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Landscape Plan v1

Meeting attendees Ross Wells, Vince Cheung, Liwen Cheung to review the first draft of the landscape plans. 

Asked Ross to make the following changes:

1. Lower the lattice dense on the guest parking area to a 4 ft. tall fence so it will not block the view from the office

2. switch the chess board location with the planter box location. The planter box will be a square shape box in the new location

3. Remove all the trees on the south side of the house out on the berm area

4. Remove the 2 trees outside the south side of the 2nd garage 

5. Remove the 3 cluster of trees on the south-west side of the house towards the windemere side.  They were originally asked by the town to be there but we'll leave it out for now unless the town asks again. 

6. Remove the ground cover and all the trees in the area between the paved area out to the existing Oak trees on the East side of the house. This will remain a more open space with a dirt path out to the oak tree with natural grasses around it

7. Remove the low ground covers that line the drive way up to the house. We will only have trees along that drive way up to the house

8. The entry gate pillars need to look contemporary along with the entry gate. This item remains open for us to circle back with Mike whether it's feasible to have a sliding gate opposed to a swinging gate. (THIS IS MORE A NOTE THAN A CHANGE REQUEST)

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A3.1 Elevation Plan - All Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes (Jun 12, 2014)


1. We would like the windows to be closer together, sharing the frame. The smaller top windows, should stack right above the long rectangular windows on the bottom. Do this where applicable to keep the window style across the home look consistent. 

(Option 1-preferred)



1. Tim suggested having more windows in the master bedroom bath. We can potentially lower the master bath by creating a ceiling (with attic) or have two smaller window above the tub window. Creating a ceiling and adding 2 smaller windows both adds cost but the latter you get more lighting into the bathroom

Decision: Yes we will create 2 smaller windows above bath

2. Ceiling over master bedroom is 13 feet tall


1. Tim suggested we bring the 4 large windows in the master bedroom all the way to the ground, down to 18 inches from the ground. Beyond 18 inches you need temper glass which will add cost. 

Decision: Yes we will go ahead and bring it down to 18 in. from the ground. 

BEDROOM 2 (west side)

1. Need to decide whether to raise the 2 windows higher of rmore privacy. Currently if someone is in the backyard, he can see into the room.

Decision: Yes let's raise it


1. Do we want the two small windows above the wall mounted TV? A strong glare will come into the room at sunset but for a short period of time and can be addressed by shades.

Decision: would like to remove those windows above the TV. Do not want to deal with the sun piercing in. We have to think about how to deal with the interior w/o those two windows. Do we have to create a fireplace element?  

2. The width of the TV must be no wider than 7 feet to fit above the fireplace

3. Talk to the contractors about celestory versus frame windows. 


1. The ceiling is 12 feet tall

2. We would like rectangular windows above the cabinets as well as right above the counter top (below the cabinets) in lieu of a backsplash, on the East side only

3. Tim suggested doing exposed shelves on the north side, potentially over the windows so you can see through the items on the shelves to the outside

4. Tim said the windows on the North side will come all the way down to connect with the counter, so there will not be a backsplash

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A2.2 Roof Plan - All Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes (Jun 12, 2014)

Vince and I got on a call with Tim to review the roof plan and elevation plans. These are the notes I captured related to the roof plan. See Elevation Meeting notes for elevation related notes. 

1. We wanted a shed roof over a pitch roof for more of a contemporary look. After thinking about it more, Tim said that shed roof cost less to install versus a hip or pitch roof (cutting the metal to form the hip is more expensive to install)

2. Tim advised we do all the roof as shed roof versus a combination of pitch/hip and shed roof. This will keep it to a similar "theme" for contemporary

3. Armstrong Roofing - provides a new technology for insulating roofs (foam). We will not need to have attic and ceilings. Each room will have different tilts depending on the direction the roof is tilting. 

4. We need to be prepared there is a chance the Town of Danville will not approve of the shed roof. We need a default plan, perhaps go back to the pitch roof


1. Vince and Liwen need to think over the roof tilt over the front entry while Tim is out on vacation (6/12 - 6/29).  Do we want less of it (flat, appear like a T), or pitch, or something else?  Right now having the roof top tilted along with the exposed beams on the left and right sides appear unbalanced seems a bit weird to us. 

2. On the secondary garage, extend the EAST side of the roof to provide a barrier from rain while walking from garage to the front entry. 

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General Requirements
1. All bathrooms must have a window that opens to the outside, with the exception of the powder room in the great room
2. All room doors opening should not face the opening of the bathroom door
3. Master bedroom and study room should have a double door entry
1. Would like to see measurements for each room/gallery/foyer/entry area
2. Master bedroom, bath, great room, kitchen need to be bigger in proportion to other rooms and create that wow factor
1. Would like to have more cabinet space. What are some ways we can achieve that? Would like to keep the windows above the cabinets where applicable.
2. Need the fridge to line up with the cabinets (cannot stick out). Need to redesign the position of the guest room closet
3. Remove the sink on the island
1. Redesign it such that guests do not see directly into the kitchen and great room area when they first walk in. Would like to see 2-3 options on how we can achieve that. Send links to examples of a wall or other design elements
1. Increase the size of the great room to allow for visibility to the kids from the kitchen and provide sense of grandness
2. Install the open window system on one side of the wall. Remove the window system for the wall adjacent to the kitchen. 
3. Remove formal dining. The formal round table will go to the breakfast room
4. Remove butler prep area. Redesign the location of the bar. 
5. Remove the stairs. Move it outdoors. 
1. Must have a double door. Should not be able to see into the master bedroom as you first walk in the front door and look down the gallery
2. Redesign the configuration of the master bath. 
   - Kids' bath shares wall with the master bedroom bed. noise concerns
   - Master closet needs to be separate from the master bath
1. We do not want any doors to open and look directly into the bathroom.
2. I cannot easily get to the closet as door is in the way. Closet position needs to change
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140426 Feedback on Lawrence floor plan A2.1


- We had discussed having a small area for shoes, or a "genkan" area with a step up from the door. Could we incorporate this concept into your existing plan by having a step-up from the entry, and by placing a bench with space for shoes on one side?
- We're having second thoughts about the water features facing the entry, as well as surrounding the breakfast area. While there are definitely things we like about incorporating water, we're more worried about the maintenance, kids stepping into water, and generally having a fixture here where our taste might change in the future. Could we plan on doing something without fixtures instead, such as placing furniture that helps break up the room and still allow for the "grand" entrance?
- Similarly, is there a way for us to think about the breakfast area without the water and "bridge" concept, but still provide some character for this space?
- The two of us are still a bit split on the design of the staircases. If it turns out that the staircases push us over the budget, we would be open to just having a single staircase to the left side, perhaps going up over where the powder and bar are currently situated. However, wonder if we would have to re-think the breakfast area, consequently.

Living Room
- Remove French Doors and replace with windows

Bath 4/Guest Suite/Office

- Is there a way to re-think the bathroom sharing situation? Current issue is that there are too many doors going into the bathroom, in order to grant on-suite access from guest suite plus privacy from office/living room. Two potential options:
i) One door into Bath 4, placed adjacent to guest suite entry door. While guest suite needs to walk outside to get to bathroom, it's essentially right next to the suite, while still allowing access from the living room. Office will have to walk further to enter though, but Vince is okay with this.
ii) Create a mini hallway on the side of office entry that provides access to bath 4 AND guest suite. Entry into the Bath 4 would be through a single door. We can still put a door that gets into this mini-hallway, which can be closed off to create a private area for the guest suite & bath 4


- Move stove off island
- We would actually appreciate one single (and bigger) island with cabinets underneath, vs. breaking it out into two. Booth style seating on one side of the island.
- Screens: We are split on whether to have the moving shoji screens for the formal dining and kitchen spaces. We can see ourselves moving the panels toward the left, leaving 1-2 panels there to "block" the view of the kitchen from entry. However, we have a harder time imaging ever needing to close any of the panels on the formal dining side, and wonder if we can just skip this side. (see related comment in Dining)
- As an alternative to the screens, what about just putting a 3-ft. high divider on the south side, separating the living room and kitchen? We would like some way to not make kitchen so visible as guests walk in the front door


- We are okay NOT to have panels that open into the backyard from dining. Instead, we'd love to do bigger windows there over a sideboard. The big french doors on the west side should be sufficient.
- Bar: Instead of having an "L' shape bar area, wondering if we can "slim" this down and just do a wet bar/cabinets against the south side of that wall. We'd be okay not having an island/counter for seating, and if we'd really like to have bar seating there, we'd okay buying a tall bar table with bar stools in that area. We can be swayed, though, if there is really a lot of value to having a more formal bar area, in terms of the value of the house.
- Shoji Screen: Related to the "slimmed-down" bar, wondering if we can also "slim down" the shoji screen design here but just having screens running on the east side of the room, and SKIPPING the one panel on the south side. Given that we won't have sliding panels on the north side, also wonder if there is a way for us to slide all the panels over and "hide" them on the wall toward the north side of the dining room. Or, conversely, if this can be accomplished on the south side be sliding the panels toward the wall shared with the powder, we can also consider that.

Bedroom Suite 2 and 3

- Like the layout overall, but would like to remove the french doors. We are still thinking less about what adult inhabitants would enjoy vs. having another "escape route" for our future teens. Instead, wonder if we can do nice big windows here and potentially fit in a piece of furniture or custom bench to create a bay window type of space for reading/relaxing.

Master Suite

- We're thinking about placement of furniture, and wonder if we need to tweak the dimensions of the room and placement of bath/walk-in closet accordingly. Three things we'd do with our furnishings:
1. We'll likely want to move our bed to the east side, so that we can wake up facing the Las Trampas/San Ramon Valley view featured on the west side, as well as being able to watch TV (presumable hung on the wall on the west side between the big glass corners)
2. Given likely placement of the bed, we'd like to still make sure we have a little retreat area where we can place a loveseat or two chairs to watch TV and admire the view. 
3. Accordingly, I think we can still keep the doorway into the master bath as-is, but are open to other suggestions

- Shower area: We see that it's currently more of a trapezoid shape given how we're drawing the toilet. Is there a way to make it rectangular? (see related comment on the toilet)
- Toilet: Instead of its current position, is there a way to place the toilet such that we can get a small window, so we can minimize the need to lighting during the day (plus ventilation?) Perhaps re-configure how we currently have the walk-in closet drawn to make this happen?
- Door into master bath: If we simply get rid of the door going into the master bath, would this help with the re-configuration above?


- Thinking about the area just outside the master suite, toward the northwest corner, is it possible to do a loggia here to provide a sitting area without blocking the view to the West/NW? OR:
- Are we better off thinking about placing a loggia in the space between dining and great room, now that we are not thinking doing panels?

Garage 2 (garage on the west side)
- Agree on having no direct entry into the house, as long as we have covered access back to the house.
- Can we move the door to the southeast corner of the garage instead?
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Japanese modern - a few things we like

One of our habits is asking guests to remove their shoes upon entering the house. One of the big issues is keeping the shoes organized!  We would love to incorporate the idea of a Genkan. We would want to have a "grand entrance" feel but somehow incorporate a genkan area for people to sit and remove shoes. Here are some photos on Houzz that are good examples.

Here is a picture of a home that tries to integrate elements of Japanese style and a feel of zen. We liked the first picture of the stone walkway 
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Hawaiian modern - a few things we like

Vince's best friend from college lives in Honolulu, and one of the things we noticed when visiting homes there is the use of wood and the unique blend of contemporary and Asian-influenced style in many of the homes, particularly in the Kahala and Hawaii-kai neighborhoods.

Here's a good example of the use of wood in flooring and in framing the windows:

Another example of bedroom:

This home contains a lot of those features we like:

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We took the two kids to see the sunset tonight. We arrived at 7pm, just about 10 mins before the sun was about to set. We loved seeing the warm glowing rays as we walked up to the top of the knoll. See photo. 


As we approached the top, we saw cows, which the kids absolutely loved seeing! Elise couldn't stop staring at the animals. It still feels unbelievable that we were so close to these cows. It would be nice to keep the side facing Windemere as open as possible so we may enjoy seeing these animals walk by. Here is Ethan making a face when asked to pose with the cow. 


As we stood on the top, we realized that the sunset was actually further to the LEFT than we originally thought, based on the compass reading. It set closer to the Windemere development versus down the middle of the rolling green hills. See picture below of the sunset. 


It started to get windy so we headed down the hill. Ethan LOVED walking around the site. He marched up and down the hill with such joy and determination. It made us realize how much we would love to have a hiking path that goes around the house so we can take the kids on "nature walks" around our property. They didn't want to leave the site and wanted to walk around more. So Liwen walked them both down the hill to the bridge. It was a very special family outing for us. 


The following morning, Vince had a chance to go back up to the lot at around 9:30 am to check out the morning sun.


Pretty much as expected, the sun was coming up from the Windemere hills to the right of the oak tree, so any room facing the road leading up to the home will hit the sun directly. We don't think this is a huge issue, as long as the windows from Vince's office or bedrooms are facing the Windemere home (i.e. SxSE)

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We did our first "camp-out" during lunch time today (Sunday). It's a fairly warm and overcast day and we weren't really able to observe any sunshine patterns. Nonetheless, here are some thoughts and photos capturing our preferences on views:

1. Outdoor play area/overflow parking

12127696055?profile=originalWe love the idea of having one of the oak trees to provide a shady area (assuming we can trim a few branches at the bottom) for the kids to ride their bikes or shoot some hoops, while also providing a pad for overflow parking. If possible, perhaps we can even clear a hiking trail (nothing formal except clearing some brush) that can take us down to the other oak trees and perhaps all the way around the house, which would make a nice short hike around our land underneath the house.

2. Preferred view from Great Room/kitchen

12127696084?profile=originalHere is a panoramic view we'd love to capture from our Great Room, just to the left of the previous photo. From the family room, it would be great if we could see Mt. Diablo dead-on center, and preferably we'd also be able to see a little bit of the road leading up to our home, so we could see who's coming up. This is the most treasured view for us, and we want to make sure that we can enjoy it everyday from the Great room where we'll be spending 80% of our time.

3. View from living room (or dining)

12127695878?profile=originalWhile we weren't able to confirm exactly where the sun will set, our compass indicated that west was in the direction of the valley right in the middle of this photo. While the view is great (and different), we would not want any bedroom or our Great room to hit direct sunlight, so we're relegating that to the formal living room. If possible, we would also prefer NOT seeing the neighbor's house (incl. his two water tanks) toward the bottom of this photo.

If there were to be a trade-off on which room would have a view, between the formal living room and the dining, we would give it to the formal living. We would also prefer the dining room to allow for a nice, big round table that seats 8-10, instead of an oblong-shaped table.

4. Master bedroom view

12127696455?profile=originalThis is another much treasured view, immediately to the left of the previous photo. We think this faces South/Southwest, and love being able to wake up to a little bit of the rolling hills as well as the San Ramon Valley. The lights from all the Windemere homes at night would be spectacular and make a great, relaxing view from our bedroom. Same comment noted for the neighbor's roof and water tanks.

Our only concern is the afternoon sun, and would prefer that our windows veer as much toward south as possible.

5. Vince's office


If possible, Vince would love for his office to feature this view of the rolling hills toward the Windemere permanent space (SxSE?). To be able to stare into as much greenery as possible would really help him rest his eyes away from the computer. Given that Vince really prefers a separate entrance to his office (which could also potentially serve as a shared entrance with the guest wing?), and also be as far away as possible from the Great Room to reduce noise and distraction, we think this also makes a convenient location for his office.

6. Other bedrooms/guest wing

So this is a view that's sandwiched between the previous two photos (i.e. master bedroom and Vince's office):

12127696482?profile=originalIt's an amazing view of the Windemere/San Ramon Valley area, and we love it as well. We're just not sure if there is room for this to belong to the kids' bedroom (just one, or both?) or perhaps even the guest wing, but we'd love to find a way to maximize our enjoyment of this view.

With respect to the kids' rooms, here are three things we discussed as requirements:

1. Equity in views: If one kid's room has a view, then the other should as well. Else neither room gets it.

2. Kids' bedrooms need to be close to the master bedroom. Both for convenience and peace of mind (for us, not for them!)

3. Kids cannot go out or leave the house without first passing the master bedroom. Yes, we're paranoid parents trying to plan for rebellious teenagers later in life.

Overall, we had a great visit today and it reiterated two things we'd love for this home to achieve:

1. A relaxing, almost spa-like feeling when we come home

2. As much as we can, preserve the open, 360-degree view that we've come to cherish from this lot. 

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Exterior Photos from Houzz Website

We found these exterior designs that we liked on the Houzz website. What we liked about the photo is indicated in parenthesis following each link. I will add more to this blog as I gather more exterior photos.


(like how the roof extends out a bit to the patio with recess lighting underneath)
(like the roofline, LOVE the garage door with the frosted glass)

(like the exterior and interior kitchen)

(backyard very simple. Except no pool for our project)

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Interior Photos from Houzz Website

We found these interior designs that we liked on the Houzz website. What we liked about the photo is indicated in parenthesis following each link. I will add more to this blog as I gather more interior photos.

COLLECTION OF PHOTOS OF ROOMS DESIGNS WE LIKED (Mudroom, Playroom, kitchen, study, great room)


(Large windows and the simplicity)

(liked the horizontal windows on top of the large windows. Open floor plan. Nice fireplace)
(nice bay window)
(mahogany windows on white walls. love it. Recess lighting on ceiling nicely down)
(nicely done fireplace with a mantle that's understated against classic earthy color)

(love this great room set up, simple recess lighting. Staircase is nice too)
(another lovely great room concept. Rather than a long rectangle that goes from kitchen to the family, it's like a large square)
(simply elegant, clean lines. Small vertical window stacked on top of large. Still prefer rectangular to vertical)
(I like the layout of this great room with dining on end and family room on another all feed into the kitchen)
(love the layout. Not a fan of the pole in the middle of the great room or the country-ish decor)
(like this layout. not sure about the fireplace by dining area but different!)
(another great example of great room layout. However NOT a fan of the explode ceiling wood poles)

(like all the rooms shown here, how they did the windows that meet at a corner. Like the interior design of warm earthy color trims and paint)


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Spec-Tech Construction

Spec-Tech Design-Build operated from 1992-1999 and is now resurrected as Spec-Tech Construction.   We have an investment group that has formed an LLC and we are currently purchasing property for real-estate spec projects.

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California 2012 Million-Dollar Home Sales Highest in Five Years

January 30, 2013

The number of Golden State homes sold for a million dollars or more rose to its highest level since 2007, fueled by a recovering economy, rising home prices and a record number of cash purchases. The number of homes sold for more than $5 million rose to an all-time high, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 26,993 homes sold for $1 million-plus last year, up 26.9 percent from 21,267 in 2011. It was the most sold since 42,502 homes crossed the million-dollar threshold in 2007, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

The all-time high was 2005, when 54,773 homes sold for a million dollars or more. Last year's 26.9 percent year-over-year sales gain outpaced the state's market as a whole: Overall sales totaled 447,573, up 8.2 percent from 413,479 in 2011.

"It should go without saying that buyers and sellers in the prestige market tend to respond to different motivations and incentives than the rest of the market. Job security, down payment sizes and mortgage interest rates don't play the same role. Returns on investments in a low interest-rate financial environment and safe-haven investing do play a role," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The sales distribution of luxury homes has shifted during the past two years, with record sales at the very high end. Statewide, 697 homes sold for more than $5 million last year, an all-time high and well above the previous high of 491 in 2011. In the $4-$5 million range a record 460 homes sold, well above 344 in 2011 (and 342 in 2005). In the $3-$4 million range, 1,104 homes sold, slightly ahead of 1,046 in 2005.

Sales totaled 3,266 in the $2-$3 million range, well behind 2005 when 4,070 sold (and behind 2006 and 2007 as well). In the $1-$2 million range, 17,762 sold last year, around half of the 34,145 sold in 2005.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The million-dollar transactions include home sales where it could be determined from public records that there was a buyer, a seller, that money changed hands, and that there was a legal transfer of property ownership. Not included were property swaps, sales of multiple lots, sales where no price or loan amount was available, teardowns, and large farm or ranch properties. Sales to companies and trusts were included.

Last year 7,791 of the million-dollar home buyers paid cash, a record number, up from 5,802 in 2011. Cash was used more frequently the higher up the price scale. Of those who did finance their purchase last year, the median down payment was 25.9 percent of the purchase price. The lending institutions most willing to provide mortgage financing for $1 million-plus homes were Wells Fargo, Union Bank and First Republic Bank.

The most expensive confirmed purchase last year was an 8,930-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom home in Woodside built in 2005 on just under nine acres which sold for $117,500,000 in November. The largest was a 20,248 sq.ft. 7-bedroom, 13-bathroom mansion in Bel Air.

Virtually all home sales in some communities were in the $1 million-plus category. Among them were the following: Ross in Marin County; San Marino and Santa Monica in Los Angeles County; Los Altos in Santa Clara County; Atherton and Hillsborough in San Mateo County; and Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County.

Newly-built homes accounted for 4.9 percent of last year's $1 million-plus sales, down from 5.9 percent in 2011. Condo sales made up 9.2 percent of the million-dollar category last year, down slightly from 8.0 percent the year before. Most $1 million-plus condos were sold in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego counties.

The median-sized home that sold for $1 million-plus was 2,641 sq.ft. with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The median price paid per square foot for all million-dollar homes in 2012 was $641, up 5.5 percent from $607 in 2011. For the overall California market, the square-foot median was $162 last year, up 12.5 percent from $144 in 2011, DataQuick reported.

There are 8.66 million houses and condos in California. Of those, 246,318, or 2.8 percent, are assessed for $1 million or more by county assessor offices, DataQuick reported.


Million Dollar Home Sales, ranked by 2012 sales #s

 2011 2012  2012's Most
ZipCommunitySales#  Sales#        Expensive
94010   Hillsborough                 353      422         $6.8 mill.
90266   Manhattan Beach              328      372        $10.5 mill.
94025   Menlo Park                   305      370         $7.6 mill.
95070   Saratoga                     264      364         $6.8 mill.
92660   Newport Beach                249      362        $10.0 mill.
92037   La Jolla                     253      345        $15.0 mill.
90049   Brentwood                    255      344        $18.0 mill.
90210   Beverly Hills                249      330        $34.5 mill.
94024   Los Altos                    262      311         $6.0 mill.
92651   Laguna Beach                 195      307        $20.0 mill.
90272   Pacific Palisades            259      303        $15.0 mill.
95014   Cupertino                    257      297         $2.8 mill.
90274   Rolling Hills Estates        210      262         $7.0 mill.
92625   Corona Del Mar               183      256        $15.0 mill.
94022   Los Altos                    217      255        $14.1 mill.
94539   Fremont                      168      240        $5.4 mill.
92657   Newport Beach                163      228        $16.5 mill.
92130   Del Mar                      189      225        $7.5 mill.
90265   Malibu                       173      219        $21.0 mill.
94306   Palo Alto                    193      218         $4.3 mill.
94941   Mill Valley                  150      215         $4.0 mill.
94114   San Francisco                175      213         $4.1 mill.
95032   Los Gatos                    171      213         $5.5 mill.
94062   Woodside                     189      208         $8.3 mill.
90275   Rancho Palos Verdes          179      205         $5.5 mill.

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California March Home Sales

California March Home Sales

April 18, 2013

An estimated 37,764 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was up 31.5 percent from 28,719 in February, and up 0.8 percent from 37,481 sales in March 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

It’s normal for sales to shoot up between February and March. California March sales have varied from a low of 24,565 in 2008 to a high of 68,848 in 2005. Last month's sales were 13.5 percent below the average of 43,648 sales for all the months of March since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $313,000, up 8.3 percent from $289,000 in February and up 24.7 percent from $251,000 in March 2012. March was the 13th consecutive month in which the state's median sale price rose year-over-year. In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 15.2 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year – the lowest level since foreclosure resales were 12.6 percent of the resale market in September 2007. Last month’s figure compares with 18.0 percent in February and 32.8 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.

Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 21.5 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 22.4 percent the month before and 24.5 percent a year earlier.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,134. That was up from $1,042 in January and up from $901 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 50.6 percent below the 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle, and 59.9 percent below the 2006 peak of the current cycle.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and peak levels reached several years ago. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.

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