According to the National Association REALTORS® (NAR), sales of investment homes increased 7 percent to nearly 1.1 million in 2015, the first time in four years.  And while vacation home sales cooled off slightly in 2015, they remained at the second highest amount in nearly a decade, NAR reported.

“Steadily increasing home prices and strong rental demand appear to be giving more individual investors assurance that purchasing real estate will diversify their portfolios and generate additional income if they decide to rent out the home.” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  “Baby boomers at or near retirement continue to propel the demand for second homes….” Yun added.

If you have been considering buying an investment property or that vacation home you’ve been dreaming about, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and its relocation group is ready to help you make your move.

While no one can predict the future, homes in popular destinations have historically been good, long-term investments while providing rental income along the way. An added bonus, there is always the possibility of retiring in your vacation or investment property someday.

There are lots of options for vacation or investment homes. Besides beach or mountain resorts, a rental house near a college campus may be a good choice, especially if you have college bound children. Investors may earn good yields on single-family rental houses in cities with many college-aged residents, according to RealtyTrac. High rents and still affordable purchase prices may make buying a college home an attractive option for investor parents.

To assist buyers, every Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage affiliated agent has access to an unsurpassed network of real estate professionals. This allows us to help get our clients where they need to go—around and beyond our local marketplace. This network includes a team of professionals that specializes in providing expert service to clients who are purchasing outside of our local area. Because we personally coordinate this process, buyers can rest assured that they will receive the service and results they have come to expect from Coldwell Banker.

The next time you or someone you know needs real estate service in or out of the area, remember that you have connections that can help take you there. Coldwell Banker agents have the necessary resources and expertise to help you every step of the way whether you are investing, trading up, downsizing, buying your first home, selling or relocating across the country. For more information, please contact your local Coldwell Banker agent.

Below is a market-by-market report from our local Northern California offices:

East Bay – In Berkeley, there are currently 31 houses available for sale and 56 under contract which translates to a .55 month inventory supply, about the same as before the presidential election. In Albany there are currently 5 houses available with 11 under contract which is a .45 month inventory supply vs .73 months two weeks prior. El Cerrito currently shows 15 active houses and 15 under contract – a one month supply and again nearly identical to the .95 months of two weeks prior. Richmond reflects a supply of 111 houses with 107 under contract (1.04 months). The month’s supply is unchanged from two weeks ago. In Oakland we see 286 houses active with 340 under contract which is a .84 month supply – a slight decrease from .89 months two weeks ago. In summary, thus far the market is responding to the events of the past two weeks with the same intensity and pace it had between mid-October and the beginning of the month, our Berkeley manager says.

Monterey County – The Monterey Peninsula follows the Bay Area trends and It seems that the holiday season has set in early, our local manager notes. The number of new listings has slowed considerably along with ratified contracts this week. Our manager is anticipating a significant close of escrow on a Pebble Beach estate the last week of the month that will push the average price up considerably. Several agents have reported that they have new listings coming on the market after the New Year holiday. if Wall Street continues on this record setting pace, we could have a great start to 2017, our manager believes. The Monterey Peninsula continues to attract the vacation home buyer and we welcome you to come and take a look at all there is to offer in our beautiful area.

North Bay – All price ranges are experienced the traditional holiday Thanksgiving slowdown, our Greenbrae manager reports.  New listing inventory slowed down immeasurably.  However offers continue to be ratified on what little new inventory there is. Our San Rafael manager says the market is experiencing the typical holiday slowdown. However there are still many sales going on in the San Rafael office under the $2,000,000 range.  Buyers are anxious to buy and smart sellers pricing their homes just below the last comp sales are receiving multiple offers.  Agents believe the new year will bring a flurry of new inventory to the market with lots of buyer activity. Buyers want to buy before the  mortgage rates increase again. The overall Southern Marin market is strong with over 40% of listings under contract and multiple offers under $1 million. Under $2 million remains a seller’s market. The Previews market continues to sell at a slower pace; With 15% of homes listed above $2 million under contract it’s clearly a buyer’s market.

Placer County – Our Auburn manager reports that there is only a couple of months of inventory in the overall market.  Agents continue to see cancellations due to appraisals and/or sellers/buyers not getting what they think they should as a result of investigations.  Agents are also seeing a few short sales.  In reviewing stats for the areas the average active price can be $667K but the average sales price may be $465K. Land seems to be selling and our office has closed several lots this month.  Listings are up about 3%. Sales and closings are also up considerably on lot purchases. In the Previews luxury market, there is more than a year of inventory in the homes priced over $750,000 in Auburn and surrounding areas.  Sales are down as much as 14%. Our Sierra Oaks manager notes that there has been increasing qualified buyer interest in past two weeks.

Sacramento County – Still increasing inventory as we head into the holiday season, reports our Sacramento Fair Oaks manager. Some sellers are even taking their homes off the market for the month of December to begin marketing again in January. There Previews market continues to see price resistance. Most of the multiple offers in the market are for homes under $450,000.

San Francisco – Sales have been steady after the election, but listings have virtually dried up, our Lakeside office manager reports.  Inventory has dropped correspondingly, signaling yet another year where listing scarcity is likely to make finding a home exceedingly difficult over the next few months at least. The market is slowing for the holidays, according to our Lombard manager. Listing count is dropping. No cancellations yet due to the election results or rate increase, he adds.

San Francisco Peninsula Our Palo Alto manager notes that the election is still having rippling effects. Overall, activity is good. It’s a quiet time in the Redwood City-San Carlos area, our local manager says. There is very little new inventory. Most agents are working with their buyers with a limited amount of inventory. Some areas are beginning to see properties stay on the market longer, usually caused by incorrect list prices.

Silicon Valley – Open houses in the immediate Cupertino area were crazy busy last week, our local manager reports. It’s getting tougher and tougher to hold transactions together. In Los Altos, continued signs of seasonal adjustments are evident with low inventory. Although there has been a slight slowdown of homes coming on the market over the recent weeks, those that are coming on and priced to induced offers, are being absorbed quickly, according to our local manager. Our Los Gatos manager says inventory remains low as the market continues to be very competitive under $2,500,000. Sales have been steady in the San Jose Almaden area and we’re seeing more multiple offers.  The listing inventory is decreasing as we’re heading into the holiday season. Average sales price in the market seems to be “flattening” out.  The average sales prices for November in Almaden is $1,338,000, Blossom Valley is $697,000, Cambrian is $944,000 and Santa Teresa is $731,000.  All of these prices are +/- 3% from the previous month and November of 2015 except for Almaden, which is down 7.5% from last month. Our San Jose Main office manager reports that inventory continues to decline as sales stay steady. New listings are becoming rare as we enter the holiday season.  Single family homes in the county dipped below 1,000 for the first time this year, down from the peak of over 1,400 homes during the summer months.  The slowdown in new listings is common during this time of year. However less than 1,000 homes in November is rare and has only occurred a few times in the last 10 years.  The lack of inventory has buyers circling back to homes they previously looked at, and agents are seeing homes get multiple offers after being on the market for 2-3 weeks.  Interest rates saw a slight increase in the past couple weeks, so that too has some buyers making the move now and not risking additional rate hikes. The Willow Glen market sees active listing inventory staying steady and homes are selling. Our office had a surprisingly strong week of sales last past week.  Many agents are getting offers accepted on the buy side at or below asking list price. There were several offers in the lower end condo market, which has not been the trend the past few months.

South County – Most real estate professionals will agree that markets can only be analyzed on a local basis.  The South County market (Morgan Hill and Gilroy), compared with our neighbors to the North (San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale) has slowed considerably, our local manager says.  Traditionally, the South County market takes about two to three months to reflect the same activity as in the more northern cities.  Presently inventory is increasing and supply is certainly keeping up (or in some cases) exceeding demand.  In addition, sales activity has traditionally slowed due to the holiday season but should be back on track as we enter 2017.

Tahoe & Truckee – Among all brokerages in the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee, Coldwell Banker ranks #1 in units sold with 662 total sales with total sales volume of $367 million.  Coldwell Banker is #2 in luxury sales with 64 units sold and $100 million in sales volume. Luxury sales for properties priced above $1,000,000 are up a staggering 63% from 2015 luxury sales.  For 2016, there have been 267 luxury properties sold as compared to 163 sold last year for the same period.  The median sales price for luxury properties in 2016 thus far is $1,560,000 which is down almost (3%) from the median sales price of $1,600,000 in 2015.  The average sale price of luxury homes in 2016 stands at $2,334,453 as compared to $2,301,202 in 2015 and is up almost 2%.

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.