Nick's Blog

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: May 23, 2016

California Home Prices Climb to 9-Year High in April

The median California home price rose in April to a level not observed since the last housing boom, the result of continued inventory shortages. Here in the Bay Area, more homebuyers priced out of the region's suburban counties are turning to the more affordable Central Valley as an alternative. Get the full story at

San Francisco Again Ranks Among Top 10 Global Luxury Real Estate Markets

Sales activity for luxury properties slowed both globally and here in the Bay Area in 2015, but high-end real estate remains a greatly desirable investment for the world's wealthiest individuals. Read more at

Good News! San Francisco Is in the Doghouse!

San Francisco is the most dog-friendly city in the United States, according to a new study that compared data on dog accessibility and quality of life in 100 cities. For details, go to

Cloverdale: No Longer Sonoma County's Best-Kept Secret

A relaxed atmosphere, pleasant climate, spectacular scenery, and relatively affordable homes are attracting an increasing number of families and second-home buyers to the once little-known city of Cloverdale. Check out our community profile at

Real Estate Roundup: Affordable Housing, Top Schools Mix in These Bay Area ZIP Codes

Find out what three Bay Area communities offer an optimum mix of relatively affordable homes and top-quality schools. Also, San Francisco renters need to earn in excess of $200,000 per year in order to comfortably rent a two-bedroom apartment. These and more headlines of interest in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: May 16, 2016

Positive Trends in Venture-Capital Activity to Impact Bay Area’s Tech Employment

Despite a slowdown in venture-capital funding and tech-company IPOs, the Bay Area's economy remains in a position of strength. Pacific Union's Vice President of Business Intelligence and Chief Economist Selma Hepp explains why in her latest Straight Talk column. Read more at

Pacific Union’s April 2016 Real Estate Update

Pacific Union's East Bay region saw the median home sales price reach a new milestone in April, rising to just above $1 million. Prices also hit or tied yearly highs in San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa, and Sonoma counties. Check out our monthly real estate update for more local market data. It’s online at

Wage Growth Boosts California, Bay Area Housing Affordability

The number of California and Bay Area residents who could afford to purchase a home improved modestly in the first quarter, although the picture looks identical to what it did one year ago. Get the full story at

Seasonal Advice: Wildfire-Safety Tips From Cal Fire

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reminds homeowners that a little bit of planning and simple preventive measures can go a long way toward keeping fire risks low and your families safe as summer approaches. Read more at

Real Estate Roundup: Starting Salaries Don't Go Far for Young San Francisco Renters

Some new college grads headed to San Francisco for their first job are in for a rude awakening about what percentage of their salary they will shell out in rent. Also, home prices in the Bay Area's two largest cities remained the nation's most expensive in the first quarter. These stories and more in our weekly Real Estate Roundup at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: May 9, 2016

Bay Area Claims 4 of the 5 Hottest Real Estate Markets in April

Although a few California cities dropped off the list of the nation's most sought-after real estate markets from March to April, Bay Area cities remain of keen interest to homebuyers, with the San Francisco metro area again locking down the top spot. Check it out at

Slow Geographic Expansion Keeps Bay Area Housing Costs High

The Bay Area's natural geography and land-use restrictions limit the amount of new homes that can be built in the region, helping to keep real estate prices elevated when compared with other U.S. metro areas that have greatly expanded their footprints over the past decades. Get the full story at

Student Debt Not Holding Back Homeownership, Study Says

While some economic pundits have blamed student loans as a substantial barrier to homeownership for millennials and other first-time buyers, a recent study sheds new light on the relationship between college debt and homeownership. Details are at

Survey Results for Those Who Dare to Talk Politics and Home Remodeling

It's an election year: A recent survey dares to include political affiliation among the data points in a report on home-remodeling preferences among owners nationwide. It’s online at

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Homeowners Opt for Big-Ticket Remodels

Some Bay Area homebuyers are going to great lengths to modernize their homes, while mortgage rates dip to near their 2016 lows. Check out these and other headlines of note in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: May 2, 2016

U.S. Home Sales Gains Near Decade High, Led by Bay Area Markets

Homeowners who sold their properties in March realized the largest gains since before the Great Recession, with Bay Area sellers netting three to four times the national average. Get the full story at

Fewer Americans Flocking to Coastal Cities, Likely Due to Housing Costs

While the nation's top-tier coastal cities have seen their populations boom along with the economic recovery, sky-high housing costs may be taking their toll, including here in the Bay Area. Read more at

Less Is More: How to Make the Most of a Smaller Home

If you're planning to purchase a modest-sized home or condo, you'll want to maximize every inch of space. These general guidelines can help. They’re online at

San Rafael's Sun Valley Shines for Top Schools, Natural Surroundings

With its excellent public schools and nearby opportunities for outdoor recreation, Sun Valley remains one of the most popular neighborhoods for families seeking a home in Marin County's largest city. Read our neighborhood profile at

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area One of the Few U.S. Markets Where All-Cash Buyers Pay Premiums

Nationwide, all-cash buyers are getting substantial discounts when purchasing homes, but not here in the Bay Area, where they still have to pay premiums. Also, the U.S. homeownership rate remains near a record low due to an absence of first-time buyers. These stories and more in Pacific Union's latest Real Estate Roundup at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: April 25, 2016

Pacific Union Quarterly Report: Q1 2016

Whether you're planning to buy or sell a home in the Bay Area or the Lake Tahoe region this spring, it's crucial to arm yourself with the latest market data. Pacific Union's comprehensive first-quarter 2016 report provides all of the most important statistics, plus expert commentary from our executives and chief economist. Get all the facts and figures at

Understanding the Napa County Housing Market

Pacific Union Vice President of Business Intelligence and Chief Economist Selma Hepp examines the variables affecting Napa County real estate, as well as the challenges that the region faces. It’s on our blog at

Bay Area Home Sales Volume Mostly Down From Last March

Home sales volume declined on an annual basis in most Bay Area counties in March, largely due to a familiar culprit that has been thwarting would-be homebuyers for several years: severe inventory shortages. For details, go to

Gap Between California and National Employment Rates Is Almost Gone

Although California created far fewer new jobs in March than it did in February, the state's unemployment rate is back in line with the national average for the first time in nearly a decade. Read more at

Researchers Say Your Backyard Is Good for Your Health

Lush, green, open spaces, whether a backyard or expansive parkland, are good for your health. They make us happier, healthier people and improve the local environment. An added bonus: A well-developed backyard boosts the value of your home. For more information, go to

Real Estate Roundup: Many Homebuyers Concerned About Credit Scores

One-third of prospective homebuyers are worried that their credit scores could impact their ability to buy a home. And here in the Bay Area, most millennials are feeling shut out of the housing market due to affordability concerns. Check out these headlines and more in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: April 18, 2016

Beyond the Clouds: Economic Sun Rays Continue to Keep the Bay Area Warm

Pacific Union Chief Economist and Vice President of Business Intelligence Selma Hepp offers her expert perspective on factors influencing the Bay Area's housing market, including job growth, venture-capital funding, and stock-market shakiness. It’s online at

Vacation Home, Investment Property Sales Move in Opposite Directions

Although sales of vacation homes dropped in 2015 from the previous year, activity remained solid. Investment property sales are headed the other way, rising for the first time since the economic recovery began. For details, go to

Bay Area Earns High Marks for Home-Improvement Returns

Here's some good news for Bay Area homeowners who are planning a home-remodeling project this spring: Most of those jobs should recoup 100 percent of their costs, and some will turn a handsome profit. Read more at

Have American Homes Changed Much Over the Years? Take a Look.

Of course, the average American home today is markedly different than the average home in the 1950s and '60s, but you may be surprised to learn just how different they are – in ways you might not have expected. Details are at

Real Estate Roundup: Oakland Rental Costs Continue Meteoric Rise

Rental costs in Oakland continue to soar, and the city may soon become the nation's No. 3 most expensive market for tenants. Also, Gen Xers are still feeling the burn from the economic and housing-market collapse. Check out these and other headlines in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup:

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: April 11, 2016

California Real Estate Markets Hotter Than Ever This Spring

One of the rainiest first quarters in years didn't put much of a damper on interest in Bay Area or California real estate, with even more markets seeing intense demand than in past months. Read all about it at

Bay Area Ranks High for Top Private High Schools

Top-performing public schools are certainly a high priority for Bay Area families when considering where to buy their next home, but our region is no slouch when it comes to private schools, either. In fact, 11 of the nation's top 100 private high schools are located here. For more information, go to

What Trends Will Dominate the Next 10 Years of Home Design?

What will the modern home of 2026 look like? Some clues about tomorrow's homes are revealed in the latest Home Design Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects. Details are at

With Rural Charm, Silicon Valley's Menlo Oaks Offers the Best of Both Worlds

A peaceful atmosphere, access to excellent schools, and a convenient location give the unincorporated San Mateo County community of Menlo Oaks much to recommend it, although home shoppers hoping to score a property there should expect to pay more than they might in Menlo Park proper. Read our neighborhood profile at

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Cities Are the Nation's Best Prepared for the Future

San Jose and San Francisco rank as the country's two cities best equipped for the future, while some Silicon Valley homeowners are bristling at McMansions appearing in their neighborhoods. Check out these and other headlines of note in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: April 4, 2016

Pacific Union Continues Exceptional Growth in 2015

Pacific Union again enjoyed impressive growth in 2015, and we remain the ninth-largest residential real estate brokerage in the United States by sales volume, a result of our commitment to recruiting and retaining Northern California's top-performing real estate professionals. Read all about it at

Most Bay Area Counties More Affordable Than Historic Levels

Even with the run-up in home prices over the past few years, the majority of Bay Area counties are still more affordable than their historic normal levels. However, home price growth is outpacing wage growth on an annual basis, which doesn't bode particularly well for affordability improvements. Get the full story at

The Backyard Leads the Pack for Outdoor Home Renovations

Although a home's front yard greatly influences its curb appeal, most people making improvements to outdoor spaces are turning their attention to the backyard. And here in California, the number of homeowners replanting their lawns has surged, perhaps thanks to a much-needed, El Niño-fueled rainy winter. For details, go to

Real Estate Roundup: Where to Find the Bay Area's Best Public Schools

Home shoppers with children will want to check out the 10 Bay Area communities with the best public schools, while those considering buying a rental property might want to steer clear of single-family homes. Take a look at the week's top headlines in Pacific Union's Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: March 28, 2016

The National Housing Conundrum: Is There a Supply or Demand Shortage?

Pacific Union Vice President of Business Intelligence and Chief Economist Selma Hepp offers an in-depth examination of the market dynamics affecting housing supply and demand conditions. It’s online at

Bay Area Inventory Opens Up in February but Remains Low

Inventory improved throughout most of the Bay Area from January to February, although supply remains tight, helping to drive more homebuyers to inland markets both locally and statewide. Get the full story at

California's Unemployment Rate Reaches Lowest Level Since 2007

California's jobless claims dropped again in February, further closing the gap between the state and national unemployment rates. And more jobs underscore the need for more housing, particularly here in the inventory-starved Bay Area. Read more at

It's Amazing What a Coat or Two Can Do: Interior Painting Tips

Paint is one of the first things people notice when entering a home. Everyone knows how important first impressions are, but the great thing about paint is that it can be changed in as little as a few hours. Here are some expert tips for picking colors, choosing finishes, and more:

Real Estate Roundup: Three-Quarters of California Home Sales Involve Bidding Wars

Home shoppers in the Golden State should expect to have plenty of competition this spring, while San Francisco renters hoping to save a few bucks should check out one neighborhood on the city's south side. Get these stories and others in our weekly Real Estate Roundup, online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: March 21, 2016

Western State Homeowners Express Confidence in Price Gains

The majority of homeowners in Western states think that home prices have increased over the past year, although only about half of them expect appreciation to continue into 2016. Americans are also split on continued economic improvement. Read more at

Silicon Valley Residents Boast the Nation's Best Money-Management Skills

It takes a substantial down payment, a high household income, and outstanding credit to buy a property in Silicon Valley, so it stands to reason that homeowners there are a financially responsible bunch. Get the full story at

Springtime Beckons. So Does Your Backyard.

There's no better time than the spring to make improvements to outdoor spaces. A well-developed backyard makes life more enjoyable, and it adds significant value to your home. Details are at

Families Flocking to San Francisco's Affordable, Diverse Excelsior

Located south of Bernal Heights and north of Crocker-Amazon, San Francisco's Excelsior neighborhood is a mostly residential enclave that is growing in popularity with families, thanks in part to its relative affordability. Read our neighborhood profile at

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Counties Have State's Most All-Cash Buyers

One-quarter of California homebuyers paid all cash last month, and that number is even higher in two of the Bay Area's priciest counties. Also, a well-known economist offers three reasons a housing bubble won't happen. Check out the week's headlines in our Real Estate Roundup, online at