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Buying a Home in the East Bay: A Market Update for 2018

Are you planning to buy a house in the East Bay during 2018 or 2019? If so, you probably have a lot of questions about the local real estate market, home price trends, and related factors. And we’ve got your answers! Here’s an updated look at the local real estate market for those who are buying a home in the East Bay in the coming months.

East Bay Still Cheaper Than San Francisco, Silicon Valley

The first thing home buyers should know is that house prices in the East Bay have risen over the last couple of years, but the area is still more affordable than San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA) recently published its Mid-Year Report for the area’s economy and housing market. This report offered some insight into the local real estate market and other economic trends. Among other things, the group’s economists noted that the East Bay is still cheaper than┬áSan Francisco and Silicon Valley.

“Home prices in the East Bay grew during the first half of 2017,” the report stated, “but the region remained markedly affordable compared to its neighbors.”

Of course, house values vary widely across the region, given its diverse nature. But overall, homes are relatively more affordable within the East Bay real estate market when compared to other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Other highlights from this report:

  • In the second quarter of 2017, the median home price in Contra Costa County had risen 9.8% from the same time a year earlier. The median in Alameda County rose 8.4% during the same timeframe. Both counties outpaced the statewide average for home-price growth during that period.
  • While housing affordability remains an issue across the San Francisco Bay Area, conditions are a little better within Contra Costa and Alameda counties. To quote the report: “the East Bay certainly offers the best option in terms of value for those looking to buy” a house in 2018.
  • Inventory is still tight across the East Bay housing market, as we head into the spring of 2018. But there have been some improvements in this area, due to increased construction. “This boost [in inventory] can be attributed to an increase in residential building permits getting issued in recent years, which has placed more residential units on the market.”

A Good Time to Buy a Home?

So, is now a good time to buy a home in the East Bay real estate market? While there are many factors to consider when making such a decision, cost and resale value are chief among them. And experts anticipate that home prices in the East Bay will continue rising over the coming months. So a case could be made for buying sooner rather than later, to avoid higher costs down the road.

According to the real estate information company Zillow, the median home value in Contra Costa County rose to around $612,000 as of March 2018. That was a gain of 7.4% over the last year, by their estimation. They expect smaller (and more “normal”) gains over the next year or so. But the overall forecast calls for rising house values in Contra Costa and across the East Bay.

In neighboring Alameda County, the median home value rose to $857,800 recently. That was a year-over-year increase of more than 11%, according to Zillow. The company’s economists predicted that the median would rise by another 4.1% over the next 12 months (through February/March 2019).

Related: California real estate market forecast

Meanwhile, mortgage rates have risen quite a bit over the last few months. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage landed at 4.45% during the week of March 22, according to the industry-wide survey conducted by Freddie Mac. At the beginning of 2018, that average was hovering just below 4%. So it has risen quite a bit since then.

Granted, rates vary based on a number of factors. But the overall trend has been upward in nature since the start of 2018. So this is another factor to consider, if you’re planning to buy a house in the East Bay sometime during 2018. Postponing your purchase until later in the year could mean that you’ll encounter higher housing costs.

Need a mortgage loan? Bridgepoint Funding has been serving borrowers across the East Bay for more than 17 years. We are a local company based in Walnut Creek, California. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions, of if you’d like to receive a rate quote and cost estimate.

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