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Peninsula home prices hitting new highs

April 26, 2013 8:32:08 PM PDT
After five years of declining home values, the Bay Area housing market is finally coming back. According to the real estate website Zillow, areas like Brentwood, Antioch and Richmond are still hurting with home prices as much as 66 percent lower than their peak values, but there's a strong comeback in San Francisco and parts of the Peninsula like San Carlos and Palo Alto, and areas of the South Bay like Los Gatos.

In Belmont, the housing market is hotter than ever. One house is just over 1,000 square feet. It was listed for $725,000 and the winning bid came in at $100,000 above that.

A three bedroom home in San Carlos is about to go on the market, but don't expect it to stay there very long. If recent activity is any indication, the house will sell fast and likely well over its asking price.

"This here is priced at $975,000 and we're expecting they will receive numerous offers," Debbie Wilhelm from Coldwell Banker said.

San Mateo County is among the Bay Area's hottest real estate markets. It's not just on the rebound; prices in places like Belmont, San Mateo and San Carlos are hitting new highs.

"The inventory is very, very down and so less inventory, more people wanting to live here and people are willing to spend the money to be on the Peninsula," Eric Berggren from Intero San Carlos said.

That means stiff competition for buyers; even those who are well qualified with plenty of cash are getting beat out.

"I have a high-end buyer in Los Altos," broker John Reese said. "We were looking in the $1.7 [million] range. There were 30 offers on the property, 20 of them were over $2 million. The all-cash buyer got it at about $2.2 million."

The boom isn't happening everywhere. In Antioch and parts of eastern Contra Costa County, some houses are still languishing with values that are still more than 50 percent below their peak in 2006.

But for Belmont homeowner Sean White, the big rebound is for real.

"If I was selling now, it'd be great, if I was buying now, like I said, it wouldn't be so good," White said. "I feel good about where I'm at."

Since it's a seller's market, the best advice for buyers is to get their finances in order, be prepared to bid early and often, and to go well above asking price with no contingencies, especially in places like San Mateo County.


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