As we did at the end of January, and will continue do at the end of each month, below is the year-to-date tally of new residential listings in San Carlos for both single-family residences and for condos and townhomes. This is an important statistic to track because it’s essentially the supply element of the supply-versus-demand equation that is the economic engine for any market, regardless of whether it’s a home or any other commodity. If the supply is tight and the demand is high, prices go up — and vice versa.
So far this year in San Carlos, we have two different trends in play depending on whether you’re talking about single-family homes, or condos and townhouses.
As we have discussed numerous times on the site this year, the rate of new listings for single-family residences in San Carlos has been dropping consistently for the past 4 years. And as of the end of February, nothing has happened to reverse that trend. San Carlos only saw 35 new single-family homes hit the market in the first two months of the year, even despite a Leap Day this year on a Monday. That’s a 19% drop from just last year, and more significant, the lowest level for the first two months in at least the last 14 years — and conceivably quite a bit longer than that, since the MLS data only goes back to 2002.
This trend has been a thorn in the side of home buyers ever since the market turned upward in 2011. It’s the primary cause of the meteoric rise in home prices in San Carlos, and it’s just an exhausting market for buyers to survive in since they’re virtually guaranteed to be in a multiple offer scenario on any house they write on.
Quite to the contrary, condo and townhome listings seem to be quite robust, with 19 new listings to hit the market since the beginning of the year. Most notably, there have been quite a few units in the past few weeks to pop up in the Brittan Heights complex on top of the hill. This figure is up 27% from just last year, and represents the strongest listing start since 2011.
Why is it such a difference from the single-family home market? I believe there are two factors in play. First of all, more condos and townhomes are held as investment properties than are single-family homes. Investors are keenly aware that prices are at the highest levels they have ever been, and perhaps some are opting to to cash out and move their investment elsewhere.
The other reason is that by definition, the condo and townhouse market is very much a transitional market for many homeowners — it’s a step on the way to a larger home for many families, so one would expect that they will be bought and sold more often — although one has to wonder where these sellers are purchasing, since there are so few single-family home listings.
Here’s the listing data for the first two months of the year:
(Source: Multiple Listing Service. This data is for homes that were listed on the MLS, or for off-market sales that were recorded on the MLS for comparative purposes. It does not account for any private, unreported sales.)
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