Blog

Fire Season Is Underway – Resources to Protect Your Home and Loved Ones in the East Bay

East Bay residents are still reeling from a horrific wildfire season where since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,100 wildfires which have burned well over 3.8 million acres in California. Everyone is now very familiar with the term AQI and most likely have personal photos of orange skies and red sunsets. Read More

We’re Here To Help!

Dear Valued Clients and Neighbors, Our offices will remain closed to the public during this time of SiP and social distancing surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.  We are however actively working from home.  Please visit our “Agents” page to meet agents virtually. Read More

How could CoronaVirus Affect Real Estate in the East Bay?

There is a significant amount of fear and genuine concern around the coronavirus/COVID19 lately, as it continues to spread around the world and now, here, in the East Bay. People are increasingly affected by the illness and worry for their loved ones. Our hearts go out first and foremost to families that have experienced a loss. We also feel for our communities suffering from the emotional or economic impacts of the virus. If you are feeling fearful, we find the following facts useful: (source: Coronavirus: How to Keep Things in Perspective, by Ignacio López-Goñi for World Economic Forum)       We know what it is We know how to detect the virus The situation is improving in China 80% of cases are mild People heal Symptoms appear mild in children The virus can be wiped clean Science is on it, globally There are already vaccine prototypes Antiviral trials are underway Health and emotional concerns notwithstanding, Berkeley Hills Realty is here to be your real estate resource and we provide the following economic points for your consideration: 1. Real estate is a long game, the virus will have a short tail. If you are wondering if you should continue your home search, remember, real estate is a long game. Whether you ascribe to the optimism of a seasonal virus or carry the concern of a worldwide pandemic, this hardship will end. Although not soon enough for the 5% most severely afflicted, a vaccine will come. The median duration of homeownership in the United States is 13.3 years. The world and local economies will be back on track before your next move. Don’t put off life entirely for a short term fluctuation. 2. Forecasts have been downgraded, but economy may still expand. From the California Association of Realtors, “Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for global economic growth by 0.1%, but is still calling for an expansion in 2020, albeit at a slower pace. Similar orders of magnitude have been forecast for the domestic economy, with groups like Wells Fargo and others expecting GDP to grow by 10-20 basis points slower than their pre-Coronavirus forecast. Growth is expected to be slower, but the economy is still expected to grow.” 3. Stay calm and carry on. Shelter in place still needs a shelter. Whatever the circumstance, people need housing and will continue to need housing. Homeownership is the safest way to establish a permanent shelter. We see this necessity manifest in the throngs of people still attending weekend open houses. 4. Amid stock market woes, real estate provides a safe harbor for funds.  The Dow Jones stock index dropped 12% in value last week illustrating the fact that there is plenty of dread surrounding the potential impact from the virus. However, even though the overall stock market had its worst weekly declines since the 2008 financial crisis during the week of February 24-28, it rebounded on March 2 to 1,294 points or 5.1%— with its largest one-day point gain ever. Then it fell at the beginning of the next week, rallying some again by March 10th as world leaders developed a global plan. The stock market is volatile. We have seen this before, and know where savvy investors moved their funds. They moved towards real estate. Losses in the stock market may sideline some buyers who have lost liquidity. Others may look toward moving money out of the stock market entirely and place it into real estate holdings until the world economic dust settles. 5. Interest rates are dropping! The Federal Reserve issued an emergency 50 basis point cut to their target interest rates, and guidance suggests that the Fed may be open to future reductions in order to counteract the negative impacts to financial markets. This week, mortgage rates fell to an all-time low level of just 3.13%. That is down from 3.80% at the start of the year and represents significant cost savings over the life of a 30-year loan. Lower interest rates don’t just lower monthly payments. Lower interest rates can increase the amount of house and square footage you can purchase to meet your family’s needs. As the California Association of Realtors stated, “Short-run risks to the economy exist but are arguably offset by long-run benefits of lower rates at the individual level.” 6. Local economies will be hurt, but real estate is likely resilient. From event producers to gig workers, our local East Bay economy will experience an economic blow from shuttered doors and CDC recommendations to avoid crowds. Unfortunately, our lowest-paid workers from Uber drivers to wait staff may feel the brunt.  This puts homeownership further out of reach for some members of our community, but may not do much to decrease real estate values. The sad truth is that we have already seen our market price out pace most hourly employees. Other sectors will be more resilient. Tech jobs, for instance, will be more flexible and allow workers to work remotely from home. There may be a small short term blip as people adjust to the new normal of caution in crowds and increased handwashing. However, this won’t be an affordability equalizer as those who have been able to buy homes are likely to have more resources to weather this storm. 7. Foreign investment may be curtailed. Per the California Association of Realtors, “Reduced economic growth in China, specifically, could stifle demand for California real estate this year. However, foreign buyers represented just 3.9% of California’s home sales last year, so the impacts statewide will be muted compared to 6 years ago, when foreign buyers represented 8.0% of the market. In addition, because domestic buyers typically finance their homes in much larger proportions to their foreign counterparts, low rates could stimulate more domestic demand that would help to offset the impact to foreign buyer demand.” 8. It is an election year and local and federal politicians are motivated to protect the economy. This is an election year.  Local economies will be […] Read More

Adding Value to Your East Bay Home And Helping The Housing Crunch

As you know, the East Bay is dealing with a lack of available housing and plans for high rise developments in the downtown areas of Oakland and other East Bay cities will only slightly be able to alleviate the need. Opportunities for individual homeowners to build ADU (accessory dwelling units) on their properties is gaining popularity as a way to increase the “infill” housing stock AND as an avenue for homeowners to create a passive income stream, add to the value of their homes right in their own backyards and create lifestyle flexibility. Read More

#REKindness – East Bay Kindness and Fun for the Holidays

Many of our neighbors are struggling with food insecurity, along with housing affordability and availability issues making putting gifts under the tree a struggle this Christmas. Our local food banks are always in need during this time of year, and Berkeley Hills Realty invites you to join us in helping fill the pantries while also filling your heart knowing you can help a person or family enjoy a full meal during the holidays. Read More

Continued Strong Market In East Bay Has Pros and Cons

As Berkeley Hills Realty has noted before, the solid economy, mixed with strong job growth combined with desirability of the East Bay combine forces for a continued strong market. Read More

Strategies for Dealing With Selling Your House During A Divorce

We all know that a divorce is an emotionally draining process and it can be a financial mess if a couple owns a home and makes mistakes when trying to sell it. During the past 20 years of being in business as a brokerage, we have worked with many couples going through a divorce and have learned a few valuable lessons along the way to share with anyone searching for advice. Read More

Empty Nesting in the East Bay

When Back to School Gets Personal (The Owner of a Real Estate Company Contemplates an Empty Nest)   It’s September and it’s that time when kids are going back to school. After over twenty years of coaching homeowners through the options of empty nesting, this year feels personal.  As mom of a sophomore student/athlete, we are already looking at colleges. With a kid who was born mature beyond her years, I expected this. What I didn’t imagine was how this reality has accelerated conversations with my husband about our own future as empty-nesters. Read More

4 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Home In The East Bay Now

So you have had your eye on buying a home in the East Bay and living the eclectic, good life. But you may be wondering if NOW is the time to make the leap. Waiting until now may actually have been a good thing as the spring market in the Bay Area is always the busiest and when you have more people looking, sellers can call the shots. Read More
X
Contact
Your message has been sent.
Oops! That doesn't seem right.
X
Create an Account
Your account has been created.
Check your email for additional account details.
Save
Searches
Add
Notes
Rate
Properties
Invite Someone to Your Search
Share your favorite properties and notes, and begin receiving suggestions based on joint activity.
X
Request a Showing
Your request has been submitted. An agent will be in touch with you shortly to confirm the showing details.
Your Info