Add Moraga and Lafayette, each with their own unique subtleties, and you have Lamorinda. There are some differences in the Real Estate between the 3 communities, but 1 block in any 1 town can bring a difference.
Orinda is one of the most desirable communities in the Bay Area. If a house comes on the market with all the right pieces, I’d say it will go pending faster than it would in 90+% of the other Bay Area communities, considered one of the top areas in the whole country.
If you are thinking about buying in Orinda and prepare correctly, you can’t go wrong. That means, be ready when your dream house comes on the market, because dream houses go very fast in Orinda. You should be familiar enough with the community to know that when “Your House” hits the market, you are seeing it that day, and ready to write an offer, with everything in order to write a strong offer, at a fair price, pretty quickly.
This scenario is for the “Wildly Fantastic” houses. IF they hit the market, they will go pending within a week, sometimes even a couple of days or less.
The “Good Ones” usually go pending within 10 days.
Plenty of homes will sit long enough to think about, but if you are doing that, you’re missing out on the first two categories, and you don’t want that to happen. So be prepared. Every price range (Orinda is generally amongst the higher priced Bay Area communities) has some good buys, and some not – so - good buys.
Having praised the area enough, the all important inventory number is now relevant to this discussion. Compared to previous years, inventory hovers very close to the same numbers for Lamorinda, around 170 units as of today, March 3, 2008.
That about covers the market conditions of the Orinda Real Estate market. A running commentary is available at my blog, http://www.lamorindarealestateblog.com . Please feel comfortable contacting me directly ( mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ) with any questions. Selling or buying, I’d love to help you realize your Orinda dream.
There is always a need for a family home in a good school district, so my guess (and I am no expert) is that if prices do decline (such as the 30% they predict for East Bay), the decline will be less drastic in the areas that attend the Acalanes high school district (Miramonte, Campolindo, Acalanes, Las Lomas) since the schools are top rated and it is such an easy commute to San Francisco.... especially for houses that are family-friendly and well-cared for. That being said, many of the current listings are at least 10-20% overpriced for the type of house they are, and have enjoyed sitting on the market.
Just what I noticed the past week:
The $1.1 M house mentioned in the last post on Dewing is back on the market. I guess none of those multiple offers went through.
There was a house on Jeffrey Ct in Walnut Creek for $840K that had offer in 3 days after it was listed. The house was in great condition, not brand new upgrades, but clean, clean, clean, with a nice flat yard and near Indian Valley Elementary, WCI, and Las Lomas High School. Now, that house for that price is a great value... something like that, you can't go wrong. Lucky people who got into that deal. I've seen similar homes listed for $200-300K more.
When you analyze the MLS sales, AVERAGE prices in Orinda year to year were down about 5% all of last year and unit sales were up about the same amount at 5%. This is pretty flat if you think about it. There is still demand for Lamorinda.
The strength is in the smaller homes. The entry level homes in Lamorinda have a stronger demand whereas the higher end homes have been sitting on the market longer and have dropped their prices more dramatically. In some cases, the lower end homes have appreciated. The 4BR homes are off a little bit more than 3BR homes from a year ago due to this reason.
Any time the market in Lamorinda adjusts, the trends show that the high-end homes are the first to drop and when they do, their prices adjust significantly. People still want Lamorinda for the schools and when they do, they will get in as inexpensive as they can in the lower end market. The same happened in 1990, prices in Orinda dropped approx. 20%....the larger high-end homes were soft and the lower end homes continued to increase in price. The same thing happened in Lafayette last year; Lower end homes actually appreciated and the higher end homes depreciated in price.
I hope this helps! I can give you exact statistics and recent sales for specific locations if interested.
In this kind of a market, if you are looking to upgrade and move up, this is the perfect time to do it.
Take a look at the Q4 2007 stats for Contra Costa County pulled by Prudential. Very insightful: http://www.thewebtop.com/docs/Q4-07-ContraCosta.pdf
You can read more about me at http://www.MyHousingGuide.com/about