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San Carlos Real Estate July 9, 2010

San Carlos Real Estate: 2010 Mid-Year Report.

by Chuck Gillooley

Still Ahead of 2009.

As we discussed in the San Carlos Q1-2010 Summary,  this year’s real estate market in San Carlos has started out with great promise.  At the end of the first three months, home sales outpaced the similar period in 2009 by about 6%, despite a drop in both average and median prices.   This reflected the trend of pent-up demand, favorable interest rates, and a slowly increasing consumer confidence factor in the economy.   The drop in prices partially mirrors the decline in home values, but can also be attributed to insatiable appetite in the sub-$1M, which makes up the majority of sales in San Carlos.

So has this trend continued in the second quarter?  Are we still on track to reverse the declining trend of home sales in San Carlos?   Let’s take a look at the data below…

First Half Summary.

Take a look at the monthly data for single family home sales in San Carlos through June of 2010:

San Carlos Home Sales -- Last 18 months.

Here is the most recent quarter in a little more depth…

Key Metrics Apr-Jun 2010 Previous Quarter Apr-Jun 2009
Median Price $895,000 $868,500 (+3.1%) $900,000 (-0.6%)
Average Price $985,159 $922,456 (+6.8%) $931,062 (+5.8%)
No. of Sales 74 35 (+111%) 55 (+35.0%)
Pended Properties 80 53 (+51%) 68 (+18%)
Inventory 176 100 (+76.0%) 189 (-7%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.4% 98.9% (+1.5%) 97.9% (+2.5%)
Days on Market 34 35 (-3.2%) 43 (-22.0%)

Clearly, the second quarter of 2010 was very strong compared to the same period last year.    Here are a few trends that I see from these numbers:

  • The number of homes sold increased by 35% from the year-ago quarter, despite lower inventory to choose from.
  • Average sales price increased by nearly 6%, while the median remained unchanged — this implies that prices similar sized homes are now climbing again.  This is certainly true with the 3BR/2BA home market in White Oaks and Howard Park.
  • Homes are on the market for a shorter period of time, and they’re fetching closer to the sales price.   This is a key indicator that the market has truly reached a bottom inflection point.

One datapoint that is not reflected in these numbers is the continued presence of multiple offers on San Carlos homes.  Even as we head into the slower months of the summer (July-Aug) there are instances of serious multiple bidding.   For the first half of this year, demand certainly out-stripped supply for certain types of homes in San Carlos.

But the big question is….will this strength continue in the second half?

Looking Ahead

Here’s a very high-level view of the San Carlos real estate market so far in 2010:

San Carlos Home Sales -- YTD 2010

Barring an absolute meltdown of the economy, we should finish 2010 with more home sales than 2009 — thus reversing the two year trend of declining sales in San Carlos.   One metric that indicates future growth is the number of Pending Sales — and as you can see from the table above, the number of Pending Sales in Q2 increased by 18% over the same period in 2009.  So all indications show continued market strength, at least for next few months.

Interest rates continue to be the most amazing development of the year.  The ever-popular high-balance conforming loan ($417,00 – $729,750) sits at around 4.7% today — probably a full point lower than where many thought it would be at this time.    And jumbo loans (over $729,750) have also dropped into the mid 5% range.

But continuing this market rebound won’t be without its challenges.   Recent concerns that the overall economy is showing signs of stalling in the second half has resulted in an absolute pummeling of the stock market over the past week.   Not only does this wipe out a chunk of a home-buyer’s equity, but it also injects a dose of nervousness into the market which could temper the bullish behavior that we saw in the first half.

So, it should make for an interesting second-half of 2010.  Traditionally, the market slows down in July/August, and then there’s another mini-surge between Labor Day and Thanksgiving (once the kiddies are all back in school.)   But this has been anything but a traditional year so far, and it should make for some interesting market watching in the second half.

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