Canaries Flying Around Our Home Values

In the 94611 zip code, the real estate market is still alive – but there might be both healthy and sickly canaries flying around this coal mine.

Home prices have begun decreasing again, through mid-February. The 94611 median values were $718,918, reflecting a 15 percent decline over last year.  By contrast, Oakland’s values were $332,688 and dropped 34 percent.  While the hills performed better, that’s nothing worth gloating about!

City Data - 946111

Here’s what a bubble and post-bubble look like, in these 2003- 2008 trends. Clearly the prices dropped at a faster pace than inventory in our zip.  Prices hit rock bottom by the fourth quarter of 2007, and increased $100k by 2008 year-end.  Inventory started to disappear as a lagging indicator, with 50 percent fewer homes sold in the same time period.  Yes, we’re still in transition now.

RealtyTrac - 946111

Foreclosures are everywhere. To make this feel quite real, look at the map depicting pre-foreclosure, bank-owned, resale and auction properties reported by the bad-news bears, RealtyTrac.  We’re seeing a visual story of single homes scattered equally across the hills, in all prices ranges.

Foreclosures - 94611

Foreclosures are trending higher, and much higher than Oakland and Alameda County rates.  This is a surprise, since we were sitting pretty between December and October.  When you examine the foreclosure rates reported today versus December, however, we’re still swinging upwards.  Maybe it took longer for available rainy-day funds to dry up?

We’ll continue to watch the local economic levers, like you.  We’re pretty sure the 94611 market will stay tamped down and there won’t be any flood of homes for sale.  But there were two ailing canaries recently:  slightly lower home prices and higher foreclosures.  Maybe these birds will continue to live, after all.