Just to bring you up to speed on the Bay Area housing market, we’re bringing to your attention a neat little gadget that allows you to see where values are relative to a prior point in time.

The chart we’ve included is based upon data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s web site for the San Francisco MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), but you can plug in the area where you live and even compare cities.

You’ve no doubt heard of the Case-Shiller report that uses repeat sales pairs to track the median home value more accurately. Essentially they track the same house selling over a period of years. Their methodology can be read here.

Well the U.S. government also tracks repeat home sales pairs to help Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae follow the markets across the country. On their web page they have this really neat calculator where you can input what you paid for a home and it will calculate what the home should be worth today based upon the median trend.

Note for the San Francisco MSA which incorporates San Francisco down to Redwood City we’re beginning to see a leveling off of the free fall that has befell the Bay Area since June of 2006.

We expect seasonal buying and selling trends to continue to vary home prices on a monthly basis but the overall median home price trend will no doubt be relatively flat for several more years to come. Jobs will drive the housing prices in the future, and we’re still running in double digit (11%) unemployment rates in the Bay Area.

Sellers—if you are going to try and wait for prices to dramatically rise you should be prepared to sit in your home for quite a few more years. In others words, if you want to move on in life, now’s as good a time as you’ll see for awhile.

Buyers—since values will probably be flat there’s no reason to rush out and buy a home if you are worrying about missing the bottom, but remember, if interest rates rise your monthly payment will go up dramatically.

Now for the inevitable disclaimer: The information contained in this newsletter is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.

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