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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 9-14-13.

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Slowing Down?

One of the ways that you can use to gauge the heat of the real estate market is to look at the number of pending sales.  One might think that it would be to look at the sold homes, but the homes that are listed as “sold” below actually went pending 3-4 weeks ago, and just closed escrow this past week.   The number of pending sales gives you an idea of how many people are writing offers on homes, and by that measure it was a slow week in San Carlos.   Only 3 single-family residences went into contract, and not a single condo or townhome took an offer.

Is this a trend?  One week’s data does not make a trend — it just means it was a slow week.  But I am hearing the sentiment more and more often from buyers and agents that the market seems to be cooling down.  I’m not totally convinced of that yet — perhaps a few more weeks of consistent data like this will change my mind.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 9-14-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-14-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
5 3
Average Sold Price
$1,173,000 $1,115,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$729 $759
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 103% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 21 12
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 30 32
Inventory of Active Listings:
23 22
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,445,210 $1,458,990
Average DOM of Active Listings: 37 31
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $605 $601
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.77 : 1 0.69 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Forget the Facebook Effect. Google is Rocking this Housing Market.

September 12, 2013 San Carlos Real Estate 4 Comments
goo

An UnLikely Outcome.

Last year around this time, talk in the real estate circles was dominated by a mythical topic known as “the Facebook Effect”.  In essence, the Facebook Effect was an expectation that at any minute a busload of newly minted millionaires sporting Facebook t-shirts would magically appear in our neighborhoods and snap up all of the available listings (paying cash, of course), thus driving home prices to even more unaffordable levels.   At this time last year the company had been public for only about 4 months, and the lock-up period for many of the employees was due to expire soon, so everyone was holding their breath waiting for this momentous occasion.

Well, as we now know, this gravity-altering event never happened.   Not only did Facebook’s stock price drop significantly after the IPO, but we also learned a valuable lesson about the living preferences of wealthy, 20-somethings:   As “happening” as we think San Carlos is with its great schools and trendy downtown, it can’t hold a candle to the entertainment and cultural richness that San Francisco provides.   And the executive ranks of Facebook can generally afford the most upscale neighborhoods in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, or Atherton — and probably didn’t need the IPO money to do so in the first place.

So the Facebook Effect never really materialized here in San Carlos.  At least not yet.  But there is another technology giant whose spectacular growth is indeed having a profound impact on the local real estate market: Google.

A Search for Home.

It has been well documented how Google’s presence over the past decade has completely changed the commercial AND residential real estate landscape in places like Mountain View,  Los Altos, and Palo Alto — communities that are close to their headquarters.   But because of their steady growth since the end of the recession, their impact is being felt over a much larger radius encompassing not only the obvious trendy picks such as San Francisco, but also smaller communities like San Carlos.

The last three home buyers that I have placed are all Google employees.  They didn’t refer one another to me, because they’ve never met.   So statistically, that tells me that there are many Google employees that are in the market to purchase homes; a sentiment that is shared by other Realtors that I have spoken with.   One of these buyers told me an amazing story that illustrates just how fast this company is growing:  He started as a new Google employee in their Kirkland facility only 3 years ago.  Today,  he is already above the 50th percentile in seniority in the entire company.  In other words, in only 3 years they have hired more employees after he was hired than they did before (after you factor out attrition).   Now that’s amazing growth.

Need more proof? You need only watch the ever-growing number of  white Google buses as they maneuver the Bay Area highways shuttling their employees to and from work every day to know that this company is growing by leaps and bounds.  Google’s network of buses alone rivals the size of most municipal transit networks in the Bay Area.

Look Around.

There is an old saying in the real estate business that everyone knows someone who is a Realtor, whether it’s a friend, relative, or neighbor.   I know all too well how true this is.   But in this growing tech economy, the same can almost be said about Google — soon, everyone will know someone that works at this great company.  And they are having a tremendous impact on our local real estate market.
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Condo/Townhome Prices Surge in San Carlos

September 10, 2013 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
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Full Recovery?

Much time has been spent on this site documenting the incredible rise of single family home prices in San Carlos so far in 2013.  In the Mid-Year Check In back in July, we documented how the average price of a single-family home rocketed upward by 15% from the previous year, and the gain in median pricing was even higher.

But what has been happening with the condo and townhouse market in San Carlos?   Back when the real estate market tanked in 2008, this segment took an especially harsh beating.  The precipitous drop in condo and townhouse values resulted in a much higher rate of short sales and foreclosures in the subsequent years than what we saw with single family residences.   Large complexes such as Brittan Heights were especially hard hit, as values fell by 20% or more.  For a period of time after ’08, it seemed like every other unit that hit the market was either a short sale or a bank-owned property.

Well, as you can see from the charts below, the gold rush of 2013 has been very good to the condo and townhouse market in San Carlos too.    It’s pretty safe to deduce, just like we did with single family residences, that this segment of the market has fully recovered from depths of the recession.

This chart shows the average sales price for all condos and townhomes in San Carlos over the past 5 years.   Not only has this metric rocketed upward by 32% from just last year, it’s evident that sales prices have more than fully recovered from the post-recession slide of those years after 2008.

Average Sales Price: San Carlos Condos and Townhomes.

Average Sales Price: San Carlos Condos and Townhomes.

Taking a look at the median sales price performance over the past 5 years shows a similar result: >>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 9-7-13.

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Watching the Calendar.

Now that we are past the Labor Day Weekend, some buyers are starting to nervously watch the calendar and wondering if they’re going to find their home before we settle in for the traditional slow-down after the Thanksgiving holiday.    The good news is that we still have a good solid 2-2.5 months of market time before we hit that point.  And from discussions that I have had with other Realtors, as well as other professionals who are typically involved in the preparation of a listing (inspectors, stagers, title reps), they are all extremely busy right now — which seems to indicate that we’re going to have a very robust inventory turn during this Fall market.   If the past few weeks are any indication, there should be plenty to see in the upcoming month.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 9-7-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-7-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
3 3
Average Sold Price
$1,155,000 $1,221,963
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$759 $638
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 112% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 12 17
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 32 29
Inventory of Active Listings:
22 22
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,458,990 $1,466,586
Average DOM of Active Listings: 31 31
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $601 $639
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.69 : 1 0.76 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Podcast: Are Some San Carlos Sellers Leaving Money on the Table?

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Three Common Causes.

As crazy as it sounds in a market where homes are fetching such astronomically high prices, some home San Carlos home sellers may still be leaving some money on the table.  Try not to laugh too hard, but it’s absolutely true.   There are a variety reasons why this may happen, but we’ll discuss the three most common ones on this podcast:

  1. Pricing the Home Too Low.
  2. Inadequate Preparation.
  3. Lack of Market Exposure.

In a market as hot as the one that we’re experiencing, why run the risk of not getting top dollar for your home?  Click on the podcast player below to find out more.


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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Is Somebody Taking Pictures of Your New San Carlos Home?

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It’s Probably Just an Appraiser.

So you’ve just closed escrow on your new residence in San Carlos — you’ve got all your furniture in place, unpacked most of your boxes, and are just starting to settle into the vibe of your new neighborhood.   Suddenly, you see somebody pull up in front of your house, get out and take a few pictures of your home, and then get back in the car and drive away.    A couple of days later, somebody else does the same thing.   And so on, and so on  — for a few weeks.

Sound a bit disconcerting?  With all of the residential burglaries that have been happening in San Carlos lately, it’s easy for something like this to make a homeowner a little uneasy.   I have gotten several phone calls about this exact situation from a couple of clients that I’ve placed recently in San Carlos.  But the good news is that the people who are taking photos of your home are probably just appraisers.  With the rapidly escalating market that we’ve seen in 2013, appraisers really need to have recent comparable sales to justify the home that they’re appraising.  Homes that sold even 3 or 4 months ago are now outdated as comps.  So the newer the home sale, the better.

But why can’t they just pull the photo of the home from the MLS?   According to John Anderson, a Certified Residential Appraiser:

On ALL lender-related appraisals, appraisers are required to take exterior front photos of the comparable sales and listings selected for the subject property (even possible comps which may not eventually be used).

The only time we are excused from this (taking exterior front photos of the comps) by lenders is if people are visible in front of the home; it that is the case when we go by to take the photos, then we are required to state that as the reason why we used the MLS photo instead.  Some lenders request us to return to the comp at a later time/date to take the comp photos when people are not present/visible in front of the home.  The reason we can’t have people in the comp photos is because it’s a fair lending law.

The reason appraisers are required to do this (rather than use the front photos from the MLS) is to verify if there are any negative externalities (negative external influences) which would affect the value of a property, e.g., if the comps are on a busy street, or if there are electric power line pylons, if the comp is next to a gas station, backs to (or sides to, or is across the street from) apartment buildings, etc.  If there are negative externalities, a positive location adjustment is made (provided the subject is not on a busy street, backs or sides to apartment buildings, etc.).

So you see, there is likely a very good explanation as to why somebody is snapping pictures of your home.  But when it doubt, you can always ask them for ID and confirm that’s what they’re doing it for.   Better to be safe than sorry!
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 8-31-13.

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The Fall Market is Here.

Bring on the Fall market in San Carlos!  The stats below capture the essence of the first week of a typical Fall market in San Carlos — LOTS of sales.  As I’ve stated before numerous times on the site, the kickoff of the Fall market coincides with the return to school for the majority of kids.   In years past, that used to be after Labor Day weekend, but every year it seems like that date keeps creeping forward (especially if you get a student’s opinion on that.)   Last week was the first week that pretty much all kids were back to school.  And the buying numbers reflected it.

13 homes were went into contract, making it one of the busier buying weeks so far this year.   But only 5 new listings hit the market, so the brief “glut” of inventory that we had is evaporating rapidly.   At the time of this post, we are back down to 22 homes for sale in the entire city.   And that number will likely drop this week before it rises again.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 8-31-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 8-31-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
3 7
Average Sold Price
$1,221,963 $1,100,143
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$638 $808
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 112% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 17 11
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 29 18
Inventory of Active Listings:
22 31
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,466,586 $1,421,575
Average DOM of Active Listings: 31 29
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $639 $630
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.76 : 1 1.7 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 8-24-13.

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Affordable Options.

There are lots of interesting gems to be found in the numbers below which reflect last week’s real estate activity in San Carlos.  The first one to touch on is affordability.  There was a nice push of new listings again last week, which is keeping the inventory of new homes over the 30 mark.   But what was particularly interesting about last week was the affordability factor.  Of the 11 homes to debut on the market, 64% of them were under the $1M mark.  This will give first time buyers a level of choice that they haven’t had all year.

The other interesting number is the active/pending ratio.  This number has been mired at ridiculously low levels all year, well under the 1 mark.   But this past week, it surged to the highest point this year at 1.7.   This ratio is a good measure of buying vs listing activity, and looking at the numbers below for last week it shouldn’t be a surprise to see this number surge — 11 new listings compared to only 3 homes going into contract.   1.7 is not an abnormally high number, but it’s an indication that the pace of selling activity is slowing somewhat in San Carlos.

The third number that jumps out is $1,202.   That’s the price per square foot that the house on 1324 Oakhurst Avenue fetched when it closed escrow this week.  Shocking?  Not when you consider that the home sits on a nearly 10,000 sq foot flat lot on a fantastic San Carlos street.   This just drives home the point I made in this post about lot values in San Carlos — sometimes the dirt drives the value of the sale, and the structure is just an afterthought.  This sale was a perfect example of that scenario.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 8-24-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 8-24-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
7 5
Average Sold Price
$1,100,143 $1,278,857
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$808 $709
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 112% 108%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 11 12
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 18 21
Inventory of Active Listings:
31 25
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,421,575 $1,543,754
Average DOM of Active Listings: 29 35
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $630 $651
Active-Pending Ratio:
1.7 : 1 1.2 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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