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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 5/23/2016.

The San Carlos Week in Review is the only in depth weekly recap of the San Carlos real estate market, and it’s available every week on the White Oaks Blog.

New Listing: 29 Hillcrest Road, San Carlos.

29 Hillcrest Road is my latest listing in San Carlos. This fabulous home has stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, and boasts a extremely functional layout.

The Streets of San Carlos.

What’s in a Name? You’ve undoubtedly noticed as you’re walking the streets of San Carlos — perhaps dropping your kids of at White Oaks School, taking the dog for an evening stroll, or just heading downtown for dinner — that the name of the street that you’re on is frequently …

Map of San Carlos Regions

The Realtor Zones. When it comes to residential real estate, the City of San Carlos is divided up into 6 different real estate “zones”: Alder Manor (Area 350), Beverly Terrace (351), El Sereno Corte (352), Howard Park (353), Clearfield Park (354), and Cordes (355). When a home is for sale …

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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 2/22/2016.

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The Scoop.

Just like we witnessed last week, there were some eye-popping upsides in the sold column of the San Carlos sold statistics below.  2079 Alma Street fetched a whopping $404,050 over the asking price, and 27 Bayport Court easily set a new sales record for the Greater East Side when it closed at $1,670,000 – or $370,000 over the list price.

New inventory activity was certainly disappointing last week, with essentially no new homes to choose from, less the large land listing of the former Black Mountain property. Heading into the final week of February, the number of new single-family residence listings in San Carlos is way behind the pace of 2015 – which was not a banner listing year in any respect.  Through the first two months in 2015, San Carlos registered 43 new listings. With 7 days to go in the same period of this year, that number sits at 24.  If you were ever looking for an ideal time to sell your home with virtually no competition, this is it.

Here are last week’s numbers:

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 2/21/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 2/21/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 7 3
Average Sold Price: $1,879,286 $1,970,333
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $984 $917
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 114% 199%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 6 9
Total # of Homes Pending Sale: 11 15
No. of New Listings: 1 3
Total # of Active Listings: 7 9
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,564,798 $1,623,643
Average DOM of Active Listings: 29 28
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $763 $733
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.64 : 1 0.60 : 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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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 2/15/2016.

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The Scoop.

The market didn’t exactly charge out of the gate after Super Bowl Sunday as many hoped it would. In San Carlos, there were only 3 new listings to kick off the Spring real estate season. That puts our inventory at only 9 homes for sale as we start the shortened week.

For those who were hoping that the market might be starting to level off, the closed sales figures this week did little to justify that. Both 620 Terrace Road and 1089 Hewitt Drive fetched whopping premiums of 26% over their respective asking prices, so clearly buyers are still stepping up to the plate to go after the homes that they really want.

A few weeks ago we discussed the seller’s motivation behind the off-market sale. It’s interesting to note that we’re seeing quite a few more off-market sales so far in 2016 than we are normally accustomed to. From what I am seeing, buyers are definitely willing to pay a premium for purchasing a home off-market for the “privilege” of avoiding a potential bidding bloodbath if the house were were to go to on the market.

Here are last week’s numbers:

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 2/14/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 2/14/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 2
Average Sold Price: $1,970,333 $1,797,500
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $917 $868
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 119% 99%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 80
Total # of Homes Pending Sale: 15 17
No. of New Listings: 3 0
Total # of Active Listings: 9 7
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,623,643 $1,518,818
Average DOM of Active Listings: 28 34
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $733 $751
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.60 : 1 0.41 : 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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A Counter View to San Carlos’ Anti-Chain Store Ordinance.

February 11, 2016 Downtown San Carlos 1 Comment
chain-stores

An Unlikely Dissenter.

Two months ago, the City Council of San Carlos issued an urgency ordinance that would restrict any “chain” store from setting up shop in downtown San Carlos. This would be accomplished by requiring any business with 10 or more outlets in the United States to apply for a special use permit before they are able to open anywhere in the downtown area. The City Council and the public would thereby have a say in what businesses could (or could not) establish themselves anywhere in San Carlos’ red-hot downtown district.

The idea was to help preserve the unique and eclectic feel that the downtown has projected for many years. Presumably, this ordinance was set in motion by the sale of the building at 652 Laurel Street, which was the home of Mi Ranchito Taqueria and Plantation Coffee Roastery, and the possibility that this prime storefront location on Laurel Street could now become home to a much larger chain store without some sort of stopgap measure. The urgency ordinance was passed by the City Council, and has been in place every since. If by intent alone, it’s not a bad idea.

Now, there is a dissenting voice to the ordinance which has come from the most unlikely of sources – one of the Council members who voted in favor of the ordinance in the first place.

Click below to see Council Member Mark Olbert’s explanation as to why he feels the ordinance is actually not the right solution, despite the fact that he voted in favor of the ordinance back in December. I have a world of respect for Councilman Olbert, his intelligence, and his dedication to the well-being of the City of San Carlos, so I think it’s worth your time to watch this presentation.

Anti Chain Store Ordinance from Mark Olbert on Vimeo.

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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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Hot Harvest Nights Petitions to Move to Sunday.

hot harvest logo

A Victim of Its Own Success?

If the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce gets the blessing of the San Carlos City Council, Hot Harvest Nights may soon be held on a different day of the week: Sunday. The Chamber has long been the organizer and main sponsor of San Carlos’ incredibly popular farmer’s market, but they also have the challenge of making the event more diverse and popular, while preventing it from becoming a victim of its own success.

Traditionally, Hot Harvest Nights is held every Thursday evening from May to September from 4:00 – 8:00 PM along the 700 block of Laurel Street. Holding the event on Thursday evenings gave it a unique time slot that kept it from competing with other similar summertime markets in adjacent cities. But holding it on Thursday nights also created some of its own challenges.

The 700 block of Laurel Street is home to arguably some of the most popular restaurants in San Carlos, and Thursday nights are prime dining evenings in the downtown area. As the event has grown in popularity, more people are crowding the streets, and parking has become even more scarce than it already is on a busy weeknight in San Carlos. With the Laurel Street closed down all evening and the nearest parking now possibly several blocks away, it makes it a night to avoid for many San Carlos diners.

The other challenging aspect is the simply the time of day. 4:00-8:00PM works fine during the peak summer months, but as we slip into Fall, the weather turns cooler and it gets dark well before the closing time of market.

The Chamber hopes to be able to move the event to mid-day every Sunday, probably from 10:00AM – 2:00PM along the same stretch of Laurel Street. This would minimize the impact on the dinner crowd for the downtown restaurants, while also enabling the event to be held year-round — much like how Belmont conducts their own Sunday Farmer’s Market. There’s also discussion about keeping the street closed for extended hours to allow other events to piggyback onto the farmer’s market. The early afternoon hours will benefit the local restaurants because let’s face it — San Carlos likes to eat and drink.

The idea of moving Hot Harvest Nights to Sunday has been tabled on the Shape San Carlos website.  According to the Chamber, the feedback from the site shows that 2/3 of all residents who took the survey are supportive of the proposed change. If you haven’t already done so, you can register your opinion on the site by taking a very brief survey.

Whether or not Hot Harvest Nights changes from Thursday to Sunday now lies in the hands of the San Carlos City Council.  According to the folks at the Chamber, they will discuss the topic during the February 22nd meeting. I will update the site once a decision is reached.

Time for a Poll.

What are your thoughts? Should Hot Harvest Nights move to Sunday and possibly go year round? Or should it stay as a summer event on Thursday evenings?  Register your opinion on the poll below or in the upper right corner of the blog.

Should Hot Harvest Nights Move To Sunday?

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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: 2/8/2016.

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The Scoop.

It’s amazing how much of an effect the Super Bowl has on the local economy — especially when either of the local teams is participating in the game, or like we saw yesterday, when the game is played in the Bay Area. Nothing dares compete with the 800 pound gorilla in the room on this particular Sunday, especially the local real estate market. The numbers below prove that point. There wasn’t a new single-family residence listing this past week, and only two homes went into contract.

It has long been the understood that the spring real estate market really doesn’t start to gain traction until after the Super Bowl, regardless of who is playing. So if this theory holds true, we should start to see a more robust market starting tomorrow. Both the buyers and the sellers in this market hope that is indeed the case.

Here are last week’s numbers:

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 2/7/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 2/7/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 2 0
Average Sold Price: $1,797,500 $0
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $868 $0
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 99% 0%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 80 0
Total # of Homes Pending Sale: 17 17
No. of New Listings: 0 3
Total # of Active Listings: 7 13
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,518,818 $1,516,853
Average DOM of Active Listings: 34 22
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $751 $801
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.41 : 1 0.53 : 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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San Carlos January 2016 Listing Recap.

January

January Listings.

It may be hard to believe, but January 2016 is already in our rear-view mirror. It seems like only yesterday that I was taking the Christmas lights down off the house (there’s more truth to that than I should admit.) Anyhow, as we head into February, I thought it would be instrumental to take a look at the single-family residence listings that hit the market in January, and compare those statistics to the same period of the past few years. In a market where homes are selling so quickly, there’s never an opportunity to establish any real level of inventory. That makes it difficult to get a accurate read if we’re actually getting a steady stream of new listings, or if we’re still in the downward slide that has been plaguing the market for the past four years.

The chart below shows the number of new single family residence listings that hit the market in January of 2016, and compares them to the same period during the previous few years. This statistic is one that we will track, update, and talk about quite often on the blog because there is probably not a single stat that has more of an impact on the local real estate market than this.

As listings go, so goes the market.

 

New Listings YTD Jan-16

 

San Carlos notched 19 new single-family listings in January, which was down slightly from January of 2015, and about on par with the same period during 2012-2014. The post recession years of 2010-2011 saw a huge bump in new listings, as one might expect during a time when distressed sales had played a much more significant part of the market.

It’s a little too early in the year to draw any decisive conclusions from these numbers. January’s totals simply do not dictate where a year is going to go. A prime example of that was just last year, when I distinctly remember noting how 2015 got off to the fastest start in 4 years — only to see it peter out later in the year and finish with the lowest number of new listings of any year in the entire decade. Trust that we will refresh the chart above every month, and see how 2016 is really shaping up.

What about list prices?  As you may have guessed, the average asking price for a home in San Carlos is on the rise. In January of 2016, the average listing price for those 19 homes was $1,564,688 — or an 11% increase of from the  $1,410,359 average list price that we saw at this time last year. This should come as no surprise to home buyers, as sellers continue to push the barrier to entry to San Carlos just that much higher.

What Lies Ahead?

As I mentioned earlier, the numbers are simply too close together and statistically too small to tell us very much this early in the year. What we do know is that the economy is a bit more rocky now than it was in early 2015. The volatility of the stock market and concerns about the global economy are leading some experts to believe that the market may be starting to level off. This may be enough of a motivation to get some more sellers to actually sell, which is something this market desperately needs right now.
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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: 2/1/2016.

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The Scoop.

January of 2016 is now in the books, and the San Carlos residential real estate market is off to a pretty decent start. The number of listings so far this year is roughly on par with 2015, which actually started off quite strong before it lost its steam (much more on that later this week.)

Buyers are still finding that there’s not much to choose from in this market, and we’re starting off the week with only 9 homes for sale in the entire city.  Most of the listings that went pending last week did so after only about a week on the market — most with multiple offers. Several of these homes will post surprising sales numbers (both positive and not so positive) when they ultimately close later this month, so stay tuned.

Here’s last week’s numbers:

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 1/31/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 1/31/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 0 1
Average Sold Price: $0 $1,595,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $0 $1,029
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 0% 114%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 0 8
Total # of Homes Pending Sale: 17 11
No. of New Listings: 3 6
Total # of Active Listings: 9 12
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,516,853 $1,472,431
Average DOM of Active Listings: 22 14
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $801 $856
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.53 : 1 1.1 : 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 Motivation Behind the Off-Market Listing.

off-market

The post I wrote earlier this week about the pre-market opportunity in San Carlos certainly churned up a lot of questions and discussion about off-market listings, and why anyone would ever consider selling their house off the MLS in an environment like we are experiencing right now all over the Peninsula. It’s a subject that we’ve tackled on the blog numerous times over the past few years, but it’s worth revisiting it.

First of all, conventional wisdom states that you’ll expose your home to the greatest number of buyers if you list it on the Multiple Listing Service. That much is a no-brainer. But exposing your home to the greatest number of buyers doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your home will sell as quickly or for the highest price than not going the conventional path. That paradox alone enough to get some home sellers thinking about whether to list their home on the MLS, or to sell it off market.

But if I had to pick the top three reasons why someone might decide to sell their home early or off-market, here are the top 3:

Convenience.

If you’ve ever tried to market your home while you are still living in it, then you already know that it can be a giant pain in the rear. It’s imperative that you keep your home in “show” condition 24/7 while the house is on the market, and you have to contend with the random, frequent, and sometimes unplanned showing requests. This inconvenience is compounded exponentially if you have young children at home. And then there’s the issue of having to disappear for the better part of an entire weekend to accommodate the open house.

Some sellers simply aren’t up those challenges. If they can get an offer that meets or exceeds their expectations (more on that below), they’re sometimes willing to take the risk of not exposing their home to all potential buyers in the area in order to get it sold as quickly as possible, and with the least amount of disruption.

Privacy.

Privacy is a key reason why home sellers decide to skip putting their home on the MLS. I can tell you first hand that the majority of people who come through an open house (particularly on the first weekend) are neighbors and lookiloos who have no intention of purchasing this house, or any house. As a listing agent, I’m perfectly OK with that, since it gives me the opportunity to chat with neighbors, and meet potential future clients. But some homeowners simply don’t want open their private lives to the whole neighborhood.

Sometimes homeowners are simply going through a really tough time, and they don’t want their neighbors and friends to know that they’re selling until the last possible moment. Situations like divorce, financial distress, or family problems are compelling enough to value privacy over the potential benefits of marketing their home openly.

The “Premium” Factor.

There is a belief among some sellers and agents that home buyers may be willing to pay a premium to purchase a home before it hits the market, thus enabling the buyer to avoid the anxiety of the multiple-offer circus that is certain to ensue if the home is listed on the MLS. I’ve seen numerous instances where the seller’s belief turned out to be well founded, as they were able to secure an astounding price for their property by allowing someone to have an early shot at it.

There’s an old saying in the business that goes something like this “Your first offer is often your best offer.” If you subscribe to that belief, then the person who is willing to hustle to get their offer in before anyone else can see the house or respond in due time may indeed be your best buyer — regardless of whether the home was listed on the MLS or not.

I have seen many instances where a seller shuns an aggressive pre-emptive offer in favor of testing the market, only to eventually sell the house for less than that original offer.  Believe me, it happens.

Listing Agent Motivation?

An interesting sentiment that I often hear is that it’s the listing agent who pushes to sell the house off market, as if there’s some sort of benefit to them to not market the home on the MLS. I honestly cannot think of a single reason that a listing agent would want to do this.

There’s no more powerful and relevant advertising vehicle for a real estate agent than to have their name prominently displayed on a “for-sale” sign in front of a beautiful house that neighbors get to drive by hundreds of times while the home is on the market.  Talk about legitimacy in the minds of the public! The listings that I had over the past two years on Rosewood Avenue, Saint Francis Way, Cedar Street, Brittan Avenue, and Timothy Drive did far more to promote my brand than any amount of paid advertising could ever provide.

What about potential financial gains? Selling a home off-market for an agent is only nominally less expensive for a real estate agent than it would be for fully marketing the home on the MLS. Most of the costliest marketing tasks (photography, fliers, home preparation) are required regardless of how the home is sold, so there’s no real financial benefit to the listing agent to pushing the house off-market….. Unless they plan on trying to “double-end” the deal by representing both the buyer and the seller in the transaction and thereby doubling the commission — a situation that is ripe with risk for that agent.

Bottom Line.

For some sellers, deciding to forgo putting their home on the market and instead opting to sell it discretely and privately simply makes more sense for one or more of the reasons that we outlined above. It’s the very reason why this stealth market continues to exist and thrive every year, despite the predominance of multiple-offers and overbids for homes that are listed on the MLS.
_____________________________________________________________________________

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.
Don’t miss a single update!
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