Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weekly Sales Report

Welcome to the final sales report of the year. As expected, activity this week was quite low. Not many escrows were opened, and those that were for the most part were single offer situations. Many buyers are hanging up their hunting caps for the remainder of the year and hoping that 2008 will bring more options. There have been almost no new listings for the past few weeks. There are buyers out there; many are casually looking and gearing up to get serious in the new year. I feel as if the engines are revving up and the crowds are just waiting for the flag to drop.

Even this past weekend open houses were well attended for mid December. We had fifteen to twenty parties come through both Saturday and Sunday, and this on a property that has been on the market for over a month. Normally many people wait until Spring to bring their house onto the market. We may see the buying season start early this year if sellers start taking advantage of the lack of inventory.

Of the properties that sold this past week, 67% sold under the asking price. As Joe Zilioli, one of our preferred housing inspectors, said, "It is the best time to buy in ten years!" The largest underbid went a whopping 28% under the asking price. It is shocking, we know, but much of that difference can be explained by overpricing and unreasonably high expectations. This home, a five bedroom fifty six hundred square foot fully detached corner home on Lake Street was priced at $3,600,000. Interestingly enough, the same home was on the market in 2003 for $4,200,000 with the same agent. They withdrew that listing after one hundred and eleven days with a little note on the listing that said, "withdrawn for now". It seems the agent figured she just needed to withdraw the listing long enough to talk the sellers down to a more reasonable price. It took her three years. The home finally sold at $2,580,000. It was marketed as having been "on the market for the first time in over 35 years" which is a nice way of saying that everything needed to be updated.

The other 33% of the properties that sold this past week did go over the asking price. The largest overbid was 739 12th Avenue in the inner Richmond which sold at $1,160,000, fourteen percent over the asking price.

Interest rates are still holding steady. At the end of 2006 people were predicting that interest rates might hit the eight mark by the end of 2007. A thirty year fixed jumbo loan is still only at 7.000% with no points. Paying three points will bring that down to 6.125%. It is time for buyers to negotiate and have the sellers help buy down their rate, thus lowering their monthly payments.

The next weekly sales report will be on January 9th. Stick with us, though, because in the meantime we will have lots of other things to share with you. We will be starting our neighborhood series back up, and there will be announcements of things to come in 2008 including our first time home buyer workshops. Just passing it along; 2008 is going to be great!

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