Nick's Blog

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: October 3, 2016

Affordability Improves in Parts of the Bay Area but Remains Low

Although about half of Bay Area counties saw modest housing affordability improvements in the third quarter, the average household can expect to shell out a hefty percentage of its income in order to own a home. Get the full story at


California Adds More Jobs in August Than in Any Other Month This Year

Unemployment rates improved in every Bay Area county last month, with California’s economy adding substantially more jobs than it did in July. All the facts and figures are at


Sonoma County Market Overview 2016: Affordability Is Keeping Sales on Pace

Sonoma County enjoyed the largest rate of annual home price appreciation in the Bay Area in August, but the region needs more inventory in order to remain relatively affordable. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp offers an in-depth analysis of the local real estate market. It’s on the Pacific Union blog at


Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal, Boost Its Value

Almost all real estate professionals believe that a property's curb appeal is a crucial ingredient to wooing potential buyers, and the right outdoor renovation projects can pay sellers back, not to mention making them much happier homeowners. Read about it at


Sage Advice: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Recalling National Good Neighbor Day and the wisdom of a good fence. Read more at


Real Estate Roundup: Californians Cash Out, Move to Budget-Friendly States

California's housing affordability issue has caused quite a few Golden State residents to cash out and move to less expensive regions of the country over the past 15 years. The Bay Area's shortage of affordable housing has caught the attention of the White House, which has offered suggestions about how to solve the crunch. Check out these and other notable headlines in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: September 26, 2016

Affordability, Inventory Conditions Again Suppress Bay Area Home Sales in August

Rising prices are putting homes out of reach for an increasing number of California and Bay Area residents, resulting in an annual decline in sales volume last month. Get the full story at


Proud to Be a Californian: State Among the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Economies

Tech-based economies like the Bay Area are among the fastest-growing in the U.S. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp offers her take on the current state and future of the California economy, now the world's sixth largest. It’s on online at


U.S. Homeownership Rate, Number of Cost-Burdened Households Drop Again

The number of Americans who own a home declined for the ninth consecutive year, although income gains and low mortgage rates have helped ease the ranks of the cost-burdened. Read more at


Smart Home Technology Gains Traction With Home Remodelers

Nearly half of all homeowners are adding smart technology upgrades when they undertake a remodeling project, and those who do so are substantially more satisfied with the results. For more information, go to


Bay Area Home Styles: Spotlight on the Edwardian

Often confused with the Victorian, the lighter and airier Edwardian-style home has a charm all its own. Learn more about this style of architecture, which is particularly prominent in San Francisco, at


Real Estate Roundup: Millennials Driving Home Sales in Two Hot Bay Area ZIP Codes

ZIP codes in Contra Costa and Sonoma counties have been designated as some of 2016's hottest markets, gaining a boost from millennial buyers. Also, the San Francisco metro area needs more than 100,000 housing starts to keep up with job growth. Check out these and other stories of note in our latest Real Estate Roundup. Get all the week’s top news at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: September 19, 2016

Pacific Union’s August 2016 Real Estate Update

Although annual home price appreciation continued to moderate throughout much of the Bay Area as summer drew to a close, two of our second-home markets -- Sonoma Valley and Lake Tahoe/Truckee -- enjoyed gains of more than 20 percent. Get a handle on the latest market conditions in Pacific Union's August Real Estate Update. It’s online at


The San Francisco Condo Market Takes a Breather

San Francisco condominium sales and prices have slowed so far in 2016 after several years of frenzied activity. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp looks at the numbers behind the trend and explains how they will impact buyers in the city. Read her commentary at


The Bay Area: A Tough Real Estate Market for Home Flippers

High real estate costs, both to purchase and renovate properties, make Bay Area cities among the least friendly in the nation for home flippers hoping to turn a fast profit. Get the full story at


What's the Value of Your Home? It Depends on Who's Doing the Estimating

If you're looking to sell your home, the danger of underestimating its value is obvious: You risk losing money on the sale. But pricing your home too high can bring problems, too. Here's a look at how to get an accurate estimate:


Real Estate Roundup: U.S. Annual Income Growth Climbs to 50-Year High

Household incomes saw the largest annual gains since the 1960s last year, giving a boost to U.S. homebuyers. Also, find out which Bay Area rental markets make the grade and which ones earn failing marks. Check out these stories and more in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: September 12, 2016

Underwater Properties, Delinquent Mortgages Not Problems for Bay Area Homeowners

The substantial home price appreciation recorded over the past few years has been a windfall for Bay Area owners, with five local communities boasting the lowest percentage of underwater properties in the nation.Read more at


Closed Home Loan Activity Is Among Nation’s Lowest for Bay Area Millennials

Sky-high real estate prices are keeping the vast majority of young buyers on the sidelines of the Bay Area housing market in 2016, with the San Francisco metro area posting one of the smallest percentages of closed home loans for that demographic. Get the full story at


Bay Area Home Styles: Spotlight on the Tudor (and Tudor Revival)

With its steep, gabled roof; embellished, arched doorway; and castlelike appearance, the Tudor-style home shines with storybook charm. Learn the architectural points that make this style unique at


Real Estate Roundup: Silicon Valley Vacancy Rate Remains the Nation’s Tightest

Recent headlines of note include news that the residential vacancy rate in the San Jose metro area is still razor-thin and that U.S. lot inventory has sunk to a record low. Get the lowdown on the housing market in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup:

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: September 6, 2016

Monthly U.S. Job Gains Solid but Do Not Reveal Upcoming Fed Decision

Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp weighs in on the August U.S. employment numbers. Read her analysis at


Why Are So Many Alameda County Homes Selling Above Asking Price?

Although some segments of the Bay Area's housing markets are slowing, properties in Alameda County are still commanding substantial premiums. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp takes a deeper look at the East Bay numbers, as well as related market data from around the Bay Area. It’s on our website at


Bay Area Suburb Continues Its Run as Hottest U.S. Housing Market

The national housing market is still scorching as summer comes to a close, and a Bay Area suburb again tops the list of the hottest places for homebuyers and sellers. Read more at


Very Good Credit Scores Are a Must for Bay Area Homebuyers

Bay Area home shoppers hoping to take advantage of today's historically low mortgage rates should ensure that their credit ratings are in fine shape, as lenders in our region require the highest scores in the country.Get the facts at


Ready, Set, Go: Labor Day Kicks Off Northern California's Fall Real Estate Season

With Northern California's balmy fall weather, this is a prime time to shop for that perfect starter home or trade up to the home you've always dreamed of. Here are some tips, how-tos, and information sheets to help get you started:


Real Estate Roundup: Very Few Bay Area Millennials Own Homes

Despite high salaries, very few young Bay Area residents have been able to gain a foothold in the local housing market. This and other headlines of interest are in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. Get all the week’s top news at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: August 29, 2016

What Trends Are Ahead for the U.S. and Bay Area Housing Markets?

Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp offers a thorough wrap-up of the recent Housing Renaissance conference, where industry economists and analysts discussed factors that will shape the real estate landscape, including millennials, affordability conditions, and the mortgage market. Get the full story at

San Francisco: America’s Most Livable Big City

Just last month, survey results found that homeowners in the San Francisco metro area are the happiest in the U.S., with more than eight in 10 locals calling the region the best place in the country to live. Now, another analysis underscores that point, ranking San Francisco the nation’s top big city to call home. Read all about it at

Golden State Job Growth Continues to Outpace the Nation in July

California’s economic growth once again showed strength and resilience in July, adding 36,400 new jobs according to the state Employment Development Department's latest jobs report. The numbers are in line with average monthly gains of 37,800 over the past year and are better than any other state in the U.S. Get the latest data at

Bay Area Home Styles: Spotlight on the Mediterranean

The easy, breezy, beautiful Mediterranean-inspired home can be found all over California and is common in warm, sunny climates. Learn more about this architecture type in the latest installment of our spotlight on Bay Area home styles. It’s on Pacific Union’s blog at

Real Estate Roundup: Silicon Valley Leads the Nation for Income Growth

Incomes in the San Jose metro area have increased by more than 20 percent since the recession's end, giving home shoppers increased buying power. Also, notoriously localized Bolinas appears to be attracting an increasing number of second-home buyers. Check out these and other headlines of note in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: August 22, 2016

What Does the “Shift” in the Housing Market Really Mean?

It has become evident during the current recovery that U.S. regional housing markets are highly different, and what happens in one market may have no bearing on others. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp explains why and examines Bay Area market conditions for the first half of this year. It’s online at

Pacific Union Named to List of Fastest-Growing U.S. Companies for Fourth Straight Year

Pacific Union is pleased and honored to once again be included in this year's Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the United States based on the previous three years' revenue growth. Read all about it at

Bay Area Sees Annual Housing Inventory Tick Up in July

Although inventory shortages remain an obstacle for Bay Area home shoppers, the crunch eased somewhat this summer, while yearly price appreciation slowed. Get the latest facts and figures at

First-Time Buyers Want Homes That They Can Grow Into

The majority of today's first-time buyers would prefer to forgo starter homes for properties that will meet their future needs, and almost all of them are willing to make sacrifices in order to realize their homeownership dreams. Read more at

Real Estate Activity Takes a Backseat to the New School Year

Real estate activity at this time of the year often takes a back seat to the start of the new school year. Here are some back-to-school tips that might help your children – and you – get the most out of the year ahead:

Real Estate Roundup: Putting a Price Tag on the White House

Wondering what the White House would be worth if it hit the market this election year? Find out the answer and get other national and local headlines of note in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: August 15, 2016

Pacific Union’s July 2016 Real Estate Update

Some key Bay Area real estate markets showed further signs of normalization in July, with the median sales price growing by single-digit percentage points from one year ago. Get the lowdown and stay informed with the latest market data in Pacific Union's July Real Estate Update, online at

Bay Area Housing Affordability Conditions Tighten in the Second Quarter

California and the Bay Area both saw strong seasonal price appreciation in the second quarter, further hampering affordability conditions despite mortgage rates that remain near record lows. Get all the facts and figures at

The Top 10 Cities for Bidding Wars Are All Located in the Bay Area

Although the Bay Area's housing market is gradually normalizing, competition for real estate in some communities remains fierce. In fact, half of the U.S. cities where bidding wars are most common are located in the Bay Area, with Silicon Valley figuring prominently into the picture. Get the full story at

Bay Area Home Styles: Spotlight on the Mid-century Modern

Sleek, stylish, and sophisticated, the Mid-century modern home is truly a thing of beauty.  Learn more about this prominent Bay Area architecture style, including the iconic Eichler home, on the Pacific Union blog:

Real Estate Roundup: Silicon Valley Is the Nation's First Million-Dollar Housing Market

The San Jose metro area is the nation's first million-dollar housing market, according to one organization's data, while another study says that Bay Area homeowners are still the nation's most equity-rich. Check out these and other recent headlines of note in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: August 8, 2016

The Bay Area Housing Market Is Slowing, but the “Affordable” Segment Is Still Going Strong

Pacific Union Vice President of Business Intelligence and Chief Economist Selma Hepp examines slowing luxury home sales trends in the Bay Area in her latest Economic Straight Talk column. Get the facts at

Bay Area Suburb Ranks as Hottest U.S. Market for Third Straight Month

The U.S. housing market is having its best summer in a decade, with a middle-class Bay Area suburb commanding the most interest in the country for the third consecutive month. Read all about it at

Real Estate Is the Best Long-Term Investment, Americans Say

Americans still prefer real estate over other types of long-term investments, helping to drive home sales this year to the best projected level in a decade. For details, go to

Average Down-Payment Savings Time: 3 Years

Regularly saving money for a down payment will be a key to success for many hopeful homebuyers given current affordability conditions, and millennials appear to be doing the best job of stashing cash. Read more at

Title Insurance  Is It Really Necessary?

The lender that holds your mortgage will insist on title insurance as a condition of sale. It protects you if the title to a property is not free and clear of defects. Our primer is online at

Real Estate Roundup: Homes in Good School Districts Are Worth Much More, Study Says

Homes in communities with at least one good elementary school are worth significantly more than those without – no real surprise given the importance of education to many buyers. And a bit of good news for Bay Area renters: Prices are dropping, although just a bit. Get these and other headlines in our weekly Real Estate Roundup at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: August 1, 2016

San Francisco: Home to America's Happiest Homeowners

The Bay Area's excellent job market and high wages, pleasant climate, and natural splendor are attracting plenty of new residents from all over the globe, and here's a new feather in our cap: San Francisco homeowners enjoy the highest quality of life in the U.S. Read more at

Public Transit a Major Value-Add for Homebuyers, Survey Finds

More than half of American workers would pay a larger mortgage or rent payment for easy access to public transportation. And Bay Area freeways should soon see some extra relief, with the SMART train set to open in the North Bay and a BART extension proposed for Silicon Valley. Get the full story at

California Continues to Grow Jobs Faster Than the U.S.

Although California and Bay Area unemployment rates ticked up in June from the previous month, the increase was driven by seasonal effects and new graduates entering the workforce. The state's annual job growth remains robust, once again outpacing the nationwide rate. For details, go to

Bay Area Home Styles: Spotlight on the Victorian

Combining elements of Gothic architecture with French, Italian, and Tudor details, the Victorian home represented an era of ornate style. Learn more about this stately and easily recognizable home style and where to see some prominent Bay Area examples. Details are at

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Still No. 1 in U.S. for Home Seller Price Gains

Home sellers in two Bay Area cities are pulling in the largest gains in the nation, while Facebook is offering up another plan to help ease Silicon Valley's critical housing crunch. Check out these stories and other headlines of note in our weekly Real Estate Roundup, online at