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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 9-20-15.

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The Scoop.

What a difference a single week makes. At this very same time just last week we only had 13 single-family homes for sale in all of San Carlos. This week, we officially say goodbye to Summer and welcome Fall in with a relative avalanche of inventory. It has been many weeks since our inventory popped above the 20, so this is significant. It certainly gives home buyers some additional options to see, and a renewed hope that they will be able to actually secure a home with a tad less competition than what we saw in the Spring market.

It took a flurry of listing activity last week to get the inventory back up over 20. Nine homes debuted on the market over the past 7 days, making it a rather busy open house weekend for many buyers. But aside from the crazy summer heat, I’m sure buyers didn’t mind being busy — especially after so many weekends of slim pickings.  And I believe this little rally has some legs, as there will be additional listings hitting the market over the next two weeks.

Although many buyers that are still active out there are probably weary after an entire year of battling to get their home, this next 45-60 day period will be rewarding for those that can remain on task.

Here’s the recap from last week:

The Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the 7-day period ending Sunday 9-20-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-20-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 7
Average Sold Price: $3,226,667 $1,400,357
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $727 $825
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 107% 107%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 13
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 18 19
No. of New Listings: 9 6
Total # of Active Listings: 21 13
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,634,226 $1,748,688
Average DOM of Active Listings: 13 13
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $825 $864
Active-Pending Ratio: 1.2 : 1 0.68 : 1

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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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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San Carlos Notches Its First $5M Home Sale.

September 18, 2015 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
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An Exclusive Club.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later…

With the way the economy has been driving San Carlos home prices upward in leaps and bounds over the past 4 years, it was only a matter of time — after all, it was just less than two years ago that the $4M barrier in San Carlos was broken for the first time (on the MLS) with the sale of 5 Coronado Avenue at $4,500,000. That sale was a slightly different animal, since the value of that purchase was more in the 7+ acres of land, and not so much the ~800 square foot house that resided on it.

But the San Carlos real estate world was abuzz yesterday when the largest single-family residence sale (of those listed on the MLS) closed and became the exclusive member of the $5M Club in San Carlos.

168 Queens Court.

If a home in San Carlos was going to set that mark, then it makes sense that it was one of the homes up in Hyde Park. This little enclave in the upper reaches of Devonshire Canyon is home to some of the largest and most regal homes in all of San Carlos (hence the street names King and Queens Court.) The homes in Hyde Park are grand in their scale and architecture, and many sport fabulous views of the San Francisco Bay.

 

168 Queens Court, San Carlos

168 Queens Court, San Carlos

 

168 Queens Court, which was listed by Jim Arbeed of Coldwell Banker and just closed for $5,380,000, was no exception to that standard. It’s a massive house, at 6,510 square feet with 5 bedrooms, and 4.5 bathrooms. It’s situated on nearly 3/4 of an acre at the end of Queens Court, so you know the views are sublime. And the finishes are all top-notch throughout. (Click on the picture above for all of the listing details and photos.)

If a home was to be the charter member of an exclusive club, this one is certainly worthy.

Top 5 Home Sales in San Carlos.

While I was digging through the history of San Carlos single-family home sales yesterday, I was wondering what other homes 168 Queens Court surpassed on the MLS to become the top dog.  Here is a list of the top 5 homes sales in San Carlos that were reported on the MLS (unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account any private sales that were not recorded.)

San Carlos Address Sales Price Year Sold
168 Queens Court $5,380,000 2015
5 Coronado Avenue $4,500,000 2012
108 Queens Court
$3,300,000 2002
39 Oak Creek Lane
$3,200,000 2013
39 Oak Creek Lane
$3,100,000 2006

A few things of interest popped up when I was compiling this list.  First, it’s not a typo that 39 Oak Creek Lane is included in the list twice. It made the top 5 list both times it sold.

Second, the number of home sales does not grow exponentially when we look at the next segment below –  the $3M range.  There have only been 4 of those sales reported on the MLS in the history of San Carlos, and 39 Oak Creek Lane was two of those four.  So the class of homes that have sold for $3,000,000 or higher in San Carlos remains quite exclusive with a membership of 5.

But the way house prices are climbing in San Carlos, I have a hunch that club will be getting quite a few new members in the coming years…
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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 Honeymoon Period for San Carlos Home Listings.

September 16, 2015 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
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A Shelf Life.

There is a conversation that I have with every one of my home sellers that revolves around what I refer to as the “Honeymoon Period” of their listing. Just like the institution of marriage that the term originates from, it’s the period of time when everything is fresh, new and exciting about the house. It’s a brand new listing that buyers are excited to see, and (hopefully) will be anxiously anticipating writing an offer on.

But unlike that period of bliss in a marriage, which hopefully lasts for months or even years, the honeymoon period for a listing in San Carlos is not nearly that long.  How long would you guess that period is?  3 weeks?  A month?  Well, the reality is that the “best sold by” label on listings in San Carlos is exactly 14 days. When I tell this to people who live out of the area where homes commonly take 30-60 days (or more) to get into contract, they simply cannot believe this figure. But after years of battling in a white-hot housing market on the mid-Peninsula where houses commonly sell very quickly with multiple offers,  home buyers have simply become accustomed to homes selling in the first two weeks on the market — and coincidentally, quite wary of homes that have not.

Why 14 days? That’s two full weeks, which is ample time to list the property, conduct the normal Tuesday broker’s tour, and have two full open house weekends. The conventional wisdom with buyers in this market is that if a home has not sold in this period of time after that much exposure, then something is amiss.

The numbers back up this thinking, too. I took the data for all single family homes that have sold in San Carlos since the beginning of 2015 (and were listed on the MLS) and created a dividing line at 14 days from when the home was first listed until an offer was accepted on the house.  The results are very telling:

Days on Market Average Sales Price
Sales/List Price
Avg $/Sq Foot
# of Homes Sold
0-13 $1,609,578 117% $888 114 (67%)
14+ $1,571,173 105% $779 55 (33%)

Source: MLS.

In a nutshell, the homes that sold either pre-emptively or by the 14th day on the market fetched a higher price, a greater premium over the list price (17% vs 5%), and a higher price per square foot than those that took longer than two weeks.

The size of the home certainly doesn’t play much of a factor — the average size of a home in the 0-13 day group is 1,894 square feet, while the slower group was only slightly larger at 2,154 square feet, or only 12% larger.

Every Home Has Its Price.

One can look at this data in a variety of ways, and can draw an equal number of conclusions.  For example, one may wonder which factor is the cause, and which is the effect?  In other words, did a home fetch a lower price because it was on the market for too long? Or was it on the market so long because it wasn’t priced right to begin with?

My belief is the latter. There’s an old saying that goes something like “every home will sell for a certain price”, and that certainly holds true with our hyperactive local real estate market. Even homes that are borderline uninhabitable will sell in this market for the “right” price. And therein lies the answer — pricing the home “right” to begin with.

That’s not to say that buyers don’t look at homes that have been on the market for longer than 14 days with somewhat of a wary eye. The first question I always hear from buyers when they ask about one of these homes is “Is there something wrong with the house? Why hasn’t it sold already?”  It’s almost as if everyone jumps to the unwarranted conclusion that the house is sliding down the hill, or has a 6-figure foundation problem!

No — while the length of time on the market may be a factor that scares away a buyer or two, in the end the house always sells, but sometimes after chasing the market downward.

Get it Right – Price it Right.

This data proves a critical element of the listing strategy that everyone already knew intuitively, but until now not quantitatively: If you want to get top dollar for your house, you have to price it in such a way that it will sell in less than 14 days on the market, ideally with multiple offers.

This may mean pricing the house somewhat below what you think the market value may be for your home, which is a concept that understandably makes many sellers uneasy. But that’s often a necessary step to garner those extra offers that will ultimately help drive the price upward. Of course, there are homes that will be an exception to this strategy because they are unique in feature or location in such a way that will make multiple offers unlikely, so a different approach is required. This also reminds us that there’s no “one size fits all” strategy for getting the best price for your home.

When I meet with sellers, we always review a number of “go-to-market” strategies that are all slightly different in timing, listing date, open houses, etc.. But they all share a common goal of getting the home sold during the honeymoon period, and not after.

Because the numbers show just how important that dividing line truly is.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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: 9-13-15.

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The Scoop.

One big difference that you’ll notice when you compare the Fall real estate market to the Spring market in San Carlos is that while the Fall market has its ebbs and flows from week to week. Some weeks are simply more active and intense than others, compared to the Spring market of this year, which was pretty much on full afterburner every single day up until June.

Last week we made note of the huge premium that the homes that closed escrow last week fetched compared to the original list price (21% over). This week’s closings, while still averaging more than 100% of the list price, were not nearly as strong as the prior week at only 7% above. In fact, 3 of the 7 homes that closed escrow last week sold below their original asking price. Is that just one of those weekly ebbs, or a sign of a change in the market? Most likely it’s the former and not the latter, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.

Here’s the recap from last week:

The Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the 7-day period ending Sunday 9-13-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-13-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 7 5
Average Sold Price: $1,400,357 $1,834,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $825 $872
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 107% 121%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 13
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 19 22
No. of New Listings: 6 6
Total # of Active Listings: 13 10
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,748,688 $1,742,895
Average DOM of Active Listings: 13 12
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $864 $809
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.68 : 1 0.45 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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: 9-6-15.

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The Scoop.

The big number to report in this week’s update is the percentage over the asking price for the homes that closed escrow last week.  The five homes that sold last week fetched an average premium of 21% over their respective asking prices, which is significantly higher than what we normally see on a weekly basis. Looking at the list of sold homes below, it’s a combination of a few listings that were simply priced too low, but there were also a couple that fetched surprisingly high prices. Either way, it was a banner week for home prices in San Carlos.

New listing activity was decent, especially considering that it was the week preceding Labor Day. Many sellers opt to wait until after the 3-day weekend to put their home on the market, so it will be interesting to see what pops up later this week.

Here’s the recap from last week:

The Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the 7-day period ending Sunday 9-6-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-6-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 5 2
Average Sold Price: $1,834,000 $1,770,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $872 $909
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 121% 110%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 12
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 22 22
No. of New Listings: 6 6
Total # of Active Listings: 10 11
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,742,895 $1,772,700
Average DOM of Active Listings: 12 10
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $809 $791
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.45 : 1 0.50 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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: 8-30-15.

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The Scoop.

Listing activity picked up somewhat last week in San Carlos, certainly when compared to the prior week. Six new homes jumped into the fray, and only two went into contract. This succeeded in bringing the inventory back out of the single-digit range, but only back up to 12 total units for sale in the entire city. Even as we head into September, this is a paltry inventory level for what normally is a robust Fall market.

Condo and townhouse buyers enjoyed a (relatively) healthy uptick in new listings, with four new units debuting on the market — this succeeded in bringing the inventory total up to 5 total units.  That’s certainly not a huge number, but it’s over double where we started last week at this time.

With the month of September starting tomorrow, there are about 2 months left in the calendar year of decent real estate activity – maybe an additional two weeks if November turns out to be a dry one again like it has in previous years.  Here’s to hoping that buyers get quite a few more listings to choose from before the end of this year.

Here’s the recap from last week:

The Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the 7-day period ending Sunday 8-30-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 8-30-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 2 8
Average Sold Price: $1,770,000 $1,536,876
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $909 $967
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 110% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 12 16
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 22 22
No. of New Listings: 6 3
Total # of Active Listings: 11 7
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,772,700 $2,256,754
Average DOM of Active Listings: 10 23
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $791 $841
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.50 : 1 0.32 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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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How Will the Stock Market Woes Impact San Carlos Real Estate?

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Roller Coaster Ride.

The last few days have provided some of the most mesmerizing stock ticker-watching of any period since the end of the recession as the global stock markets have taken a monumental shot to the proverbial jaw. Since Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has seen three consecutive trading days of triple-digit losses based on concerns about the slowing economy in China and how that may impact the U.S. economy.  This is the biggest drop in the market in at least the last 7 years.

I don’t know about you, but I have been glued to the Bloomberg Channel watching the market thrash about, trying to find some sense of stability. The swings in momentum have been simply breathtaking.

For those with significant equity positions in the market going into last Friday, it’s obvious that these are gut-wrenching developments. Losing 10-15% of one’s portfolio in roughly the same period of time as a Giants homestand must be tremendously unnerving. And yet for others, it may present an opportunity to roll the dice and buy some favorite stocks on their weakness.

But the question that I have heard repeatedly since Friday is this: How will impact the local real estate market? The answer is this — it’s too soon to tell. Here’s why….

Two Key Components.

The recent market volatility will impact today’s Peninsula home buyers in two basic ways:  Financially, and emotionally.  Let’s take a quick look at both.

  • Financial Impact: When it comes to the Peninsula real estate market, the financial impact of the plunging stock market will vary depending on what communities you are looking considering. For higher-end communities like Palo Alto, Hillsborough, and Los Altos Hills that have been prime destinations for Asian investors, I believe they will feel a more acute impact since many of their purchases are all-cash, and often from foreign buyers. In fact, many agents that specialize in these communities have sensed a pull-back from foreign investors for a number of weeks before the market hit the skids. For communities like San Carlos, Redwood City and Belmont, I believe that the impact will be less. While home buyers will certainly feel the sting of the devaluation of their portfolio, the fact remains that most of these buyers are still taking out loans that will represent at least 60% of the funding for their home purchase. So the impact will be a little less severe, simply because their purchase is not 100% dependent on the value of their portfolio. In fact, one could even argue that the stock market correction may help buyers in the long run, since the Federal Reserve may choose to delay their widely-anticipated rate hike that is slated for next month.
  • Emotional Impact. This is a far more subjective criteria, and it will vary from buyer to buyer. Much depends on one’s market particular philosophy (i.e., is this a normal correction, or the sign of a bigger trend?) and of course, how much of their purchasing power is currently tied up in the market. Much like the pricing in today’s housing market, memories of what has happened over the past week will be very short if the market recovers most of its value in short order. It’s just like the home buyer who was worried that he overpaid — until the following week another house sold for even more.

In a nutshell, until it is determined whether this was just a blip or an indication of much deeper problems with our complex, global economy, I think it’s simply too early to tell what impact it will have on the local real estate market. It’s obviously not going to be positive, but I don’t see buyers jumping off the train just yet, either.

If you are a home buyer in this market, how have the events of the past few days impacted your home buying strategy?
_____________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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 Best of Tour in San Carlos: 8-25-15

The best

1348 Cedar Street.

This week’s broker tour in San Carlos wasn’t much more bountiful than last week’s tour, when there were only two homes to see. This week’s tour only showcased four homes on their first tour, and they all vared widely in terms of current condition and potential value. This week’s pick for (my) Best of Tour addresses both criteria — not only for what the property could ultimately become, but also for how much it may sell for in its present condition.

1348 Cedar Street in San Carlos is a 2BR/1BA, 960 square foot fixer that is listed at $849,000 by Mila Gelman of Vanguard Properties. (Click on the picture below for the listing details).

1348 Cedar Street, San Carlos

1348 Cedar Street, San Carlos

 

What, you ask? Since when is a total fixer worthy of the illustrious “Best of Tour” award on the White Oaks Blog? After all, there is essentially no redeeming value in the structure itself (if you’ve been to the open house, you know exactly what I am talking about). No, the real value in this property is not the house, but the fact that the house sits on a 10,500 square foot flat lot in a prime central San Carlos location.

It goes without saying that quite a few builders and well-heeled buyers who have been waiting for a huge lot like this to build their dream home are drooling over this one. Because of that, look for this one to sell for a silly amount above the asking price of $849,000. (It should certainly set the mark for the highest percentage over the list price of any home kept stats on in San Carlos this year.)

If you’re looking for a clean slate to build your dream home in San Carlos, you won’t find a much better one than this. It will be open from 1:00-4:00 on Sunday, or you can contact me for a private showing. It’s a probate sale, so make sure you’re working with someone who has experience in those types of home sales because there are indeed important differences.

Honorable Mentions

There was three other single-family homes on tour in San Carlos this week. Click on the addresses below for all of the listing details:

  • 2845 Brittan Avenue: A large 4BR/2.5BA homes located in the hills of San Carlos. At over 2,600 square feet, it’s a lot of house for the money. Listed at $1,549,000 by Lindsey Ehrlicher of Vanguard Properties.
  • 2032 Birch Avenue: This is the other fixer that was on tour this week. It also has fantastic upside potential, because it’s in a very desirable Howard Park neighborhood. You just don’t see many homes on those blocks of Birch, Eucalyptus or Arroyo hitting the market very often. Listed at $1,078,000 by Mary Molinari of Coldwell Banker.
  • 1118 Royal Lane: If you’re familiar with the homes on Royal Lane, then you’ll really like this one. It’s super clean on the inside, and sports one of the best locations on the loop, since it’s in the middle away from the main roads. Listed at $1,298,000 by Laura Bertolacci of Dwell Realtors.

That’s the recap from this week’s tour in San Carlos. Let me know if you’re interested in seeing any of these great homes!
_____________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing 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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