The Riviera real estate market in 2014 experienced a continuation of the steady price appreciation that has been the norm for the past three years.  The final median price for the year was $1,700,000 which represents a 10% increase from 2013 and a 21% increase over the last three years.

 A closer look at the numbers shows an interesting parallel to last year’s market dynamic of strong appreciation in the first half followed by a leveling off in the second half.  In fact, prices increased in both 2013 & 2014 by about 10% in the first half and remained the same for the second half.  The major difference in 2014 was that there was much more activity in the higher price ranges.  There were twice as many sales over $2 million and more than double the amount of sales over $3 million compared to 2013.  Furthermore, the continuing dynamic of low inventory has not changed much in the last two years.  As a result, the number of overall sales is down about 15% from what we witnessed in 2012.

 I expect the trend of moderate appreciation to continue throughout 2015, and I am hopeful that the inventory experiences a more dramatic increase this year which will result in a stronger market overall.  I continue to receive many inquiries from my colleagues who are working with buyers looking for Riviera homes to purchase.  An increase in inventory would help alleviate some of this buyer demand and result in a balanced market between buyers and sellers which we have not witnessed for some time.





The general message from the first half of this year is that the steady rebound in appreciation that we have enjoyed for the last two years is continuing.  The median price for the first six months of 2014 was $1,700,000 which is a 10% increase from last year and now represents a substantial 21% rebound from the low point of the “great recession”  just 2 ½ years ago.  Additionally, the pace of sales and the level of inventory have both accelerated substantially after a relatively quiet first quarter of the year.

 The biggest reason for the continued price appreciation is that the inventory of homes in the low end of the market has declined and the pace of sales in the higher end has increased.  To illustrate this in more detail, last year there were 10 sales under $1 million in the Rivera and surrounding areas that I track whereas this year there have only been 2 sales in this category.  On the other end of the spectrum, there were only 3 sales over $3 million in 2013 and this year there has already been 5 sales in the high end including 2 sales above $4.5 million.  The other contributing factor is that the inventory of homes for sale has increased substantially within the past few months.   In fact, there were nearly 3 times as many sales in the second quarter than in the first primarily due to the increased availability of homes on the market.

 As I was writing this column six months ago the inventory of homes for sale was quite low and there was little indication that this trend was going to change.  Consequently it was difficult to predict what the 2014 market had in store because there simply wasn’t enough inventory to satisfy the demand.  I can now report with confidence that the market should continue on its current path of strong sales activity and steady appreciation due to the more balanced level of supply and demand that is currently taking place.  We are starting to witness a subsiding of the appreciation rate which I suspect will continue through the end of the year.  With this in mind I would caution potential sellers about the strategy of waiting for home values to increase further before putting their home on the market. 

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