Nick's Blog

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: March 27, 2017

Bay Area Pending Home Sales Slide for the Fifth Straight Month

Pending home sales dropped statewide and in the Bay Area in February due to an all-too-familiar culprit: extremely tight inventory. Get the story at


Homebuyers Should See Faster Loan-Close Times This Spring

The time it took to close a home loan dropped in February, a trend that is expected to continue as the traditionally busy spring real estate season officially arrives. Read more at


The Bay Area and California: Home to America's Happiest Residents

Half of the happiest 10 places in the U.S. can be found right here in the Bay Area, yet another reason why so many people want to call the region home. Find out which city took the top spot for happiest residents. It’s online at


What Are New Homeowners' Biggest Worries?

Buying a home will most likely be one of the biggest decisions you ever make, so it's no surprise that many new owners have some anxiety. Here's how to cope with a few of the most common worries. Go online to


Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Cities Are Among the 10 Hottest Spots for Millennials

In spite of the Bay Area's high housing costs, millennials are still flocking here for the region's plentiful, high-paying jobs. Also, some of the Bay Area's most expensive rental markets have seen significant price declines since last March. Check out these and other stories of note in our latest Real Estate Roundup. It’s on the Pacific Union blog at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: March 20, 2017

The Federal Reserve Sizes Up the Economy: All Quiet on the Western Front

Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp breaks down the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates for the second time and what it could mean for the Bay Area's housing market. You’ll find it exclusively on the Pacific Union blog at


California, Bay Area Post Strong Annual Home Price Gains in February

A limited number of homes for sale helped push prices higher both statewide and locally last month, although the tight supply conditions could put a damper on the traditionally busy spring season. Get the latest data at


San Francisco Remains the Top U.S. Market for Home Equity

Although California price appreciation slowed in 2016, homeowners still gained about twice as many equity dollars as the national average. San Francisco remains the country's leader in that respect, with virtually all homeowners in positive-equity territory at the end of last year. Read more at


Silicon Valley: Home to 2017's Most Financially Savvy Homebuyers

More than half of America's 10 best cities for money-management skills are located in Silicon Valley, with a Santa Clara County city claiming the top spot for the second year in a row. Find out which Bay Area residents are the most financially savvy. Details are at


Looking for More Living Space? Look Up!

Homeowners with an unfinished attic have a viable option when they want more room. Remodeling an attic may be easier and more cost-effective than a basement, and it's a lot simpler than building an addition. For more information, go to


Real Estate Roundup: Spring Homebuying Season Starts Early This Year

Spring has officially arrived, but U.S. real estate activity was already heating up in February. Also, your credit score might soon get a boost, as the major reporting agencies are relaxing a standard. Get a quick rundown of the latest headlines in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: March 13, 2017

Pacific Union's February 2017 Real Estate Update

Annual home price movement was a mixed bag across the Bay Area in February, although prices in the East Bay, the Mid-Peninsula, and Lake Tahoe climbed to one-year highs. Get a handle on current market conditions with Pacific Union's latest monthly real estate update. It’s online at


Bay Area Home Sales Continue to Decline in February, but Signs Point to Strong Spring

As in January, Bay Area home sales declined year over year in February, though recent open-house activity in one local county suggests another busy spring. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp has an expert, in-depth analysis of the latest real estate statistics in a new Straight Talk column. You’ll find it only at


Recent Job Reports Offer Optimism for 2017

Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp offers her perspective on the most recent U.S. and California job reports. Read the analysis at


The U.S. Economy Is on Pace for Record 10-Year Growth, Forecast Says

The economy is expected to continue its expansion over the next three years, marking the longest stretch of prosperity on record, although there is a substantial risk of a recession by 2021. For more information, go to


Bay Area Suburbs Are Back on Top of Real Estate's Hot List

U.S. homes remained a sought-after commodity in February – typically a slow month for real estate activity. That was certainly the case here in the Bay Area, where homes sold at the quickest clip in the nation. Read more at


Real Estate Roundup: Silicon Valley Is Still the Most Profitable U.S. Market for Home Flippers

Home flippers in three Bay Area cities pulled down profits in excess of $100,000 last year, while Americans' confidence in the housing market has climbed to a new high. Peruse the latest headlines of note in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s on the Pacific Union blog at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: March 6, 2017

What Are Homebuyers' Biggest Regrets?

Half of all U.S. homeowners would do something differently if they could repeat the purchase process, with saving a larger down payment at the top of the list. Find out what other aspects of the homebuying process invoke a bit of buyer's remorse. The story is on the Pacific Union blog at


San Francisco Homeowner Remodeling Spend Is Among the Nation's Highest

U.S. home-remodeling spend has surpassed its previous peak, as owners in metro areas like San Francisco, where both home values and incomes are high, spare no expense on upgrades. For more information, go to


California: The Toughest State for Millennial Homebuyers

The current U.S. real estate market is proving challenging to the youngest and largest group of homebuyers, with ownership rates for those under 35 at a two-decade low as of 2015. Conditions are even harder for first-time buyers in California, where high prices, tight supply conditions, and poor affordability are keeping more millennials from purchasing homes. Get the full story at


More U.S. Workers Are Telecommuting Amid Traffic Woes

Home sellers with an office space or a bonus room will likely find it an increasingly attractive amenity to buyers, as the number of Americans who telecommute is on the rise. Which comes as fortunate news, considering that traffic and commute times aren't getting any better. Read more at


Real Estate Roundup: Fourth-Quarter Home Purchase Loan Activity Drops Sharply

Rising mortgage rates caused home loan origination activity to dip in the fourth quarter, while they had the opposite effect on refinancing activity. And no surprise here: Three Bay Area counties rank among the nation's top 10 wine destinations in 2017. Check out these and other stories of interest in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: February 27, 2017

Low Affordability, Inventory Drive Bay Area Homebuyers to Bedroom Communities

California home sales got a boost in the inaugural month of 2017, while the number of transactions trended lower here in the Bay Area – particularly in the more expensive counties. Get the latest facts and figures at


San Francisco: America's Healthiest City in 2017

Here's another feather in San Francisco's cap and another reason why so many people desire to own a home here: The city is the best in the U.S. when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Read more at


This Old House: Tips for Maintaining an Older Home

Older homes are beautiful and often full of character, history, and charm, but they have unique needs when it comes to care, repairs, and maintenance. If you're considering purchasing an older or historic home, it can be helpful to get a high-level overview of some of the main issues and challenges you might encounter. For more information, go to


Real Estate Roundup: January U.S. Home Sales Strongest in a Decade

Nationwide, existing home sales had their best month in nearly 10 years in January, while Santa Rosa ranks as one of the 10 cleanest cities in America. Catch these stories and more in Pacific Union's latest weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: February 21, 2017

Wage Growth Slightly Boosts Housing Affordability in Three Bay Area Counties

Income gains helped keep California's housing affordability in check in the fourth quarter and even resulted in some modest improvements in the Bay Area, though only one-quarter of the region's residents can afford to purchase a home. For more information, go to


A-Plus: Silicon Valley Tops List of California's Best 2017 School Districts

Top-quality public school districts never fail to attract homebuyers, and California's three best are located in Santa Clara County. Find out which other Bay Area school districts are at the head of the class in 2017. Details are online at


First-Time Buyers Overestimate Down-Payment Size

The vast majority of Americans who don't own a home want to purchase one in the future, although affordability is a primary concern. The down payment, however, may not be as big of a hurdle as many first-time buyers believe. Read more at


Half of U.S. Metro Areas Reach New Home Price Peaks

Appreciation sped up in the final three months of 2016, pushing prices to new all-time highs in just more than 50 percent of U.S. housing markets. Here in the Bay Area, annual home price growth outpaced the national rate, and the region's two largest cities remain America's most expensive. Get the facts at


Pets Have a Big Say in the Homes We Buy, Sell, and Remodel

Eight out of 10 respondents to a recent National Association of Realtors survey said that pet-related considerations play a role when deciding on their next living situation. The story is on Pacific Union’s blog at


Real Estate Roundup: Two Bay Area Suburbs Are Among the Nation's Most Sought-After

Suburban communities in Alameda and Santa Clara counties rank among the 10 hottest housing markets in the U.S., while April Fools' Day is the most popular day of the year for new home listings. Check out Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup for these and other stories of interest. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: February 13, 2017

Pacific Union's January 2017 Real Estate Update

The median sales price for homes in Pacific Union's Napa County, Silicon Valley, and Sonoma Valley regions climbed to one-year highs in the first month of 2017, while low inventory remains a challenge for the region. See how activity played out across the Bay Area last month in Pacific Union's January 2017 Real Estate Update, which is full of the latest market data. You’ll find it exclusively at


Bay Area Housing Activity Slightly Slower in January as Markets Diverge

Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp examines January home sales volume activity and inventory across the Bay Area and finds noticeable differences between individual markets. Read her expert analysis at


Bay Area Home Sellers Reaped the Nation's Largest Profits in 2016

Last year turned out to be an opportune one for U.S. home sellers, who realized the biggest profits in almost a decade. And here in the Bay Area, sellers in the San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Rosa metro areas enjoyed the largest returns in the country. Read more at


U.S. Housing Affordability Falls to Six-Year Low

It's not just the Bay Area and California that are experiencing major housing affordability challenges: it's the entire country, and the rising mortgage rates that ensued in the wake of the U.S. presidential election are exacerbating the problem. For more, go to


Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Still Has the Most Equity-Rich Homeowners

There are more equity-rich homeowners in San Francisco and San Jose than anywhere else in the country, while the latter city is ranked as one of the best U.S. places to live in 2017. Check out these and other stories of note in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: February 6, 2017

Strong January U.S. Job Gains Continue Expectations for Sustained Economic Growth

January's U.S. job numbers paint an encouraging picture, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp reports in her latest Straight Talk column. ‪It’s online at


Forecast: U.S. Home Sales and Prices to Rise in 2017

U.S. home sales volume and prices should continue to increase this year, although rising mortgage rates and declining affordability will prove challenging – particularly in expensive markets like the Bay Area. For the outlook, go to


Bay Area Home Prices Eclipsed Previous Highs in 2016

U.S. home prices are just short of their prerecession peaks, while California still has a bit further to go. Here in the Bay Area, however, prices surpassed their previous highs during 2016. For more, go to


Direct From CES: Digital Gadgets Galore and Smart Home Technologies

The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showed off a dazzling array of digital gadgets and smart home technologies, including home-automation devices, ultrahigh-resolution television sets, and home control systems. See some examples on the Pacific Union blog at


Creating a Healthier Home With Feng Shui: a Primer

Check out our quick guide to feng shui design practices and tips for incorporating it into your home. You’ll find it on Pacific Union's blog at


Real Estate Roundup: California Homebuyers Face Lengthy Down-Payment Savings Time

San Francisco homebuyers should put their savings plans on steroids if they hope to amass enough for a down payment. Also, February is the best month for home shoppers to snag a bargain. Check out these and other stories of note in our weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: January 31, 2017

Pacific Union Forms Strategic Partnership With Smart Home Pioneer Nest Labs

Pacific Union is proud to announce that we've formed a strategic partnership with Nest Labs, an innovator of smart-home technologies. Read all about it at


Bay Area Housing Markets Begin 2017 as the Nation's Hottest

Low inventory and rising mortgage rates are motivating homebuyers as the year kicks off, with three Bay Area cities ranking as the nation's most sought-after real estate markets. Details are at


California’s Job Growth Slows in December but Ends 2016 Stronger Than the U.S.

Despite a slower addition of jobs in December than in other months, the Golden State's employment growth is still outpacing the U.S. Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp takes a look at the latest numbers. You’ll find the story only on the Pacific Union blog at


Bay Area Housing Markets Are Among the World's 10 Least Affordable

While the Bay Area's housing affordability crunch is all too familiar for local home shoppers, a recent report brings a global perspective to the situation, with San Jose and San Francisco ranking among the planet's least affordable housing markets. Read more at


Home Amenities More Important Than Size, Buyers Say

New home sizes dropped for the first time in seven years in 2016, which isn't likely to trouble the majority of buyers, who are willing to sacrifice square footage for the right features. Details are at

Weekly Real Estate Update

Posted: January 23, 2017

Pacific Union Quarterly Report: Q4 2016

Check out Pacific Union's comprehensive fourth-quarter report, which offers the latest regional and community-level real estate statistics for all of our Northern California regions, along with expert commentary from Chief Economist Selma Hepp. Read the report at


Annual Home Prices Up in All Nine Bay Area Counties in December

The Bay Area enjoyed uniform year-over-year home price appreciation in the final month of 2016, though persistent tight inventory conditions and affordability will likely remain challenges for the region and the state in 2017. Get the full story at


Most Bay Area Home-Remodeling Jobs Projected to Pay Back in 2017

Homeowners in the nation's hottest real estate markets can expect to reap substantial returns on home-renovation projects that they undertake this year, with the majority of jobs in San Francisco and San Jose projected to earn back 100 percent of their costs.For details, go to


A Checklist for Finding Your Dream Neighborhood

Commute, noise, schools, and more: Check out our high-level list of neighborhood factors to consider when plotting the location of your next home. Head over to


Real Estate Roundup: Mortgage Rate Hikes Will Cost Bay Area Buyers the Most

Here's a bit of timely news for potential Bay Area homebuyers who are sitting on the fence: Rising mortgage rates could cost you up to an extra $450 per month when they reach 5 percent. Get these and other headlines of note in Pacific Union's weekly Real Estate Roundup. It’s online at