Making sense of this market… by Sabrina Caton (updated)

Update – Fall 2022.

Quick Read:

Well, rates went up again. This shakes things up for buyers, how much they can afford and that will impact home values over time.

Which – for buyers – is exciting because – if you can buy a home for less – you can always REFINANCE out of that high rate when rates go down! So Marry the House – Date the Rate!

Each market is impacted differently – if you’re thinking about selling and buying – The Caton Team is here to guide you. We’ve worked through several different market dynamics and have wisdom and knowledge to aid us. Reach out – we’re happy to help.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email |

Long Read:

Right now, Realtors and their buyers are reworking the numbers, trying to stay within their budget and readjust their plans to accommodate for higher interest rates. Sometimes the goal changes, and sometimes there is a silver lining. 

For buyers in the Silicon Valley – anyone shopping for a home since 2020 – had low rates, lots of competition, and overbidding. When rates went up – buyers lost their purchase power and it was back to the drawing board – determining their new budget and how that translates into homes. The sellers felt it as offers dried up and escrows didn’t close. 

It’s going to take some time to hash out but life doesn’t stop.

With higher rates – buyers can afford less, so eventually, that will impact home sales and prices. But for an agent who’s always working with buyers – as scary as this all seems – this is the market we’ve been waiting for!¬†

There are going to be homes that need to sell, job transfers, wedding, babies – life events trigger moving events – no matter the market. So for the well-prepared buyer, even with higher rates – this is a rare opportunity to be – dare I say – the only offer on the table? This is where the real negotiating happens. Finding that middle ground where the buyer can buy and afford their home and the seller gets what they need to move forward with their lives. It’s the sweet spot.

If you’re a homeowner with no need to move – this doesn’t hurt you – it is all part of the normal business cycle. However, if you’re a homeowner who has to sell – well – some of your equity is lost for now. So if selling is a must – let’s sit down and chat about your goals and how we can make them happen. Because homes are still selling.

What we are seeing a shit to a buyer smakret, if a seller wants their price and a buyer can’t go that high, the buyer is moving on to the next. There are options out there, homes that need to sell, and price reductions galore. And if that is not enough incentive – I’ll say it – just offer a fair price. Finding that middle ground doesn’t have to be a mystery.¬†

For buyers – this is a wonderful time to prepare. Get your loan approved, and understand your budget and the impact of the Interest Rate. Are their homes in your reach? Then go for it? If not – then save and wait but keep that goal in mind. SAVE SAVE SAVE!

Now here’s the golden rule – Marry the House – Date the Rate. If you can afford any Real Estate in the Bay Area – even if it is not your dream house – buy it. Hold it and when the rates go down – refinance – and when the home values go up-sell and make your move. This is how it is done, the old addave – Buy Low Sell High – applies. 

So how low will it go? Not that low. Let’s stay realistic – we’re not dropping to 1990 prices – but we will see prices reflect the higher rate. 

Truthfully – for buyers – this is exciting because – if you can buy a home for less – you can always REFINANCE out of that high rate when rates go down! So Marry the House – Date the Rate! I said it three times – it’s gotta be ringing in your ears by now.

Each market is impacted differently – if you’re thinking about selling and buying – The Caton Team is here to guide you. We’ve worked through several different market dynamics and have the wisdom and knowledge to aid us and better serve you. Reach out – we’re happy to help.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email |

Previous Article…
It’s the middle of 2022. The “Pandemic Real Estate” seems to have simmered down with the rate hike as we watch prices adjust. With so much chatter about “this crazy market”, I thought I’d share my insight.
Interest Rates go up and down. That’s what they do, and rates will continue to do so. We don’t control the rates. As it fluctuates – it is wise to consider saving to buy down your rate and when budgeting – round up to account for a higher rate. I prefer knowing if I lock a lower rate – I’m more than comfortable with my payments.
Back in the 80’s rates for home loans were 13%. Back in the early 2000s, we were around 5%, then we dipped down to 3% and life was good.
Now that rates are dancing around 4.5-5% over the past few weeks – we are experiencing two phenomena. Well-positioned homes are still seeing multiple offers and over-list price sales while some homes are dropping their price to garnish more viewers.

I’ve had some clients jump into getting approved – knowing when the market “slows down” they have a better chance of getting a home. I also see some clients stalling, a wait-and-see approach. Especially when a lot of “down payment funds” are tied up in stocks – those clients are forced to wait.
But if there is one thing I want to make clear – in the Bay Area – this was and is not a crazy market. This IS our market.
The San Francisco Peninsula – Silicon Valley – has had limited inventory for sale at any given time. I’ve been a full-time Realtor for going on 19 years now and we’ve always had limited inventory – thus the overbidding. Coupled with high salaries and when the Stock Market is robust – there is no stopping the Real Estate Market around here. This has fueled our prices, the over-bidding with the already low inventory – it’s classic
Supply & Demand.
What I do know Рeveryone needs somewhere to live and owning your own place is the best way to keep a roof over your head and create long-term wealth. Real Estate is the only investment you can live in. Real Estate prices may flux month over month, year over year Рbut decade over decade РReal Estate will appreciate. They have since 1849…

I am no economist and I too am glued to the news about our economy, interest rates, inflation, and gas prices. All this will be represented in Real Estate and why long-term vision is key.

Let’s look at the big picturea few questions to help you determine your course.

Do you want to live in the Bay Area?

Is your job in the Bay Area?

Do you want long-term financial security?

Do you want to stop worrying about your rent going up?

Do you have assets to invest in?

If your answer is yes, – you want to own a piece of Silicon Valley – contact The Caton Team. We’re happy to guide you through the steps of homeownership. If you’re not ready to buy today – we’ll let you know what it takes so you can plan.

I became a Realtor because, as a first-generation American, I understood what the American Dream was and it is grounded in Real Estate.

If you are considering a sale or purchase of Real Estate – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job as your Realtor. We love what we do, let us take care of you.

We believe to be successful in the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts.  

A mother and daughter-in-law team with 40 years of combined, local real estate experience, knowledge, and know-how – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text | 650.799.4333 | Email |

Effective. Efficient. Responsive. What can The Caton Team do for you?

The Caton Team ~ A Family of Realtors

Susan & Sabrina

Sabrina | Call | Text | 650.799.4333

Susan | Call | Text | 650.796.0654 


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The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge Рwould’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

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Home Prices Cooling Slightly…

I had to share this article from the SF Chronicles Kathleen Pender. ¬†On that note – I can feel the shift in the market as I type this. ¬†July is coming and vacations are happening – and suddenly the mad house of the Spring market is settling down. ¬†Can you believe – some homes only received 1 offer. ¬†But let’s not forget – all we need is one offer per house. ¬†So enjoy this article – I would love to hear your thoughts!

-Sabrina Caton


Home Prices Cooling Slightly by Kathleen Pender


Although it might not seem like it in San Francisco, the overheated housing market seems to be cooling off.

It’s not that home prices are falling, they are just rising at a slower¬†pace.

This week S&P/Case-Shiller reported that its 20-city home price index rose “only” 10.8 percent in April compared with April of last year. That was a smaller increase than the 11.6 percent analysts were expecting, and substantially lower than in previous months. All 20 metro areas except Boston saw smaller year-over-year price¬†increases.

The rate of appreciation has been declining every month since November, when prices rose 13.7 percent over the previous year. In March, the increase was 12.5 percent.

Prices “are coasting back into a more normal situation,” said David Blitzer, a managing director with S&P.

The same pattern holds in the San Francisco metro area, which also includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo counties.

Year over year, prices rose 18.2 percent in April, compared to 21.2 percent in March and 25.7 percent in September.

Blitzer expects this trend to continue, in part because there has been a drop-off in the number of corporations buying houses to rent out. He predicts that by the end of 2014, year-over-year price increases will be in the 4 to 7 percent range.

The Case-Shiller report confirms other signs that suggest the real estate market is losing momentum.

Asking prices for homes nationwide rose 8 percent year-over-year in May, their slowest rate in 13 months, Trulia reported this month. Asking prices tend to lead sales prices by about two months, making them a good early warning signal.

“In the markets with the most extreme rebounds, there has been a clear slowdown in price gains. That is a good thing. That is happening even before we have gotten back to a housing bubble,” Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko¬†said.

Despite the sharp increase in prices, Trulia estimates that homes nationwide were still undervalued by 3 percent in the second quarter of 2014, compared with 5 percent undervalued in the first quarter and 8 percent undervalued a year ago.

At their extremes, homes were 39 percent overvalued in the second quarter of 2006 and 15 percent undervalued in the fourth quarter of 2011.

To determine whether a particular market is over- or undervalued, Kolko looks at factors such as its price-to-income ratio, price-to-rent ratio and prices relative to its own long-term trends.

Even though prices in San Francisco are astronomical, the market was only 6 percent overvalued relative to its long-term fundamentals in the second quarter. Nine other cities were more overvalued, including San Jose (11 percent) and Oakland (10 percent).

Stan Humphries, chief economist with Zillow, said he expects “a substantial moderation in home value growth” as the market transitions from one fueled by ultra-low interest rates and tight inventory to one fueled by household formation and income growth. Although the latter is more organic and sustainable, it’s also slower-growing than the¬†former.

Zillow’s price index, which has wider geographic coverage than Case-Shiller’s, indicates that prices nationwide rose 5.4 percent in May compared to May of 2013. “Our forecast is that home prices over the next year will rise 3 percent,” Humphries¬†said.

In San Francisco alone, Patrick Carlisle of Paragon Real Estate said, there was no evidence of a slowdown in April or May. “This is the most ferocious spring I have ever seen,” said Carlisle, who has been tracking the market since the late 1980s. “In May, 29 percent of all sales (in San Francisco were) 20 percent or more over asking,” he¬†said.

“I’m seeing some signs of a slowdown in June. Inventory is starting to pick up for the first time in a long time,” he said, “and the percentage of listings under contracts is going down a little¬†bit.”

But the market typically slows down in June, and there are no data yet for sales that closed in June.

It’s too soon to say whether the June slowdown is merely seasonal or reflects “buyer exhaustion or some sort of shift in the market,” Carlisle¬†said.

Moody’s upgrades California: Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday raised California’s credit rating by one level to Aa3, its fourth-highest grade, from¬†A1.

Before the upgrade, Moody’s had California rated one notch higher than rival agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Now, it has California rated two steps¬†higher.

This is the fist time Moody’s upgraded the state’s general obligation bond rating since 2006. The last time it was at its new level, Aa3, was in May 2001, says Moody’s spokesman David Jacobson.

S&P upgraded the state to single-A from A-minus in January 2013. Fitch Ratings raised its rating to single-A from A-minus in August.

As strengths, the report cited California’s large and diverse economy, high wealth, improving liquidity and governance improvements leading to on-time budgets for the past three years. It also cited “significant improvement in budget deficits through revenue surges and conservative measures to rein in¬†spending.”

As “challenges,” it cited the state’s highly volatile revenue structure (which is heavily dependent on tax revenue from high-income people and capital gains), governance restrictions such as the supermajority needed to raise taxes, lack of reserves for a rainy day and its reliance in the past on one-time fixes to close budget¬†gaps.

Even after the upgrade, California “is still on the lower side for states,” Jacobson said. Two other states, Arizona and Connecticut, have the same rating as California, Aa3. Only New Jersey and Illinois have lower¬†ratings.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Net Worth runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail: Blog: Twitter: @kathpender


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