little more information.

Distress Properties come in two types of transactions: short sales and foreclosures. There are some differences between theses two types of properties transactions, but both require a lot of patience from the buyer, because the real estate transaction now has a bank included in the mix.

A short sale is when a homeowner is behind on his or her mortgage, or already in default, but has not yet been foreclosed on. The owner of the home works with the lender to sell the home for an amount less than what they currently owe on the property. A short sale usually occurs when the homeowner either knows they can no longer afford the home and is facing a default on the mortgage, or has already defaulted and is facing a foreclosure.

The bank is willing to sell the home for less to avoid the costly default process, so a short sale will happen when a property is sold for an amount that is less than, or “short” of, the current pay-off amount of the mortgage.

So if you are interested in these types of transaction here are a couple of things you need to know before making an offer on a “short sale,”

  • Any offer must be approved by seller’s lender and this can be a long, long wait. It is not unheard of offers sitting for two months without a response.
  • Because of the required approval process by the lender, closings on a short sale are often delayed by several weeks, if not months.
  • A lender may not agree to, and thus change, the terms of the agreement made between the seller and the buyer.
  • Lenders are overwhelmed in this market, so expect the process of buying a short sale or an REO to take several months (after you make an offer).
  • Multiple offers are often made on one property because of the low prices. Even if your offer is competitive, if lender receives what they perceive to be a “better” offer, you could be out of the running all together.
  • Always remember: until your offer is accepted by the lender, there is no contract. That means even if your short sale offer has been “accepted” by the seller, there is still no contract until the lender has given its approval.

So, if you’re the kind of buyer who is not in a hurry to purchase your next home or is comfortable with some uncertainty about that purchase and is willing to search through dozens of listings in hopes of finding a good deal, then including short sales may be for you.

Today’s Alameda Inventory
















Short Sale




Price Reductions


High List

 $               2,345,000

Low List

 $                  199,900

Link to Graph


Friday, April 10, 2009

Alameda Snapshot: Bell Tower at St. Joseph's

With Easter Sunday approaching, I thought an Alameda Snapshot of the bell tower at St. Joseph's Basilica was appropriate. St. Joseph's is located at 1109 Chestnut Street and was designated an Alameda Historical Monument in 1977 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places 1978. The year of construction for St. Joseph's was 1921 and it was designed by Architect: H. A. Minton

Enjoy Passover (started yesterday), Easter (this Sunday) or a beautiful Bay Area Weekend (most of the time).

St. Joseph's Basilica Small

Link to Larger Version

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Shadow (Inventory) Knows

Recently there have been signs that the Bay Area Real Estate market has seen small signs of recovery as sales increased and other factors like interest rates have remained low. But a San Francisco Chronicle Story that ran yesterday on shadow inventory is a bit scary to think that less than two-thirds of the inventory has been sold. By the way this article is well worth a read and look at the chart.

Alameda County’s inventory has the second lowest turnover of foreclosure sales with 58.6% resold and 41.4% unsold foreclosures according to MDA DataQuick. The Bay Area as a whole has seen just 65.5 percent of the foreclosed resold. The DataQuick study looked at  all Bay Area homes repossessed by banks in an 18 month period ending January 2009. They tracked how many of those homes had resold by mid-March.

This means that the foreclosure inventory has been depressed by the banks. There could be many reasons, but the two that come to mind is they:

  1. Can not handle the inventory they have received and are just slow to process
  2. They do not want to further depress the market and be forced to take even bigger losses on the loans

Since Alameda has seen relatively very few foreclosures, the immediate impact may not be that great, but regional this could have a huge effect. If other like communities continue to see declining prices as inventory grows home buyers may opt to live in more affordable communities.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Outside In Look

I have lived in Alameda for over 30-year. Wow, that is the first time I wrote that and I flashed to all of those long-time Alamedans that have had snarky comments about outsiders, but the only reason I preface the next paragraph with the term I lived here is sometimes here on the Island we get a little insulated.

In today’s post I wanted to compare our tiny real estate market with other markets in the County. I excluded Contra Costa because the city populations are much smaller.

So I took a look at five cities in the county Alameda, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Union City. I looked at population, listing, single family homes priced between $300,000 and $400,000 and high school scores. Here is the raw data:


Alameda: 74,581

Livermore: 80,723

Pleasanton: 67,650

San Leandro: 81,422

Union City: 70,685

Listings (as of 4/8/09)

Alameda: 167

Livermore: 333

Pleasanton: 374

San Leandro: 255

Union City: 258

Single Family Residence “For Sale”

List Price between $300,000 and $400,000

Alameda: 2

Livermore: 32

Pleasanton: 1

San Leandro: 36

Union City: 31

High School Test Scores (2007 Base API Data)

Alameda: Alameda High School – 798; Encinal High School -- 701

Livermore: Livermore High School – 763; Granada High School -- 796

Pleasanton: Amador High School – 870; Foothill High School -- 888

San Leandro: San Leandro High School -- 685

Union City: Logan High School -- 726

So what does all this mean for real estate? Well from a pure economic perspective it means that Alameda is either overpriced or extremely desirable. Since most of you that read this blog live on Island, like myself, we would say desirable. But based on affordability Alameda does not even come close.

Alameda has two single family homes listed for under $400,000 compared to San Leandro (36) Livermore (32) and Union City (31) with homes listed at a moderate price point.

The most interesting statistics to me was the high school API scores. I hear people say our home prices are higher because of the schools. That is a tough argument since Alameda’s secondary schools placed third out of five cities in a straight comparison and only excelled well beyond San Leandro High School.

Union City’s Logan High School score is an impressive score because it has 2,740 students (one very big campus) at the one high school were used in calculating their API. Between Alameda and Encinal the district had 2,132 students as part of the 2008 base score and Logan scored 25 points higher than Encinal. As a former Jet that was disappointing.

The biggest reason that I see is why Alameda’s prices are holding, besides location, location, location, is we have very limited inventory. Both Livermore and Pleasanton have twice as many properties for sale.

I only did this exercise as a little perspective as we look at improving our community.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Alameda: March Home Sales

The month of March came to a close last week and the Alameda sales data shows that the news is mixed in the first quarter of 2009. Sales remain flat with 25 sales recorded on the MLS for March; the total for the quarter was 68. The first quarter of 2007 had 61 sales, so the positive there was an increase.

The not so good news is current homeowners continue to see the median sale price decline 20% from March 2008. Of the 25 properties sold in March seven of were purchased at or above the list price, the median accepted offer was 97% of the list price. I think that this shows a leveling in the market. As the percentage of list to sale gets closer it shows that buyers are finding pricing they find to be a good value.

The month also recorded a million dollar sale, 123 Old Castle sold for just $10,000 less than the asking price of $1,295,000. The largest overbid came in at 116% of the asking price. A condo, 1629 Foley, sold for $230,000 more than $30,000 over the asking price. The lowest offer was 1514 Minturn that only received 63% of the asking price of $380,000.

April will be a pivotal month; if sales are in the 20-30 range then I think the market will continue to lag well into 2009. If we see a jump from March to April then the traditional selling season will be off to a good start.

Sale Date


 Listing Price

 Sale Price




 $    199,000.00

 $    230,000.00




 $    239,000.00

 $    225,000.00




 $    748,000.00

 $    688,000.00




 $    484,900.00

 $    465,000.00



1828 9TH ST

 $    489,000.00

 $    489,000.00




 $    419,900.00

 $    390,000.00




 $    699,000.00

 $    633,000.00



1305 WEBSTER ST #C203

 $    169,900.00

 $    165,000.00




 $    699,000.00

 $    690,000.00




 $    599,000.00

 $    625,000.00



1333 WEBSTER ST #A212

 $    159,900.00

 $    150,000.00




 $    649,000.00

 $    625,000.00




 $    625,000.00

 $    590,000.00




 $    609,000.00

 $    575,000.00




 $    839,000.00

 $    815,000.00




 $    549,000.00

 $    540,000.00




 $    525,000.00

 $    555,000.00




 $    380,000.00

 $    241,000.00




 $ 1,295,000.00

 $ 1,285,000.00




 $    407,900.00

 $    408,000.00




 $    499,000.00

 $    500,000.00




 $    539,000.00

 $    539,000.00



2137 OTIS DR #314

 $    353,000.00

 $    350,000.00




 $    405,000.00

 $    375,000.00



2101 SHORELINE DR #214

 $    439,000.00

 $    420,000.00




 $    499,000.00

 $    500,000.00



March 2008 Median


 $    625,000.00









Y-Y Difference






 $    502,720.00