Monday, June 28, 2010

ADA compliance for private home rentals will kill the market

Hot off the presses from my meetings at C.A.R. in Sacramento just recently is the story of the The Big Bear Association and their fight against ADA compliance for private home rentals. A little insight into the issue and background are here:

To me, this is purely about the rights of private property owners. As a homeowner, particularly someone who has a second property in a vacation area, you should have the right to rent it out to the general population without having to make special concessions to a small group of people.

If this suit passes, does it mean that all vacation rentals need to provide ADA-compliant access? If so, how many millions of dollars will be spent to ensure compliance. How many people with ADA needs will actually want access to these homes?

I think this suit is based on the needs of "the few" trying to assert their position over the rights of "the many". In my opinion, ADA-compliance should be limited to public areas and businesses only. I can see setting up ramps in hotels and resorts but private property should be exempt.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sales are up. Prices are up. Are we booming again?

Not exactly.

An article in this mornings San Jose Mercury News discussed the increase in sales and the median price of homes. In Santa Clara County the median sales price in May rose 6.4% from April 2010. However, it's because 54% of homes sold were over $500,000 versus 34% in the same period last year.

Now, this ties in nicely with the other recent report that the sales of million dollar homes has risen recently. This can be seen in Los Altos where entry-level homes priced from $1 - 1.5 million have been selling with multiple offers and many going over their asking prices. Similar behavior can be seen in neighboring markets including Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale.

The really good news is that most of these higher end sales are NOT driven by the tax breaks because the homes are priced too high or the borrowers are making too much money. So that means the market strength is built on solid buyers with the jobs and income to buy without incentives.

Based on the market activity in Los Altos, I expect this strength to continue into the summer and through the end of the year. We'll probably see typical slowness as the year comes to and end but 2010 should end with our local market back to being strong and balanced.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sales of million dollar homes are increasing

I read an article this morning that sales of million dollar homes in both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties rose in May. The most expensive home sold in either county in May was in Los Altos Hills, a 5,324 sq. ft. home that sold for $5.95 million.

Overall in Los Altos, the market is much stronger than last year. There were 22 sales, all over a million with the lowest price being $1.12 million for a nice home on West Portola. That's in line with 22 sold homes in May, 2009. However, the average and median prices are up about 10%.

The market in Los Altos under $1.5 million is on FIRE with most homes selling in their first week, many with multiple offers. However, as prices move over $2 million the market slows a bit and is much cooler closer to $3 million.

There has been no slowdown in June so far (I've sold two homes in Los Altos this month) and I expect the market to continue to be strong through the end of summer.