Tales from the New Fall Real Estate Market in Berkeley, CA

by arlene on September 17, 2011

Despite national and state-wide news to the contrary, our extended Berkeley area market feels quite active, with lots of new buyers hoping to take advantage of record low mortgage rates. We continue to suffer primarily from a dearth of desirable inventory. The most attractively presented, well-located homes continue to attract multiple offers. All-cash offers seem to have tapered off as one would expect with the low rates, but  we still hear of one or two each week, usually in one of the multiple-offer scenarios. An all-cash offer still is tremendously attractive to a seller!

This was the second week of the new fall season, with a reasonable number of properties to see. Of the 88 properties on tour, most were new, with only four coming back with price reductions.  Tour covers  Albany (7 properties this week),  Berkeley (36), El Cerrito (8), Emeryville (3), Kensington (3), and Oakland (31, from Montclair, Rockridge and other North Oakland locations).  That’s a fairly typical Thursday tour.  A few properties appeared “new” in our multiple listing system, but were in fact properties that had not sold during the summer, and are now back on the market at a reduced price, after a hiatus.

The chart below shows overall activity for Berkeley. Looking at this a buyer would understandably assume that there was no rush to make an offer, as on average, homes are sitting on the market for more than three months. But here is where buyers need counseling. There is an enormous disparity between the well-presented homes (like my listings and those of my active colleagues) vs. homes that appear on the market over-priced and under-represented! It is still the case that the most desirable properties come on the market, have a brokers’ tour and two open houses, and then hear offers on a scheduled day. Their elapsed days on the market is in the range of 14-18. Of the current pending sales (61 in Berkeley) two-thirds of those are properties that had been on the market a month or less. Buyers must be ready to take action, with a loan pre-approval, as well as the psychological readiness to take action quickly, rather than waiting for a price reduction. Advice from a good local agent is imperative to know which properties will go into contract quickly, and which ones will be sitting for months to come!

This material is prepared by a commercial firm, and includes some properties not in our Multiple Listing Service. If I compare that data about days on market to what we agents see within our MLS, there are some considerable differences:

  All Berkeley, Single Family Homes, Active on 9/16/2011
List Price $2,895,000 $260,000 $779,575 $656,500  
Days on Market 541 1 60 38 110


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