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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 10-18-14.

The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review is the only comprehensive weekly summary of the San Carlos real estate market, and it’s published every Monday on the White Oaks Blog.

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Focus = Results. If you hope to succeed in this ultra-competitive real estate market, it’s imperative that you enlist the help of an experienced Realtor who is laser-focused on the local real estate market, and who thoroughly understands the micro-economic nuances of each neighborhood.   The stakes are simply too high …

Coming This Weekend: 1028 Rosewood Avenue, San Carlos

1028 Rosewood Avenue is a fabulous downtown San Carlos home that will debut on the market this coming weekend. It will be open for viewing on Saturday and Sunday from 1PM – 4PM, and should not be missed!

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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All-Cash Deals in San Carlos: The Real Numbers.

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Hype, or Reality?

When you start to listen to the horror stories that buyers have had to endure over the past 18 months trying to land that elusive home in San Carlos, it makes you realize just how competitive the housing market is right now.   With multiple offers, bids that are multiple-hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price, and yes, all-cash offers to contend with, it seems as if it takes an iron constitution and a bottomless bank account to succeed as a buyer.

One of the most common complaints that I hear from dejected buyers in this market is that they are losing out to all-cash buyers.  And that perception would make sense with the economic rocket ride we’re on right now.   Salaries in tech are growing by leaps and bounds, as are the stock portfolios of buyers as we witness the Dow blow through the once-unthinkable 17,000 barrier.   Buyers are bringing unprecedented buying power to the table in today’s market.

But what about those all-cash deals?   With all the fear and horror stories that we hear about competing against those dreaded all-cash offers, are they truly as prevalent as many believe they are?   What do you think the percentage of all-cash home sales are right now in San Carlos –    25%?  35%?  50%?

It’s actually quite a bit less than you might think.

Take a look at the chart below…

All Cash 2014-2

All-Cash Sales in San Carlos – 2014

 

Of all of the home sales reported through the Multiple Listing Service (both SFR’s and condo’s) in San Carlos so far this year, only 14% were all-cash deals.   And this is down from 2013, when all-cash deals accounted for 16% of all sales in San Carlos.   Bear in mind that this data does not account for off-market sales that were not reported to the MLS, nor agent error in reporting the financing type.  (Note:  This doesn’t necessarily imply that this percentage would be higher if all off-market sales were accounted for.  Every off market transaction that I completed last year had a loan attached to it.)

Now, at the risk of becoming too desensitized to the sheer numbers that accompany this market, 14% is still a healthy number of extremely well-heeled buyers, especially when you consider how much prices have jumped in San Carlos.   But that number pales in comparison to Menlo Park, where a full 26% of this year’s sales have been all-cash.  In  Burlingame, it’s 26.5%, and in Palo Alto it’s a whopping 33% (although I suspect the unreported off-market transactions in both Menlo Park and  Palo Alto will drive their  percentages higher.)

So, what does this tell us?  All-cash deals clearly are not dominating the offer landscape in San Carlos as many of us may have mistakenly assumed.   But that’s not to say that strong cash positions are not influencing how decisions are being made by sellers in this market.

Cash = Strength.

What we are definitely seeing is a much higher percentage of buyers who are willing and able to put down a substantial amount of cash in their offer to supplement their bank loan.   It is becoming quite commonplace to see buyers shelling out 40-60% cash down payments, almost regardless of the price range.    It wasn’t too long ago that buyers simply put down 20% and financed the rest.

But coming in with such a strong cash position is advantageous for the buyer in several ways — first, it drastically reduces the risk for the buyer if they opt to not have a finance contingency in their offer, which is almost a given strategy in a multiple offer scenario.   Second, it gives the seller a sense of security that they are dealing with a financially strong buyer,  and that the deal will have a higher likelihood of closing (note that this is not always true.)

So the good news for buyers that are still beating the street is that you don’t to be an all-cash buyer to succeed in the San Carlos real estate market.   In fact, I have heard of numerous instances where a conventional offer has beaten out an all-cash offer because the buyers will willing to do more to get the house.

But the bad news for buyers in this market is that cash is still king.  And even though you don’t need 100% of it to buy a house, the more of it you have, the better your chance of success will be.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 7-5-14.

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The week of the 4th of July holiday is normally a slow one for new listings, and this year’s occurrence was no exception — even despite the continued strong market in San Carlos.   Last week yielded no new listings, which obviously makes sense because you sure don’t want the first open house to be on a weekend when nobody is around.

But the holiday week did not keep buyers off the street.  7 houses went into contract, and that took the inventory of available homes down a notch to 20 — still better than the Spring, but not the levels that buyers have enjoyed for the past few weeks.  And if there isn’t another push of new listings in the coming weeks, that number will once again drop back down into the teens.

On the topic of inventory, take note in the numbers below that the average days on market (DOM) of homes on the market is now at 33 days.  This is the first time that it has broken the 1-month barrier all year.  This is a trend that has been increasing in the past few weeks, which seems to suggest that it’s taking homes a little longer to sell lately.  That’s a number that I will certainly keep a close eye on in the coming 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 7-5-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 7-5-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 10 7
Average Sold Price: $1,594,700 $1,690,214
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $790 $934
Average Percentage Over List Price: 104% 108%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 20
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 24 25
No. of Active Listings: 20 27
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,468,597 $1,421,866
Average DOM of Active Listings: 33 25
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $698 $699
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.83 : 1 1.08 : 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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Special Hearing Tonight: San Carlos Land Swap.

san carlos logo

Critical Juncture.

If you haven’t been keeping close tabs on the local news lately, the City of San Carlos and the San Carlos School District have struck a tentative deal to effectively “swap” two key parcels of their respectively owned properties in San Carlos.     Under the terms of the agreement, the School District would get the 4-acre plot of land on Crestview Drive known as North Crestview Park to build a new facility for the San Carlos Charter Learning Center (SCCLC).   In return, the City of San Carlos would receive the land at the top of Tierra Linda Middle School, which would likely be utilized as additional recreation space.

At their May 27, 2014 meeting, the City Council adopted Resolution 2014-053, initiating the process of abandoning the North Crestview site designation as a “Park” – a key requirement to enable the site to be developed.    At 7:00 tonight in the San Carlos City Council Chambers, the Council will hold a special meeting to hear and consider all public protests to this Resolution.  At the conclusion of tonight’s meeting, the Council is expected to vote to either accept or override the protest.   At least 4 of the Council members must vote to override the protest.

If the protest is overridden, the Resolution then goes on the November ballot for the voters of San Carlos to decide its fate.   If the protest is not overridden, the land swap effectively dies on the dais.  The meeting starts at 7:00 PM at the City Council Chambers at 600 Elm Street in San Carlos.

If you have a strong opinion one way or the other on this issue, obviously tonight is a golden opportunity to have your voice heard by the Council.   It should be a very interesting meeting regardless.
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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: 6-28-14.

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Today marks the midway point in what has been arguably the strongest and most breathtaking year in San Carlos real estate in recent memory — possibly ever.   2014 is only halfway in the books, and the market is on a pace to shatter just about ever price record that one could think of.   The tally at the end of the year will be hard to believe.

Tomorrow we head into what are usually the slow summer months of the year on the real estate calendar — July and August.  Traditionally, the market takes a breather during these two months, and then picks up again in earnest in September.   But while I believe the market is not going to maintain the breakneck pace that it set in the Spring, I don’t believe we’re going to experience the lull in July and August that we are accustomed to seeing.  The right homes will still garner significant interest, but homes “on the fringe” may take a little bit longer to sell, which was a trend that I started to notice in the beginning of June.

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 6-28-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 6-28-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 7 7
Average Sold Price: $1,690,214 $1,508,514
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $934 $820
Average Percentage Over List Price: 108% 117%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 20 16
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 25 26
No. of Active Listings: 27 29
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,421,866 $1,346,842
Average DOM of Active Listings: 25 22
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $699 $697
Active-Pending Ratio: 1.08 : 1 1.11 : 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: 6-21-14.

Calendar

One of the key metrics to keep an eye on when you are gauging the temperature of the local real estate market is the Days on Market, or DOM, of the homes that are going into contract.   The larger that number gets, the longer homes are staying on the market before they sell.  This past week in San Carlos, nine different homes went pending, and all but one sold in about 2 weeks or less — in fact,  the average for the entire group was 14 days.   The average DOM of all 29 homes on the market in San Carlos right now is only 22 days, which is a relatively low number.

This is a good indication that inventory is still turning fairly quickly in San Carlos, despite the fact that we’ve seen a sharp increase in new single-family home listings since the beginning of May.   This past week was no exception to that trend, with 10 new listings replacing the 9 that went into contract, which has kept the inventory level almost unchanged from the prior week.  And with prices showing no signs of weakening, that’s pretty strong evidence that the demand for housing in San Carlos is remaining strong as we head into summer.

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 6-21-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 6-21-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 7 6
Average Sold Price: $1,508,514 $1,718,333
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $820 $958
Average Percentage Over List Price: 114% 117%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 16 11
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 26 25
No. of Active Listings: 29 27
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,346,842 $1,435,288
Average DOM of Active Listings: 22 23
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $697 $700
Active-Pending Ratio: 1.11 : 1 1.08 : 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: 6-14-14.

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This past week was just one of those “wow” weeks for closed sales in San Carlos.   Of the six homes that closed escrow, five garnered 6-figure premiums over the asking price.  And of those five, four of those were pushed roughly $300,000 or more above the list price.  Talk about a market flexing its muscle….

Inventory remained steady at 27 for yet another week, as new listings roughly kept pace with pending sales.  It will be interesting to see how the real estate market reacts,  since this will be the first full week with that the local public school systems have been completely out for summer,  and people are already starting to announce to the world every detail of their vacations on Facebook make vacation plans.  Don’t panic, but July is only two weeks away already…

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 6-14-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 6-14-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 6
Average Sold Price: $1,718,333 $1,518,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $958 $727
Average Percentage Over List Price: 117% 109%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 11 7
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 25 27
No. of Active Listings: 27 26
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,435,288 $1,484,035
Average DOM of Active Listings: 23 21
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $700 $701
Active-Pending Ratio: 1.08 : 1 0.96 : 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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Is the San Carlos Real Estate Market Slowing Down?

Slow Road

Despite What it May Seem…

Without a doubt, 2014 will be a year that goes down in the record books for San Carlos real estate.   It seemed like every other day there was a home sale that set some sort of pricing milestone, or there was a story about the incomprehensible number of offers a listing fetched… or both.   The market kicked into a gear that has never been seen in this town.

But after four of months of breakneck price appreciation and ridiculously low inventory, the vibe of the market took a noticeable change in the month of May and has carried over into June.   If you asked agents, buyers and sellers what there opinion of the market is right now, you’d probably hear that it seems that maybe homes are taking a little longer to sell?   And perhaps with fewer offers?   And there are more homes to choose from now than there has been at any time in the entire year?    If these perceptions were true, it would seem to point to a downward trend in the San Carlos real estate market.

So is the real estate market slowing down in San Carlos?   The answer is no.  At least not yet.

Blame it on the Inventory.

Your gut may tell you that the market is slowing down, but the numbers tell an entirely different story.   So, what’s the culprit?  The answer lies in the inventory — especially in the month of May.   Take a look at the graph 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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A Guide to Navigating the Permitting Process in San Carlos.

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In response to last week’s Open Forum post where readers were encouraged to share their recent experiences (positive or negative) with getting remodeling projects approved through the Planning and Building Divisions, the City of San Carlos has been kind enough to provide the following guide to help homeowners better understand the permitting process, what timelines to expect for responses and approvals, and also to provide key contact information in case you have questions or problems getting your project through the system.

The outline below is provided by the City of San Carlos:

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Tips on How to Navigate the San Carlos Residential Permitting Process:

The Planning and Building Divisions at the City of San Carlos would like to help those who are reading this blog. We value your time and know that a remodel project can be challenging – even without the permit process added in. Our goal is to try to make the planning and building permit process quick and efficient. We want to help you achieve your desired project – and we have made many recent improvements to provide you with quality customer service.

Our new Development Services Center was designed with our customers in mind. The center includes staff from both our Planning and Building Divisions to better coordinate your permits. We are available to assist anyone Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and noon. If these hours are not convenient, we can set an appointment for you. Please contact us at (650) 802-4263 or stop by during our Development Services Open House scheduled for Wednesday, June 11 from 8:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. to meet us in person and learn more about the services we offer. We look forward to meeting you!

Below are some permit processing tips from our Planning and Building Divisions and who to contact if you have questions.

Residential Planning Permit Review:

· Our staff is available to assist early in your planning stages – even before you submit plans.

· If you are planning a single-family residential addition or a new home, it is likely that a Planning Permit will be required. You will need to get the Planning Permit before you get a Building Permit.

· All residential Planning Permit work is managed here at City Hall and City staff is available to meet with you, your contractor, or architect any time during the process.

· You will be assigned a City planner who will be your point-person throughout the Planning Permit process. The planner will work with you or your representative to understand your project goals and can then identify the level of review that will be required for your project, inform you of relevant zoning requirements and outline a path and timeline for Planning Permit approval.

· Depending on your project’s complexity and the applicable Planning Permit process, average processing times can range from 45 to 90 days to obtain a Planning Permit.

· After your Planning Permit is approved, staff will let you know what follow up items need to be completed before receiving a Building Permit.

If you have any questions about the Planning Permit review process, please call Lisa Porras, Principle Planner at (650) 802-4264, or send her an e-mail, at lporras@cityofsancarlos.org.

Residential Building Permit Review:

· Single-family home projects that received a Planning Permit are typically reviewed by our plan check consultants outside City Hall – we manage their work and communicate with them if there are any issues.

· Average turn-around time for initial Building Permit plan review comments is 10 working days (for projects that already received a Planning Permit).

· Average review time for Building Permit plan review re-check comments is 5 working days.

· Interior remodels, kitchen and bath remodels, and other projects that do not require a Planning Permit are typically reviewed in-house by one of three plan checkers. Here are some benchmark internal Building Permit plan check timelines:

Single-Story Addition: 2 to 4 Weeks
Kitchen & Bath Remodel: 1 to 2 Days
Deck: 1 to 2 Weeks
Interior Remodel: 1 to 3 Weeks
Solar Installation: 1 to 3 Days
Retaining Wall: 2 to 4 Weeks

If you have any questions about the Building Permit plan review or inspection process, please call Chris Valley, Building Official at (650) 802-4262, or by sending an e-mail, at cvalley@cityofsancarlos.org.

Please feel free to contact me, at (650) 802-4209, or via e-mail, at asavay@cityofsancarlos.org if you have any questions about this information. We look forward to helping you with your project.

Al Savay, AICP
Community Development Director
City of San Carlos, California
PH: (650) 802-4209
asavay@cityofsancarlos.org
600 Elm Street
San Carlos, CA 94070
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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