Median home prices shot up 27.7 percent in 2013

Slower appreciation expected this year
2014-02-24T14:27:00Z 2014-04-29T20:54:08Z Median home prices shot up 27.7 percent in 2013JENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register
February 24, 2014 2:27 pm  • 

There’s good news for those homeowners who survived the recession and have spent the past several years hoping to see home values rise again.

Napa County home prices rebounded in 2013, increasing 27.7 percent from 2012 levels, according to Bay Area Real Estate Information Services.

The median home price for a Napa County home rose to $454,500, compared to $355,750 in 2012. Homes sold faster as well. Homes spent an average of 89 days on the market in 2013, compared to 118 in 2012.

With the foreclosure crisis winding down, the number of distressed property sales in 2013 declined to just 11.7 percent of the market, compared to 25.66 percent in 2012.

“There are very few short sales” and bank-owned properties for sale now, said Randy Gularte of Heritage Sotheby’s International Realty. With those distressed properties removed from the market, “Now it’s a matter of a normal buyer/seller market,” he said.

Unlike during the pre-recession era of 100 percent financing loans, Gularte said today’s buyer “has skin in the game.” “Qualified buyers are buying houses. I think it will help us solidify the market.”

San Francisco broker Jeff Appenrodt of Laurel Realty, who recently hosted an open house for a home in the Napa Yacht Club, said he has many clients from San Francisco and the Bay Area who want to buy in Napa.

The broker said buyers are drawn to any property close to city areas such as Napa or St. Helena, and with enough space for grapes, whether for aesthetic or business reasons.

“I have a client in San Francisco who is buying all kinds of property in Napa,” he said. That client has purchased somewhere around $5 to $6 million of property in the past six months, both land and homes, he said. “That area is on the rise” and his clients are looking to buy, said Appenrodt.

He held an open house for a residence on South Newport Drive that is listed for $715,000. “We’ve had it open for two Sundays now,” he said, but “no offers yet.”

The home, while recently renovated, is not located on the water. “If it was on the water, we could sell it 10 times over,” he said.

Realtor Bill Keller of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley said January was a busy month for him. He attributes that to the warm and dry weather which encouraged people to be out home shopping.

And with interest rates staying low, “I see room for prices to increase in 2014,” said Keller. "Not quite a much as 2013, but maybe 10 to 12 percent this year.”

Tristin Bruno, a Realtor with Real Property Advisors, recently hosted an open house for a home on Leann Court in west Napa priced at $595,000. More than 30 groups of potential buyers visited her open house , she said.

The Leann Court home was listed on Feb. 10. She expects to sell it within the next week or two, said Bruno. At that price, she believes the home could be an option for a move-up buyer, something that was not as likely several years ago when many homeowners were underwater in their mortgage loans.

Today’s homeowner is more likely to have regained equity. “They have enough equity to make a down payment on that next property,” she said.

Richard Peterson of Pacific Union International, Inc. said he expects prices to appreciate about five percent in 2014.

“All indications are that home prices will continue to rise although not as steeply as last year,” Peterson said. “Nice homes that are listed at a good price will continue to go fast.”

“We are seeing fewer all cash offers,” he noted. “We’re seeing fewer investors buying up properties because they are getting priced out.”

Lani Cooke of Heritage Sotheby’s International Realty recently hosted an open house on Tokay Drive. The four-bedroom home with three-car garage is priced at $735,000.

“Four-bedroom houses are always a big hit and have a lot of demand,” she said.

Her listing has only been on the market 15 days, “but we are getting good activity. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells in the next week.”

Homes that are priced well “are going quickly,” Cooke said, “certainly within 30 days. If they sit longer than that it’s usually because they are priced too high.”

Cooke also said that the condo market has picked up. “The prices are surprising me,” she said.

Cooke said she’s seen condos that were priced in the high $200,000 range in 2013 now selling in the mid-to-high $300,000 range. “There is nice, healthy appreciation in the condo market.”

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. jfeez32
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    jfeez32 - February 24, 2014 2:53 pm
    What a joke, this a false housing bubble manipulated to keep housing prices high. The realtors should release all the foreclosures and short sales and see what happens to the market.
  2. StillInNapa
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    StillInNapa - February 24, 2014 3:17 pm
    Demand is high, homes that averge people, couples or families can afford is low, supply is low. People with money invest here and expect high rents or higher sales prices for a return on their investments. Any slight adjustment in the economy and those that are tapped out on their mortgage will lose their home and/or investment. It sounds too familiar... The prices seem way to high, how many couples or individuals realized a 27% pay increase last year? All I'm saying is when you expect more than the market can bear, you will lose.
  3. Crosscountrykid
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    Crosscountrykid - February 24, 2014 8:10 pm
    Whenever the NVR puts out an article like this, the reporter rounds up the usual suspects for comments--usually all Realtors. And as we know, for Realtors it's always a great time to buy or sell; always. A more informed and objective commentator might be an economics professor who specializes in real estate. There are a host of underlying questions and issues that would lend depth and analysis to an article like this such as Who's buying?, Who's selling?, investors or owners for a primary residence?, why are they buying or selling?, to name the more obvious ones. What's the track record for those Realtors cited in the article? Did any of them envision the crash a few years back? If not, why should we give their comments any credibility now? This could be a much stronger piece of journalism.
  4. naparealestate
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    naparealestate - February 25, 2014 7:35 am
    When prices drop 50% as they did from 2005-2006 to 2010, prices need to rise 100% to get back to the level where you were before. So statistically you're going to see large percentage increases in price even though in absolute terms prices are well below the 2005-2006 peak.
  5. crooked6pence
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    crooked6pence - February 25, 2014 8:24 am

    Prices only drop 50% due to speculation. Healthy and sustainable real estate appreciation occurs at around 7% per year. Not gains of 28% each year which is how we ended up with the last crash. And no, they don't have to increase 100% because the peak values of homes were over inflated at the height of the market. By saying that you are assuming the peak values were the correct values, when in fact they were not.
  6. Hasavoice
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    Hasavoice - February 25, 2014 8:53 am
    Locals are getting pushed out of our town due to rent increases and housing market redicoulous prices. $ 400k for a house that is worth $150k
  7. napa1957
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    napa1957 - February 25, 2014 11:12 am
    They were so ridiculously over priced at the time...that was part of the problem...getting back to where they were before really doesn't sound sustainable...yet again!
  8. jojojackson
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    jojojackson - February 25, 2014 12:17 pm
    Really ? The Fed's are watching people for this" Practice of Pump and Dump", Napa's Register just brought the 27% increase to the attention of many.
  9. Cadence
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    Cadence - February 25, 2014 12:43 pm
    The locals could have purchased when the price was $150K, couldn't they? And if they could not afford to then, could they ever have afforded to buy in this CA county? Or maybe in CA at all?

    Unfortunately, this story isn't unique to Napa. It's being told all over the areas of the state that are not still suffering high unemployment rates.
  10. StillInNapa
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    StillInNapa - February 25, 2014 3:23 pm
    What other county around Napa county has as strict of a moratorium on growth as Napa? Homes and rent are cheaper in Solano County, Somoma County, Lake County, Contra Costa County? I'm not in favor of regulation/rent control, but I am in favor of building modest homes to satisfy the demand. Right now the control that exists favors those who already have purchased them or the wealthy looking to invest. A good investment because the demand far outweighs the supply. While the need to employ continues to grow along with the continued lack of building, eventually there are going to be problems filling essential positions of employment.
  11. Cadence
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    Cadence - February 25, 2014 5:47 pm
    Solano County makes its living selling homes to commuters. When things tank, those homes become rentals and often to some very problematic people. Please don't bother telling me otherwise; I work there. Crime is sky high.

    Sonoma - no worries; Napa is on track to rival Santa Rosa's awful congestion and your wish will be fulfilled. Will SR's higher crime rate follow? I believe that it will.

    CoCo County - another congested county discreetly divided by money. Try to find that $150K home in desirable Walnut Creek. You won't. Maybe Pittsburg or Antioch?

    Lake County - the sleeper. Minus the meth, Lake Co could be Napa Co about 20 years ago. Lake County is selling now, vineyards are moving in and it will follow Napa's path.

    Sounds as though you'd prefer to undo the Ag Preserve? Start getting signatures and launch a proposition. Good luck with that.
  12. naparealestate
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    naparealestate - February 25, 2014 9:57 pm
    What I was trying to say was simply to highlight the mathematical principle of percentages -- that a 50% drop must be accompanied by a 100% increase to get back to the same place. Not that prices necessarily should rise to 2005 levels today.

    Your statement is correct -- a slow, steady price appreciation (probably more in the 2% range tracking inflation) -- is healthy over time. California unfortunately has a historical habit of rising at about the 7% you mention and then correcting itself every now and then through price drops. The severe appreciation in 2000 to 2005 followed by the severe decline thereafter was just an elevated pace of a trend that has existed in California for about the past 50 years.

    There are real estate markets where prices really just track inflation. However they tend to be in remote places where housing prices are closely tied to income and therefore inflation.
  13. StillInNapa
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    StillInNapa - February 26, 2014 10:00 am
    How will all of the employed commuting to Napa diminish congestion. There are some people willing to live three or families to one home in Napa. I work in Napas homes and believe me that is happening more and more. That is probably going to be more common as prices climb. Too many people living under one roof doesn't exactly quell congestion nor crime. It's funny how when regulation works in your favor you are all for it.
  14. Cadence
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    Cadence - February 26, 2014 12:56 pm
    Did you forget that this "regulation" called the Ag Preserve was voted on and a MAJORITY of voters said yes?
    Maybe you should say how you are all for democracy when it works in your favor.
    Families will always do what they believe they need to do, including doubling up (but are you also saying these same doubled up families are hiring outside help, as in hiring you? That's odd.) But not everything is as it seems. The family next door to me "doubles up" during the school year only because the parents (from another state) prefer Napa's schools. From what I understand, neither of the parents works in either state, probably making it more difficult to afford housing in either state. If I knew their secret, I could quit working too.
  15. StillInNapa
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    StillInNapa - February 26, 2014 3:23 pm
    Apparently you are saying that regulation, as long as it is voter approved, is a good thing? Sometimes I work in rental homes with cots lined up in the living room. Sometimes I work in homes that have parents, their sons, daughters, son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws and their grand children all living together. With too many vehicles, I have to park down the street and walk. I've been doing this for 25 years and I'll tell you it gets a little more like this all the time. I hardly think there is a happy medium. The populace has changed a lot since the ag preserve was voted in. Renters, folks living with extended family, the neighbors of folks living with extended family, and other voter's that are looking down the road, I don't think they would vote the same way today. Perhaps with some modifications.
  16. USAHouses
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    USAHouses - June 24, 2014 12:47 am
    I love to see charts showing CA home prices since 1970. It seemed the home prices doubled almost every 10 years to start out then it kind of did some awkward movements with more than doubling in some areas them crashing & going up again. What’s going on now?

    Will the market boom for another year, 2 years, or bust again any minute, or will it go steady or maybe even just up a little or down a little? I’m a Real Estate Broker, & I admit- God only knows! I suspect some areas will go up a lot, others only a little, while others remain at current levels and a select few go down a bit more.

    I would love to see the nation as a whole have a huge push toward high home owner occupancy rates, which tend to promote more care and concern for the properties, neighbors and neighborhoods, which in turn usually lowers crime and increases property values. Seems like a win-win, but for some reason people just think they have to keep renting. Perhaps the landlords' propaganda is working?

    BUY! Bye :)
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