Real Estate Update for Santa Clara County March 2011!

Good morning everyone and welcome to Raymond’s Real Estate Update for Santa Clara County that includes San Jose Real Estate of course!  You will read how the market is consistently improving regardless of some major websites I won’t mention.  You will also note that I try to stay with facts by only stating actual numbers.  Should you want detail for a certain zip code as I have done for a few neighborhoods below feel free to email me and if I have numbers for that particular area I will supply them. 

The amount of homes that went into pending status for February 2011 jumped 22.1%↑ over January 2011.  I know what you’re thinking…that’s normal right?  Yes, it’s normal for more buyers to come out and jump into the market as we get closer to the spring months, but what’s better than that Jan.11-Feb.11 had an increase of 7.3%↑ vs. same months prior year Jan.10-Feb.10!  Also, Feb. 11 vs. same month 1 year ago increased by 19.8%↑In other words we are off to a great start.

While many believe there are many homes on the market when driving down their neighborhoods the reality is inventory is still very low.  When you think about there are 1,764,000 people who live here and only 2,380 single family homes available for sale is not very much.  The big reason why prices are climbing as you will see below in the graphs for many areas within the Santa Clara County is for that very reason…no supply and big demand. 

The absorption rate based on pending sales jumped nearly 8%↑ from Jan. 11 to Feb. 11 now at 50.4%, which means 50.4% of the homes that listed in Feb. 11 went into contract.  What’s the big deal you may ask? Well, it topped Feb. 10 by 2.7%, and when you think about the nice summer month September 2010 had only a 29.5% absorption rate.  The market is increasingly getting better right before our eyes…it’s too bad there are many out there who still do not realize it. 

Take a look at some graphs below showing actual numbers for San Jose Real Estate, Santa Clara Real Estate, Campbell Real Estate, and Los Gatos Real Estate.

ALMADEN VALLEY median price 12%↑ Jan. 11-Feb. 11 CAMPBELL median price .5%↓ Jan. 11-Feb. 11 

City of SANTA CLARA median price 5.6%↑ Jan. 11-Feb.11

LOS GATOS median price 21.2%↑ Jan.11-Feb.11

BLOSSOM VALLEY median price .2%↑ Jan.11-Feb.11

Should you have any questions or if you know someone who can use my assistance in the Real Estate Market please do not hesitate to call me at 408-655-7900!  In the mean time don’t forget to visit to connect with me on LinkedIn or Facebook!

Who’s buying homes? The rich

Ok, guys…now CNN is even telling everyone how great San Jose, CA is doing.  You know what that means?  I’ve been telling everyone all last year how areas are turning around since we bottomed Feb. 2009, it just happens CNN has more voice than me, so now do you believe it? If the high-end homes are moving in San Jose, CA there shouldn’t be any reason why your home if marketed correctly shouldn’t sell in today’s market when it’s under 1 million right?  I always say, “San Jose, CA is a different market,” and now the CNN’s out there are starting to notice! Read below…

This four-bedroom home in Silicon Valley is selling for $2.5 million. Check out some of the million-dollar homes that are for sale around the country.  By Les Christie, staff writer March 7, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The rich are different from you and me: They’re buying real estate.

After four straight years of declines, sales of million-dollar homes and condos rose last year in all 20 major metro areas, according to DataQuick Information Systems. On average, these cities saw an 18.6% jump in high-end home sales.

San Jose, Calif., had the biggest market for million-dollar homes, with a 27.4% spike in sales last year; Phoenix saw the smallest increase at just 0.4%.

Meanwhile, sales outside of this price point actually fell 2.8%.

“It hasn’t been a good six months for all people, but it was a good six months for rich people,” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Seattle-based real estate brokerage Redfin. “When Wall Street goes up, rich people buy homes.”

And Wall Street has gone up: Stock values have nearly doubled from their March 2009 lows.

“Higher income households are feeling better about their financial security,” said Greg McBride, chief economist for

As their confidence soared, the wealthy took advantage of bargains in expensive homes. An average seaside manor on Jupiter Island, Fla., that might have sold for $4 million in 2006 cost less than $3 million last year. The Brentwood bungalow in L.A. was $1.5 million instead of $2 million, and that Scarsdale colonial fell to $1.1 million after gong for $1.5 million four years ago.

PHOTOS: Homes the rich are buying

Getting a mortgage for these expensive homes was cheaper as well.

Normally buyers have to take out a jumbo loan to finance any mortgage beyond the $417,000 threshold ($729,000 in high-cost cities such as San Jose and New York). These loans have higher interest rates because they are considered non-conforming — or higher risk — and are not backed Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

In 2009 buyers of high-end homes paid 1.8 percentage points more in interest than the average buyer. But in 2010, that spread had shrunk to just 0.6 points more.

That reduction would save about $780 a month on a million-dollar mortgage. That may not matter much when you’re a software gazillionaire, but for buyers stretching to reach that league, it can make a difference.

Some metro area markets experienced modest price rebounds in 2009, which was enough to push a handful of homes above the million-dollar threshold. In San Jose, for example, home values rose for several quarters, boosting the prices of homes right on the border of a million.

But in most cities, the million-dollar homes sold were actually million-dollar homes, not just those that crossed into the high-end territory because of rising prices.

In New York, where volume grew nearly 25%, high-priced home sales were driven by bonuses on Wall Street. Even though bonuses were slightly smaller last year, they still topped $120,000. And that’s just the average; many employees brought home significantly more.

Wealthy clients have driven the business for Gary Reavis, the CEO of Keller Williams Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, where sales rose about 20%.

He attributes the jump to the stock rebound and good times in some of the area’s best-paying industries, including entertainment.

And in Washington, government workers continued to bolster the high-end market, which grew 20% here as well. The DC area is now the best educated place in the nation and and one of the highest paid. Median family income is now over $101,000 in the D.C. area and more than $109,000 in the Bethesda-Rockville, Md., area.

Other big gainers were Honolulu (26%), San Diego (14%) and Nashville (13%).

The real estate industry may take some solace from the mini boom in high-end sales, but it does not necessarily mean good times are ahead for the rest of the market. In fact, the rest of the market is facing a potential 25% drop in prices and stalling sales.

“There are not a lot of million-dollar home buyers even in the best of times,” said Bishop. “It’s always nice to see any segment come back, but it’s the middle of the market we would like to see set the pace.”

Fire Safety Awareness…First Priority!

When was the last time you talked to your kids about a house fire?  How many smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors do you have in your home?  It wasn’t until my 6 year old at the time who is now 9 noticed a little smoke coming from my hanging fixture in the kitchen nook.  Talk about raising the awareness about fire situations in my house, and since then smoldering smoke detectors are seen almost everywhere in my house.  I tripled the amount as well as adding carbon monoxide detectors.  What I’ve found about smoldering smoke detectors is that they generally cost around $25 a piece compared to your typical detector $8 a piece at places like Home Depot.  Does that really matter?  

Also, if you have smoke detectors you should always test them once a month and listen for the beep sound that generally means the battery is low.  Read more about fire awareness at!  Be safe!!!

Hot Trends in Bathroom Redesign

You may not know it yet, but your bathroom is begging to be redone. It dreams at night of the latest trends, colors, and fancy new gadgets. It talks with the tub about its most heartfelt desires. Maybe its time to make your bathroom’s dreams come true! 

Okay, so your bathroom doesn’t have a mind of its own, but you do! And a bathroom redesign can be a fabulous way to increase your home’s saleability. Every buyers loves a comfortable, modern bath.

What is hot right now? Let’s start from the ground up. Buyers are looking for a bathroom that serves as a spa retreat, especially in an economy where regular trips to the spa are few and far between.

Heated floors are a good way to get started. Handy homeowners can even take on the project themselves! A woven mat or heating element is laid under your new tile. No more cold feet on winter mornings! This project runs about $500+.

And cover that new heat with some luxury tile. Travertine, marble, and granite are all popular choices. Travertine is a form of limestone that has a long history of use in buildings. It has a simple elegance and neutral tone that is always a great choice in updated baths.

Next, nothing makes a bigger change than a new coat of paint. Paint allows you to get the most bang for your buck. For just dollars a gallon, you can easily breathe new life into a dull space. Popular colors today include neutral taupes and grays. And while monotone is in, splashes of color (in small doses) can be a great way to add your own personality to the mix.

Are you a sucker for the latest gadgets? Start out with heated towel racks. You can find these for around $150 – $300.

Need help conserving water? Try Waterpebble. “Waterpebble is unique in the way it works to help reduce water usage,” says the company’s website. “The clever device monitors water going down the plug hole when you shower. Memorizing your first shower and using it as a benchmark, Waterpebble then indicates, via a series of ‘traffic lights’ flashing gently from green through to red, when to finish showering. Each time you shower Waterpebble automatically fractionally reduces your shower time helping you to save water without needing to think about it.”

Another great energy saver is a tankless water heater. It only heats the water you need, instead of keeping gallons warms just in case.

And finally, make sure you have plenty of storage and counter space. Pedestal sinks look nice, but they are a nightmare for a woman’s arsenal of beauty tools. Up the space quotient by offering dual vanities, or at least an extra-wide vanity to give the buyer lots of space to imagine their stuff. And be sure to have a linen closet, or at the minimum cabinet storage, for all of life’s necessities.

A bathroom can be your sanctuary. Why not give in to its requests to be updated? After all, your bathroom knows best.

Written by Carla Hill