Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious.
PALO ALTO HOMEOWNERS ENJOY HOUSING WEALTH GAINS OF MORE THAN $100,000
Price appreciation in the scorching–hot Palo Alto real estate market has caused one ZIP code on the eastern side of the city to rank No. 1 in the nation for housing-wealth gains, with two other Bay Area enclaves also placing in the top 10.
According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, homeowners in Palo Alto’s 94303 ZIP code enjoyed housing wealth gains of $108,167 between the years of 2011 and 2013. That ZIP code includes neighborhoods on the eastern side of Newell and Middlefield roads as well as the separate city of East Palo Alto.
San Francisco‘s 94133 ZIP code, which includes the city’s North Beach and Telegraph Hill neighborhoods, ranked No. 4 in the U.S. for housing wealth gains at $81,149. Mountain View‘s 94040 ZIP code came in at No. 9, with a gain of $67,130.
Housing-wealth gains can vary widely among ZIP codes in a given submarket, according to NAR, which noted that two Bay Area ZIP codes – Gilroy’s 95020 and Richmond’s 94801 – ranked among the nation’s top 10 markets with the largest housing-wealth losses.
ALAMEDA, SANTA CLARA COUNTY HOME PRICES REACH NEW PEAKS
Home prices hit record highs in Santa Clara and Alameda counties in May, according to numbers from one index, with four local counties posting double-digit-percent annual gains.
Citing data from CoreLogic, the San Jose Mercury News reports that the median sales price for a single-family home in Santa Clara County was $900,000 in May, which the company calls an all-time high. Home prices in Alameda County reached $708,000 last month, also a record high. Home prices increased year over year by 18.1 percent in San Mateo County, 17.5 percent in San Francisco County, 11.4 percent in Sonoma County, and 10.4 percent in Santa Clara County.
The article says that explosive economic growth is the primary driver of price gains in Santa Clara County, which had the highest annual job gains in the U.S. in April at 6 percent.
SAN FRANCISCO RENTERS PAY SIZABLE PREMIUMS FOR LAUNDRY FACILITIES
San Francisco apartment hunters already face stupefying rental costs that are the highest in the country, and those who don’t want to drag their clothes to the nearest laundromat should plan on budgeting extra for on-site laundry facilities.
A recent Trulia study estimates that the average San Francisco renter pays $245 extra per month for the privilege of washing his or her own clothes at home. That represents a monthly premium of 14 percent compared with units that lack washers and dryers, the third highest in the nation behind Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
The study found that San Francisco’s South Beach, Inner Richmond, Laurel Heights, and Lone Mountain neighborhoods have the highest concentration of on-site laundry facilities, while Twin Peaks, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park have the lowest.
U.S. BUILDING PERMITS AT HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 2007
Building-permit activity reached its highest level in almost eight years in May, a hopeful sign for inventory-starved regions of the country like the Bay Area.
According to a Reuters’ article, the U.S. Commerce Department said that building permits increased 11.8 percent year over year in May to an annual rate of 1.28 million units, the most since August 2007. At the same time, housing starts fell by almost the same amount, dropping 11.1 percent from one year ago.
Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, told Reuters that the uptick in building permits signals that “the final piece of the recovery puzzle is now falling into place.”
(Photo: Flickr/Todd Lappin)