Todd & Lisa Sheppard
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Archive for March 2014

California, Bay Area Economic Recovery Still Going Strong

March 31st, 2014   by lisasheppard


February unemployment claims were lower in all nine Bay Area counties than the state average, yet another promising sign that the coming year will bring more prosperity to our local housing markets.

To read the full report, Click Here.

Worried About Interest Rates? Just Be Glad It’s Not the 1980s

March 31st, 2014   by lisasheppard

Illustration of a home sitting atop stacks of money

Mortgage rates are rising, but put it in perspective.  Rates today are about one-third of what they were three decades ago.

To read more, Click Here.

Freddie Mac Issues Bright 2014 Housing Forecast

March 26th, 2014   by lisasheppard


Strong home sales in 2014 are dependent on job growth, according to a new report from Freddie Mac, and that’s good news for the Bay Area’s housing market.

The local economy has roared back to life over the past year, with unemployment levels below the national average and technology companies bringing thousands of new jobs to the region.

“In order to have solid home sales in 2014 we need to see continued improvement in the labor market,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“With more jobs, wage growth should continue to accelerate, giving American households much-needed income to help sustain the emerging purchase market,” Nothaft continued

In its latest Economic and Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac said it expects U.S. home sales to grow along with wages this year. The agency is projecting a 3 percent rise in home sales, a 20 percent rise in new home construction, and home price appreciation moderating to an annual growth of 5 percent.

Long-term interest rates will gradually rise in 2014, Freddie Mac said, with 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages expected to average 4.9 percent by the fourth quarter, up one-half of a percentage point from the first quarter.

Rising  prices made homes less affordable over the past year, but the agency said solid increases in wages — up 2.5 percent in February alone — helped keep buyers in the market.

Freddie Mac’s report suggests that the Bay Area real estate markets will be particularly busy in 2014. Earlier this month, we reported that the nine-county Bay Area added nearly 117,000 jobs in 2013 – nearly one-third of all positions created in the entire state — while unemployment in January fell as low as 4.7 percent.

The 7 Best Improvements to Make Your Home Sell Faster

March 26th, 2014   by lisasheppard


Some home-improvement projects will go a long way to helping your property stand out from the rest. Find out which ones are currently giving sellers the most bang for their buck in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and surrounding areas.

To read more, Click Here.

Energy-Efficient Mortgages Can Add Value, Reduce Utility Bills

March 25th, 2014   by lisasheppard

Rooftop solar panels

Homeowners and buyers, take note: Several federal agencies and many lenders allow you to finance a wide range of energy-saving home improvements — from tankless water heaters and newer heating and air-conditioning systems to solar panels and geothermal heating — with your home loan.

To read more, Click Here.

Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Markets Best in U.S. For Sellers

March 25th, 2014   by lisasheppard


Recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious includes a report that two Bay Area regions are considered the most favorable to sellers in the coming busy spring buying season. Also, new statistics and planned housing developments offer hope for buyers in the inventory-constrained East Bay.

To read the full report, Click Here.

Real Estate Roundup: New Home Sales Pace Strong as Year Begins

March 6th, 2014   by lisasheppard

sold sign

Recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious includes a report revealing that in January new homes sold at their fastest pace in almost six years. Also, California teachers are finding it increasingly tough to afford a home in the state, particularly in the Bay Area.

To read more, Click Here.

San Francisco Home Price Gains Among Nation’s Largest in 2013

March 4th, 2014   by lisasheppard


The San Francisco metro area was one of just three regions in the country where home price increases topped 20 percent in 2013, according to the December S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

To read more, Click Here.