June 30, 2017 – Real Estate Market Numbers

By Glen Bell   (510) 333-4460

 

Zillow_May,_2017

Here are some highlights for the 38 East Bay Cities that I track: 

  • Following a dramatic 60% drop at the end of last year, inventory continues its’ seasonal trend upward. However, for the first time since 2012, we saw a very small increase in our inventory from April to June, only a modest 5%. Last year we had a 20% increase over the same time period. Pendings went down slightly by 5% (unusual for this time of year). Sales, however, took a huge jump up in numbers leading us to believe that there were more homes that came onto the market over the last month but that they got “gobbled” up quickly due to the high demand. Inventory levels have increased by 88% since the beginning of the year. However, our increase last year during the same period was 140%. Expecting to follow the trends we saw in the previous 3 years, we anticipate a gradual increase on a month by month basis through summer to occur before finally peaking in the fall months. Inventory levels are 18.4% less than what we experienced last year at this time. Our monthly supply is now 33 days. As a reminder of what we mean by “months supply;” If no more homes come onto the market, and homes continue to sell at the same pace as they have been over the last 12 months, then the “months supply,” (in this case 33 days), tells us that’s how many days it would take to sell the remaining number of homes we currently have available for sale in any given market.

 

  • The number of pendings, (homes that are in contract), has decreased 5% over the last 30 days but is less than what we experienced during this time last year by 12.8%. The pending active ratio decreased to 1.30. This supply and demand ratio signals whether we’re in a sellers or buyers market. Typically, a number well above 1, (more inventory with less pending) favors sellers. A number below 1 favors buyers. This is slightly higher than last year at this time, (1.18). This will change in the coming months as we continue to move towards a more “normal” or balanced market for 2017.

 

  • The percentage of homes “sitting” has increased slightly with 36% of the homes listed now remaining active for 30 days or longer, while 17% stayed on the market for 60 days or longer. This is slightly higher than what we saw last year at this time.

 

  • The “distressed” market, (foreclosures and short sales) are no longer a factor representing less than .1% of the market with only .02% of the active listings and .03% of sales over the past 4 months.

 

  • Median Price recovery on a city by city is beginning to see a slight increase. 17 out of the 33 East Bay cities tracked are now at or above their median price “peak” levels with another 12 cities within 20%. That means that only 4 cities are still well below their peaks, falling into the 20% to 30% range. The Median Price for the East Bay has increased to $775,000 over the last 4 months, also typical for this time of year but dramatically up from last year at $631,000, a 22.8% increase.

Months_Supply

 

  • The month’s supply for the combined 38 city area remains at 33 days. Historically, a 2 to 3 months supply is considered normal in the San Francisco East Bay Area. As you can see from the graph above, this is a repetitive pattern that we’ve seen over the past four years.

Active_&_Pendings

  • Our inventory for the East Bay (the 38 cities tracked) is now at 2,339 homes actively for sale. This is still above the December 2012 low of 1,086 and less than last year at this time of 2,864 or (18.4% lower). We’re used to seeing between 3,000 and 6,000 homes in a “normal” market in the San Francisco East Bay Area. Pending sales decreased to 3,056, lower than where we were last year at this time of 3,372 or (9.4% lower).

Pending_Active_Ratio

  • Our Pending/Active Ratio is 1.30. Last year at this time it was 1.18. This will be moving towards a more balanced or “normal.” (a ratio of 1 with an equal number of listings and pending sales) as we continue into summer and fall.

Sales

  • Sales have increased dramatically from the last (4 month period) now at 9,093 for the 38 cities tracked. This is slightly greater than what we saw last year at this time (8,812) or (3.2% more). However, this increase over last month was a whopping 40.2%. It took us 4 months (February through June) last year to get the same kind of increase we saw in just one month this year.

 

The one factor that has changed this year is that we had a very late start to the spring season due to the heavy amount of rain received compared to very little in the preceding 3 years. The rains more than likely delayed many sellers from putting their homes up for sale early. They simply got a late start because they couldn’t work on the exterior of their homes during this time.

 

  • Sales over the last 4 months, on average, are 6.4% over the asking price for this area, greater than what we saw last year’s at this time, 4.6%.

Glen's Numbers 6.30.17 Pg 1

Glen's Numbers 6.30.17 Pg 2

Recent News

 

Housing woes, labor shortages might “disrupt” Bay Area economy, forecast says

By GEORGE AVALOS | Bay Area News Group, July 12, 2017

 

The Bay Area job market faces disruption from a lack of skilled labor and skyrocketing home prices that could throttle the region’s booming economy, according to Beacon Economics forecasts released Tuesday.

Job growth has slowed in the Bay Area’s three biggest urban centers. In Santa Clara County, the East Bay and San Francisco alike, employers simply aren’t hiring as briskly as they did in recent years, the Beacon economists said Tuesday in an assessment of regional economies in California.

“We could grow at a faster pace, but growth is being constrained by a lack of affordable housing and a lack of skilled labor,” said Robert Kleinhenz, an economist and executive director of research with Beacon. “These factors are having a disruptive effect on the job market.”

“These regions, having seen many years of very strong job growth, are now shifting into a slower pace of growth,” Kleinhenz said.

The technology sector will continue to expand, but Beacon said tech jobs will grow at a more robust pace in the East Bay compared with the other two major urban centers in the Bay Area.

The problems the region faces are difficult but not impossible, said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

“This could absolutely disrupt the growth surge in the Bay Area economy,” Levy said. “The problems are solvable, but if we don’t fix this, they will cut into growth.”

Many workers face grinding commutes of well over an hour to get to the major employment centers in the Bay Area. One economic expert warned that this could unleash a talent drain from Alameda County and Contra Costa County.

“We are losing some of our best talent in the East Bay to Santa Clara County and San Francisco,” said Darien Louie, executive director of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance for Business. “They live in the East Bay and they are commuting to Silicon Valley and San Francisco because those areas have a greater density of tech companies.”

But the job crunch and housing woes have battered more than just high-tech employees, Beacon and other experts noted.

“Lower-wage wage workers simply cannot afford to live here, adding more strain to an already tight labor market,” the Beacon report stated in its separate outlooks for Santa Clara County, the East Bay and the San Francisco-San Mateo metro area, a warning that also applied to California generally.

The woes of lower-skilled workers shouldn’t be ignored amid the current housing and traffic crisis, experts said.

“We still need restaurants, hotels, dry cleaners, entertainment venues, and we are really hard pressured to get the employees for that because they have to commute so far to get to work,” Louie said.

Bay Area rent increases leave wage gains in the dust

By GEORGE AVALOS | Bay Area News Group, July 12, 2017

 

SAN JOSE — Wage gains have fallen far behind skyrocketing costs for housing, a gap that’s emerged despite a robust job market in recent years, according to a report released Monday.

The housing-wage gap highlighted by the report from the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies suggests that it is becoming increasingly difficult for residents in the Bay Area to keep up with the cost of owning or renting a home.

Over the five years that ended in 2016, wages in the Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and San Francisco areas have risen by an average of 2.8 percent a year. Over the same stretch, the cost of rental housing has jumped by an average of roughly 9 percent annually, the report by the Silicon Valley Institute stated.

From 2011 to 2016, the median wage in the three counties rose by a total of 14 percent, while the median apartment rent rose by a cumulative 45.2 percent, reported the regional institute, a unit of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

“The one constant trend and continuing threat is insufficient housing construction and high housing costs,” said Stephen Levy, the economist who prepared the report for the Silicon Valley Institute.

From 2007 through 2017, the three-county region added 80,300 residential units, but the economic group determined that 138,100 residential units were needed to actually keep pace with the population growth in the area.

From 2012 through 2016, the Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and San Francisco region added 100,000 jobs a year. But by May of this year, the annual pace of job gains had slowed drastically to 40,000 jobs.

“Though job growth slowed, the area’s housing shortage became still more pronounced,” the Institute for Regional Studies stated.

The Cost of a Hot Economy in California: A Severe Housing Crisis

By ADAM NAGOURNEY and CONOR DOUGHERTY, NY Times, JULY 17, 2017

 

SACRAMENTO — A full-fledged housing crisis has gripped California, marked by a severe lack of affordable homes and apartments for middle-class families. The median cost of a home here is now a staggering $500,000, twice the national cost. Homelessness is surging across the state.

In Los Angeles, booming with construction and signs of prosperity, some people have given up on finding a place and have moved into vans with makeshift kitchens, hidden away in quiet neighborhoods. In Silicon Valley — an international symbol of wealth and technology — lines of parked recreational vehicles are a daily testimony to the challenges of finding an affordable place to call home.

The extreme rise in housing costs has emerged as a threat to the state’s future economy and its quality of life. It has pushed the debate over housing to the center of state and local politics, fueling a resurgent rent control movement and the growth of neighborhood “Yes in My Back Yard” organizations, battling long-established neighborhood groups and local elected officials as they demand an end to strict zoning and planning regulations.

Now here in Sacramento, lawmakers are considering extraordinary legislation to, in effect, crack down on communities that have, in their view, systematically delayed or derailed housing construction proposals, often at the behest of local neighborhood groups.

The bill was passed by the Senate last month and is now part of a broad package of housing proposals under negotiation that Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced Monday was likely to be voted on in some form later this summer.

“The explosive costs of housing have spread like wildfire around the state,” said Scott Wiener, a Democratic senator from San Francisco who sponsored the bill. “This is no longer a coastal, elite housing problem. This is a problem in big swaths of the state. It is damaging the economy. It is damaging the environment, as people get pushed into longer commutes.”

For California, this crisis is a price of this state’s economic boom. Tax revenue is up and unemployment is down. But the churning economy has run up against 30 years of resistance to the kind of development experts say is urgently needed. California has always been a desirable place to live and over the decades has gone through periodic spasms of high housing costs, but officials say the combination of a booming economy and the lack of construction of homes and apartments have combined to make this the worst housing crisis here in memory.

Housing prices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego have jumped as much as 75 percent over the past five years.

The bill sponsored by Mr. Wiener, one of 130 housing measures that have been introduced this year, would restrict one of the biggest development tools that communities wield: the ability to use zoning, environmental and procedural laws to thwart projects they deem out of character with their neighborhood.

It is now the subject of negotiations between Mr. Brown and legislative leaders as part of a broader housing package intended to encourage the construction of housing for middle- and lower-income families that is also likely to include the more traditional remedy of direct spending to build more housing units.

This is not the first time this state has sought to prod recalcitrant local governments to build housing. Mr. Brown tried to push through a measure to force communities to build more affordable housing around a year ago. That effort, like most in recent years, faltered in the face of opposition from local officials, homeowners and environmentalists, who often see these kinds of measures as enriching developers while threatening the character of some of the most visually striking parts of this state, along the coast and in the mountains.

“It’s giving developers a great gift and not giving residents and voters a chance to cast their opinions about what happens in their own neighborhood,” Helene Schneider, the mayor of Santa Barbara, said of Mr. Wiener’s new bill.

But the worsening housing crisis here has created a political environment where prospects for a state housing intervention appear more likely than ever.

“We’re at a breaking point in California,” Mr. Wiener said. “The drought created opportunities to push forward water policy that would have been impossible before. Given the breadth and depth of the housing crisis in many parts of California, it creates opportunities in the Legislature that didn’t exist before.”

The debate is forcing California to consider the forces that have long shaped this state. Many people were drawn here by its natural beauty and the prospect of low-density, open-sky living. They have done what they could to protect that life. That has now run up against a growing generational tide of anger and resentment, from younger people struggling to find an affordable place to live as well as from younger elected officials, such as Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles, who argue that communities have been failing in what they argue is a shared obligation.

For the past several decades, California has had a process that sets a number of housing units, including low-income units, that each city should build over the next several years based on projected growth. Mr. Wiener’s bill targets cities that have lagged on building by allowing developers who propose projects in those places to bypass the various local design and environmental reviews that slow down construction because they can be appealed and litigated for years.

The bill applies only to projects that are already within a city’s plans: If the project were higher or denser than current zoning laws allow, it would still have to go through the City Council. But by taking much of the review power away from local governments, the bill aims to ramp up housing production by making it harder to kill, delay or shrink projects in places that have built the fewest.

It is hard to say exactly which projects might benefit if the various bills were passed, since it’s impossible to know which projects local governments might reject in the future. But there are various examples where it might have pushed a development along.

And Proposition 13, the sweeping voter initiative passed in 1978 that capped property taxes, has made things worse: It had the effect of shrinking the housing stock by encouraging homeowners to hold on to properties to take advantage of the low taxes.

“California is a beautiful place with great weather and a terrific economy,” said Issi Romem, the chief economist with BuildZoom, a San Francisco company that helps homeowners find contractors. “To accommodate all those people you need to build a lot, and the state’s big metro areas haven’t since the early ’70s. To catch up, cities would need to build housing in a way that they haven’t in two generations.”

Coastal cities — which tend to have the worst housing problems — have the most scarce land. Still, economists say, the high cost of all housing is first and foremost the result of a failure to build. The state has added about 311,000 housing units over the past decade, far short of what economists say is needed.

“Cities have proven time and time again that they will not follow their own zoning rules,” said Brian Hanlon, policy director of the San Francisco Yimby Party, a housing advocacy group. “It’s time for the state to strengthen their own laws so that advocates can hold cities accountable.”

Still, few elected officials are eager to risk community anger by forcing through construction that would, say, put a 10-story apartment building at the edge of a neighborhood of single-family homes. That has turned California into a state of isolated and arguably self-interested islands.

“We have cities around California that are happy to welcome thousands of workers in gleaming new tech and innovation campuses, and are turning a blind eye to their housing need,” said Mr. Chiu.

In the Bay Area, the explosive growth of the tech industry has led to escalating rents, opening a tough debate over gentrification and brutal commutes for workers. “Cities that deny housing are contributing to skyrocketing rents, unfair evictions and homelessness,” said Lori Droste, a member of the Berkeley City Council.

The measure has raised considerable opposition as well, including from lawmakers who argued that letting state take power away from local governments strips communities of the ability to control the fundamental character of their own neighborhoods.

“More and more people are becoming well aware that we have a housing affordability crisis on our hands,” he said. “The issue is just reaching critical mass with the Legislature and the public.”

Chinese investor behind San Francisco office tower bets on Berkeley housing

By Blanca Torres, East Bay Business News, July 20, 2017, 

Danville-based Blake Griggs Properties teamed up with a big Chinese investor to buy an 84-unit apartment development site in Berkeley.

The investor is Gemdale Properties and Investment, an affiliate of Gemdale Corp., one of the largest real estate companies in China.

The Berkeley site, located at 2035 Blake St., is slated for a five-story building with 1,350 feet of ground floor retail.

Gemdale was drawn in by the project’s location, near the busy intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Dwight Way, which is walking distance to the University of California, Berkeley and downtown Berkeley.

“The large student population, increasing enrollment and lack of on-campus housing provides a built-in demand generator,” said Jason Zhu, chairman of Gemdale USA, in a statement.

The project is the first Berkeley development for Blake Griggs, a prolific East Bay developer working on an $800 million portfolio including a transit village at the Walnut Creek BART Station.

The developers expect to break ground on the Berkeley project this fall.

Foreigners are snapping up a record number of US homes

By Diana Olick, CNBC,  July 19,2017

Foreign purchases of U.S. residential real estate surged to the highest level ever in terms of number of homes sold and dollar volume.

Foreign buyers closed on $153 billion worth of U.S. residential properties between April 2016 and March 2017, a 49 percent jump from the period a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. That surpasses the previous high, set in 2015.

The jump follows a year-earlier retreat and comes as a surprise, given the current strength of the U.S. dollar against most foreign currencies, which makes U.S. housing even more expensive. Apparently, the value of a financial safe-haven is outweighing the rising costs

Foreign sales accounted for 10 percent of all existing home sales by dollar volume and 5 percent by number of properties. In total, foreign buyers purchased 284,455 homes, up 32 percent from the previous year.

Half of all foreign sales were in just three states: Florida, California and Texas.

Chinese buyers led the pack for the fourth straight year, followed by buyers from Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and India. Russian buyers made up barely 1 percent of the purchases.

But the biggest overall surge in sales in the last year came from Canadian buyers, who scooped up $19 billion worth of properties, mostly in Florida. They are also spending more, with the average price of a Canadian-bought home nearly doubling to $561,000.

“There are more [baby] boomers now than ever before. It’s the demographic,” said Elli Davis, a real estate agent in Toronto who said she is seeing more older buyers downsize their primary home and purchase a second or third home in Florida. “The real estate here is worth so much more money. They all have more money. They’re selling the big city houses that are now $2 million-plus, where they went up so much in the last 10 to 15 years, so they’re cashing in.”

Despite the anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump administration, especially about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, nonresident buyers from Mexico were undeterred. Mexican buyers nearly doubled their purchases by dollar volume from a year earlier, coming in third behind China and Canada.

“You could easily make the point that perhaps their uptick was wanting to buy now before new immigration policy was in place,” said Adam DeSanctis, economic issues media manager at the National Association of Realtors.

Exclusive: Developer wants to build large apartment project next to East Bay BART station

By Roland Li, East Bay Business News, July 13, 2017 

Developer Westlake Urban is close to approval on 197 apartments at its San Leandro Tech Campus, as a decade-long effort to build next to the BART station gains momentum.

The City Council will vote to potentially approve the housing project at 601 Parrot St. on Monday. The project requires a plan change in the San Leandro Tech Campus, which is approved for up to 500,000 square feet of office space but no housing.

Sunny Tong, Westlake Urban managing director, was optimistic that the project would win approval. “Staff is very supportive,” he said. “It’s smart growth. We’re putting housing next to employment.”

As the Bay Area’s economy has boomed, more office tenants and residents have sought locations near public transit hubs, and BART owns 200 acres of land that could be transformed into new buildings. But growth has been uneven, with some stations seeing hundreds of new housing units, while other projects are still frozen.

San Leandro’s transit-oriented development strategy around its BART station was approved in 2007, but the recession delayed new construction. San Mateo-based Westlake Urban initially had approvals for 700 housing units, but switched the plan to office space. It’s now seeking to build a portion of that housing.

If approved, Tong hopes to break ground on the seven-story housing project in the spring of 2018 and open by early 2020. The budget is $75 million to $80 million. TCA Architects designed the project.

Oakland has a chance to do it right as tech grows in the East Bay, Kapor exec says

By Alisha Green, East Bay Business News, July 17, 2017

With soul-searching up and down the Peninsula about the harassment and lack of diversity in the tech sector, there might be a beacon just across the Bay for how things can improve.

Oakland can be a proving ground for a more diverse, equal tech sector. That’s what Lilibeth Gangas is working to make it in her role as the chief technology community officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

There were an estimated 6,150 tech workers in Oakland in 2015, according to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber. That’s around 3.4 percent of the total jobs in the city. Tech accounts for around 11 percent of employment in San Francisco, by comparison.

Tech’s presence is growing quickly in Oakland, though: About a third of the tech jobs there were created within the last three years, according to the city, and the number of tech jobs has been growing by at least 10 percent each year for the last few years.

“Oakland has the right ingredients,” Gangas said. “It couldn’t be a better test case. We have diversity that is organic, and that diversity right now is being challenged and changing because of the folks that are moving in and the gentrification.”

 

Oakland housing developers are on edge after spate of apartment fires, but determined to keep building

By Blanca Torres and Roland Li, East Bay Business News, July 10, 2017 

On Friday morning, John Protopappas’ phone started ringing around 6 a.m. with the first of about 40 calls.

Everyone, including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Governor Jerry Brown, a former Oakland mayor, was asking the same question, said Protopappas, a longtime Oakland developer: “What the heck is going on in Oakland? Why can’t this be stopped?”

They were calling about the fourth East Bay construction fire in less than a year that ravaged a partially built apartment project. This time it was Wood Partners’196-unit Alta Waverly project at 2302 Valdez St. in Oakland. As of Friday afternoon, fire officials haven’t determined whether the Alta Waverly fire is suspicious, but arson investigators are on the case.

 

The recent surge in fires, including two at the same 101-unit Holliday Development project in nearby Emeryville, has housing developers on edge. But developers are determined to continue building homes in a city that they say is supply-starved.

“It’s got to stop,” said Protopappas of the recent fires. He is CEO of Madison Park Financial, a prolific Oakland-based housing developer that is building 162 apartments, one of four Oakland projects it owns under construction, less than a mile from the Wood Partners site.

Protopappas said the fires are suspicious because they have all started in the middle of the night and burned quickly. Investigators said the second fire at Holliday’s project was arson and have offered a $100,000 reward and released video camera footage of a suspect.

Protopappas and another veteran Oakland developer, Mike Ghielmetti of Signature Development Group, have increased security at their active construction sites. Holliday Development hired two armed guards and installed 12 security cameras after the first fire, but it didn’t prevent the second. Fire officials said on Friday that Wood Partners also had security.

Construction fires, “make all of us very nervous in the community building business,” said Protopappas. “It’s appears that there is a group or individual that is out to destroy progress in the city of Oakland.”

Here are 5 East Bay cities pulling in major VC money

By Riley McDermid, East Bay Business News, July 3, 2017,

Tech blog TechCrunch has put together a list of nine East Bay cities that are magnets for startup funding, as venture capitalists look outside Silicon Valley and San Francisco for booming places to put their money.

TechCrunch’s first installment of its two part series names five East Bay cities that “punch above their weight” in attracting venture capital. Here’s their list so far:

  1. Fremont: TechCrunch names this city of 230,000 as a major attractor of venture capital, citing well-known corporate residents like Tesla Motors, Lam Researchand Solyndra as solid anchors for the local startup scene. It’s also attracted around $600 million in venture capital since 2014 and has scene that funding go to multiple sectors including tech, biotech and energy.

“The largest funding recipient, flexible display maker Royole, is actually a multi-national startup, with major operations in both Fremont and Shenzen, China,” TechCrunch reports. “Other heavily funded startups include GlassPoint Solar, a developer of solar steam generators, and Shockwave Medical, in the medical device space.”

  1. Hayward: TechCrunch says the $490 million that this East Bay city has pulled in over the last three years from venture capitalists means it has received more startup funding than Portland and about three times as much as San Antonio. TechCrunch says that engine of growth means Hayward is becoming less of a place that people commute from than one people commute to.

“In recent years, the majority of Hayward’s venture funding has gone to biotechnology companies, like Arcus Biosciences, a developer of cancer therapies that raised a $70 million round in September, and MicuRx, which develops antibodies to treat drug-resistant infections,” TechCrunch reports. “Hayward is also making inroads as an energy startup hub. Primus Power, a provider of utility-scale battery storage, is there, as is Alphabet Energy, which is developing technology to convert waste heat to energy.”

  1. Pleasanton: Dubbed the “home of HR software,” venture capitalists have showered this city with $300 million since 2014, TechCrunch estimates, as funding has poured in for well-know companies like WorkDayand Oracle-acquiredPeopleSoft. That tide may be turning, however, as new funding rounds have turned to the energy and biotech sectors, with local startups Fulcrum Bioenergy and 10x Genomics raking in millions.
  2. Oakland: Oakland’s close proximity to San Francisco has been a boon to this East Bay city, TechCrunch says, as the “The City” has continued to be home base for a litany of startups. Overall, Oakland has attracted $500 million in VC funding over the last three years, a figure that makes it about even with its much smaller neighbor Emeryville. The startup money in Oakland is going largely to food startups like Blue Bottle Coffeeor Revolution Foods, but venture capitalists have also been staking other companies in Oakland in areas like software, health care and ecommerce.
  3. Emeryville: TechCrunch estimates Emeryville, too, has grabbed about $500 million in startup funding since 2014, as marquee-name tenants like Pixar and Leapfrog continue to give the area household name recognition. But the tiny city’s footprint is extending to other sectors as well, convincing VCs that it has more to offer in the startup arena.

“Among startups, large funding recipients are a mix of life sciences and tech. Zymergen, a synthetic biology startup, is the biggest funding recipient, with $170 million in venture funding to date, and Bolt Threads, which has raised $90 million to develop man-made fabrics based on the properties of spider silk, is among the highest-profile VC-backed companies,” TechCrunch reports.

Redfin files to go public, seeking $100M

Seattle tech broker also announces iBuyer program, Redfin Now

BY CAROLINE FEENEY, Inman, July 6, 2017

Seattle-based tech brokerage Redfin has filed to go public, today registering its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange commission and pricing its initial public offering (IPO) at $100 million.

The real estate company, led by CEO Glenn Kelman, offers traditional real estate services alongside lower commissions and innovative technology, allowing it to sell homes for more money and with a higher success rate than traditional agents, Redfin says. It launched in 2004 and began offering homebuying and selling services in the Pacific Northwest starting in 2006 and sprawling across the U.S. over the last decade for a total of 80 markets.

This step is a test for not only Redfin, but other innovative real estate business models to see whether the public markets will hold up their private investor valuations. If successful, it could free up more investment capital.

No online residential real estate company has filed to go public since Zillow (2011) and Trulia (2012).

In the public filing, Redfin also brags about a series of accomplishments including:

  • Helping customers buy or sell more than 75,000 homes worth more than $40 billion through 2016
  • Gaining market share in 81 of its 84 markets from 2015 to 2016
  • Drawing more than 20 million monthly average visitors to its website and mobile application in the first quarter of 2017, 44 percent more than the first quarter of 2016, making it the fastest-growing top-10 real estate website
  • Earning a Net Promoter Score, a measure of customer satisfaction, that is 32 percent higher than competing brokerages’, and a customer repeat rate that is 37 percent higher than competing brokerages’
  • Selling Redfin-listed homes for approximately $3,000 more on average compared to the list price than competing brokerages’ listings in 2016.

In 2014 Redfin scooped up the neighborhood-information site Walk Score, which offers extensive neighborhood data, along with ratings on the walkability, bikeability and public transit access of individual communities. Its other tech products include Book It Now, an on-demand home tour service and a website feature called Shared Search for collaborative home hunting.

 

Glen Bell – (510) 333-4460   jazzlines@sbcglobal.net

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