The Marks Report
November, 2014


After the real estate market surge of last spring and the slow but steady pace of the summer, September existing-home sales bounced back to their highest pace of the year.

According to Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors, "Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September's healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month's market decline."

Annually, November home sales nationwide dip by about 8%. December figures tend to match November, and January's cold weather creates a low mark of activity. Much stronger activity then arises in March and April.

Rates haven't been this low since 2013 according to Freddie Mac. With a 30-year fixed-rate averaging 3.92% and 5-year adjustable rate mortgages averaging 2.91%, now may be the time to buy.

November may be the new May.

If you'd like to keep track of the market in your neighborhood, you can sign up for free automatic abbreviated reports anytime. Just log onto, then follow the instructions on the left side of the screen. If you have any questions, you can contact me directly and I will set it up for you.  You can also view more in-depth reports for your specific neighborhood anytime you'd like. 

Click here for that link.

As always, if you want to further evaluate your options, contact me anytime:


Articles and Advice

2015 California Housing Market Forecast

With more available homes on the market for sale, California’s housing market will see fewer investors and a return to traditional home buyers as home sales rise modestly and prices flatten out in 2015, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2015 California Housing Market Forecast.”

Click here for article...


Regulators Promise Thaw in Mortgage Credit Underway

By: Inman News

Regulators who oversee Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration are telling mortgage lenders that they’re ready to cut them some slack, and mortgage lenders say they’re ready to run with the ball.


Creating a Toxin-Free Home

By: Jill Hamilton

We think of our homes as being safe havens from the rest of the world. But for people with allergies or other environmental sensitivities, sometimes the things that feel safe and cozy – a nice fluffy rug, or fresh-smelling air-fresheners, for example – can actually exacerbate a problem. To make sure your home is as safe as it feels try some of the following tips for creating a non-toxic home.

Click here for article...

Ask Alan
Q: What is all this talk about the X Factor in real estate today?

A: The X Factor relates to a growing trend of foreign investors. For the first time this year, Chinese buyers surpassed Canadians as the top investors in American real estate. According to the NAR, buyers from China invested $22 Billion in the U.S. housing market. Canadians, the perennial leader in foreign investment, spent about $13 Billion.

Chinese investors consider the U.S. market to be relatively inexpensive. Price is not the only attraction. In China, as well as Russia and Brazil, successful business people feel threatened by government behavior and are incentivized to get their money out of the country.

Most Chinese are buying in California, New York, and Washington. Brazilians and other South Americans tend to buy in Florida. Foreign investors are impacting all those states.

It is important to note that the total value of residential real estate transactions in the U.S. is around $1 Trillion. It is unclear as to how big the X Factor of foreign investors will be.

Featured Homes
176 Crestview
SOLD for over asking price after less than a week! Stunning custom home with 4+ bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms in 4400+ square feet.  Panoramic views with soccer-sized yard on 1+ acres!  Offered at 2,695,000.
8 Baltusrol
Moraga Country Club
SOLD for over asking price! This beautiful townhome has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and is in a great Country Club location!  Updated and bright with extra windows and a wonderful private patio.  End unit near the end of a private lane! Offered at $739,000.

20 Snow Court
SOLD for over asking price! Wonderful custom home with tons of space, indoors & out. 4200+ sf w/updated kitchen/family room combo. Five spacious bedrooms including a main level master suite w/updated bath. Beautifully landscaped level yard, fenced veggie garden & great outdoor areas on a serene 1/2 acre w/beautiful views! Offered at $1,295,000.
7 El Sereno
SOLD! This beautifully updated ranch style home features 4 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms in 3800+ square feet and sits on a fantastic lot with mature oak and redwood trees.  It has a wonderful indoor-outdoor floor plan with doors from almost every room opening to the large, park-like yard, gardens and huge patio with an outdoor fireplace.  Situated on a highly desirable street, this home is charming and serene, yet minutes from transportation and downtown Orinda.    Offered at $2,975,000.
 192 Cypress Point Way
SOLD PRE-MARKET! Great detached 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in Moraga Country Club featuring filtered views of the golf course fairway.  Private creekside setting at the end of a cul-de-sac, with doors that lead out to a trellis covered patio and lovely yard. 
 Adoptable Pet Spotlight

Families going through foreclosure have to make very hard decisions, and sometimes are no longer able to care for their pets. Dogs and cats often end up in public shelters– racing the clock as they hope for adoption. That’s where Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, or ARF, comes in. The ARF team rescues pets who are about to run out of time in these shelters, provides care and comfort, and then finally matches them with the perfect owners.

Check out 1-year-old Bolt!  He's a spunky pup who would love to join an active family.  This little guy weighs 24 pounds now, and he's a Wirehaired Fox Terrier Mix.  What a face!

To find out more about Bolt or any of the other pets ARF has up for adoption, please click on the link below.

Events of the Month
Pier 39 Tree Lighting – Embarcadero

November 22-23


22nd Annual Walnut Creek Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving Morning, November 27


12th Annual Piedmont Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving Morning, November 27


Macy’s Tree Lighting – Union Square

Friday, November 28 - 6pm

Wine Group Tasting of the Month

Many of you know that I have a passion for good wine. I’ve even grown grapes and made my own. I’ve also belonged to a wine group for about 20 years. Every month we get together for a blind tasting and then rank the wines we try. 

Click here for this month’s tasting…