A New Perspective: April showers bring May flowers | Real Estate Insights

Read up on the first quarter market stats for Piedmont homes — what’s up, what’s down and what’s blooming.

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

If April showers bring May flowers, we should expect magnificent blooms this spring. 

Once again, there’s rain in the forecast . . . Not that I’m complaining mind you, we need the rain, as well as the snow, to refill the streams, and the aquifers beneath our arid soil. Moreover, I’m not just a “Gardner” by marriage, but an avid gardener by choice, so bring it on; this may be my favorite time of year. Still, rain does have a tendency to get in the way as we prepare our listings for the marketplace, especially if any exterior work is required (which is almost always), not to mention those all important photographs!

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary . . . “.

As I sit here pondering the weather and listening to the rain hit against my roof, it occurs to me that we’ve just entered the second quarter of our selling season, so now seems like a good time to drop a few numbers on you. Grab a cup of coffee or some hot cocoa and let’s get to it. One caveat, I’ve limited my analysis to Piedmont housing sales only as these are easier to track and more relevant to my readership. If you’ve no interest, enjoy the cocoa and roll over for a few more minutes of sleep. I’ll see you next week.

Piedmont’s 2024 housing sales to date

For those of you who DO care, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) lists 33 homes as coming soon, active, pending, or sold in Piedmont to date.

Removing those that are on the Active or Coming Soon list, 22 homes are pending or have closed in Piedmont at an average sales price of $3,025,357 and a median price of $2,916,000. The average price-per-square-foot is approximately $1,067 (please note that ppsf varies greatly depending on the size, location and condition of a home – ALL houses are definitely not created equal. If they were, it’d make our jobs a whole lot easier.)

How’s that compare to last year’s first quarter? 2023’s first quarter saw 25 houses trade ownership, at an average sales price of $3,295,800, so Piedmont as a micro-market is down both in price and in volume. Unfortunately, interest rates ticked up above 7% this week, while the stock market took a 500 pt. hit, Oakland is suffering, the geopolitical landscape continues to be extremely volatile, and the presidential election is an ever- devolving circus, so where we go from here is still unclear. The Feds are now signaling that there WON’T be a cut in the rates before June, but whether they deliver on the proverbial carrot any point this summer remains to be seen. So far, they’ve been great at kicking the can down the road.

Irrespective of the Feds, I’ve been surprised on both ends of the spectrum watching the market unfold. Some houses have WAY surpassed expectations while others have underperformed . . . In short, the market is inconsistent and that’s what makes “value” difficult to call. “Value” is an entirely subjective concept, but it’s also a moving target.

As always, if you are hoping to buy this spring, please align yourself with a good lender, financial planner, or banker PRIOR to falling in love with a home to avoid last-minute scrambling while you figure out your finances, followed closely by a call to your insurance broker to see if the house is insurable. A good, reputable lender is often the difference between getting an offer accepted – or not.

Finally, if you’re ready to shop in earnest, DO expect to sign a “Buyer Representation” form establishing your Agent’s fee and how exactly they get paid. With the recent settlement by the NAR (likely to be approved mid-July) these agreements will now be mandatory, so choose your Realtor® wisely as you may be paying him/her/they out-of-pocket. Remember, licensed Agents will NOT be able to legally show you properties without these agreements in place and they are binding! From 30 days, to three months, to six months, to one year . . . depending on who fills them out, you and your Agent will be going steady. In other words, make sure you’ve interviewed several Agents if need be, and that your goals and practices align, as it’s not that easy to break-up with your representative once signed.

As an aside, you’ll get what you pay for so beware the “bargain basement” Agent. (They’ll undoubtedly come trolling.)

How can we help you?

Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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