Have you been working out? | An East Bay real estate market update amid COVID, BLM activism, wild fires, Unemployment, and all the news of people leaving the state
“Have you been working out? You look great and I’m impressed with how much you can lift these days.” That’s my attempt at a joke regarding the East Bay real estate market right now. Seriously though, if you list out all the crazy forces that have occurred this year, our market is looking quite robust. COVID, BLM activism, Wild Fires, Unemployment, and all the news of people leaving the state, you would think that the straw that breaks the camels back has to be coming. However, our market keeps on banging out reps despite the added weight.
I hope my weight lifting analogy didn’t get past anyone here. I know gyms have been closed for a while. What I’m trying to say is that our market keeps taking shots and not only gets back up but also moves forward. Rocky would be proud.
Alameda Inventory vs. Oakland Inventory
Just this morning I was looking at some market stats. Alameda has 51 units on the market right now and they go pending in an average of 19 days. That’s 2-3 days faster than this time last year. When you look at all the houses that are pending and active, they share that same 19 day average. That indicates that most inventory isn’t lingering. In fact, it’s turning over fairly quickly.
Oakland on the other hand has 525 active units right now that go pending in an average of 26 days. However, the average active listing has been on the market for 42 days. Unlike Alameda, it appears that there may be a bit of a build up of inventory.
What does this mean? In my opinion, there are a few possible interpretations.
The buyer pool in Oakland is robust but choosy
Oakland has roughly 10x more units for sale on any given week and covers a much greater variety of geography and school districts. This is not a true apples to apples comparison for that reason so you can simply expect those numbers to be different. And enough large outliers can skew data.
The buyer pool, though robust, is choosy. Just because rates are low and there is a lot of buying power in the East Bay real estate market right now, doesn’t mean that buyers want anything. They want the right thing. Most of the buyers I speak with are looking for a place to settle into over the next 5-10 years. And I would venture to say that most of them anticipate some drop and recovery to their value in that time period. So, if they buy now, they need it to be the right place that they intend on living in for some time. This goes back to that whole “reassessing priorities and life” thing I have written about previously.
If you spend 30 seconds on YouTube or Google, you will find a ton of content aiming to prove that we have officially reached the peak of the market and inventory is now outpacing supply which will be the moment prices drop and we go into a recession. I’m open to that explanation though will need more than a few weeks of data to make me adopt that one as truth. More to come on that front.
In my opinion, it’s not a matter of if, more so when and by how much the East Bay real estate market will correct. I said last time I am done with predictions for the year and I’m holding to it.
Two Tips for Oakland Home Sellers
Last week we took offers on a really amazing house in Oakland that ultimately ended up with 12 offers and exceeded the Seller’s (and my) expectation by a significant margin.
Having now seen this happen several times on houses over the last few months, I have drawn two conclusions:
- Buyers who know what they want and see themselves living somewhere for a long time are willing to pay for it.
- The pricing and presentation of a house has more to do with its outcome than ever before.
Take this Art Deco Bungalow we put on the market late last week. It’s got charm, updates, located on a cul-de-sac and a killer detached home office and storage space. For the listing price of $795,000.00, it’s a must see.
And when you compare it to some of the recent 2/1s that have been listed in Alameda, it looks like an incredible value. And that explains why the showing schedule has been booked solid for several days now.
You Won’t Be Able to Sell Your House If…
The buyer phycology in our market assumes that a house will sell for 10-20% over the listing price. Because we shop on our phones and make quick decisions, that assumption kills you if your potential buyer thinks:
- You want way more than they can afford OR,
- They have to do a ton of upgrades after spending all that money to just buy the house.
Just like on Shark Tank, those buyers will say “I’m Out” and you’ve lost them. And believe me, once they move on, it’s really hard to get them to come back.
Learn how to ‘dance’ the East Bay way
It’s a really frustrating game that we play. Just like any game that is hard to learn, there is nuance and opportunity if you know where to look. However, that takes a savvy buyer or a seasoned agent (often both) to recognize them. It’s a strange dance we do to transact in the East Bay. And like any dance, it requires a great partnership, trust and coordination.
This market is really separating the motivated from the tire kickers, the professionals from the amateurs. And with stakes being high to even get into the house, not to mention the implications of that purchase on one’s financial situation over the next 5-10+ years, I’d say that’s a good thing.
One thing I’ve learned from all that’s happening
Personally, I have been out of town for just over a week now and I have to say it’s been great. While I love where we live, COVID and the SIP order has given me cabin fever. I think there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Having spent more time reading and doing several podcast interviews recently, the concept of time keeps coming up. Mostly in a way of putting it on your side. Using time as the wind to fill your sails and get you where you want to go. Time, when you let it, helps create a depth of experiences in relationships, skills, and really anything you care to focus on. I am firmly of the belief that when you play the long game, achievement of goals is inevitable. It’s really just a matter of when, not if.
That does assume that you’re awake at the wheel and being intentional along the way.
These days, it’s really easy to slide into a life of doing things to say you did them. To check boxes with people, places and experiences. However, if there is one thing I have learned since March, living intentionally is a must. And when you live intentionally over time, you can achieve amazing things.
So, in an effort to not simply drone on, I will ask you: What are you doing to put time on your side?
I hope this East Bay real estate market update has helped you.
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