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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1-4-14.

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Bring on 2014.

The first weekend of the New Year was relatively light, as may have been expected since we’re just coming out of the New Year’s holiday.   Having New Year’s Day on a Wednesday this year meant that many people took Thursday and Friday off to extend the holiday through the weekend, so that explains why traffic was light all week, and listings few.

This coming week marks the first full week of the new year, so expect to see the activity in the market ratchet up significantly in the coming days and weeks.   Sellers who accelerate their home to the market in early January should be rewarded handsomely, since there are only 4 homes for sale in the entire city as of this morning.    The city needs listings almost as badly as it needs rainfall!

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 1-4-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 1-4-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 4
Average Sold Price $1,575,333 $1,579,375
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $809 $715
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 115% 103%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 7 42
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 14 16
Inventory of Active Listings: 5 3
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,264,568 $1,514,650
Average DOM of Active Listings: 64 99
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $595 $557
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.38 : 1 0.19 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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The Year in Review: San Carlos Real Estate Market in 2013.

2013-2

ECON 101.

If you ever needed a real-life example of the basic economic concept of supply and demand, then you need to look no further than the San Carlos real estate market in 2013, because it literally took a page out of the econ textbooks.   2013 was a phenomenal year for home valuations in San Carlos on every conceivable metric, as the market rode a rapidly rebounding economy and job market in the Bay Area.    Add to this mix an endless supply of nearly free money, and you’ve just created a demand for housing that we haven’t seen in almost a decade.

The inherent limitation of San Carlos (and every other community on the Peninsula) is that there is will always be a finite and predictable housing stock because of the fact that the Peninsula is land-locked.  Unlike the east bay or south bays where new expansion is possible,  the total number of single-family homes in Peninsula communities has only seen an infinitesimal increase over the past decades.  So no matter how many people suddenly want to move into the City of Good Living, there will only ever be a fairly predictable number of homes for sale during any given year.

To exacerbate this problem, the number of single-family homes that were listed for sale in San Carlos on the MLS actually dropped in 2013 from previous years, which created the perfect storm for home sellers:  If you couple high demand with low inventory, prices will increase.

And boy, did they ever.   Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Going Up, Up, Up.

You’ve seen the following chart numerous times in the many price analyses that I do on the blog.   Average sales price is the most commonly used metric to gauge the growth of any housing market, and is a good starting place to show the dramatic growth in house prices in San Carlos. >>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 12-28-13.

calendar 2014

A New Year Ahead.

There wasn’t much real estate activity this past week in San Carlos, simply because there was literally nothing new to look at.  The inventory is stuck at a year-low of three homes for sale, and they are the same three that were for sale last week.   Any buyers who decided to take the week off from looking for homes certainly didn’t miss anything.   But don’t let this temporary lull fool you.  There’s quite a bit of activity happening behind the scenes, and you should see a good, solid start to the new year with some great new listings in San Carlos.

Until 2014, have a safe and happy New Year celebration!   And thank you for being loyal readers of the White Oaks Blog once again this year.   You’ve made this site the go-to source for straight talk and real data for buying and selling homes 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 12-28-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 12-28-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 6
Average Sold Price $1,579,375 $1,450,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $715 $702
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 103% 106%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 42 7
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 16 20
Inventory of Active Listings: 3 3
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,514,650 $1,514,650
Average DOM of Active Listings: 99 74
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $557 $629
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.19 : 1 0.15 : 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: 12-21-13.

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Cleaning House.

As we head into the final full week of the year, the inventory of homes for sale in just about every community on the Peninsula has been pretty well picked over.   San Carlos now only has  3 homes for sale in the entire city, and they have been on the market for a combined average of 93 days.   Belmont has only 4 home for sale as well, while San Mateo has 12, and Redwood City has 25.

These are all remarkably low numbers, even when you consider where we are in the calendar year.  I can’t recall a time when there were only 3 homes for sale in San Carlos – ever.   But it’s important for buyers to not let this void of listings allow you to lose focus on the task at hand.   As I’ve stated before, I believe the market will come charging out of the gate in early January, and faster than you can say “Happy New Year”, there will be quite a few more homes to choose from.   Those buyers that remain on task over the holidays should be rewarded when the new year starts.

Happy Holidays from the White Oaks Blog!    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 12-21-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 12-21-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 11
Average Sold Price $1,450,000 $1,076,091
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $702 $743
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 106% 106%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 7 22
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 20 21
Inventory of Active Listings: 3 6
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,514,650 $1,281,658
Average DOM of Active Listings: 74 49
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $629 $636
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.15 : 1 0.29 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

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.
Get the best coverage on the San Carlos real estate market delivered right to you!
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Latest Fed Move Bodes Well for the San Carlos Real Estate Market.

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Tapering, But Not Tinkering.

In your haste to finish up all of your holiday shopping and get those last minute cards out, you may not have noticed that the Federal Reserve concluded its winter meetings yesterday, and announced some key changes to its stimulus plan as we head into 2014.   In a move that was widely anticipated, the Fed announced that it will begin to pare back its ongoing massive purchases of government bonds, treasury Bonds, and mortgage-backed securities in 2014.    The USA Today has a great summary of the details of the meetings, and how the Fed plans to proceed later in the year.

As the economy continues to strengthen from the Great Recession of 2008, it has always been expected that the Fed would start to remove the training wheels from its stimulus plan,  as key indicators showed that the economic recovery finally had some legs.   It was really not a matter of “if”, but rather “when”.  With the stock market climbing to new highs virtually every day, and unemployment now below the target of 7%, the Fed used this opportunity to start the process of cautiously extracting itself from its “easy money” policy.

Rates To Remain Low.

The big news for the real estate market, aside from the fact that the Fed will spend $5B fewer each month on mortgage-backed securities, is that they have decided to keep their benchmark short-term interest rates near zero, even though they had previously indicated that they may alter that policy once the nationwide unemployment rate dropped below 7%.   As part of yesterday’s announcement, they indicated that they may keep the zero-interest policy in place even after the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%.

This news should bode well for the local real estate market, at least for the first part of 2014.    Even though mortgage interest rates have inched upward over the past 12 months, they are still near historic lows — and the Fed’s continued position should remove any incentive (aka, excuse) for banks to increase rates on conforming and high-balance conforming loans stable for the near future.

The cautious approach by the Federal Reserve seems somewhat counter-intuitive when you consider the blistering pace at which the Silicon Valley economy (and housing market) is growing.  But our perception of the economic health of the entire country is understandably somewhat distorted from our perch inside one of the hottest micro-economies in the entire world.    The rest of the country is simply not growing anywhere near that fast.

So the bottom line is that the local economy will simply continue to reap the benefits from the Fed’s conservative position.   And this in turn will keep the fire stoked underneath what is already a white-hot San Carlos real estate market — at least for a while.  Because while the decision to keep rates unchanged is good news in the near term,  a line has definitely been drawn in the sand by the Fed that this gravy train will not go on forever.
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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: 12-14-13.

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A Strong December.

A big statement about the strength of this real estate market can be found by simply looking at the Pending Sales section of this weekly post.  The average time it took to sell the 5 homes that went pending last week was only 5 days.   As we discussed last week in the three-part series about the 2014 market, smart sellers have figured out this year that the best time to sell is when there’s the least amount of inventory — not by what the calendar may suggest.   And buyers are proving them right by snapping up whatever they can get when inventory is this lean.

As of this morning, there are only 8 single-family homes for sale in all of San Carlos.   That number will likely drop even further this week as a few of these listings are scheduled to take offers.

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 12-14-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 12-14-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 11 5
Average Sold Price $1,076,091 $1,727,200
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $743 $559
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 106% 106%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 22 18
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 21 27
Inventory of Active Listings: 6 9
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,381,658 $1,339,772
Average DOM of Active Listings: 49 28
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $636 $699
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.29 : 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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Changes Ahead for the San Carlos Real Estate Market: Part 3

Price drop

3 Changes to the San Carlos Market in 2014.

As we wind down what has been one of the most remarkable years in local real estate in recent memory, everyone who is even remotely connected to the real estate market — buyers and sellers alike — are taking a brief pause and looking ahead to the coming year.    One of the biggest questions that everyone is trying to answer is:

What’s going to happen the San Carlos real estate market in 2014?

Yesterday in part 2 of this series, I predicted that the San Carlos real estate market in 2014 will kick into high gear much more quickly than in typical years, as sellers look to get a jump-start on their competition.  If 2013 was any indication, home sellers fared remarkably well when they sold their homes during those windows of time when there was very little competition (like right now.)  So rather than wait until the Spring to list their homes when everyone else will be doing the same, savvy sellers will buck that conventional wisdom and test the market early in 2014.   Really early.

Today, in the third and final post of this series, we will dive into the third key factor that will impact the real estate market in 2014:  Home Prices.

#3.  Growth Rate in Home Prices Will Slow.

As is the risk with any prediction, this one is a golden opportunity for me to look back at this post a year from now and eat my words.  But I’m going to stick my neck out and predict the following:  The growth rate in home prices in San Carlos is going to taper in 2014.    Now before there’s a wide-spread panic amongst home sellers, read carefully into what I’m saying (and what I’m not saying)  — the growth rate of home prices will taper.   This doesn’t mean that there will be no increase in home prices in 2014 (sorry, home buyers), nor does it mean that prices will flatten or drop in 2014 (ditto.)

But it’s hard to fathom that the astonishing run-up in home values over the past two years in San Carlos can sustain at anywhere near the current rate.  Consider the following:  The average sales price of a single-family home in San Carlos increased 17% since just last year, and a whopping 31% since 2011.   The average price-per-square-foot of those same homes jumped by 17% in just a year, and 27% since 2011.   See the graphs below. >>> 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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Changes Ahead for the San Carlos Real Estate Market: Part 2.

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3 Changes to the San Carlos Market in 2014.

As we head toward the end of what has been one of the most remarkable years in local real estate in recent memory, those who are still in the market — either buyers still looking to buy, or sellers thinking about listing — are looking at the calendar and asking the same question:

What’s going to happen the San Carlos real estate market in 2014?

Yesterday on the blog I predicted that that there will likely be more single-family homes listed in San Carlos in 2014 than there were in 2013.  I also discussed the mindset behind the typical homeowner in San Carlos that is contemplating selling their home in this hot market in the next few years, and noted that many will deduce that 2014 is the right year for them to sell — even if it doesn’t align perfectly with their schedule.

Today, in the second of this three-part series, we will dive into the second key factor that will impact the real estate market in 2014:  A very fast start.

#2:  The Market Will Start Earlier.

Almost like the phenomenon we saw this year with Black Friday creeping into Thanksgiving Day, look for the house shopping season in San Carlos to come rocketing out of the chute much earlier in 2014.   In a typical year,  the market wouldn’t crank up until sometime in February.  Conventional wisdom used to be that a seller should wait until after Super Bowl Sunday to list their home to maximize the exposure, almost as if we weren’t capable of watching a football game and shopping for a house during the same weekend.

Not any more.   Faster than you can say “Happy New Year!”,  you should expect to see more new listings making their debut in January.  Early January… as in, open houses on the weekend of January 4-5.  And just like Black Friday sales, the buyers will be there waiting.  That’s something that would have been unheard of only a few years ago.

Why will it be different in 2014?

As I predicted in yesterday’s post, there will be likely be more listings to hit the market in 2014.   Smart sellers who watched the ebb and flow of the housing inventory in San Carlos this past year should have come to two simple conclusions:  First, this real estate market is simply oblivious to the calendar — meaning that conventional wisdom about what is normally the “best” week to list a home has become irrelevant.   Second, and more important, is that some of the most eye-popping sales that occurred in 2013 were during periods when there was the least amount of inventory.  In other words, the best time to sell was when there was the least amount of competition.

These two factors are exactly why you saw homes listed just a few weeks ago during Thanksgiving week, and it’s also why you’re seeing new listings hitting the market in December.   Both of these would be marketing-suicide in a normal year.  But this year?  It’s a brilliant strategy.  And it’s exactly why I believe you’ll see more listings earlier in January of 2014.

I’m not alone in this thinking.  Stagers and home inspectors are great bellwethers of future market performance.   If they’re busy now, then you know the market will be busy shortly thereafter.   I talked with a number of prominent stagers that I know and work with, and many have been surprised by the sheer number of requests to stage homes throughout the Peninsula in January, some of which will be in early January.    And a number of Realtors are counseling their sellers to get their home on the market as soon as possible in the new year to beat the competition to the punch.

So, if all of this logic becomes reality, look for the real estate market to crank up a lot sooner in the new year.   In 2013, there were 19 listings that made their debut in January, which was up significantly from only 12 in 2012.   But 40% of those listings launched during the last week of January, which means the market really didn’t get cranked up until February.

I don’t think that’s going to happen in 2014.

Tomorrow:  Part 3 — Home Prices in 2014.

Tomorrow on the White Oaks Blog, we will conclude this 3-part series with a discussion about what home prices will (or will not) do in the New Year.  Be sure to check it out.
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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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