Advice for Livermore Valley Home Sellers & Home Buyers!

home purchase offerHave you wanted to sell your Livermore Valley home but have been waiting for home prices to rise and equity to return? Have you wanted to buy a Livermore Valley home but have been busy saving up a down payment and paying down debt? No matter what has made you wait to accomplish your real estate goals in the Livermore Valley real estate market, now is the time to act!

As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I want to update you on the latest market news for Livermore Valley home sellers and Livermore Valley homebuyers. Whether you’re one, or both, here are some tips from MSN Real Estate that I’ve summarized for you.

Livermore Valley Home Sellers:

  • Jump-start the process now! The sooner you sell, the better, before competition from other sellers and new homes starts increasing. Sellers usually don’t realize how long the process takes, so begin to clean, declutter, organize and stage your home now. Also, consider getting an inspection done before listing your home, so you know what needs upgrading or repairing. You could also visit a couple open houses to get ideas for staging your own home.
  • Work the market in your favor. With prices up and inventory low, the Livermore Valley real estate market is in your favor right now! You still have to work it intelligently, though. Work with a Livermore Valley real estate agent that is familiar with the market and what homes are selling for. Don’t just go with the agent that promises you the best price. He might be bluffing. If you’re getting the price you wanted, and then some, offer the buyer something in good faith, such as a fast move-in date.

Livermore Valley Home Buyers:

  • Be credit-ready! As soon as you’re ready to buy, you want to get preapproved for a mortgage. Many sellers will turn you away if you’re not, seeing you as an unserious or complicated buyer. Also, this will help pinpoint what you can afford, so you’re not wasting time going after homes out of your price range. Check your credit report, and if your credit score is below 620, work on paying off debt and raising that score.
  • Adjust your negotiating expectations. With inventory low and home prices high, lowball offers just aren’t going to cut it in this competitive market. There are a lot of eager buyers out there, trying to beat rising mortgage rates and prices, so if you really love a house, start with a great offer and respond to counteroffers quickly. You want to avoid a bidding war. Try to have a few houses in mind, in case you lose one to another buyer.

For more tips, either as a Livermore Valley home seller or a Livermore Valley homebuyer, check out the full list from MSN Real Estate.

When you’re ready to buy or sell, or you have questions, contact me! As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I’m here when you need me!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

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2014 Design Trends for Your Livermore Valley Home!

Sunlight RoomI hope you had fun ringing in 2014 this week in Livermore Valley! As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I want to fill you in on what’s ahead for real estate and home trends in the new year.

First off, if you’d like to buy a Livermore Valley home this year, now is the time to do it! Mortgage rates are expected to rise, so the sooner you buy, the more money you save. Plus, if you buy soon, you’ll beat the rush of homebuyers that will appear on the market in a month or two.

If you’d like to sell your Livermore Valley home, 2014 is your year! According to Housing Wire, the west coast states lead in rising home values. Home prices and home equity continue to rise here in California, making it the ideal time to sell! If you wait, you’ll have more competition from other home sellers and from new construction. Sooner is better.

Whether you’re buying, selling or staying put in your Livermore Valley home, everyone enjoys learning about the latest home design trends. Here’s a rundown from Realtor Magazine of what is expected to be trending in homes this year:

  • Wider reclaimed wood and porcelain floors. For whatever reason, wooden floorboards are getting wider and are cut from a variety of tree species, giving them stained or patterned looks. Porcelain flooring is becoming popular too because of its durability and unlimited styles.
  • Simpler cabinets, bigger drawers. I don’t think any homeowner would mind having larger drawers! Warm gray tones are replacing oranges and browns, with less visible hardware and more modern doors.
  • Paint palettes. Warm grays are popping up everywhere for 2014, including the walls. Light, fresh corals, sea greens, lavenders and misty blues are also expected to gain popularity, according to Kelly-Moore Paints. Deep, romantic hues look great offset by neutral beiges and off-whites.
  • Indoor-outdoor living. Blending indoor space and outdoor space is an ongoing trend, with homes adding more large windows and French doors that lead to the outside. Solariums and screened or covered porches that connect to a patio or pool are also popular home features here in California.
  • Wireless technology. Homeowners are upping their technology systems. From programmable thermostats or lighting systems, to security systems and entertainment systems, more and more digital technology is being added to homes to make them fast and easy.

For more home trends for this year, check out the rest of Realtor Magazine’s predictions here.

When you’re ready to buy a Livermore Valley home or sell your Livermore Valley home, contact me! If you have questions about the Livermore Valley real estate market, contact me. As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I’m here to help you in any way that you need me!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

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How to Prepare Now For the Livermore Valley Home-Buying Process In 2014

laptop_work_browsingThe year is quickly coming to a close, with the holidays arriving next week and the New Year beginning the week after! Chances are you are going to cozy up with friends and family and celebrate this festive season. But come 2014, it’ll be a great time to buy a Livermore Valley home!

As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I want to share how you can prepare for the home-buying process next year. There are plenty of steps you could take right now to ensure a smooth home purchase next year. Here’s a few:

  • Save up for a down payment. Rather than spend every last penny on holiday gifts, cut back this year. Do a grab bag or a secret Santa, where each person only buys for one other person. Or, decide that your gift this year will be buying a Livermore Valley home! That’ll be a great incentive to eat at home more often, brew your own coffee, watch old movies, take walks and find free events around Livermore Valley. The more money you save to put down on a house, the better mortgage rate you’ll receive!
  • Improve your credit score. Your credit score is the other half of the puzzle in receiving a mortgage loan. The higher your score, the better your chances are at getting accepted for a mortgage. Order a credit report now and check it for errors. If there are any, work toward fixing them. Pay down your credit card debt. Use the cards minimally and try to pay them off each month. Don’t open new cards or close existing cards. Don’t make any large purchases before buying your Livermore Valley home, and stay put in your current job.
  • Research the Livermore Valley real estate market. Now is a great time to see what homes are listing for and selling for in Livermore Valley, and how fast. This will give a good indication of how many Livermore Valley homebuyers are out shopping and what type of deals they’re getting. Because inventory is lower than usual, you have fewer options. However, this time of year, most Livermore Valley home sellers are looking for a quick sale, so you might have some negotiating power! It’s good to have an idea of what type of offers you’ll need to make ahead of time, so you’ll be prepared.
  • Find real estate professionals to work with. You’ll need a mortgage lender and you’ll need a real estate agent. I’ve got you covered on the agent end! As a Livermore Valley real estate agent, I have years of experience working here in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin. I can fill you in on the current state of the market and housing changes for the new year, and I can help you find homes in your price range and with the features you desire. I can point you in the right direction for other professionals that you’ll need to work with, too.

Contact me if you have any questions or when you’r ready to buy a Livermore Valley home. Have a wonderful holiday!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Why to Buy and Sell Real Estate in Livermore Valley This Winter

christmas fireplaceAs your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner yesterday with your family and friends! Today is a notorious day for consumers to purchase deals, and for merchants to sell deals. Did you know that this concept also rings true with buying and selling homes in the Livermore Valley real estate market?

While many people tend to think that the holiday season is a terrible time for buying a Livermore Valley home or for selling your Livermore Valley home, I’m here to tell you otherwise. First off, here are some reasons that KCM Crew gave for wanting to sell your home now:

  • Only serious Livermore Valley homebuyers are out. You will not be bothered with browsers and lookers. If a potential buyer is taking time out of their holiday season to look for a home, it’s because they are serious about buying. This will help the process run faster and smoother for you!
  • There is less competition. As a Livermore Valley home seller, this is great news for you. You have more negotiating power when inventory is low and buyers have less options.
  • The process will be quicker. Banks won’t be as busy, only serious buyers are out, and they don’t have as many listing options. This all means that the process will move faster from listing to closing.
  • It’s the best time to move up. Mortgage rates and home prices are predicted to continue rising, which means higher monthly mortgage payments for homeowners. If you plan on buying a bigger, more expensive house, you definitely don’t want to wait!

Now that you know why now is a great time to sell your Livermore Valley home, you might be wondering why now is a great time to buy a Livermore Valley home. Here are some reasons that MSN Real Estate shared:

  • Home price decreases. On average, home prices dip $7,000 after Labor Day and usually hit bottom in December. With predictions saying that prices will continue to rise in 2014, Livermore Valley homebuyers should take advantage of possible deals right now.
  • Only serious Livermore Valley home sellers are out. Just as only serious buyers are out, only serious sellers are selling this time of year, too. You might have more negotiating power from a seller who desperately wants or needs to move right now.
  • You will get more attention from professionals. Since there is less going on this time of year for Livermore Valley real estate agents and mortgage professionals, now is your best chance to get the time you deserve and to run through the process quickly. Mortgage lenders might loosen their requirements, too!

If you would like to buy or sell real estate in the Livermore Valley real estate market right now, contact me! As a Livermore Valley real estate agent, I would love to give you the attention and support you deserve. Give me a call and we’ll get you going.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Why to Buy a Livermore Valley Home vs. Rent

new home checklistAs a Livermore Valley real estate agent, I often talk with people who aren’t sure whether homeownership is a smart idea. Some of them think that renting is the easier, more financially sound choice. I’m here today to explain why homeownership is the better option!

First off, the Federal Reserve recently released a study that found that 61.4 percent of a family’s net worth is in home equity. This means that a homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times greater than that of a renter. Specifically, an average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while an average renter has a net worth of $5,100.

That’s huge! As a renter, your money is spent on rent, and then it’s gone. You’ll never see it again. As a homeowner, your mortgage payments build equity, which allows you to access credit and invest in your  future. When you sell your Livermore Valley home, you’ll get the money back, if not more! In the past year, home equity has risen 30 percent, according to the Federal Reserve.

Here are more reasons to own a Livermore Valley home rather than rent:

  • Financial savings. Not only are you gaining equity when owning a Livermore Valley home, but you’re also saving money! The latest Trulia report is that owning a home is still 35 percent cheaper than renting a home over a long period of time. Mortgage rates would have to reach about 10.5 percent before renting became the better option. Right now, they are around 4.13 percent.
  • Tax benefits. Renters don’t get any tax benefits, but homeowners do! You can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes. If you work from home, you can write off many of your home expenses.
  • Freedom. There are non-financial benefits to homeownership as well, such as the freedom to decorate and maintain your home as you please. You can paint the walls what you want. You can hang décor wherever you want, even if it means puncturing the wall with a hole. You can choose when to repair a roof, or change a furnace, and you can choose the style and brand.
  • Community value. A House Logic infographic points out that homeownership affects community value and involvement. Homeowners are 16 percent more likely to join parent-teacher organizations, 1.3 times more likely to read a local newspaper, 28 percent more likely to vote and so on. Owning allows the Livermore Valley community to feel more permanent, more like home.

As you can see, there are many benefits to homeownership vs. renting! So, when you’re ready to buy a Livermore Valley home, contact me. As a Livermore Valley real estate agent, I can help you through the transition as smoothly as possible.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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What to Consider When Buying a Livermore Valley Home with Kids

bikingAre you gearing up to buy a Livermore Valley home? Are you doing so with kids? It’s really no surprise that the home features that matter to a family with kids differs from a couple or individual without kids.

A recent Trulia survey shows exactly which factors are affected most when you add children into the equation.  As a Livermore Valley real estate agent, I’d like to share these with you, so that if you’re buying a home with kids, you’ll know what to pay attention to!

  • Size of home. This is the most important factor for families buying a home with kids, which makes sense, since you’ll need more bedrooms and space. Seventy percent of homebuyers cared, compared to 66 percent of buyers without kids.
  • Crime rates. While 65 percent of all homebuyers care about the crime rate around a potential new home, when children are involved, this increased to 69 percent.
  • Neighborhood schools. A whopping 63 percent of buyers with kids care about this, compared to only 20 percent without kids. Again, this makes sense, since the children will be attending the schools. However, even if you don’t have children, this factor could affect the value of your home when you go to sell it!
  • Length of commute. Forty-six percent of potential homebuyers care about the commute time, while 58 percent of buyers with kids care. It may be more important with children involved because parents need to get home quick to pick a child up from daycare or school.
  • Proximity to amenities. More buyers without kids care about this one! Fifty percent of buyers with kids cared, compared to 59 percent of buyers without kids.
  • Age of home. Forty-seven percent of families with kids cared about this, compared to 49 percent of buyers without kids. This was pretty even and fell in the middle of the pack on importance.
  • Rate of natural disasters. It’s important to all homebuyers, but again, when kids are involved, families cared 35 percent about this, compared to buyers without kids who cared 37 percent of the time.
  • Pet friendliness. This fell exactly even with homebuyers with and without kids, at 32 percent. I would guess it’s because both buyers with kids and without kids own pets. The importance of this depends on if a furry friend is going with you to your new home.
  • Proximity to family. While this was less important for all those surveyed, 33 percent of homebuyers with children cared, compared to 29 percent without kids. Got to get those grandparent visits in!

As you can see, some of these factors were more important to homebuyers with kids, versus others that were more important to buyers without kids.  As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I recommend that you rank these in significance for you. When you’re ready to buy a Livermore Valley home, we can together go over this list and find the best home for you and your family!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Should You Buy A Livermore Valley Home Now?

MortgageLoanIf you’re thinking about buying a Livermore Valley home now, or in the near future, chances are you’ve been keeping up with real estate market news. In a quick summary of what’s going on, home prices and home sales are rising fast in California, mortgage rates have been increasing, and inventory is going up.

What does this all mean for you? It means if you’re looking to buy a home, as your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I recommend that you do it now! The longer you wait, the more expensive your monthly mortgage payments will become. Check out this graph for mortgage rate statistics.

Even though you’ve already missed the bottom in home prices and mortgage rates, there are still great reasons to buy right now. For one, it’s cheaper to buy now than if you wait, and by historical standards, home affordability is still higher than average!

Here are five more reasons to buy now, according to The Fiscal Times:

1.  Home prices are still rising. This means that even after four straight months of climbing, price still remain about 26 percent below their 2006 peaks. You should buy before they rise more.

2.  Mortgage rates are still low by historical standards. Even though they’ve risen quickly in the past couple of weeks, they’re far lower than long-term averages of 8 percent! They are currently below 5 percent for a 30-year rate, and even lower for shorter-term loans.

3.  It’s getting easier to get a mortgage. The upside to increased mortgage rates is that lenders ease up a bit on their lending standards. If your credit score isn’t top notch, or you don’t have a high down payment saved up, this is good news for you!

4.  Buying is still cheaper than renting. Isn’t that the bottom line, anyway? Why not buy a home if you’re going to save money and grow equity? Right now, it’s 37 percent cheaper to buy than rent, as long as you plan on staying in your house for a few years.

5.  You won’t have to compete with investors. These past couple months have been hard for homebuyers, because inventory was low and investors were sweeping up what was available. Now, investors are pulling out and inventory is increasing.

Now that you see the perks to buying a Livermore home now, contact me! As a Tri-Valley real estate agent, I can help you through the process and narrow down the homes in the Livermore Valley real estate market, until we find one that fits your budget and your needs. Talk to you soon!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

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Should You Sell Your Livermore Valley Home This Summer?

soldThe question among homeowners across the country is whether they should sell now, while housing is showing clear indications of a recovery, or if they should wait, with the possibility that prices will rise even more. As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I’d like to offer you some insight!

In the past couple of months, housing inventory has been very low in the Tri-Valley real estate market. This set up the perfect circumstances for prices to rise and homes to sell fast. Therefore, what we have right now is a market with conditions like this:

  • Home prices rose for the 14th straight month in April, and they posted their highest year-over-year increase in more than seven years, according to Inman News. Even within just one month, April prices moved 3.2 percent above what March prices were. They are rising and are predicted to continue to rise.
  • Home sales are increasing and happening at record speeds. Half of homes sold in April were on the market for 46 days, down from 62 in March and 83 a year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. But with inventory low, many homes are flying off the market within a week or two!
  • More home sellers are finally joining the market, now that conditions are looking so good, according to Realtor Magazine. April was the first time in a while that there were more listings than there were homes under contract.

So, with all of that said, I’d like to point out a few factors that would make this summer the time to sell your Livermore Valley home:

  • There are lots of homebuyers right now. With mortgage rates increasing and prices rising, they’re in a hurry to buy. With low inventory, they’re willing to bid at higher prices and buy your home fast.
  • As more home sellers join the market, competition will get fierce. You will no longer have the upper edge as the seller in a pool of buyers, so even if prices do continue to rise, you might not get as much for your home if you don’t have multiple buyers interested.
  • If you’d like to buy another home after you sell, you should also want to buy now, before prices continue to rise. You’re in a good situation to sell at a reasonable price but still buy at a reasonable price, too.

As your Livermore real estate agent, I want you to know that it really comes down to a personal decision on whether you should sell your Livermore Valley home this summer or wait. Do you want to sell now? Do you have somewhere you’d like to move, or would you like to buy a bigger or smaller home? If you do, then yes, the conditions are great for selling. If you don’t, then wait it out.

Have questions? Ready to sell? Contact me!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Dublin Real Estate Market Update, March 2011

Below you will find various graphs for the Dublin real estate market, each graph represents both active listings as well pending and sold listings for the past 30 days. We have broken up each graph based on price ranges in order to easily decipher where your home or potential home may fall if you decide to buy or sell in each range.

Included in the various information below you find not only homes actively on market and pending/sold listings but you will also find average days on market in each price range as well as an absorption rate for each. An absorption rate is best described as the ratio of the current inventory of active listings compared to sales. In other words, given recent activity, we can estimate how long it will take for the entire inventory of active listings to sell, assuming no new listings were to appear on the market.

Dublin Homes Under $299,999: Currently there are 25 homes for sale in Dublin under $299,999, 21 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 48 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take a little over a month to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.

Dublin Homes $300,000-$499,999: Currently there are 66 homes for sale in Dublin between $300,000 and $499,999,28  homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 35 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about two and a half months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Dublin Homes $500,000-$749,999: Currently there are 51 homes for sale in Dublin between $500,000 and $749,999, 16 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 20 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about three and a half months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Dublin Homes $750,000-$999,999: Currently there are 20 homes for sale in Dublin between $750,000 and $999,999, 5 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 67 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take a little over four months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Dublin Homes Over $1 Million: Currently there are 4 homes for sale in Dublin over $1 million, 2 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 5 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about two months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.

All Dublin Homes: Currently there are 166 homes for sale in Dublin total, 72 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 35 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about two and a half months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate. To gauge more precise data for your home or the home you may be interested in please see the data charts above which are price specific. Need to know how much your Dublin home is worth? Or maybe how much you can afford in Dublin? I can help!

Dublin Real Estate Market 2009, 2010 and 2011: Below you can quickly and easily compare the Dublin Real Estate Market for 2009, 2010 and 2011, as you can see in March 2010 and March 2011 have similar market activity. That being said, in March 2010 it would have taken about a month, compared to the approximate two and a half months for March 2011, to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Pleasanton Real Estate Market Update, March 2011

Below you will find various graphs for the Pleasanton real estate market, each graph represents both active listings as well pending and sold listings for the past 30 days. We have broken up each graph based on price ranges in order to easily decipher where your home or potential home may fall if you decide to buy or sell in each range.

Included in the various information below you find not only homes actively on market and pending/sold listings but you will also find average days on market in each price range as well as an absorption rate for each. An absorption rate is best described as the ratio of the current inventory of active listings compared to sales. In other words, given recent activity, we can estimate how long it will take for the entire inventory of active listings to sell, assuming no new listings were to appear on the market.

Pleasanton Homes Under $299,999: Currently there are 10 homes for sale in Pleasanton under $299,999, 11 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 52 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take less than a month to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Pleasanton Homes $300,000-$499,999: Currently there are 23 homes for sale in Pleasanton between $300,000 and $499,999, 18 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 49 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about a month and a half to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Pleasanton Homes $500,000-$749,999: Currently there are 71 homes for sale in Pleasanton between $500,000 and $749,999, 36 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 27 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take a little more than two months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Pleasanton Homes $750,000-$999,999: Currently there are 23 homes for sale in Pleasanton between $750,000 and $999,999, 15 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 50 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about two months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.Pleasanton Homes Over $1 Million: Currently there are 63 homes for sale in Pleasanton over $1 million, 11 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 61 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about six months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.All Pleasanton Homes: Currently there are 190 homes for sale in Pleasanton total, 91 homes have pending sales or have sold in the past 30 days, these homes had an average market time of 48 days. At the present rate of sale, it will take about two months to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate. To gauge more precise data for your home or the home you may be interested in please see the data charts above which are price specific. Need to know how much your Pleasanton home is worth? Or maybe how much you can afford in Pleasanton? I can help!

Pleasanton Real Estate Market 2009, 2010 and 2011: Below you can quickly and easily compare the Pleasanton Real Estate Market for 2009, 2010 and 2011, as you can see for March 2010 and 2011 the market is comparable. The amount of sales in March 2010 is not much higher than this years and the active listings are close for both years as well. Meaning, that in March 2010 it would have taken about a month (compared to the two months for this March) to sell all of the current active listings, without adding any new homes for sale, this is the absorption rate.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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