Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Luxury Home Sales Reach Record Highs

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:

High-end homes throughout the Bay Area sold at a record pace in 2013, according to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News.

A multimillion-dollar home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Citing figures from research firm DataQuick, the publication reports that 2,604 homes priced above $2 million sold in the Bay Area last year, a 28 percent jump from 2012 and the largest number since the vendor began keeping records.

Some of these luxury homes are bound to induce a bit of sticker shock. Atherton had the largest Bay Area sale of the year, with one home selling for almost $37 million. A $35 million transaction took place in San Francisco, while the costliest in Palo Alto was $15 million.

Million-dollar-plus home sales were also up across the Bay Area as a whole, growing nearly 41 percent since 2012. Alameda and Contra Costa counties saw the largest increases at this price point: 70 and 63 percent respectively.

Home prices across the nation grew year over year for the 22nd straight month and saw the largest gains in eight years, according to CoreLogic’s December Home Price Index.

“Last year, home prices rose 11 percent, the highest rate of annual increase since 2005, and 10 states and the District of Columbia reached new all-time price peaks,” Dr. Mark Fleming, CoreLogic chief economist, said in a statement.

In California, December year-over-year price increases were the second highest in the country, trailing only Nevada. Including distressed sales, prices grew 19.7 percent from December 2012; excluding distressed sales, they increased 16.2 percent.

The current tech boom is bringing high wages and low unemployment rates to Silicon Valley, so much so that a recent SFGate article claims that its economy has returned to heights seen in the dot-com era.

Using data from Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s annual index, SFGate reports that the region added 47,000 new jobs in 2013. Forty-five percent of households in Silicon Valley now earn in excess of $100,000 a year, and the per capita income is more than $70,000.

While all of those jobs have given the area an unemployment rate of less than 6 percent, they haven’t resulted in home construction meeting market demand. Last year, 33,000 people moved to the Silicon Valley region, yet developers built just 6,500 new homes.

Back in December, we relayed how an Illinois real estate agent had constructed drones for the purposes of taking aerial photographs of his listings. It seems the same idea has taken wing and flown west, landing in the Contra Costa County community of Alamo.

As CBS SF Bay Area reports, Randy Churchill of Dudum Real Estate recently employed drones to help take aerial shots of a $1.5 million home with Mount Diablo views he was preparing to list.

“You get the scale, you get the feeling of the actual home,” Churchill told CBS, estimating that the $500 it would cost him to produce the video might result in 10,000 online views, many via social-media platforms.

(Image: Flickr/Skip Kuebel)

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