Aloha, welcome 2014. I hope your holiday break was everything you had hoped for - and more. I spent the first part of mine with my family in Hawaii and the New Year in Phoenix at a the world's most elegant and understated wedding (how refreshing), which means it's time to get back to work to pay for these lovely holiday getaways.
Our scenic vacation in Oahu included long walks along the beach, tennis with my husband, and snorkeling among the reefs, which also meant (alas) that a new swimsuit was in order (sigh . . . ).
"I'm not getting in the water," I complained bitterly to my sister, Jill, over the phone just before boarding the plane. "I look like the whales I plan to be watching." (I'm prone to hyperbole).
You'll get in the ocean," she calmly replied: "ONE, because it's Hawaii and you've worked hard to have time away with your family, TWO, because you'll be swimming with turtles for goodness sakes, and THREE, because our bodies are practically weightless in the water! (I love her so much.)
While I didn't spy any turtles, I did eventually throw vanity to the wind, and donned some flippers and a mask (a ridiculous get-up even for the fittest of Sports Illustrated models) and was met with schools of colorful fish and balmy sea waves. Yes,Virginia, there are still some rewards for being brave, OR as my husband, Cliff, joked while putting on his own swimsuit, "Some clothing is truly 'aspirational' at our age." (I love him even more.)
Homes are 'aspirational' as well. In fact, I think they are the very definition of "aspiration" as I push to complete my long-overdue kitchen and look ahead toward spring for the next 'DIY' project that lies ahead. (Maybe there's a 12-step program for that.)
I was reminded of just how "aspirational" a home can be this week by a Buyer far less experienced than me, but with vision of his own. He had called me out of the blue, having found my site on the Internet (glad to know someone's looking online) and then sent me a long list of opportunities to see - many of which were already pending or had languished for months on the MLS (the Multiple Listing Service).
In truth, he was all over the map, so I kindly suggested that, perhaps, his vision needed a bit of fine tuning. (Okay, I was more blunt than kind; I'll add that to the 'Resolution's' List.) We then met up to tour the area and see several properties that were still available but after a long afternoon together, I'd felt we hadn't really seen anything that met this Buyer's specific "wish list," or would even prove a viable candidate, given our conversations.
That's unfortunately been a pattern as of late, what with too many Buyers and too little inventory to meet their growing demand, let alone their "needs and wants." In truth, we were grasping at straws and sadly, there weren't even any fancy little umbrellas in those glasses.
Mr. Buyer had identified "all-level living" as being high on his priority list and yet, there we were, touring vertical view homes on the ridge!?! This would never do. (Suffice it to say that I felt we were barking up the wrong coconut tree.)
Turns out, I was the one who was wrong. (That wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last.) A week later, Mr. Buyer texted me that he'd like to return to one home in particular with an architect in tow . . . (Your wish is my command.) And after working my magic (thank you Ahmad of Tecta Associates; it's good to have friends one can call on at a moment's notice), this very gifted architect identified where an elevator could potentially be placed and better yet, he discovered a Golden Gate view we hadn't yet incorporated into the growing list of possible attributes. Now, the home made much better sense for this successful landscape artist.
Long story, short, I spent New Year's Day writing an aggressive offer and Mr. Buyer is now successfully in contract as a result of following his own instincts and jumping feet first into the waves.
(Honestly, I don't know who's teaching WHO some days . . . )
So be brave and find your inspiration (wherever it lies) and swim beyond the reef. Who knows what's in your future??? Whatever it is (wherever it is) I am here to help - and looking forward to further growth.
Happy New Year and Mahalo; 2014 has started off with a resounding bang.
(PS - if you need help finding your "aspiration," call my friend Ahmad Mohazab, with Tecta Associates. He's very clever!)
Before we dive into 2014, I thought I'd provide a quick overview of last year's sale's results, specifically as it pertains to Piedmont . . . We ended the year of 2013 with a grand total of 107 homes having transferred ownership, which was slightly down from 2012, wherein 130 property changed hands, per the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).
As such, DEMAND was incredibly high for these fewer listings. It follows then, that the average price per sale rose in 2013 to $1,597,701, as compared to $1,475,011 in 2012 - as did the medium, which jumped in equal proportion from $1,367,500 in 2012 to $1,475,000 in 2013*.
The lowest sale of the year came in at $598,000 for a fixer on Rose Avenue, while the highest, was recorded at $4,900,000 for a stunning Mediterranean on King. (For a complete list of home sales, click here.) These figures speak to sales recorded on the MLS only and do not account for any sales sold privately.
As for 2014? All indications speak to another banner year where projections have the market rising another 10-18%! And this isn't just specific to Piedmont, but to most of our communities here in the East Bay, whether you are focused on Alameda, El Cerrito, Berkeley, or here in Piedmont, where I live.
Clearly, if a purchase is on your radar this spring, the sooner, the better.
Historically, our market sees the biggest jump between March and June, levels off somewhere in the summer and declines slightly in the winter months.This year, we had little reprieve in the escalating prices at any point.
Building Community, One Family at a Time . . .
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.