Southern/Central Marin County Real Estate Report April 2018

In spite of very rainy, wet weather, Marin single family home buyers were buying in March. Median sold prices rose for both homes and condominiums, with homes rising just slightly from $1,461,000 to $1,468,000 and condominiums jumping from $668,000 to $729,000.Single Family Homes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $1,468,000 is up 9.7% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 14% while sales are up 6.9%.March’s inventory of 1.9 months is 14% lower than in 2017.The median percent of list price received was 100% in March.Condominium/Townhomes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $729,000 is up 14% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 18% while sales were down 32%.March’s inventory of 2.2 months is 57% higher than in 2017.The median percent of list price received was 100% in March.

Can I buy a house with bitcoin?

Bitcoin is hard to miss these days. Chatter about the cryptocurrency is everywhere as more businesses — from coffee shops to online retailers — accept it as a payment option.That raises an important question for us: will there come a day when buyers can use bitcoin to finance a home?Maybe. Bitcoin is slowly making its way into real estate but it’s not considered a viable option for paying off a mortgage. Still, some homeowners have found ways to use digital cash to cover some basic home buying costs, such as the down payment.We’ll explain how, but first let’s cover the basics.
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a type of digital money (or cryptocurrency) that’s converted into a near-unbreakable code. Unlike traditional currency, bitcoin isn’t managed or controlled by a central authority, government or any third party. It can be used to make anonymous electronic purchases or transfers and doesn’t leave a paper trail that leads to the person making the transaction.Why does it make some people nervous?
Why does it make some people nervous?
It’s unstable. Since hitting its peak at the end of 2017, bitcoin’s value has swung up and down. Foreign countries where bitcoin is popular, such as South Korea and China, appear ready to tighten rules on bitcoin trading. Plus, there hasn’t been a wholesale adoption of bitcoin to the point that it will soon replace cash in commerce — although consumers are using it to order pizza, buy diamond rings and book trips.
But can I buy a house with it?
It depends. If a seller agrees to exchange property for bitcoin, then it’s a done deal. But even the savviest of sellers trust the greenback more than virtual money.For example, CNBC reported last fall that a borrower in Texas purchased a single-family home using bitcoin after using BitPay, a bitcoin payment service provider, to convert it to cash.But the idea is catching on. A homeowner in California who listed his $599,000 home for sale said he’d accept bitcoin. A townhome sold in Las Vegas advertised bitcoin as a payment option, and a nearly $5 million beach house in Miami Beach is listed as accepting bitcoin.
What about financing a home?
That’s a little trickier.Lenders are risk-averse and bitcoin, a speculative investment, is loaded with risk (remember, the value is seesawing almost daily). That’s why there’s been no major adoption of cryptocurrency in lending.There are exceptions.Last month, a 23-year-old bitcoin investor used it to buy a $415,000 three-bedroom house in a suburb outside of Seattle, according to the Seattle Times. The buyer used cryptocurrency for his 10 percent down payment and to secure a conventional mortgage with his lender. The funds were then converted to regular U.S. currency to pay the seller and meet lender requirements.There were challenges, such as providing documentation of his cryptocurrency assets, which don’t come with regular bank statements. Plus, his loan officer and real estate agent and the seller’s real estate agent were skeptical because they had never dealt with bitcoin in the past.Still, they treated it like any real estate transaction and the deal went through.
So, the Seattle deal happened. Will lenders start accepting bitcoin now?
We can’t say for sure.In theSeattle deal, the buyer’s lender reportedly checked with Fannie Mae, one of the nation’s biggest housing finance agencies, to ensure it would accept bitcoin as an asset to secure a mortgage. Fannie Mae, the story said, required a full paper trail documenting that the buyer paid for the cryptocurrency, sold it back in U.S. dollars and used it for the down payment.
The Takeaway
Although bitcoin is the cryptocurrency we can’t stop talking about, some in mortgage lending are turning their attention to blockchain, the digital ledger that tracks cryptocurrency transactions through a decentralized network of linked computers. It can store and transfer documents securely and receive information directly from borrowers instead of going through credit reporting agencies.But we’re not there yet. A lot needs to happen before blockchain replaces key home buying functions, such as the title deed and registry process.“Blockchain is the internet circa 1993,” Dror Futter, an attorney with a global law firm’s fintech team, told the National Mortgage News. “The technology is still immature, it’s not user-friendly, there are still issues being identified and hacks are occurring.”The takeaway: Lending, for the most part, still prefers the U.S. dollar over digital currency.

Annual Report on the San Francisco County Housing Market

There is an ongoing and undeniable national housing shortage. Year-over-year inventory levels have been down in most markets for several years now, and that trend is expected to persist in 2018. Consumers are still purchasing for the first time and relocating to other, presumably more ideal homes.Having the financial ability to make a move clearly seems feasible to many eager buyers amidst a healthy economy, whether life events such as marriage, children, employment change or desirable downsizing is the reason for moving.There are further positive signs on the horizon, as builder confidence has improved and construction job gains are measurably higher. It will still take more effort than a lone year can provide for building activity to reach a needed level for inventory balance, but a step in the right direction is welcome.More sellers should feel ready and willing to list in 2018. Economic indicators such as unemployment rates and consumer confidence are in an improved state, and sellers currently hold the keys in the buyer-seller relationship. This does not mean that sellers can set their price and watch the offers roll in. On the contrary, buyers will be poised to test prevailing price points, particularly in markets where home price increases are outpacing wage growth and in light of the fact that mortgage rates are expected to increase further in 2018.Sales: Pending sales increased 3.2 percent, landing at 5,164 to close out the year. Sold listings were up 2.6 percent to finish 2017 at 5,150.Listings: Year-over-year, the number of homes for sale was lower by 19.9 percent. There were 540 active listings at the end of 2017. New listings decreased by 4.3 percent to finish the year at 6,139. Home supply was once again lower than desired in 2017.Prices: Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 4.6 percent to $1,250,000 for the year. Prices are expected to continue to rise at a slow rate in 2018. Single-Family home prices were up 7.0 percent compared to last year, and Condo/TIC/Coop home prices were up 6.0 percent.List Price Received: Sellers received, on average, 109.4 percent of their original list price at sale, a year-over-year increase of 1.6 percent. As sales prices are expected to increase further in 2018, this could bring original list price received at sale up as well.The historic tax reforms due to make their mark in 2018 will have varying effects across the nation. High-priced coastal markets may feel the changes stronger than the middle of the country. And some potential buyers may see the changes as providing less of an investment benefit for homeowners.Some observers warn that there might be enough lack of incentives to stifle homeownership, which is already near 50-year lows. Policymakers claim that the reforms will help boost economic activity and profitability. Whichever direction we ultimately turn, the next year appears to offer a dalliance with balance intended to intrigue both sides of the transaction toward a common middle ground.For those who have their minds made up to buy a home in 2018, it will likely be a competitive ride. The trend has widely been toward fewer days on market and fewer months of supply, indicating strong demand despite higher prices and low inventory. This could prove tricky for first-time home buyers, especially for those who are impacted by student loan debt, content to rent or among the more than 15 percent of adult children still living at home. In a landscape rife with new variables, residential real estate is certainly poised to offer an interesting and active year ahead.

San Francisco Real Estate Market Update: March 2018

As of the end of February, there were fewer total home, condo and loft sales in the first two months of 2018 than in any of the previous ten years. And while it’s impossible to say exactly what is causing the low number of sales, it is possible that buyer fatigue following six straight years of rising prices, interest rates jumps, and stock market volatility may all be contributing.At the same time, the median sold price per square foot for a single family home broke the $1000 threshold for the first time in San Francisco. That is up almost 150% since it bottomed out at $408 in January, 2012. And, enough buyers are still buying that prices are still rising. February’s median home price crossed $1,700,000, another first.Single Family Homes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $1,501,667 is up 17% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 7.4% while sales are down 9.7%.February’s inventory of 1.4 months is 26% lower than in 2017.80% of homes sold over their list price and the median percent of list price received was 113% in February.Condo/Loft/TIC’s: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $1,096,667 is up 3.13% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 14% while sales were up 9.2%.February’s inventory of 1.9 months is 30% lower than in 2017.59% of homes sold over their list price and the median percent of list price received was 103% in February.

Southern/Central Marin County Real Estate Report March 2018

As of the end of February, there were fewer total home, condo and townhome sales in Southern & Central Marin in the first two months of 2018 than in the previous two years. And while it’s impossible to say exactly what is causing the low number of sales, it is possible that buyer fatigue following six straight years of rising prices, interest rates jumps, and stock market volatility may all be contributing.Single Family Homes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $1,477,667 is up 16% over last year.Year-to-date, new listings are down 11% while sales are up 4.3%.February’s inventory of 3.1 months is 11% higher than in 2017.The median percent of list price received was 100% in February, the same as last February.Condo/Townhomes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $660,000 is up 1.0% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 12% while sales are up 2.7%.February’s inventory of 2.1 months is 23% lower than in 2017.The median percent of list price received was 100% in February, compared to 102% last year.

Napa Valley Real Estate Report March 2018

Inventory continues to be extremely low and the first two months of 2018 have seen the fewest new listings for single family homes come on the market than any of the previous ten years. Sales, on the other hand, have been higher than in the past three years. This combination led to the lowest inventory level in four years for single family homes in February.At the same time, the median sold price hit an all-time high, both on an absolute basis, $720,000, and as a three-month rolling average, $695,667.Single Family Homes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $695,667 is up 9.6% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 24% compared to 2017 while sales are down 18%.February’s inventory of 2.0 months is 37% lower than in 2017.The median percent of list price received was 96% in February compared to 94% in 2017.Condo/Townhomes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $446,667 is up 2.6% over last year’s.Year-to-date, new listings are down 25% while sales were up 18%.February’s inventory of 2.2 months is 22% higher than in 2017.The median percent of list price received was 99% in February compared to 100% in 2017.

Can I buy a house with bitcoin?

Bitcoin is hard to miss these days. Chatter about the cryptocurrency is everywhere as more businesses — from coffee shops to online retailers — accept it as a payment option.That raises an important question for us: will there come a day when buyers can use bitcoin to finance a home?Maybe. Bitcoin is slowly making its way into real estate but it’s not considered a viable option for paying off a mortgage. Still, some homeowners have found ways to use digital cash to cover some basic home buying costs, such as the down payment.We’ll explain how, but first let’s cover the basics.
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a type of digital money (or cryptocurrency) that’s converted into a near-unbreakable code. Unlike traditional currency, bitcoin isn’t managed or controlled by a central authority, government or any third party. It can be used to make anonymous electronic purchases or transfers and doesn’t leave a paper trail that leads to the person making the transaction.
Why does it make some people nervous?
Why does it make some people nervous?
It’s unstable. Since hitting its peak at the end of 2017, bitcoin’s value has swung up and down. Foreign countries where bitcoin is popular, such as South Korea and China, appear ready to tighten rules on bitcoin trading. Plus, there hasn’t been a wholesale adoption of bitcoin to the point that it will soon replace cash in commerce — although consumers are using it to order pizza, buy diamond rings and book trips.
But can I buy a house with it?
It depends. If a seller agrees to exchange property for bitcoin, then it’s a done deal. But even the savviest of sellers trust the greenback more than virtual money.For example, CNBC reported last fall that a borrower in Texas purchased a single-family home using bitcoin after using BitPay, a bitcoin payment service provider, to convert it to cash.But the idea is catching on. A homeowner in California who listed his $599,000 home for sale said he’d accept bitcoin. A townhome sold in Las Vegas advertised bitcoin as a payment option, and a nearly $5 million beach house in Miami Beach is listed as accepting bitcoin.
What about financing a home?
That’s a little trickier.Lenders are risk-averse and bitcoin, a speculative investment, is loaded with risk (remember, the value is seesawing almost daily). That’s why there’s been no major adoption of cryptocurrency in lending.There are exceptions.Last month, a 23-year-old bitcoin investor used it to buy a $415,000 three-bedroom house in a suburb outside of Seattle, according to the Seattle Times. The buyer used cryptocurrency for his 10 percent down payment and to secure a conventional mortgage with his lender. The funds were then converted to regular U.S. currency to pay the seller and meet lender requirements.There were challenges, such as providing documentation of his cryptocurrency assets, which don’t come with regular bank statements. Plus, his loan officer and real estate agent and the seller’s real estate agent were skeptical because they had never dealt with bitcoin in the past.Still, they treated it like any real estate transaction and the deal went through.
So, the Seattle deal happened. Will lenders start accepting bitcoin now?
We can’t say for sure.In theSeattle deal, the buyer’s lender reportedly checked with Fannie Mae, one of the nation’s biggest housing finance agencies, to ensure it would accept bitcoin as an asset to secure a mortgage. Fannie Mae, the story said, required a full paper trail documenting that the buyer paid for the cryptocurrency, sold it back in U.S. dollars and used it for the down payment.
The Takeaway
Although bitcoin is the cryptocurrency we can’t stop talking about, some in mortgage lending are turning their attention to blockchain, the digital ledger that tracks cryptocurrency transactions through a decentralized network of linked computers. It can store and transfer documents securely and receive information directly from borrowers instead of going through credit reporting agencies.But we’re not there yet. A lot needs to happen before blockchain replaces key home buying functions, such as the title deed and registry process.“Blockchain is the internet circa 1993,” Dror Futter, an attorney with a global law firm’s fintech team, told the National Mortgage News. “The technology is still immature, it’s not user-friendly, there are still issues being identified and hacks are occurring.”The takeaway: Lending, for the most part, still prefers the U.S. dollar over digital currency.

Annual Report on the San Francisco County Housing Market

There is an ongoing and undeniable national housing shortage. Year-over-year inventory levels have been down in most markets for several years now, and that trend is expected to persist in 2018. Consumers are still purchasing for the first time and relocating to other, presumably more ideal homes.Having the financial ability to make a move clearly seems feasible to many eager buyers amidst a healthy economy, whether life events such as marriage, children, employment change or desirable downsizing is the reason for moving.There are further positive signs on the horizon, as builder confidence has improved and construction job gains are measurably higher. It will still take more effort than a lone year can provide for building activity to reach a needed level for inventory balance, but a step in the right direction is welcome.More sellers should feel ready and willing to list in 2018. Economic indicators such as unemployment rates and consumer confidence are in an improved state, and sellers currently hold the keys in the buyer-seller relationship. This does not mean that sellers can set their price and watch the offers roll in. On the contrary, buyers will be poised to test prevailing price points, particularly in markets where home price increases are outpacing wage growth and in light of the fact that mortgage rates are expected to increase further in 2018.Sales: Pending sales increased 3.2 percent, landing at 5,164 to close out the year. Sold listings were up 2.6 percent to finish 2017 at 5,150.Listings: Year-over-year, the number of homes for sale was lower by 19.9 percent. There were 540 active listings at the end of 2017. New listings decreased by 4.3 percent to finish the year at 6,139. Home supply was once again lower than desired in 2017.Prices: Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 4.6 percent to $1,250,000 for the year. Prices are expected to continue to rise at a slow rate in 2018. Single-Family home prices were up 7.0 percent compared to last year, and Condo/TIC/Coop home prices were up 6.0 percent.List Price Received: Sellers received, on average, 109.4 percent of their original list price at sale, a year-over-year increase of 1.6 percent. As sales prices are expected to increase further in 2018, this could bring original list price received at sale up as well.The historic tax reforms due to make their mark in 2018 will have varying effects across the nation. High-priced coastal markets may feel the changes stronger than the middle of the country. And some potential buyers may see the changes as providing less of an investment benefit for homeowners.Some observers warn that there might be enough lack of incentives to stifle homeownership, which is already near 50-year lows. Policymakers claim that the reforms will help boost economic activity and profitability. Whichever direction we ultimately turn, the next year appears to offer a dalliance with balance intended to intrigue both sides of the transaction toward a common middle ground.For those who have their minds made up to buy a home in 2018, it will likely be a competitive ride. The trend has widely been toward fewer days on market and fewer months of supply, indicating strong demand despite higher prices and low inventory. This could prove tricky for first-time home buyers, especially for those who are impacted by student loan debt, content to rent or among the more than 15 percent of adult children still living at home. In a landscape rife with new variables, residential real estate is certainly poised to offer an interesting and active year ahead.

San Francisco Real Estate Market Update: February 2018

Many separate but connected events occurring in the global, national and local economy may have an impact on the San Francisco real estate market this year, the extent to which is unknown. These include a jump in the inflation rate, increased stock market volatility, the bond market sell-off, the weak dollar and talk of a fourth rate increase this year by the Federal Reserve Board.Home buyers are laser focused on mortgage interest rates, as well as how financially secure they feel with their investment portfolios. A gyrating stock market can not only reduce buyers’ ability to deliver on their downpayments but also deter their eagerness to make offers, let alone bid aggressively on them. As mortgage rates rise, and perhaps even more this year than anticipated, it hurt buyers in terms of the amount they can qualify for and sellers in terms of the downward pressure it puts on home values.All that said, San Francisco still has a booming job market and buyer demand that well out-strips supply. It’s hard to imagine a truly shifted market place, yet these two sides may come a bit more into balance this year.Single Family Homes: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $1,350,000 is up 10.5% over last year’s.In the past 12 months, new listings were down 5.9% while sales were up 0.94%.January’s inventory of 1.1 months is 35% lower than in 2017.70% of homes sold over their list price and the median percent of list price received was 108% in January.Condo/Loft/TIC’s: The three-month rolling average median sales price of $1,050,000 is up 11.3% over last year’s.In the past 12 months, new listings were down 7.5% while sales were up 2.4%.January’s inventory of 1.6 months is 33% lower than in 2017.39% of homes sold over their list price and the median percent of list price received was 100% in January.