Buying a home is a personal and financial decision that should not be taken lightly. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the market for a house in the Bay Area, you have thousands of choices to make. Your future house’s location is the main characteristic that can’t be changed; wherever you buy, you will have a whole cabinet of financial decisions.
That’s why Jill Fusari is here. She has compiled this guide to help you consider whether the Alamo, Calif. real estate market is right for you. Read on to learn what draws people to Alamo, what the local market is like, and how national trends could affect local home sales in 2023.
Why buy in Alamo?
For many reasons, Alamo is one of the most sought-after areas in Northern California. Here are a few things people love about this community.
More space and natural beauty
Its 13,000-odd residents are spread across about 10 square miles — an incredibly low population density compared to most of the Bay Area. Much of Contra Costa County is devoted to nature, peaking at Mt. Diablo, the summit of which can be reached via hiking trails from the surrounding foothills. Beautiful Alamo comprises rolling hills, designated wilderness areas, and luxury houses perched on large, serene, secluded lots.
Poised above Oakland and San Francisco
In many ways, Alamo’s rural-suburban feel is the polar opposite of urban San Francisco, making for an exciting contrast. Certainly, Alamo enjoys better weather than the peninsula. Its residents can easily access transit to the city via the Walnut Creek BART station. Still, it’s not like you have to leave Alamo for boutique shopping and quality restaurants.
Families looking to set down roots in the East Bay region can take comfort in Alamo’s excellent public schools. Locals are served by the Contra Costa County R-1 School District, which operates three elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Each of these schools rates a perfect 10/10 on GreatSchools.
High rate of homeownership
In addition to great schools, Alamo features a very high percentage of residents owning their homes. About 93% of Alamo residents own their homes, a rate that far exceeds California and national averages. With many long-tenured residents living in Alamo, you need not worry about high turnover rates, spotty occupancy, or rapid municipal changes.
Alamo, Calif., real estate is in high demand. Because the area is popular with investors and developers, we expect property values to appreciate locally, especially in these four neighborhoods.
The gated community of Stonegate is situated in the foothills of the iconic Mt. Diablo.
Stonegate residents pursue all manner of outdoor activities: you can go hiking, jogging, biking, and horseback riding. Look here for custom-made homes with the help of a quality agent like Jill.
Iron Horse Estates
With luxury homes on woodland lots, Iron Horse Estates is ideal for anyone seeking an intimate neighborhood with ample privacy. You can easily cycle the Iron Horse Regional Trail into Walnut Creek and its excellent dining. This neighborhood boasts large trees and finely manicured landscaping.
Mere minutes from downtown Alamo, Jones Ranch has some of the best views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a gated community with luxury estates on substantial lots and no HOA fee. Homes are well cared for, and downtown Alamo is well within reach.
Buy like a pro in Alamo
The constituent neighborhoods of Alamo offer the utmost luxury for all residents. Now that you know what qualities distinguish Alamo, read on to learn why buying a home in Alamo, CA, is an excellent investment.
We can say for sure that Alamo has a limited inventory. Per the Contra Costa Association of Realtors (CCAR), the town saw only 18 new listings in February 2023. Over the same time period, there were 11 pending sales and just four closed sales. The total inventory of 34 local homes closely matches Jill’s 33 available residences as of March 2023.
Working with such a small sample size, the rate statistics for Alamo can be misleading. Jill’s active listings in Alamo range from $1.6 million to $8.5 million. With a lack of condos and limited inventory, you can expect to pay a premium for a luxury home in Alamo. The local median sales price was $2.5 million in February 2022, down from about $3 million the year before.
For added context, we can use the six-month rolling average of median sales prices. This data point closely mirrors MLS data nationwide but with more extreme highs and lows. Alamo homes lagged behind MLS averages from December 2020 through July 2021, then spurted ahead from December 2021 through November 2022. Both Alamo and national median sales prices have been in a freefall since peaking in May 2022.
On average, sellers are recouping about 2% higher sales prices compared to list prices. Meanwhile, even in the slow season, luxury homes routinely sell in less than a month. Because conditions favor sellers, strongly consider working with a savvy agent like Jill to negotiate a more buyer-favorable deal in 2023.
Home sales rates declined across the country in 2022, and vestiges of this trend remain early in 2023. According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), California's home sales volume is expected to decrease substantially in 2023. Home values have been on the upswing, with the statewide median increasing from about $563,000 in 2021 to about $603,000 in 2022. Even so, the CAR anticipates lower median home prices statewide in 2023.
Despite the storm clouds hanging above the American economy and housing market, the niche luxury market in Alamo is insulated to some extent. The above statistics show an increasingly more balanced market in Alamo. When homes sell relatively quickly and for about the same as their listing prices, it’s a safe bet that buyers and sellers are happy with their results. As a buyer, you can still be picky and patient in search of your dream home, whether in Alamo or a comparable community like Danville.
Money-saving tips for buying a home in Alamo
As a buyer, you deserve to gain every advantage entering the market for luxury homes in Alamo. Here are a few of our informed opinions.
Find the best mortgage rate
Mortgage rates are a significant variable in any home search, and finding the best mortgage rate requires several steps. These steps include improving your credit score, building a steady employment record, saving for a bigger down payment, and better understanding your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Consider applying for alternative loan types and shopping among multiple lenders to compare their rates.
Use a bigger down payment to keep monthly payments down
As a rule of thumb, it is always advised to make a down payment of at least 20 percent when buying a house. While this isn’t always feasible for all home buyers, doing so will unlock many benefits. If you put down more than 20 percent, you will have an even lower monthly mortgage payment. The more money you put down, the lower your monthly bill.
Increase your credit score
Your credit score is fundamental to your mortgage rate. The higher your credit score number, the lower your mortgage rate. Because of this, increasing your credit score as quickly as possible before you shop around for houses is a great way to save money in the long run. While there are numerous ways to increase your credit score, keeping your debt-to-credit ratio in check is the most effective way.
Need help buying a home in Alamo, CA?
Alamo, Calif., is an excellent place to live, and hiring an experienced local real estate agent is a must. Search now for homes for sale in Alamo, CA.
Your agent can help you negotiate the asking price and help you find ways to save money. Do you want to work with the very best? If you are buying a home in Alamo, CA, contact skilled and knowledgeable realtor Jill Fusari today to help you find your dream home. Working with Jill, you gain a fierce advocate with the many resources of The Agency. Jill runs point for the agency — contact her today to get started.