Much like 2021, this year is expected to be a seller’s market in the San Francisco Bay Area and many other parts of the country, because the demand for homes will continue to be greater than what’s available. This is particularly due to Millennials looking to move out of rentals and purchase their first home, and many individuals and families wanting more space after being cooped up in lockdown during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yards, gardens and outdoor spaces, as well as offices and extra space for people to work from home are key qualities buyers are looking for.
What constitutes a seller’s market is when demand exceeds supply, also known as absorption rate (AR), which means we have more buyers looking to buy than we have sellers wanting to sell. Absorption rate is calculated by the number of homes sold in a month divided by total number of homes for sale, and an absorption rate of 20% or higher is usually deemed a seller’s market. Based on data from the MLS, the absorption rate for single family homes in Piedmont, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, Kensington and El Cerrito for the month of January was 23%. If you would like to know the absorption rate for an area not listed here, or for a specific type of home such as condominium or 2-4 unit, I would be happy to share that with you.
Interest rates are about .75% higher now than they were at the end of December 2021, and with inflation at 7.5% in combination with low unemployment, we can expect rates to continue to rise. What does this mean for homebuyers? For every 1% increase in rate, the payment for a $100,000 loan goes up about $55/month. For a $1,000,000 loan at 3% the payment is $4,216, and at 4% it is $4,774.
We know that homebuyers are already pushing their limits, so the rise in rates may take some buyers out of the market. Yet low inventory may mean it has no impact at all on prices because demand is so high for homes in the median price range of $1.2-1.6M in the East Bay. If you are a buyer, talk to your lender now to make sure your pre-approval is up-to-date in light of these recent changes. The California purchase contract now includes a request for more detailed lender and loan information, including the ability to show that you have been fully underwritten for financing. Sellers will be looking for this highest level of approval.
It’s hard to imagine that rates will drop – but these are volatile times and if the last two years have taught us anything it is that the markets can change quickly! For more information about interest rates and getting pre-approval to purchase a home in the San Francisco Bay Area, I recommend reaching out to Dianne Crosby from Guaranteed Rate.
Since there will be more demand than inventory, home prices will likely be higher, but not as high as 2021. Home prices in the San Francisco Bay Area are expected to rise 10% throughout the course of the year. Due to the increase in price, rent is also expected to increase, which might cause a bit of a shuffle in housing for some renters. San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley all have some form of rent control, so, if you’re a renter, be sure to know your rights when it comes to your landlord increasing rent and eviction rules due to COVID-19 still apply.
If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, it’s important to stay informed about the market and understand the best time to do so. Read up on important updates and consult a real estate agent if you have any questions.
As a top producing agent with 20+ years of experience in the East Bay, I have helped hundreds of clients showcase and maximize the sale of their homes in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa, and my experience as a former appraiser allows me to help my clients understand the market. If you have any questions, I am here to be a resource for you.