After a rapid increase in equity in both 2015 and 2016 in Benicia, expect to see 2017 to continue to increase, but at a much more modest rate. Additionally, buyers and refinancers should expect to see interest rates to go up in 2017. This should not cause anyone to panic, as interest rates are at historic lows already and a modest increase will still have rates far below historic averages.  Please don’t let the sensationalism you will see and hear from national and local news prevent you from keeping things in prospective.

What does this mean for buyers?  The best opportunity to capitalize on the lowest interest rates and the best overall sale prices will be in the first quarter. It is also a great time to view homes.  I know everyone loves going out to open houses on a sunny Sunday afternoon, but the smart buyer loves a rainy day to see how the yard drains, and if there are any signs of leaks. Take advantage of the winter market and grab your umbrella, call your realtor, and get after it, your next purchase is waiting for you.

What does this mean for sellers? If you are selling, don’t be afraid to list your home in the winter months. In California we may get some rain and stormy days, but those are mixed with bright sunny bluebird days in between. Look at it this way: if the best mortgage rates for the year are going to be had in the first quarter, why not get your home on the market to take advantage of the serious buyer who is willing to make a move in the winter? Additionally, once you sell your home you will likely be wanting to take advantage of those same low rates for your next purchase. Your agent can give you ideas on how best to stage and market your home during the rainy season.

Eric Hoglund, Broker Associate, California BRE Lic.# 01420325

Editor’s Note: Estey Real Estate & Property Management is celebrating 70 years in business, and after 50 years at their former building at First & J Streets, their offices have moved near the waterfront at 216 First Street (at B Street). Due to issues with unreinforced masonry, their former location, owned by the Masonic Temple Association, has been closed by the City. 

Sales Data Courtesy Bareis Multiple Listing Service, Jan-Nov 2016

Benicia Single Family Homes Sold: 234
Average Original List Price:  $624,012
Average Home Square Footage: 2088
Average Original List Price/Average Sq. Ft.:  $315/Sq. Ft.
Average Days On Market:  59
Average Actual Sales Price:  $622,767
Average Actual Sales Price/Sq. Ft.:  $314/Sq. Ft.