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San Carlos Real Estate May 21, 2012

Seeking Market Sanity in Belmont?

by Chuck Gillooley

Sister Cities.

Aside from sharing a city boundary, Belmont actually has quite a bit in common with San Carlos.  With it’s small town feel, great location, outstanding schools and its nice downtown, Belmont often ends up side-by-side on the search criteria for many prospective home buyers.   On top of that, Belmont also adds in its own mix of unique architecture and geography that separates it from San Carlos in many respects.

So when you consider the insanely high demand for homes in San Carlos that’s being exacerbated by a shortage of listings,  you can see why some home buyers are casting aside their aspirations of living in San Carlos and heading for higher ground in Belmont.

Relief in Belmont?

And why shouldn’t they?   With horror stories of multiple offers and massive over-bidding, buyers are either afraid to jump into the San Carlos market or they’re simply tired of getting out-gunned in such a competitive arena.   Consider the following recent home transactions, all of which are in the red-hot sub-$1M market:

  • House #1:  Received 13 offers in the first week.  Sold for 13.1% over list.
  • House #2:  Received 14 offers in the first week.  Now pending sale at 11.5% over list.
  • Home #3:  Received 11 offers in the first week.  Now pending sale at 16% over list.

And for every one of these examples above, there are countless others.  With all of that going on, you can see why buyers would cast San Carlos aside and head for Belmont, right?

Except for one significant detail — those examples above are not San Carlos transactions.  They’re Belmont homes.  Yep, lest you think you can escape the craziness of the San Carlos market by heading north, you’re not going to find relief from this hot market in Belmont right now.   Everything that makes San Carlos a desirable place to live is driving the Belmont market to a fever pitch.

Side By Side.

Take a look at how the market in both cities is shaping up so far in 2012:

Sales Metric
San Carlos Belmont
Homes Sold in 2012:
118 86
Average Sold Price:
$961,299 $893,823
Average Home Size:
1,869 sq feet 1,886 sq feet
Average $/Sq Foot:
$542 $498
Sold Price vs Orig List:
99% 100%
Average DOM of Closed Sales: 48 44
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 40 35
Inventory of Active Listings:
37 27
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,206,612 $1,070,021
Average DOM of Active Listings: 20 31

As I have discussed several times before on this site, Belmont is generally a bit less expensive than San Carlos.  With a nearly 9% premium in $/sq foot in San Carlos, you generally get more house for your money in Belmont.    And that’s what’s driving so many buyers to Belmont right now.

So if you’re considering Belmont as an alternative to San Carlos, brace yourself for an equally competitive market.  Belmont, much like its sibling San Carlos, is no longer a well-kept secret with home buyers.

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Seeking Market Sanity in Belmont?, 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Comments 3
  • Belmont has a “downtown”? Who knew….

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  • Personally, we looked at homes in Belmont before buying in San Carlos, but I can’t see paying similar prices for the labrynth of narrow, poorly lit streets, many with no sidewalks and limited or no parking and no real downtown to speak of. When we were shopping, Belmont was on average 10% cheaper when comparing similar homes.

    San Carlos’ proximity is probably propping up their prices, but, imho, the current Belmont buyers are not getting the same bang for their buck as they would in San Carlos.

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  • You both are dead on, were is the downtown? Is it the Carlmont plaza? Is it the El camino real area by Safeway? Not really sure if that qualifies as an official downtown. I agree, the streets are narrow, often very hilly, no sidewalks (although many areas of San Carlos have no sidewalks too). San Carlos is where its at and I am glad we got in this year before the prices continue to skyrocket. Loving it!!!

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