2842 W Ruby Hill Drive, Pleasanton

Gorgeous Custom Estate Home in Ruby Hill!

Open House Friday 10-1, Saturday/Sunday 1-4

Built in 2001, this gorgeous custom estate home sits on one of the 15 original premium lots at the prestigious gated Ruby Hill golf course community, just steps from the 8th hole of the Jack Nicklaus designed course. Luxurious amenities and custom features throughout, with a well designed floor plan and highly upgraded entertainer’s backyard. Top rated Pleasanton schools and proximity to Historic Downtown, award winning Livermore Valley Wineries, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. Monthly dues of $215 include resort style HOA amenities.

Highlights of this home include striking Formal Entry with custom hand crafted front doors and column accents. Elegant Formal Living and Dining Rooms with hardwood flooring and wine closet with hand crafted doors, complementing the main entry doors. Gourmet Kitchen and Breakfast Nook feature distressed Alder cabinetry, granite counter tops and travertine backsplash, top of the line appliances, built-in coffee bar, oversized island with bar seating, walk-in pantry, and travertine tile flooring. Adjacent Family Room with fireplace and granite topped wet bar, distressed Alder cabinetry with media niche, and 50 gallon salt water fish tank. Luxurious Main Level Master Bedroom with coffered ceiling, slider to backyard, and pass-through to Executive Office. Master Bathroom features his & hers vanities, Jacuzzi tub, oversized stall shower, and large walk-in closet. Sun Room with Half Bathroom and Laundry Room with sink and storage round out the main floor. Upstairs features oversized Bonus Room (easily converted to additional Bedroom or second Master Bedroom Suite) and 3 generously sized Upstairs Bedrooms with 2 Full Bathrooms. Smart Home System with built-in speakers, Pella dual pane windows, crown molding, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, stone accented doorways and alcoves, multi-zone HVAC, central vacuum, and so much more! Highly upgraded, private Entertainer’s Backyard with 30′ x 25′ Outdoor Cabana with Kitchen, fireplace, and commercial grade heaters. Custom designed lower level temperature controlled Wine Cellar with 2100 bottle storage, hand carved imported door, and spacious tasting area. Pool and Spa, Fire-Pit, Sports Court, and Fenced Yard with Gated Access to Golf Course. Country club amenities (with membership) including social club and golf club.

Contact us for more information.

For club membership information click here.

Pleasanton is a wonderful place to live!

Marketing and selling high-end Luxury Homes in the Tri Valley is what we do best, but on this real estate journey, it’s all about the people we meet on the way, connecting them to each other and the places they call HOME.

Pleasanton Real Estate Agents

State of the Market: And Now Good News for Buyers

Home prices fall to 2002 levels

Les Christie, CNNMoneyMarch 27, 2012, link


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The housing market started the new year with a thud. Home prices dropped for the fifth consecutive month in January, reaching their lowest point since the end of 2002.

The average home sold in that month lost 0.8% of its value, compared with a month earlier, and prices were down 3.8% from 12 months earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major markets.

Home prices have fallen a whopping 34.4% from the peak set in July 2006.

“Despite some positive economic signs, home prices continued to drop,” said David Blitzer, spokesman for S&P. “Eight cities — Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa — made new lows.”

Only three of the 20 index cities registered gains in January, led by Phoenix, which climbed 0.9% month-over-month, Washington, up 0.7%, and Miami, which edged 0.6% higher.

Home buying much cheaper than renting

Housing market indicators have sent confusing signals so far this year, with existing home sales and new home sales down month-over-month in February, but up year-over-year.

Potential homebuyers lack confidence in the market, according to Michael Feder, CEO of Radar Logic, an analytics company that produces daily spot prices for real estate. A big problem looming is a massive number of potential foreclosures.

“People see that there are millions of homes underwater, and at elevated risk of foreclosure, and conclude that housing values are unlikely to appreciate in any meaningful way for many years,” he said.

0:00 / 1:27 No presidential fix for housing crisis

On the other hand, home builders have turned more bullish and are gearing up for more new construction. Mortgage rates are also still very favorable and the economy is getting better with hiring on the rise.

Ken H. Johnson, a real estate professor at Florida International University, thinks all these factors are helping the housing market turn around, but the recovery will take time.

Readers on mortgage settlement: ‘This stinks’

“The housing market is like a large cruise ship that turns slowly, often temporarily losing ground due to currents and change in momentum,” he said. “While the ship is turning, drags on the housing market are also present and must be addressed before a full recovery is accomplished.”

Feder said there is some evidence that the housing market recovery is approaching. One clue is that regular sales, as opposed to bank sales of foreclosed homes, increased dramatically over the past few months.

That indicates that sellers have capitulated to the lower sales prices of foreclosures and have adjusted their expectations of the prices their homes can command in the market.

He called that a good thing, because it means the market bottom is near. Once it does turn, there could be a rapid increase in buying, said Feder, as there is a much pent-up demand for homes.

Despite the market current turmoil, home ownership is still the goal of most Americans, according to a survey released Tuesday by Fannie Mae.

It found that while financial constraints and employment concerns are keeping homebuyers on the sidelines right now, two-thirds of renters say they intend to buy someday.

Bernanke: Fed didn’t cause housing bubble

“Some Americans may not be financially positioned to own a home in the near future,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae.

“But they may begin to revisit that aspiration as employment and household balance sheets improve over the coming years,” he said.

State of the Market: Good News for Sellers

Demand For Homes Continues To Show Recovery

NICK TIMIRAOS, Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2012, link

The number of contracts signed to buy homes in February eased slightly from January but posted another strong gain from a year ago—the latest sign that demand for homes is up from the depressed levels of the previous 18 months.

A report Monday by the National Association of Realtors showed the index of pending home sales, reflecting deals that have gone into contract but haven’t yet closed, rose 9.2% last month from a year earlier, continuing a rise largely fueled by investors’ purchases of foreclosed properties. The index fell by 0.5% from January.

While buyers are starting to step forward, however, home builders and real-estate agents report an elevated level of contracts falling apart, as buyers run into trouble qualifying for mortgages amid tough lending standards.

Another common complaint: low appraisals that come in below a negotiated value, requiring sellers to cut their price or buyers to put more money down in order to keep a deal from collapsing. As a result, the pending sales figures could be overstating actual sales as buyers sign multiple contracts over the course of several months.

The number of contracts signed to purchase homes in February posted another strong gain in the latest sign that housing demand is up from the depressed levels of the previous 18 months. Nick Timiraos has details on The News Hub. Photo: Bloomberg News

Still, analysts say that housing demand appears to be stronger than at any point in the past year. Low prices are luring investors who can convert properties into rental units and make double-digit returns. More first-time buyers could face added urgency to move as landlords begin to raise rents and mortgage rates rise from record lows.

“We are seeing very strong activity out there,” said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of research firm Zelman & Associates. Buyers are tired of deferring moves, and rising rents “have really pushed people off the fence,” she said. “We’re not ready yet to wave the victory flag and say home prices are going up, but we’re confident they’re stabilizing.”

Monday’s report showed that purchase activity was up 18.4% and 19% from a year ago in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively, after an unseasonably warm winter. Contract activity fell by 1.8% in the West.

Real-estate agents in many parts of the country say inventories of homes for sale are declining, leaving more buyers competing for less supply. Shrinking inventories could be a consequence of the decline in home prices, which has left more sellers unable or unwilling to sell their homes at a loss.

In Orange County, Calif., the number of homes listed for sale is down by 36% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of homes under contract is up 25% to its highest level in four years, according to Steven Thomas, a local housing-market analyst.

So far this year, nearly one in six homes listed for sale have gone under contract within their first three days across the 18 markets covered by Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage, said Glenn Kelman, the firm’s chief executive.

Investing is so 2012: FHA Continues to Waive Restrictions on Flipping

“Flipping” has earned a bit of a bad reputation since issues with the housing market started a few years ago. The Federal Housing Authority agreed with the iffy nature of flipping and instituted an anti-flipping measure in 2003 that “was initially put in place to prevent predatory flipping, in which homes are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers.” This measure disallowed FHA lending to any homeowner who owned a home for less than 90 days (see article).

With the intention of spurring investor purchases of foreclosed homes once again, this measure was suspended in 2010 and was originally to expire this month. However, given the continuing issues with the market, the FHA has extended the waiver. Foreclosed homes lead not only to deferred maintenance of a home, which can be costly and can make resale of the home that much more difficult, but they can also lead to greater crime rates as people strip wires and steal plumbing, appliances and other elements of the home; squatting and other undesirable effects are also a side effect within the neighborhood in which they exist.

As the FHA eases up on so-called “flipping,” many are looking to rehab the term itself. The FHA defines “flipping” as:

“Property ‘‘flipping’’ refers to the practice whereby a property recently acquired is resold for a considerable profit with an artificially inflated value, often the result of a lender’s collusion with the appraiser. Most property flipping occurs within a matter of days after acquisition, and usually with only minor cosmetic improvements, if any. In an effort to preclude this predatory lending practice with respect to mortgages insured by FHA, HUD issued a final rule on May 1, 2003 (68 FR23370) that provides in 24 CFR 203.37a that FHA will not insure a mortgage if the contract of sale for the purchase of the property that is the subject of the mortgage is executed within 90 days of the prior acquisition by the seller and the seller does not come under any of the exemptions to this 90-day period that are specified in § 203.37a(c).”

However, in defense of what they consider solid investments, many who would be deemed flippers want us to know that, “For real estate investors, the term ‘flipping’ simply means buying and selling quickly. There is no connotation of fraud just because a home is bought and sold in a short period of time” (see article). The same investors will tell you that, “Limiting investor profits on the resale of a home with documented, legitimate renovations [such as the FHA did in 2003] shows a lack of understanding of the financial issues involved in buying and renovating houses.”

A controversial issue, flipping can be argued on either side. But for now, the FHA is recognizing that – squeamish as they may be about it – flipping may be just one of many necessary solutions to the current housing issue.