Todd & Lisa Sheppard
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Archive for December 2013

Bay Area Unemployment Continues Falling — Lowest in State in November

December 30th, 2013   by lisasheppard


The Bay Area continues to lead California’s economic recovery, with the lowest unemployment rates in the state in November and strong economic growth in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Marin County was home to the lowest jobless rate in the state in November, 4.6 percent, down from 4.8 percent a month earlier. It was followed by San Mateo County (5 percent, down from 5.1 percent), San Francisco (5.2 percent, down from 5.3 percent), and Sonoma County (6 percent, down from 6.1 percent).

Santa Clara County’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, down from 6.4 percent, followed by Alameda and Contra Costa counties (6.8 percent, down from 7 and 6.9 percent, respectively), and Solano County (7.6 percent, down from 7.7 percent).

Napa County posted the only increase in unemployment, rising to 6 percent from 5.3 percent in October.

At Pacific Union we watch regional employment numbers eagerly since job growth remains a clear indicator of a thriving real estate market.

In a separate report, economist Stephen Levy said Southern California led the state in job gains in November and is now second only to the Bay Area in economic growth.

“The largest sustained growth is in the coastal areas led by tech centers in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Orange County,” according to Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

Levy said the pattern of job growth in November was mixed, with solid gains in construction, manufacturing, and retail sales.

“The future is looking brighter, particularly in Southern California,” Levy wrote in his monthly jobs report. “No longer is the Bay Area the only center of job growth in California.”

Real Estate Roundup: Stunning 2013 Gains in Bay Area Home Values

December 27th, 2013   by lisasheppard

Heap of coins

Brace yourself for a staggering number: Homes in the San Francisco metro area gained a cool $159.2 billionin total value this year, according to a new Zillow report.

The cumulative value of all homes in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo counties now clocks in at a whopping $987.2 billion. The numbers come from Zillow data, which relies in part on projections for the remaining weeks of 2013.

“It’s been a fascinating year for San Francisco and many Bay Area cities,” Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s economic research director, told KQED. “They have surpassed their peak — they’re more expensive than they’ve ever been.”

Despite the soaring numbers, the New York Times reports that 2014 may be a bit kinder to homebuyers throughout the U.S. – although hot markets like San Francisco and New York are expected to keep on sizzling.

“Buyers in general may find they have more homes to choose from and more lenders vying for their business,” the newspaper noted.

Other Times predictions for the coming year include: climbing mortgage rates, a slight loosening of lending requirements, and flattening homeownership levels.


Sure, the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency may have made recent headlines for their reliance on drones, but one Illinois real estate professional could be giving the feds a run for their money.

Scott Gerami, a 52-year-old broker with RE/MAX in Naperville, Ill., has built his own drones for a less-controversial purpose: getting good aerial shots of his listings.

“It is an attention getter,” Gerami, who also posts the videos to his YouTube channel, told the local Daily Herald newspaper.

Of course, Gerami’s novel marketing initiative has hit some bumps in the road. Early on, a $1,000 device went haywire and disappeared somewhere to the north while the panicked real estate professional trailed it in his car.

There’s mixed news for U.S. real estate in a Trulia Housing Barometer study released earlier this month.

While existing home sales, prices, and foreclosure rates have rebounded handily since the worst of the economic recession, new home starts and employment among young adults still lag nationwide.

The news is of course brighter for the Bay Area, namely San Francisco and San Jose, which Trulia named to a list of 10 metro areas that are back to normal, or nearly there, in terms of both prices and building-permit activity.

And that picture is likely to get even sunnier next year, as job growth and home sales continue their upward trajectory throughout Pacific Union’s markets.

Real Estate Roundup: Study Shows Winter Hottest Season for Home Sellers

December 17th, 2013   by lisasheppard


Recent news of interest to home buyers, home sellers, and the home-curious includes a study that indicates homes across the country are more likely to sell in winter than in any other season, with the San Jose area leading that trend. Also, Trulia predicts that rising prices will lead to increased activity by move-up buyers in 2014.

To read the full report, Click Here.

REX HomeBuyer Helps Pacific Union Clients Buy More Home for Less Down Payment

December 16th, 2013   by lisasheppard


Although many high-paid Bay Area residents can afford the monthly mortgage on a home in our expensive region, the down-payment hurdle can prove difficult to overcome. REX HomeBuyer down-payment funding from FirstREX can help solve that problem, and some Pacific Union clients are already taking advantage of it.

To read more, Click Here.

Home-Safety Tips to Help Ensure Happy Holidays

December 13th, 2013   by lisasheppard

Christmas tree closeup

Christmas is less than two weeks away. Before your days are totally taken over by shopping, decorating, and festive gatherings, spend a few minutes with these home-safety tips to ensure a danger-free and enjoyable holiday season.

To read more, Click Here.

Pacific Union’s November Real Estate Update

December 12th, 2013   by lisasheppard



Though the median sales price in Sonoma County declined a tiny $2,500 in November to land at $455,000, it was still up a healthy 18 percent year over year. However, buyers were paying the smallest percentage of asking price since February – just over 94 percent.

The 2.0 MSI in Sonoma County remained unchanged from October and is identical to levels we noticed in the summer months.

Homes left the market in an average of 79 days, the longest stretch since April.

For information about other counties, Click Here.

Pacific Union’s Patrick Barber Named President-Elect of San Francisco Association of Realtors

December 11th, 2013   by lisasheppard


We’re excited to share the news that Pacific Union President Patrick Barber recently took the reins as president-elect of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, an achievement in which our entire company takes great pride.

To read more, Click Here.

Real Estate Roundup: Jumbo Loans on the Rise, Realtor’s Unusual Marketing Campaign

December 10th, 2013   by lisasheppard

Defaced poster

Recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious includes a report that jumbo loans are rapidly gaining popularity in part due to rising home prices and rate discounts. Also, one Minneapolis real estate professional’s oddball advertising campaign is making news.

To read more, Click Here.

Twelve Tips for Selling Your Home in the Winter Months

December 9th, 2013   by lisasheppard


Some homeowners believe their property won’t sell in the winter months, so they take it off the market until spring. Such folks could miss out on a unique selling opportunity. Here are some wintertime staging tips to get your home noticed.

To read more, Click Here.

Mortgage-Rule Changes Could Push More Bay Area Buyers into Pricey Jumbo Loans

December 6th, 2013   by lisasheppard


Photo of hundred-dollar bills

Future Bay Area homebuyers will want to keep an eye on real estate news in the coming months, as a proposed change to mortgage regulations could cost them many thousands of dollars in added expenses and higher down payments by forcing them into more-expensive jumbo loans.

To read more, Click Here.