Coldwell Banker has long been a world leader in the sale of luxury homes, thanks to its Previews International luxury market program. Now, the company is taking that prestigious program to even greater heights by elevating its Previews agent certification program, expanding global marketing offerings and cultivating growth in its digital and print content.

Last year alone, Coldwell Banker sold 25,000 homes worth $1 million or more, including some of the world’s most distinguished properties. The new Previews luxury program is designed to increase that performance, especially in the rapidly-expanding global luxury real estate market.

Coldwell Banker revised Previews certification course for agents includes an immersive and exclusive approach to learning how to operate in the luxury real estate market. Led by top agents in the luxury space, the fortified certification course pairs the experience and first-hand knowledge of successful luxury agents with industry-leading resources to help agents meet and exceed the expectations of their most affluent clients. The new program provides learning, networking, marketing resources and mentorship to the newest generation of up-and-coming luxury agents.

A completely redesigned luxury website,, makes it easy for agents to collaborate and share marketing materials for listings with their peers around the world. The platform will power the Previews website in multiple languages, underscoring the global appeal of luxury real estate and the strengthening of the Coldwell Banker global network. The all-new platform engages luxury real estate agents in over 75 countries globally.

Building off of past years’ successes, Coldwell Banker recently unveiled its quarterly Homes and Estates magazine. For the first time ever, the magazine, which features top listings from around the world alongside luxury lifestyle content, will be available globally on newsstands and at Barnes and Noble. The magazine will also be distributed to subscribers of Unique Homes and will be available for download on the Previews Inside Out blog.

“Coldwell Banker has been a leader in luxury real estate for more than 80 years,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “That’s not by luck, rather it’s by continually improving our program to ensure it serves the next generation of luxury customers all over the world. Each enhancement we make ensures that agents are prepared to succeed in the luxury real estate market and can effectively collaborate with their peers in our global network.”

Below is a market-by-market report from our local Northern California offices (listed by alpha):

East Bay –Berkeley and its surrounding area continues to see a growth in median prices as well as tighter inventory. For example; in Berkeley as of 11/10/16 there are only 33 houses available for sale whereas there are now 56 houses under contract. These statistics remain constant in the surrounding vicinity as well. El Cerrito currently has 19 houses available for sale and 20 under contract (.95 months’ supply). Albany has 8 homes active and 11 under contract (.73 months). In Oakland there are 304 houses available for sale and 342 under contract (.89 months) and in Richmond 118 homes active and 114 under contract (1.04 months). Take note that economists consistently define an even market between buyer and seller as being the six-month inventory supply. One caveat: the data was prior to the November 8th Presidential election. It will certainly be crucial to see if there is any movement to the numbers when we review again in two weeks. The Danville area market seems to be winding down for the holidays.  Even so, sales are being made, especially to those buyers who have been put off by the competition earlier in the year. Our Oakland-Piedmont manager says sellers are bringing their homes to market hoping to sell and close prior to the holiday season. Buyers are still out at open homes looking to get in before the holidays arrive. There are fewer multiple offers and some buyers are able to get in without competition at all, but that does not mean that they are getting in below list price.

Monterey County – The election results are in and we will see what affect the new administration will have on the Monterey area housing market, our local manager says.  So far Wall Street has responded favorably with record closing numbers. October was a strong month for our office with several significant sales in the luxury category of the market. Listings seem to have slowed somewhat in the last two weeks, which most likely was due to the election. We are looking forward to a strong fourth quarter sale figures with the anticipation of some price adjustments on the properties that seem to be languishing on the market.

North Bay – The Previews market has cooled considerably, according to our Greenbrae manager.  The overall feeling has been that segment of the market has slowed in no small part due to the uncertainty from the Presidential race and election.  The amount of pending sales in the $2 million plus range is quite low while the sales under $1 million are receiving multiple offers and still flying out the door, with 45% in that price range pending. The Southern Marin housing market is very strong below $2 million with 45% of available properties under contract, which is still a seller’s market. Agents continue to see multiple offers under $1 million. The luxury market has slowed down dramatically with only 12.5% of available properties over $2 million under contract and only 6% of properties over $3 million under contract. There are still qualified buyers looking, however they are very discerning and will only offer if the property “checks off all of their boxes.”

Placer County – Open houses were slower over the past week or so, our Auburn manager reports.  New construction companies have a push to sell outstanding inventory before the end of the year and are offering some substantial incentives to the buyers and some to the agents.  We are still seeing multiple offers on at least 50% of the offers written and some of the homes are only available to view at an open house and then offers reviewed that Monday or Tuesday following the open house.  We are also seeing more listing agents telling the selling agents that if there is an appraisal contingency in the offer, it may be rejected.  This week we have had appraisals come in $5,000-$50,000 below the offered priced and on the one that came in $50,000 below, there are 2 other offers at the full list price.  Many extra features such as built-in pools are only given a credit of $5,000-$10,000 regardless of the features.  In the Previews luxury market segment, inventory is up to two years for $1.5 million plus homes.

Sacramento County – Our Elk Grove manager says there appears to be many buyers on the fence not sensing an urgent need to act now as they await the response to the election, talk of increased interest rates and a forecasted small correction in prices. Time will tell.  There is a large gap between average list price of homes for sale and average sales price. Multiple offers have declined but there are still some in the 300k and below price point. This is still a bifurcated market, our Sacramento Metro office manager says, with the under $450,000 price range still getting many multiple offers. In the Previews luxury market, inventory is increasing and there is less urgency on the part of buyers with some price resistance.

San Francisco – Our Lakeside manager reports new listings are almost non-existent.  Are sellers spooked by the uncertainty of the election, he wonders?  Now that we have the election results behind us we can truly assess the impact of the uncertainty.  As for now, there are plenty of buyers but new sellers are staying behind the curtain. Our Lombard office manager says sales have been brisk city-wide these last two weeks. Entry homes and fixers remain the hottest. About one third of SFH’s sold at or under asking. But now two thirds of condos sold at or under, a new high in that category, with a higher percentage having had at least one price reduction.  There was a $5m and $7m sale in the last 2 weeks, but the high-end remains slow unless the property is almost flawless. Our Market Street office manager notes that the market seems to be in a state of flux as we approach the holiday season.    Some properties are selling with multiple offers (as many as eight during this period), and others are going unnoticed or are selling for less than their list price.    Some buyers have expressed anxiety over the election, and are putting their home buying plans on hold until things are more settled.

San Francisco Peninsula The Burlingame area market rebounded from a slow September. Palo Alto is seasonally quiet with low inventory and demand. Our Redwood City manager notes that this is a very unpredictable market. One Redwood City home in a desirable “family” neighborhood that was extremely dated and in need of complete “redo” listed at $979,000 and had 13 offers. Seems that almost anything in a desirable area listed under $1,000,000 will bring multiple offers. There still is a lack of sufficient inventory.

Santa Cruz County – The average price in Santa Cruz County for single family residences is still in the $890,000 range, which indicates a strong appreciation of approximately 12% of increased property value for single family residences in Santa Cruz County year to date. Supply has dwindled down to the low 300 range for single family residences but the number of pending and active contingent property listings has continued to stay quite high on a weekly basis. Coldwell Banker in Santa Cruz County has just closed two sales in the $3-5 million price ranges, which were both properties that had been accruing days on market for several months. There is some indication of strong demand for high end property, however, the high end market has slowed down significantly since its peak earlier this year. 

Silicon Valley – It’s pretty quiet out there in the Cupertino area unless you’re near the Apple Spaceship, our local manager says. Opportunities abound! Although the Los Altos area market has experienced a slight slowdown of homes coming on the market over the recent weeks, those listings that are coming on and priced to induced offers, are being absorbed quickly.  The SFR market is still strong overall.  As for the condo market, our Los Altos manager said it is red hot. Inventory is extremely low – with only a half a months of inventory on the market in Mountain View and a month’s worth of inventory in Los Altos. The luxury market (homes priced over $3.5M) is steady but, flat – with days on market and inventory going higher.  The number of sales in this market segment are down.  And at first glance, inventory would appear to be abundant however, with so few homes actually on the make this number is more of a “false” negative. Our Los Gatos manager says properties continue to sell at a brisk pace due to a shortage of inventory. There’s also been an uptick in activity in the over $5 million market. Our San Jose Almaden manager saw an uptick in the number of sales over the past 2 weeks as well as a shrinking of inventory as we head into the holidays.  All of the median sales prices were flat from the previous month even though we are still seeing multiple offers. Almaden had 28 sales, which was actually down 30% compared to last month but up 33% from October of 2015. The median sales price was $1,352,000.  Blossom Valley had a total of 104 sales, up 8.3% over last month and up a whopping 42% from October of last year.  The median sales price was $755,000.  Cambrian had a total of 77 sales, down 13.5% from last month and flat from the previous year.  The median sales price was $949,000.  Santa Teresa had a total of 20 units sold, down 26% and down 37% from last month and year respectively.  The median sales price was $760,000. Our San Jose Main office manager continues to see decreasing inventory throughout Santa Clara County – down from 20 to over 50% from peak summer inventory.  Buyers are cautious however anxious, and when a home comes on the market priced just 3-5% below market, they are quick to react.  Aggressive sellers are seeing their properties sit on the market while the smart sellers are getting the attention and even multiple offers, which were common earlier in the year.  Prices are stabilizing with the staged, move in ready homes getting the premium price while the property that needs work and does not show well is being neglected.  With the holiday season approaching some will delay their house move until next spring.  Like always during this time of year, there will be less activity with only the serious buyers and sellers still willing to make a move. The Willow Glen market is steady. There has been active listing inventory of the mid 70’s for the past two weeks, and sales have been steady with 20 new sales for the week. Agents have reported improved traffic at open house the past two weeks. Active inventory in Saratoga is 51 properties compared to same time last year of 53 properties.  Avg. sales price in Saratoga is $2.798 million compared to same time last year of $2.234 million. The high-end market in Saratoga continues to move forward.  In the last month, there have been 3 properties that have sold between $6.0-$5.3 million, 15 properties between $3.0-$4.0 million, and 11 properties between $2.0-$3.0 million.

South County – It seems that the South County housing market is certainly favoring buyers.  There are more and more homes being offered for sale, which gives buyers more choices.  At the beginning of this year most buyers were faced with limited inventory, and then if they wanted to purchase, were required to offer significantly over asking price in order to secure a property.  Now, however, agents are reporting that offers are often coming in at less than asking.  In some cases, sellers are being forced to reduce prices or make other concessions in order to generate enthusiasm and interest in their respective homes.

Tahoe & Truckee – The 2016 real estate market in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee has been a remarkable year for both sellers and buyers, according to our local manager.  There continues to be considerable activity in the market as many buyers and savvy investors are actively looking for homes. For sellers there is demand for properties in the market with inventory down.  For buyers, even though inventory is down from last year, there are quality properties to choose from throughout the north Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas.  With current home prices and favorable mortgage interest rates, real estate investors are taking advantage of this market and acquiring homes in many of the Lake Tahoe and Truckee resort communities. Luxury sales for properties priced above $1,000,000 are up a whopping 60% from 2015 luxury sales.  For 2016, there have been 254 luxury properties sold as compared to 159 sold last year for the same period.  The median sales price for luxury properties in 2016 thus far is $1,647,500, which is up almost 2% from the median sales price of $1,622,500 in 2015.  The average sale price of luxury homes in 2016 stands at $2,380,052 as compared to $2,312,685 in 2015 and is up almost 3%.


Market Watch is a bi-weekly column by Coldwell Banker San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento-Tahoe president Mike James exploring the local Northern California housing markets. Click here to view past issues.