REAL ESTATE TODAY
Surprise! Buyers are screaming for property

The San Francisco real estate industry, particularly Cow Hollow and the Marina, is in a very exciting place right now. If individuals can get loans to purchase homes, they want to buy NOW! Some of our listings for sale are from “shadow inventory,” those foreclosed homes and condos owned by banks that are simply sitting on the market empty as the banks determine when to release the inventory to the real estate firms with whom they’re doing business. This is great for all parties concerned. This is happening in Cow Hollow and the Marina right now.

First, demand is off the map right now and there isn’t that much inventory on the market. Although still a relative buyer’s market, multiple offers are occurring for those homes that are priced accurately. If homes are on the market over 45 days now, it’s usually due to the price or a nuance associated with the property. Based on what’s happening in our neighborhoods right now, I don’t believe foreclosures are going to be selling at a significant discount.

There is a huge cash influx expected with the advent of initial public offerings associated with start-ups here in San Francisco like Zynga and Twitter. Our friends on the Peninsula, Facebook (estimated IPO is April 2012) and LinkedIn (estimated IPO is “soon”) will add additional fuel to the fire. We don’t want to forget about Pandora across the Bay in Oakland. Some of the lucky individuals who will be cashing in their options will be looking for property in Cow Hollow and the Marina. With this cash infusion, overbidding for property in our neighborhoods will occur, believe it or not. Opportunities will continue to abound for buyers and this will also be good for sellers.

Throughout the United States, many trends for 2011 seem to be somewhat bearish on real estate, but the Marina and Cow Hollow are going to be just fine. Consider this: Noted hedge fund billionaire John Paulson, the man who made $4 billion shorting real estate markets in 2007 and another $5 billion in 2010 investing in the mortgage market recovery, recently said, “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes, buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home.” For someone with his recent track record, he sure is bullish on the future of home sales. Get ready for a great ride the rest of the year!

Jim O’Neil is a real estate agent  for Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate at 2200 Union Street and has lived in Cow Hollow for the past 20 years. He has earned his SFR (short sale and foreclosure resource designation). E-mail: Jim.ONeil@bhghome.com