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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 10-5-13.

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Back to Low Inventory.

Don’t look now, but the inventory of single-family homes for sale in San Carlos just took another nose dive.   As of this morning, there are only 12 homes for sale in the entire city, and that number may drop even further by the end of the day today.   This is all because 8 homes went into contract last week, and there were only 3 new listings to fill the gap.   Clearly, there is still strong buyer demand in San Carlos, and sellers should take this as proof that this real estate market knows no calendar.   Sellers will be able to move their home at any time throughout the end of this year.

If you’re thinking about selling your home and debating on whether to wait until next year to list it, you really need to take heed of this climate.  The market is still so heavily in favor of sellers right now — especially now that there is virtually no competition.

Here are the numbers for 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 10-5-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 10-5-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
6 12
Average Sold Price
$1,044,917 $1,239,022
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$677 $777
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 103% 118%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 11 13
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 28 26
Inventory of Active Listings:
12 18
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,820,663 $1,679,217
Average DOM of Active Listings: 43 46
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $572 $552
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.43 : 1 0.69 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Is Belmont Hotter than San Carlos?

Thermo

We’re Not Talking About the Weather.

The answer to that title question is “yes“, Belmont is definitely hotter than San Carlos — according to a study that was commissioned by the real estate brokerage Coldwell Banker and published in CBS Market Watch recently.   But that’s not all.  Belmont is not just hotter than San Carlos — it has been designated the hottest suburb in the entire state of California in this study.   Holy Twin Pines!

I can almost hear the cheers echoing from canyons of Belmont, and the guffawing that is emanating from the streets of White Oaks and the grand vistas of Beverly Terrace.  Belmont is hotter than San Carlos?    Absolutely, contends Belmont.  One Belmont resident once told me that Belmont is “San Carlos without the sidewalks and the attitudes.”   To which another San Carlos resident countered “Belmont is where you go to live when you can’t afford San Carlos.”    Ouch!   Everyone just calm down….

But rather than turn this into a modern-day version of the Hatfield’s vs the McCoy’s,  let’s try to figure out how Coldwell Banker came to this conclusion?  Unfortunately, I don’t have access to their “exhaustive” study, but we can take a few minutes and compare some of the relevant home sales metrics that may have been used in this analysis.

Price Appreciation.

There’s no doubt about it — whether you’re looking for a home in either San Carlos or Belmont, you’re keenly aware of how much prices have skyrocketed in the past 5 years.  This is especially true in just the past 12 months.  But how do they both compare in this arena?   Let’s take a look:

Belmont:  Average Home Sales Price

BELMONT: Average Home Sales Price

San Carlos Average Home Sales Price

SAN CARLOS:  Average Home Sales Price

From the graphs above, the average sales price of a single family residence in Belmont increased by 17.6% since just last year, and a whopping 32% since the bottom of the housing market in 2009.  That is indeed significant growth.   But over that same span, the San Carlos housing market increased by 18.2% and 36.6%, respectively.    Hmmm…

Other Metrics?

Let’s take a look below at some other common sales metrics that may have been used in this study.  Note that all of these pertain to single-family residences only, unless otherwise noted.

Key Housing Metric
Belmont San Carlos
Median Price: 2012->2013
+17.3% +21.0%
Median Price: 2009->2013
+28.5% +37.5%
Average Days to Sell:  2013
19 17
Closed Sales YTD 2013
176 201
Sales Price/List Price Ratio: 2013
109.5% 108.7%
Total Sales Volume (SFR + Condo) 2013
$207.6M $298.2M

(source: Multiple Listing Service)

What Does It All Mean?

There are several conclusions that you can draw from this immensely informative post.   First, I am pleased to inform you that after comparing the data above with scientific study conducted by Coldwell Banker, that I am thoroughly more confused than I was when I started.    But that’s OK, because it points out that “hotter” is very much a subjective measurement — it can’t be deduced from the third derivative of home sales in the 4th quartile during a full moon.

Belmont has two Safeways — San Carlos has none.  San Carlos has two CVS Pharmacies — Belmont has none.   San Carlos has 3 Starbucks to Belmont’s two.   Belmont has its own police and fire department.  San Carlos has….. well, you get the idea.   The point is, people like Belmont for their own reasons, while others like San Carlos for theirs.  Why does there have to be a #1 with everything?    Can’t we all just get along?

The other thing this study tells me is that any discussion about a “hottest suburb” in the Bay Area that does not include Palo Alto (the land where cash is king, and sanity has long left the building) is highly suspect from the start.  Seriously….

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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 9-28-13.

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The Premium for Dirt.

If you’re looking to buy a home in San Carlos and you get queasy at the thought that prices are escalating out of your budget, then perhaps you should skip reading this week’s review.   This week’s closed sales featured more eye-popping final prices than I’ve seen in a single week in San Carlos in a long time.    But all kidding aside, for some of the bigger sales there is a rational explanation — for others, there’s simply not.

269 Kelton Avenue and 294 Devonshire Boulevard were the two sales that fetched the highest amount (both % and $$) over their asking price.  But both of these homes are perfect examples of two points I made recently in the post “The Price of Dirt in San Carlos” — First, the homes themselves had virtually no influence on the final sale prices — the value was driven solely by the dirt on which they stand.  And second, it illustrates the fact that there’s still a HUGE premium for flat, buildable land in San Carlos.   The economy is once again strong enough were homeowners are willing to make that significant investment to build their “15-20 year” home.

The other home sale that topped the charts was 3363 Melendy Drive, which fetched a whopping $301,000 over the asking price.   But the reality of this sale is that this home simply sold where its value was — it’s a very clean 3,400 square foot home with some incredible views, and even the higher sales price only equates to $485/square foot, compared to the average of $777/square foot that the rest of the homes fetched this week.

The rest of the big winners this week?  Chalk it up to high demand and market exuberance.  And here are those 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 9-28-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-28-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
12 6
Average Sold Price
$1,239,022 $1,131,667
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$777 $688
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 118% 99%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 18
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 26 29
Inventory of Active Listings:
18 22
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,679,217 $1,714,770
Average DOM of Active Listings: 46 37
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $552 $547
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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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 9-21-13.

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Chugging Along

Last week we tabled the question as to whether the real estate market may be starting to slow a bit from the break-neck pace that we’ve seen all year.  Certainly, last week’s numbers were less than stellar in comparison to the rest of the year’s seemingly unstoppable numbers.  But we also noted that one week’s worth of data does not constitute a trend.

The most recent week’s data rebounded nicely on almost all fronts.   The most telling statistic was that 8 homes went into contract, which shows that buyers are still out there in big numbers.   Another good statistic was that 7 new listings hit the market, which indicates that sellers have no trepidation about bring their home on the market in the Fall.   This will serve to keep the market chugging along.

The one indicator that was down this past week  was the sales price/list price ratio.   This has been running at about 110% on average for most of the year.  This past week, homes that closed escrow in San Carlos fetched 99% of the asking price on average.     It’s hard to say whether this is just a function of more realistic asking prices, or if the sales figures are starting to level off, but it’s worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.

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 9-21-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-21-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
6 6
Average Sold Price
$1,131,667 $1,173,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$688 $729
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 99% 103%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 18 21
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 29 30
Inventory of Active Listings:
22 23
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,714,770 $1,445,210
Average DOM of Active Listings: 37 37
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $547 $605
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.76 : 1 0.77 : 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.
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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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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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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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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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Condo/Townhome Prices Surge in San Carlos

September 10, 2013 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
Condo Sale

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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