Hispanic homeownership rate climbing

Despite ongoing affordability and discrimination issues, the homeownership rate of Hispanics is climbing. Currently, Latinos are buying homes at a higher rate than the overall U.S. population according to a recent Zillow analysis.

The good news is that mortgage denial rates for Latinos have dropped considerably from 31.3 percent in 2008 to 15.5 percent in 2016.

Want to get some sleep? Move to SF

According to a nationwide study based on light and noise pollution, San Francisco is the city second-most conducive to a good night’s sleep. Only San Antonio, Texas scored higher.

The study also featured a survey and 45 percent of San Franciscans said they got more than 7 hours of sleep; 56 percent reported high-quality sleep, and 82 percent believe they live “in a peaceful environment.”

Conversely, San Jose came in 17th place, one sport lower than New York, the city that never sleeps.

4,500 housing plan in San Ramon

Sunset Development in San Ramon is rolling out a plan to add 4,500 housing units for up to 9,000r residents, encompassing five residential neighborhoods over 135 acres. The project would take 25 years to complete with the first units available in 2023.

Each neighborhood would have a different look and feel and have 500 to 1,200 units built on existing parking lots. The plan also calls for a new hotel, parking structures to replace existing lots, 170,000 sq. feet of retail and office space expanded recreational amenities including pedestrian and bicycle trails, community and transit centers and much more.

Critics are already citing increased traffic and strain on existing schools.

Bay Area real estate prices continue to decline

For the sixth straight month, Bay Area real estate prices declined according to the most recent report by CoreLogic. The median price for a new or existing home or condo in the Bay Area in August was $810,000, down 0.7 percent from July and down 2.4 percent from August 2018.

In addition, the total number of sales in August also declined with 7,247 transactions down 2.3 percent from July and down 5.7 percent from August 2018.

Still, affordability remains a big problem in the Bay Area.

Your roof: repair or replace?

Obviously, your roof is critical to your home’s infrastructure and when problems occur the decision to replace or repair is of vital importance. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends hiring a qualified roof inspector (approximately $200) to examine these issues:

  1. How long will the current roof last? What signs of deterioration are there?
  2. How long will flashing and other parts last?
  3. How likely are additional leaks?
  4. Can repairs match the look of the current roof?

Roof replacement is expensive but, given signs of deterioration, may be inevitable.

Is early fall the best time to buy?

Good selection, less competition, and sellers anxious to make a deal. Is early fall the best time to buy a home? Realtor.com thinks so; in fact, in 41 of 53 metropolitan areas they tracked, this week – the last week of September – may have the most favorable conditions of the entire year.

The numbers seem to bear this out: competition is down 26 percent, yet there are 6 percent more homes on the market. Moreover, 6 percent of the homes have had a price reduction and overall are 2 percent less than their peak pricing.

Many analysts agree that while it’s not a buyers market yet, it isn’t a sellers market either.

Millennials aren’t buying, they’re investing in real estate

While many millennials find themselves priced out of the real estate market, many are investing in real estate in other parts of the country. Using online platforms such as Roofstock, they are able to pick properties on risk factors and various returns.

Generally smaller cities offer the best opportunities for consistent monthly returns. In some markets, appreciation of the real estate asset outpaces the monthly cash flow.

According to CoreLogic, 11 percent of single-family homes sold in 2018 were bought by investors, the highest percentage on record.

Bay Area Apartment Construction Increasing

The good news is that major metropolitan areas in the Bay Area – San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco – are seeing a significant increase in multi-family/apartment construction. For example, the San Jose metro area is seeing an increase of 283 percent – 1,579 units last year to 6,044 this year. Oakland is adding 1850 units and San Francisco, 1204.

The not-so-good news is that other cities such as Seattle and Miami are adding twice the number of units. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is adding 22,000 this year alone!

Although there is still much to be done, experts agreed that the Bay Area is heading in the right direction and noted that building in California is more difficult – and expensive – due to the state’s environmental regulations and the high cost of construction materials.

Yes, your commute is getting worse

If you commute to work in the Bay Area you don’t need to be told that your commute is getting worse. According to a recent analysis, the number of “super commuters” – those whose commute is 90 minutes or longer – increased by 102 percent in Contra Costa County from 2009 to 2017. Cities such as Antioch are literally full of super commuters with the average commute taking 92.2 minutes each way, up from 73 minutes in 2008.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, traffic congestion – freeway driving at 35 miles per hour or slower – increased by 80 percent from 2010 to 2017. Nearly one-third of all workers cross at least one county line to get to their jobs.

One possible way to ease the travel time would be a regional express bus network that could travel in toll lanes.

Bay Area Housing Still Competitive

Although the housing market in the Bay Area has cooled a bit since last year it is still one of the most competitive areas in the country. According to Redfin, Contra Costa Centre (a transit community near Walnut Creek), San Lorenzo, Alameda, San Leandro, Pleasant Hill, and Albany ranked at least 92 out of 100 in the “Competitive Index.”

Analysts say that employment in the nine-county Bay Area remains very strong with over 5,000 new jobs being added in July alone.