I agree the san ramon schools are great and many families are moving due to school system but the schools are overflowing (elementary) and many home owners have to send their kids to schools that are not in the area. I have yet to meet a an agent (last 10 years) who said "this is not a good time to buy"
Happy house hunting.
I can see the reasoning behind your thought process, however, I would suggest that you keep a couple of things in mind.
1.) San Ramon (Dublin, Danville, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton) is a lot more stable compared to some of the other areas that have been impacted by the declining Real Estate market (i.e. Brentwood, Antioch, Tracy, etc.)
2.) The increased FHA LOAN Limits are only good through the end of 2008. As part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has temporarily increased its loan limits and insured larger mortgages at a more affordable price in high cost areas of the country. For Contra Costa and Alameda counties, the new Jumbo-Conforming limit is $729,750. Previously, that amount was maxed at $417,000.
3.) Lenders are getting more and more stringent about their requirements and its getting harder and harder to qualify borrowers.
4.) Long-term Fixed Rates are likely to go up. The Fed has just recently cut an additional 3/4% but don't expect mortgage rates to go down too. Consider recent history. The Fed issued an emergency cut of short term rates in early January and then trimmed more just a few days later, but the 30 year fixed mortgage rate has responded by bouncing up from 5.6% to 6.4%. Also, inflation drives long-term fixed rates. When the Fed cuts short term rates, the intent was to lower borrowing costs for corporations so that they'll invest and hire. But this economic growth can lead to inflation. That in turn leads bond traders to demand higher rates on their long-term bonds, and that drives up mortgage rates too.
Bottom line is that you have to consider the entire picture vs. just the price of the home. I would also suggest looking in Dublin as there are some very good prospects there.
I am one of the partners of Platinum Club Realty Team (California Realty Group), which provides end-to-end Real Estate services to clients such as yourself. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. email@example.com
I am in the same boat - just relocated here from out of state. Although housing prices are a key consideration, I suggest that you also consider the following to help you determine which way to go:
(1) Is it likely that you may relocate again with your employer in the next few years? If so, it may not give you enough time to recoup if you buy now and the market goes down over the following year (unless your employer will also cover you for such losses should they move you again);
(2) Is it likely that you will stay in the area, but leave your employer? Then, if you buy, you need to think about how you will handle the second $100k mortgage; and
(3) Are you (is your family) the type of person/people who want to make their home their own? In other words, would it drive you crazy to live in rental where you can't paint a wall without permission, etc. Or, are you seasoned renters who prefer renting vs. owning?
Hope this helps with your decision.
I am a REALTOR in Danville and have lived in San Ramon since 1987. I know the area well. I can send you charts and numbers that represents home sales in San Ramon for the last 14 months. Send me an email and I will send these charts to you. Joanne@JoanneLiotta.com