Todd & Lisa Sheppard
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Archive for December 2012

Strong Jobs Report Helps Ring in the New Year

December 27th, 2012   by lisasheppard

The latest employment numbers confirm that the Bay Area continues to drive California’s economic recovery, with employers increasingly calling back laid-off workers and thousands of new jobs helping to expand the economic base — and keep our real estate markets busy well into the new year.

The state Employment Development Department reported that California’s unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent in November, the first month under 10 percent in nearly four years.

To read the full report, Click Here.

Pacific Union Ranked Third in Bay Area by Sales

December 22nd, 2012   by lisasheppard

Pacific Union logo

We’re pleased to announce that the San Francisco Business Times has ranked Pacific Union International as the Bay Area’s third-largest residential real estate firm in its annual Book of Lists, published this week.

It’s the second year in a row that Pacific Union placed third on the list, rising from fourth in 2011.

Pacific Union’s Bay Area offices posted $2.29 billion in gross sales in 2011, the measure that the Business Times used to compile the list. That’s an increase of $250 million from 2010.

Pacific Union is the premier luxury real-estate brand in Northern California. We’re known for our neighborhood expertise, our team of talented real estate professionals, and our unflagging commitment to our clients. We don’t define “luxury” by the price point of a home — we define it by the quality of our people and our unparalleled service.

The company is locally owned, with more than 450 real estate professionals in 21 offices in the Greater Bay Area — more than any other independent real-estate firm.

We offer a full range of personal and commercial real-estate services: buying, selling, relocation, mortgages, insurance, and property management.

Supply of Homes Tight in Bay Area, But Buyers Are Eager — and Determined

December 20th, 2012   by lisasheppard

A crowded hillside of homes in San Francisco.

Strong demand for Bay Area housing will make for a busy 2013.

Much of the reporting on the 2012 housing recovery has focused on the tight supply of homes on the market, often blamed on homeowners without enough equity to move into more expensive properties or holding out for higher prices to recover their investments.

But there’s another part of the story that’s received far less attention: Homebuyers are snapping up properties at a pace we haven’t seen in at least six years.

To read the full report, Click Here.


Santa Rosa’s Skyhawk: Suburbia Done Right

December 19th, 2012   by lisasheppard

Inside Annadel State Park

Annadel State Park is a stone’s throw from Skyhawk.

Santa Rosa’s Skyhawk community is “quintessential suburbia,” where families know their neighbors and friends grow up together. It’s a popular community, with some of the best schools in Sonoma County.

To read more, Click Here.

Pacific Union’s Home of the Week: Spacious Santa Rosa Stunner Offers Plenty of Options

December 17th, 2012   by lisasheppard
2108 Wedgewood Way, Santa Rosa
Options abound with Pacific Union’s Home of the Week, at 2108 Wedgewood Way in Santa Rosa.

The two-story home in the sought-after Tuscany at Fountaingrove neighborhood, on the northern edge of the city, has a spacious great room, four bedrooms, and four-and-a-half baths, with au-pair quarters and a large guest suite or den with a private entrance.

It’s 3,570 square feet of well-appointed architectural details and amenities: designer-grade carpeting, exotic wood floors, detailed crown molding, recessed lighting, and ceiling speakers.

The bathroom attached to the master bedroom seems more like a luxurious spa. The wide-open kitchen includes a large island and loads of cabinet space.

Outside, the flagstone patio features an outdoor kitchen, palapa, and fire pit.

Additional information:

  • Three fireplaces
  • Built-in bookcases
  • Attached two-car garage

Offered at $795,000. Learn more about 2108 Wedgewood Way, Santa Rosa and also view an online brochure.

Real Estate Week: Fewer Foreclosure Starts Today but a Backlog of Repossessions

December 14th, 2012   by lisasheppard
Foreclosure sign
News this week of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious: Banks today are less inclined to start foreclosure proceedings, but they’re picking up the pace of long-delayed repossessions. Also: The housing recovery could spell bad news for apartment investors.

To read the full report, Click Here.

Pacific Union’s Monthly Real Estate Update

December 13th, 2012   by lisasheppard

Home sales remain strong in the Bay Area and Tahoe/Truckee as the end of the year draws near.

Typically, sales fall off in November and December, when holiday plans crowd out thoughts of relocating households, but we’re seeing only a slight dip in real estate activity this year from the frantic pace of previous months, with Pacific Union International’s regional offices reporting solid results for the month of November as measured by the percentage of homes in contract.

Typically, more than 35 percent of homes in contract indicates a sellers’ market and less than 25 percent reflects a buyers’ market. A balanced market has 25 to 35 percent of homes in contract. Other measurements, such as median sales price and months’ supply of inventory, also indicate an active real estate market as we move into December.

To read the full report, Click Here.

A Look at Real Estate Trends in the New Year

December 12th, 2012   by lisasheppard

New Year ornaments

The new year is just three weeks away, and with it come all sorts of questions and uncertainties about the housing market in 2013.

Will the recent recovery take hold, or will the U.S. economy fall off a fiscal cliff? When will home prices return to their pre-recession highs? Where are mortgage rates headed? Ultimately, will 2013 be a good time to sell a home or to buy one?

A recent report in The Fiscal Times took note of the housing recovery and a growing optimism among homeowners and homebuyers. It quizzed real estate economists and reviewed industry surveys to develop a list of the top 10 real estate trends to watch in 2013. Here’s a sampling of the predictions:

HOME PRICES CLIMB HIGHER: New-home construction is far short of its pre-recession pace, failing to keep up with population growth or the rebounding housing market and thereby helping to push home prices higher. The National Association of Realtors forecasts average home prices to rise 5 percent next year.

MORE HOUSEHOLDS, RISING RENTS: Millions of young people who rode out the recession by moving back home with their parents are now getting jobs and looking for their own apartments. The pent-up demand for rentals is twice as big in percentage terms as the country has ever seen. Average rents have been rising in many metro areas by 7 to 9 percent a year, and a recent Zillow analysis found that buying beats renting in 59 percent of markets after three years or less.

EASIER CREDIT STANDARDS: Would-be borrowers now need a FICO credit score in the 760s to get a mortgage, much higher even than in the years before the easy-credit housing boom began, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That should start changing next year — qualifying scores will drop as more qualified buyers come into the market and lenders compete to offer them loans, according to Luis Vergara of Mission Capital Advisors in New York City.

Other trends include fewer opportunities to buy bargain-priced foreclosures, a rising number of short sales, more first-time buyers, higher construction costs, new jobs for property managers, higher mortgage rates, and consolidation in the home-building industry.

For a closer look at the list of real estate trends in 2013, check out the report in The Fiscal Times.

Real Estate Week: Home Flipping OK, Evictions Off for the Holidays, and Short Sales Surge

December 7th, 2012   by lisasheppard

Toy houses

News this week of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious: The FHA signs off on home flipping, and homeowners facing eviction get a holiday reprieve. Meanwhile, short sales, facing a deadline, jump dramatically, while conforming loan limits stay the same.

To read more, Click Here.

Mortgage-Interest Deduction May Be Scaled Back Amid ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations

December 6th, 2012   by lisasheppard

Photo of a $100 bill

Limits on the mortgage-interest tax deduction are looking more likely after President Barack Obama said this week that tax breaks benefiting middle-class families could be at risk if taxes for the wealthiest Americans are not increased.

To read more, Click Here.