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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 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.
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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: 1/25/2016.

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The Scoop.

We are heading into the last week of January, and the San Carlos real estate market is tracking pretty closely to where we were at this point last year. Last January there were 23 new single family listings to hit them market. So far in 2016, we’ve had 16 single-family homes make their debut with another full week left to go.

While that may sound like good news on the surface, that statistic is a bit of a double-edged sword. While we are essentially keeping pace with last year, it’s important to remember that 2015 produced the lowest number of listings in San Carlos in at least the last decade. This is a statistic that we will track frequently on the blog this year, as it’s a critical indicator on where our local real estate market is heading.

It’s also interesting to note that the average price for a single-family home that sold in San Carlos in January of 2015 was slightly over $1.3M. That figure has already topped just over $1.6M for the homes that have sold thus far this year, or a jump of 23%… 

Whether that’s good news or bad news probably depends on if you’re a home buyer or a home seller.

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 1/24/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 1/24/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 1 7
Average Sold Price: $1,595,000 $1,633,710
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $1,029 $905
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 114% 111%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 8 19
Total # of Homes Pending Sale: 11 9
No. of New Listings: 6 4
Total # of Active Listings: 12 9
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,472,431 $1,434,648
Average DOM of Active Listings: 14 15
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $856 $757
Active-Pending Ratio: 1.1 : 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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Wanted: San Carlos Buyer for Unique Pre-Market Opportunity.

Off-market

Off-market and pre-market listings have always been a part of the San Carlos real estate landscape. While these types of transactions still make up a small portion of the total home sales transactions that are completed in San Carlos, they’re nevertheless a very important part of the inventory mix — especially in a town where there are only a dozen homes for sale at any given time.

One of the great things about being part of Dwell Realtors is that I’m exposed to a lot of pre-market and off-market opportunities in San Carlos, partly because of the volume of business that our brokerage does in this city (more on that statistic later this week), and also because I constantly have my finger on the pulse of the local real estate market. It’s just one of many benefits that we bring to our clients as the premier San Carlos real estate office.

On that note, I have a unique pre-market situation that may be of interest to you. A long-time family friend has decided to sell their San Carlos home, and has given me the opportunity to bring a buyer in and sell it before they go on the market in the next 7-10 days.  The home itself is a 3BR/2BA home in the flats of San Carlos, and within the San Carlos school boundaries — over 1,300 square feet on a spacious lot that is over 6,000 square feet.  The asking price when it goes to market will be about $1,550,000. It is nicely updated, and even has room for expansion.

If you’re a buyer who is just entering the market and this sounds like it may be of interest, please reach out to me as soon as possible.  Please note: It’s imperative that you are NOT already working with another real estate agent, and this is absolutely not a solicitation for you to change agents if you are already working with one. I cannot engage with you if you’re already working with another Realtor.

But if you (or someone you know) are looking to get into San Carlos, this may be a golden opportunity to land a great San Carlos home before it hits the market.
_____________________________________________________________________________

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: 1/18/2016.

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The Scoop.

January 2016 is continuing at a very brisk pace in the San Carlos real estate market. It was very encouraging to see four more solid new listings to hit the market this past week, since the pace of new listings is normally a bit slower in early-mid January. The recent stock market volatility and the economic uncertainty certainly has some sellers thinking about selling sooner rather than later this year, as concerns about housing prices become more real.

That being said, the sale that closed this week at 2525 Nanette Drive ($601,000 above the asking price) demonstrates that there is still a strong appetite for homes with some sort of “X-Factor” — in the case of Nanette, it was the lot size and the bay views.  But it will be interesting to see moving forward in this volatile market just how strong that appetite remains.

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 1/18/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 1/18/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 7 1
Average Sold Price: $1,633,710 $1,450,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $905 $1,198
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 111% 104%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 19 11
Total # of Homes Pending Sale: 9 15
No. of New Listings: 4 5
Total # of Active Listings: 9 7
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,434,648 $1,430,128
Average DOM of Active Listings: 15 14
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $757 $717
Active-Pending Ratio: 1 : 1 0.54 : 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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$2,000,000 Home Sales Hit a Record Level in San Carlos in 2015.

2M

Strength at the High End.

In last week’s 2015 Real Estate Year in Review, we took a close look at the meteoric growth in home prices in San Carlos in 2015, and noted that the combination of strong demand and limited inventory pushed the average sales price of a single family home in San Carlos hit an all time high of over $1,665,000 last year.

Those very same market conditions had a huge impact the “high end” of the San Carlos real estate market — those homes over $2,000,000 — and even cracked into new, uncharted territory of the $3M range.

Below is a chart that you should be pretty familiar with, since I have refreshed it several times over the past year.  It shows the number of single-family homes to sell in San Carlos for over $2,000,000 by year:

 

Home Sales in San Carlos >$2,000,000 (source: MLS)

>>> 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 San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1/11/2016.

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The Scoop.

As I predicted last week in the 2015 Real Estate Year in Review, the 2016 market in San Carlos came charging right out of the gate in our first full week of the new year. There were 5 new listings to hit the market, which is a much quicker start than what we experienced at this time last year. Two of these new listings — 2015 Eaton Avenue and 2079 Alma Street — will give us a very good indication how hungry the market is for “premier addresses” in San Carlos. I have a feeling there is still some upside in this market for properties on premier streets such as these. We will know soon enough.

Later this week on the site, we will recap the numbers on the higher-end of the market in San Carlos — those homes that sold for $2M or higher in 2015. You already know that we easily exceeded the total for 2014. The only question is by how much.

Here’s the first update of 2016:

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 1/11/2016:

San Carlos Housing Data 1/11/16 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 1 2
Average Sold Price: $1,450,000 $1,750,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $1,198 $944
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 104% 96%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 11 32
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 15 15
No. of New Listings: 5 0
Total # of Active Listings: 7 2
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,430,128 $1,449,500
Average DOM of Active Listings: 14 23
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $717 $468
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.54 : 1 0.13 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

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 2015 Year in Review: Part III

part 3

Another year has drawn to a close in the San Carlos residential real estate market, and like every year in the past decade, there are lots of numbers to look at and lots of stories to tell. In this multi-part series on the White Oaks Blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of those numbers and stories that drove our local market in 2015.

In Part II yesterday, we discussed how the record low level of new listings in San Carlos was a major factor in driving the average home sale price to record heights in 2015. In our final installment below, we’ll take a look at what’s potentially in store for the San Carlos real estate market in 2016.

More of the Same?

One of the wonderful things that happens every January is that we get to look ahead and try to *predict* what’s going to happen to the real estate market in the coming year. Nobody that I know in this business (myself included) predicted that the average price of a single-family home in San Carlos would experience double-digit growth for 4 consecutive years starting in 2011, and that by 2016 the average price for a home in San Carlos would top $1.6M. It seems that every year we think the market is going to level off a bit, it storms out of the gates in January and blows the lid off of everyone’s expectations.

So what will happen in 2016 if prices continue to grow at the same rate they did in 2015?  Well, try this on for size:

  • The average price for a home in San Carlos would then be about $1,920,457.
  • The average price for a 3BR home (the staple of the San Carlos housing inventory) anywhere in San Carlos will hit $1,689,514.
  • The average price of a condo or townhouse in San Carlos would then top $1,055,000.

Whoa…

So, is that going to happen in 2016? I’ve learned my lesson to not make bold predictions either way in this market, but here are some of the key influences that will come into play in the new year.

Market Influences in 2016.

2016 will be unique from past years because some of the underlying forces that directly influence the market are changing.  It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, these have on our local micro-real estate market.  Here are a few:

  1. Interest Rates.   For the first time in a decade, the Federal Reserve has actually raised the prime lending rate incrementally, and left the door open to doing it again in 2016 if necessary. What has been the impact so far? Almost negligible. The mortgage interest rates took a temporary blip upward shortly after the announcement, but they settled right back down to the same level shortly thereafter. The impact of future increases will be more significant for those home buyers who are borrowing the full 80% of their purchase.  But for now, it’s business as usual.
  2. Technology Job Market.  San Carlos is just like other communities along the Peninsula in that many of its residents are either directly or indirectly involved in technology and biotech careers. As those job markets go, so follows the real estate market locally. It appears that the big companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Genentech, and Gilead still have far more job openings than they do candidates. What you may see happen in 2016 is the normal Darwin effect on startups as they go back for subsequent rounds of financing. Just like any other technology boom, not all of these companies will make it to the top, and I believe this is the year you may see some startups either get absorbed, or simply not make the next cut. That may trim the buyer pool slightly.
  3. China. It has been well documented how much of an impact foreign investment has had in the past 5 years on the local real estate market. But only a few communities truly reaped a direct benefit from this — Palo Alto, Atherton, Woodside, and Hillsborough to name a few. People often incorrectly link the flow of foreign investment to the San Carlos real estate market, but that’s a stretch. San Carlos is what I refer to as “the upper-middle working class of Silicon Valley”.  The typical make-up of a San Carlos home is two incomes, usually at least one directly involved in technology.  It’s not a community where foreign investors are looking to park their money, often buying up property sight-unseen.  So as this flow of foreign investment money slowed significantly last year and was felt hard in the expensive neighborhoods, it had no effect on our local market. That’s simply not where our buyer pool comes from. However, if a slowing economy in China indicative of a broader technology slowdown (point #2 above)…that’s a much different story.
  4. Election Year. I hear a lot of talk about how Presidential election years serve to temper the real estate market. I don’t buy it. Just look at the chart in Part I of this series, and you’ll see that the Presidential election of 2012 had no impact on the meteoric growth in the market.
  5. Stock Market. The funds that most home buyers will use to purchase a home this coming year– whether it’s the down payment or the entire payment — is currently held as some sort of equity while they look to find the right home. A significant swing either way in the stock market will indeed have a direct impact on their buying power, and so far in 2016 the market has been quite volatile in just the first few trading sessions. This could come into significant play in 2016.

So what’s in store for the San Carlos housing market in 2016? Unfortunately for prospective buyers, I think prices will continue to rise. There just hasn’t been enough change in the forces that shaped the 2015 housing market to dictate a leveling off or even a downturn in housing prices. How much the market will grow is anyone’s guess, and it will be largely on the back of the buying population to determine how much is ultimately too much.

Stay tuned to the White Oaks Blog in 2016 as we track and analyze the market every week. In this market, being informed is being armed.

 
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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The San Carlos Real Estate 2015 Year in Review: Part II

Part II

Another year has drawn to a close in the San Carlos residential real estate market, and like every year in the past decade, there are lots of numbers to look at and lots of stories to tell. In this multi-part series on the White Oaks Blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of those numbers and stories that drove our local market in 2015.

In Part I yesterday, we took a close look at the record-shattering average sales prices that were achieved in 2015. In Part II below, we’ll investigate one of the key factors behind this continued meteoric climb in home prices.

Inventory.

If there was one pervasive characteristic to the real estate market in San Carlos last year (aside from high prices) it was that there never seemed to be that much inventory to choose from, and whatever inventory there was sure didn’t seem to stay on the market very long. That wasn’t just your imagination – the numbers definitely back up that perception.

The first chart below shows a side-by-side view of the number of new listings for all units (single family residences and condos/townhomes) that were put on the market San Carlos in 2015, and compares it to the past 7 years:

 

New Listings in San Carlos

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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