Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Top Alameda Real Estate Stories of 2009

As the year 2009 comes to a close, this year will be remembered for the stamp the National Housing market placed on the economy. The year was dominated by crumbling credit system and foreclosures and home buyers and sellers caught guessing on what the market would do. Distressed properties were the driving force behind the roller coaster year for U.S. housing market. In Alameda, our local market was touched by banks controlling many home listings and fewer homes coming on the market, and of course government intervention. So here is my top Nine in ’09:

Nine in 2009
Number 9 – In January, SunCal releases Draft Redevelopment Master Plan with a plan to build 4,500 new housing units. This addition to the Alameda housing stock would create a 14% increase housing stock. The plan is to build housing in five phases and include high density blocks (non-Measure A compliant), medium density blocks (non-Measure A compliant), low density attached blocks and single family residents blocks. Over this year the plan has met resistance in the form of Measure B support.

Number 8 – Government Intervention happens to try and stimulate home buying. Congress enacted a first-time homebuyer tax credit which increased buyer activity in the entry-level housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors
® November survey of members reported that the number of first-time home buyers climbed to 51 percent. This credit has very little impact for Alameda buyers because of income limits.

Number 7 – High End Freeze – Sales in the luxury home market almost disappear in Alameda. Homes priced over $1 million had a difficult time selling, the first recorded sale of a seven figure home for 2009 was February 26. Of the 480 sales recorded so far this year only 14 homes were a million dollars or more. Compare that to the 38 properties that sold for under $300,000. The highest home sale in Alameda was 1115 Bay Street, which sold October 9 for $1,987,000.

Number 6 -- Prices Flattening – Much of the turmoil in the housing market appeared to take a breath in the later part of 2009. Median home prices in California saw some of the largest increases in the Nation – ZipRealty tracks median home prices from MLS sales in 27 markets and from January to November, San Diego’s median rose 55 percent, San Francisco Bay Area rose 31 percent, Los Angeles rose 25 percent, and Orange County rose 19 percent. In January, the Alameda median home price was $457,000 by November the median increased to $520,000.

Number 5 -- Mobile Shopping – 2009 was the year of the app. Prospective homebuyers and sellers can now track real estate on the go. The iPhone and other smart phone have real estate companies developing apps for home buyers.

Number 4 – Top Alameda Brokerage – Of the 955 transactional sides, representing either the buyer or seller, sales agents at Harbor Bay Realty took top honors accounting for 251 sides. In the 101 homes sales, reported so far, where they represented the seller the group at Harbor Bay accounted for nearly $65 million in Sales. Gallagher & Lindsey was second with 123 sides.

Number 3 – Late Summer Rebound – Alameda experienced a late summer sales rebound with 171 sales in August to October. Sales for the first seven months of the year were 209, the late surge accounted for an 80 percent surge in sales. Without these sales Alameda was headed for a very poor sales year, as of December 29, 2009’s 480 sales exceeds 2008’s 444.

Number 2 – Bank Market – Many have described the 2009 housing market as the “year of the bank” with institutions needing to approve short sales and foreclosures on the homes they owned. In some markets this was a significant part of the available inventory. For example, foreclosures made up 87 percent of properties sold through the end of November 2009 in Las Vegas, NV and 60 percent in Sacramento, CA, according to MLS data. Los Angeles MLS data showed distressed property sales rise from 8 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2009. In Alameda, 107 of the sales were distressed compared to 2008 that had just 26. In 2009, foreclosed and short sales were 22 percent of the sales compared to 6 percent the prior year this was a very dramatic increase for the Island.

Number 1 – Declining Inventory –The number of homes for sale dropped 28 percent compared to 2008, according to a survey of MLS-listed homes in 27 markets. Major markets that saw the steepest declines include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area, all experiencing year-over-year declines of more than 50 percent. Alameda saw steep declines of inventory as well, starting the year with 149 units for sale peaking to 179 units in mid July and falling to 102 units this week. This is a 43 percent decline from the peak in July.

Happy New Year, Anxious to see what 2010 brings!

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