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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 4-5-14.

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It’s hard to say whether it was just a slow week because of spring break, or if it’s because the market might be finally showing some signs of pushing back — but while it was another fairly busy week with 9 homes going into contract, several of these homes only got 1 or 2 offers.  One of them had to take a significant price reduction to get there.   On top of that, there are at least two homes in the active inventory list that had set offer dates for last week and came up empty.

Now before anyone draws any conclusions, it’s important to note that the showpiece homes like 1355 Central and 156 Normandy seemed to do quite remarkable this past week, as you will see when the sales prices are posted.   But for the first time since the beginning of the year, there seems to be the first sign of a pause in this runaway real estate market in San Carlos.   And while we can’t draw a trend from just one week’s worth of data, we will know a lot more about the appetite of this market in the coming 2 weeks.

Here are the details 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 4-5-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 4-5-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 6
Average Sold Price: $1,438,500 $1,436,833
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $773 $782
Sold Price vs Orig List Price: 105% 117%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 11 10
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 30 24
No. of Active Listings: 13 16
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,311,258 $1,467,234
Average DOM of Active Listings: 10 14
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $684 $659
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.43 : 1 0.67 : 1

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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 3-29-14.

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Last week was the kind of week you would hope for as we head into the month of April — lots of new listings to choose from, at least by this year’s standard.  Eight homes made their debut last week, all being within the range of $1.4M – $2M.  And with only 4 homes going into contract during the same period, our inventory now sits at 16 homes for sale in San Carlos.

Home pricing remains extremely strong, as is evident below in the sold section.   For the second straight week, homes that closed escrow in San Carlos fetched a whopping premium over the asking price — this week it was 17% on average.   That is simply amazing, considering the fact that asking prices have already been adjusted upward during this recent run-up in the market.   If there’s an upper limit to what buyers will do to get the right house in San Carlos, we have not hit it yet.

Here are the details 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 3-29-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-29-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 8
Average Sold Price: $1,436,833 $1,401,688
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $782 $873
Sold Price vs Orig List Price: 117% 119%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 10 8
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 24 27
No. of Active Listings: 16 11
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,467,234 $1,318,273
Average DOM of Active Listings: 14 15
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $659 $622
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.67 : 1 0.41 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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2007? Good Riddance…

2007

Time to Forget.

If you were to ask a resident the question “What year did you buy your home in San Carlos?”, you might be surprised at the tone of the answer you’d get.   If the answer is somewhere in the 1990′s, you’ll probably sense a dose of bravado in the reply — after all, they are sitting on a mountain of equity now (if the place isn’t completely paid off already.)

Or, you might hear a tinge of incredulous relief when someone says “2011″, because they knew they took a big chance in a very unstable economic market.   But their gamble paid off handsomely, as home prices have climbed so quickly just the past two years.    The relief comes from the fact that some of those buyers could probably not afford to buy that very same house today in this crazy market.

But there’s one year that always elicits a much different answer.  It’s almost a hushed, shameful tone that seems to compel them to couch their answer with an elaborate explanation:

2007

You see, 2007 was the last full year before the economy and the real estate market imploded on itself, leaving us mired in a horrifying goo of mortgage fraud, sub-prime loans, and unemployment.   Home prices plummeted in most markets around the bay area, and those poor folks who paid top dollar for a home in San Carlos in 2007 felt as if they were the unlucky souls that were left standing when the music stopped in a high-stakes game of musical chairs.

But how could they have known this was going to happen?

In subsequent years, those shell-shocked residents who purchased their home in 2007 seemed almost resigned to the fact that they would incur a significant loss on their investment whenever the time came to move again, or even worse, have to face the specter of a short sale just to get out from under it.   This explains their less than enthusiastic response to the question we posed at the top.

Out of the Hole.

Well, times have changed, 2007′ers.   It’s time to stand tall and be proud of your home purchase again.  The magical real estate market of 2014 has officially buried the perennial nightmare of 2007 – and hopefully for good.  The graph below should be a sight for sore eyes for anyone who is still thinking that they’ve been banished to the land of upside-down homeowners.

San Carlos: Single Family Home Prices Since 2007

San Carlos: Single Family Home Prices Since 2007

Home prices in San Carlos have not only recovered since the peak of 2007, but they’ve actually grown by a whopping 27%, on average.   That essentially makes 2007 look more like a pothole on the road to prosperity, rather than the dead-end street that it probably seemed like to these homeowners.

I think you’d be very hard pressed to find a home that was purchased in San Carlos in 2007 that is still worth less than what it was purchased for.   Not sure?  Just give me a call, and I’ll be happy to give you an estimate on what your home is worth, free of charge.

But for now, it’s time to kick 2007 to the curb.   And then run it over with your new Tesla.
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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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San Carlos: The City of Million Dollar Living.

Million Dollars

Maybe it’s time to change the city’s official slogan?   After you see the stats below, you might very well agree.

If you are dreaming of buying a single-family home in San Carlos, but your budget is under $1M,  I hate to be the bearer of bad news — your chances of finding that home are rapidly evaporating in this white-hot real estate market.

It wasn’t too long ago that if you were a $1M buyer, you could buy a nice 3BR home pretty much anywhere you wanted to be in San Carlos — even in the trendy White Oaks and Howard Park neighborhoods.  Heck, for $1M you probably still had enough money left over for a few upgrades.

In 2012 and 2013, it became much more difficult to land that same 3BR home for under $1M, especially anywhere west of El Camino Real.   If you were determined to live on the west side of town for under $1M, you either had to settle for a 3BR home on a busy street like San Carlos Avenue, or ratchet down your expectations to a 2BR home.   The other option was to start looking in the Greater East San Carlos area for that 3BR home within your budget — but even that wasn’t a guarantee, since there are so few homes that come up for sale in that neighborhood.  And lately, even they are flirting occasionally with 7-figure prices.

Well, that all changed dramatically his year…

Welcome to 2014.

Fast forward to this year, and the unprecedented surge in the local economy has pushed San Carlos to the brink of being a community exclusively comprised of $1M+ homes.   Don’t laugh — we’re almost there.   Take a look at the following graph:

$1M Homes in San Carlos

What does this graph show us?   In 2012, only half of all the homes that sold in all of San Carlos sold for $1M or higher.  If you were only focused on areas west of El Camino Real, that number jumped to 53%.   So far in 2014, a whopping 87% of all of the homes that have sold in all of San Carlos were over $1M — and that number jumps to 91% for all homes west of El Camino.

I think the single most stunning aspect of this chart is that the data is for all homes sold in San Carlos, regardless of size, configuration, or condition — so we’re not just talking about our benchmark 3BR/2BA home.   Even the tiny 2BR/1BA homes are now routinely fetching over $1M… something that was simply unheard of only a couple of years ago.   As we have discussed in a previous post, even the dirt in many neighborhoods will fetch over $1M if someone is able to build their dream home on it.

But what this graph makes painfully clear is that if you’re shopping for a single-family home with a 6-figure budget, you’d better be considering a condo… or perhaps another town.  Because the affordability of San Carlos just took the last train out of town…with the old slogan tucked neatly under its arm.
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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: 3-22-14.

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For home buyers in this market hoping to make San Carlos their new zip code, this week’s report will seem somewhat analogous to driving past a car accident on the freeway:  You really want to look at it, but you might be sorry once you did.   The sold figures that are posted below will probably take a little bit of starch out of even the most die-hard home buyers, while at the same time making every homeowner in San Carlos feel like they hit the lottery.

Some of the recorded sales below are simply breathtaking, with premiums of over 40% paid to secure these listings.  But these huge differentials aren’t solely caused by the listings being under-priced to begin with.  The average price per square foot of the 8 sales that closed last week was $873 — an incredible price for San Carlos, and more akin to what you would have seen in Menlo Park a few months ago (they’re now at $1,000/square foot.)    So no matter how you look at it, it’s getting very expensive to live in San Carlos.

Here are the details 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 3-22-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-22-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 8 5
Average Sold Price: $1,401,688 $1,727,600
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $873 $747
Sold Price vs Orig List Price: 119% 111%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 8 9
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 27 28
No. of Active Listings: 11 14
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,318,273 $1,355,429
Average DOM of Active Listings: 15 11
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $622 $706
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.41 : 1 0.50 : 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: 3-15-14.

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Every week is a different adventure in this wild real estate market.  It was a refreshing change last week for San Carlos home buyers to see that more new listings debuted on the market than there were homes that went into contract.  This was a a bit of a surprise to me, because I was predicted the exact opposite was going to happen and that we would be headed back to single-digit inventory again.   But I’m perfectly OK being wrong in this instance.  This runaway market needs desperately needs balance for its own good.

As I highlighted earlier in the week,  the amount that buyers are overbidding to get a home in San Carlos seems to increase every week.  All 5 of the sales that closed this past week commanded 6-figure premiums over the asking price, with two of them fetching a whopping 16% over list.  What makes this remarkable is that not a single one of these homes could be considered under-priced to begin with — in my opinion all 5 were logically priced, taking into consideration the characteristics of the home and the market conditions.   It just speaks volumes about the strength and determination of home buyers in this market.

Here are the details 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 3-15-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-15-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 5 5
Average Sold Price: $1,727,600 $1,495,400
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $747 $826
Sold Price vs Orig List Price: 111% 109%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 9
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 28 30
No. of Active Listings: 14 10
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,355,429 $1,479,595
Average DOM of Active Listings: 11 10
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $706 $664
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.50 : 1 0.33 : 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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Overbidding Hits a Fever Pitch in San Carlos

overbid

I know, I know, I know… It was just last week that I spent an entire post telling you to basically ignore the asking price of a home for sale in San Carlos when you’re formulating your strategy to write an offer.  And I still stand behind that assertion.  But at the outset of your home search, you obviously have to know the asking price of a home to understand whether it’s even in your budget, because in this market just about everything  is selling for well over the asking price.   In the coming weeks,  you will continue to see some eye-popping premiums that are being paid for homes in San Carlos.  It’s starting to resemble the over-bidding that’s that has become commonplace in cities like Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

Just how high homes have been selling over asking price lately has been a hot topic in town.   Literally, the first question every buyer seems to ask when a new listing hits the market is “How far above the list price is this one going to go?” 

Below is a graph of the Sales Price to List Price ratio for the past three months of closed sales for single family residences in San Carlos.

San Carlos Overbidding

San Carlos: Percent Overbid on Recent Sales

Homes that closed escrow last month in San Carlos fetched an average of 15.2% above their asking price.   This is the highest average for any month that I could find in the MLS for the past 10 years!    And based on what we’ve been seeing so far for pending sales in February and March, this record probably won’t last too long.

The Right Strategy?

Does this mean that you should just automatically add 15% to the asking price of any house that appears on the MLS?  Of course not.   As we discussed in the prior post, the listing price of a home is not usually an accurate assessment of the value of a home, and there’s no magic formula for calculating what a list price should be.   You need to figure out on your own what the inherent value of a home is, based on its location, characteristics, and what other similar homes are selling for in this marketplace.

What this chart does tell you, though, is that home buyers in San Carlos are rolling up their sleeves and getting very aggressive in their bidding this year.   It should also put a dose of reality into buyers who are considering homes that are priced very close to their maximum budget.

In other words, if your absolute maximum budget for purchasing a house in San Carlos is $1.2M, you probably shouldn’t be wasting your time looking at homes that are priced at $1.2M, or even slightly above.   The stats above seem to suggest that you won’t even be close.
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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: 3-8-14.

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The two week run of relatively favorable trends for home buyers in San Carlos definitely came to an abrupt halt last week.  Only 4 new listings hit the market, which was not nearly enough to offset the 9 homes that went pending during the same period.  The net result is that by the time of this post, we were back down to 10 homes for sale in the entire city of San Carlos, and the trend looks to be continuing downward from there.

More than half of these 10 active listings have offer dates set for sometime this coming week, so without a significant influx of new inventory we’re likely headed back to the low single-digit inventory range once again.   So don’t be shocked if you check in later in the week and see a total of 4-5 listings in all of San Carlos.  That’s definitely not good news for home buyers, who are certainly expecting more inventory now we’re well into the Spring Market.

Here are the details 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 3-8-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-8-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 5 5
Average Sold Price: $1,495,000 $1,022,400
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $826 $699
Sold Price vs Orig List Price: 109% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 11
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 30 25
No. of Active Listings: 10 16
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,479,595 $1,382,875
Average DOM of Active Listings: 10 8
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $664 $631
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.33 : 1 0.64 : 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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