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Real Estate Roundup with Sharon Alva: Market snapshot

Submitted by on 1, September 10, 2010 – 5:00 amNo Comment

The summer is traditionally the height of the real estate market. So how has August 2010 been for local real estate?

Crunching numbers for both the 94501 and 94502 zip codes combined, we see the lowest activity level in eight years. Dramatically lower than even last year, hardly a high point in real estate. The low activity was not a reflection on prices though, and for the market remains a balanced market with properties sold being on market a median of 25 days and selling for a median price of $593,000.

From the 2005 peak to 2010, median prices in Alameda have dropped by almost 13 percent. But over the last year we have seen a virtual flat line, although if we tease out values by property type, the town homes in the 94502 zip code area on Bay Farm have lost more while single family homes on the main island have actually seen minor gains.

Alameda Sales August to August Comparison over Eight Years

Year # Sold Median Price Median Days on market
2003 71 $485,000 19
2004 72 $572,000 16
2005 76 $679,000 18
2006 60 $625,000 17
2007 59 $635,000 18
2008 43 $590,000 19
2009 51 $536,000 31
2010 34 $593,000 25

But home prices are just a part of the picture. Buyers this year are looking at smaller monthly payments than buyers who bought in 2009 or 2008, with interest rates at all-time lows. In fact, buyers getting into condominiums and town homes may find themselves paying not much more than it would cost to rent those same properties, depending of course on their ability to take advantage of generous income tax savings from Uncle Sam.

As we always say, all real estate is local. Properties in some neighboring communities are so rare that prices are buoyed back to 2005 levels. Piedmont, the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland and some other enclaves seem barely touched by the recession and prices that may have softened are hardening again. If anything, buyers in those areas, who are well employed, have more buying power, exploiting the phenomenal interest rates now attainable.

By mid-November the market traditionally cools. We’ll take a look at the numbers again in the late fall to see where Alameda home values stand.

Sharon Alva is a real estate agent with Alain Pinel Realtors, living in Alameda. You can reach her at sharon@alvaproperties.com or 764-4921.

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