East Bay Real Estate Predictions for 2012

During tour today my colleagues and I were discussing what we thought the market would do in 2012.  One said she felt that the Berkeley market, specifically, would see an increase in appreciation of 2% – 3% due to a lack of inventory.  “There are so many buyers looking for homes and without inventory, we will see a lot of multiple offers, which will ultimately drive prices up.”  My other colleague disagreed.  She felt that buyers are so particular these days that they won’t settle for anything.

While I don’t think that we will see prices in Berkeley or the surrounding areas decrease significantly, I don’t think we will see much increase either.  With rates continuing to remain low there is no reason for buyers to make rash decisions.  Buyers are indeed picky.  And they are patient.  Because of this, they will wait.

There is talk of an influx of foreclosures hitting the market.  This doesn’t surprise me.  I think we will see more short sales, but the days on market for short sales will decrease.  Not because the banks have their systems in place, but because more sellers will lose their home to foreclosure during the process.  The one thing to watch is that banks are starting to promote short sales for their distressed clients, and are proactively calling owners to see if they would like to short sale their home.

I think the allure of investors seeking foreclosed properties will continue to rise.

2011 brought a ton of cash buyers.  As the economy attempts to recover, cash purchases in all price brackets will continue.

One demographic that is being hit is the younger market, the 30 – 34 year old market.  Loss of jobs, loss of appreciation, and student loans out of deferment, homeownership amongst this age bracket is falling faster than any other.  This is a market that I service, and I have definitely seen a shift in the mindset of the 30-somethings.

Sellers are discouraged.  They are fearful.  They are worried that prices will never go up.  Those who don’t need to sell, won’t.

This all sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?  Well come on now, the economy is still in the pits.  Did you think real estate would be any different?  The good news is that if you are a seller, there are a TON of buyers who are well-qualified.  If you are a buyer, rates are still at an all time low.  And with rents projected to rise, now is the time to cash in on some real estate wealth.

Wherever your real estate path may take you in 2012, I wish you good health, happiness, and a hot cup of tea by a cozy fire.