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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 8-30-15.

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.

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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 …

San Carlos Residential Real Estate Recap for the First Half of 2015.

The San Carlos real estate market just completed one of the most remarkable 6-month periods in recent history. The question is whether or not the market can maintain this bullish strength.

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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Greater East San Carlos Sees Huge Price Gains.

February 18, 2015 San Carlos Real Estate 1 Comment
Arrow-Up

Moving On Up.

Just like that saying “A rising tide lifts all boats”, the recent rising tide of home prices has been extremely beneficial to ALL neighborhoods in San Carlos, not just those typically sought after sectors like White Oaks and Howard Park.  One of neighborhoods that has seen the biggest gains in home prices is the Greater Eastside San Carlos area, also known as Clearfield Park. This has long been one of the most affordable areas in all of San Carlos – a place where, until recently, you could still find a decent 3-bedroom home without breaking the million dollar mark. But as you’ll see in the chart below, prices in this area are climbing at a breathtaking rate, threatening the very affordability that makes this neighborhood so attractive to first time home buyers.

For those not familiar with the Clearfield Park, it’s the residential section that is situated between El Camino Real and Industrial Road. It boasts some very charming homes, tight knit neighbors, and quite often larger lots than what you might find in other areas in the flats of San Carlos. It’s also feeling the squeeze of the rapid urbanization of San Carlos, and is definitely the neighborhood most greatly impacted by the planned Transit Village and Landmark Hotel development projects, as well as the new magnet high school that is targeted for Old County Road.  It’s these rapid changes to their neighborhood that led to the formation of the Greater East San Carlos Neighborhood Association, which gives this small neighborhood a powerful and influential voice in matters that affect their neighborhood. Here’s a general map of the area:

As home prices in San Carlos have skyrocketed out of the range of many buyers, they are looking toward the Greater East Side as their only viable option to land a single-family home in San Carlos for their budget – or resorting to finding a townhouse. What has always been amazing to me is the disparity in home prices between the east side and the rest of San Carlos. After all, they’re in the same great school district, and one of the best kept secrets of this neighborhood is that it is actually closer to downtown San Carlos and mass transit than most other parts of San Carlos. You’re literally a 5 minute walk from all of the great restaurants. But word must finally be getting out, because home prices have been on a rocket ride over the past few years. Take a look at the following chart:

Greater East Side San Carlos Home Prices

Greater East Side San Carlos – Average Home Prices

It was only two short years ago that the average home price in this neighborhood was just below $600,000.  In 2014, that mark hit almost $900,000 — a 17% increase in a single year, and whopping gain of 63% in just two years.  What’s equally amazing is the fact that in 2014, four homes broke the $1M mark in the Greater East Side, with 75 Bayport Court shattering all records with a sales price of $1,376,000. The sample size is not huge in this relatively small neighborhood.  On average, only a dozen or so homes sell here every year, so the numbers are susceptible to being skewed by a large sale.  But there is still a fair distribution of sales in the $800,000-$900,000 range — something that you just didn’t see two years ago.  And you can expect to see more sales this year in the high $900,000 range, and yes, over $1,000,000. For a complete list of home sales over the past 3 years in the Greater East Side of San Carlos, click here.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 2-15-15.

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The combination of low inventory and high buyer anxiety is pushing home prices to mind-numbing heights not only in San Carlos, but in some surrounding communities where you might not expect this type of behavior. One of those local neighborhoods is the Mount Carmel neighborhood of Redwood City, which in fairly close proximity to the southern most part of San Carlos.

Normally, there is a noticeable difference in pricing between equivalent sized homes in Mount Carmel, and anywhere in San Carlos. This is mostly due the to the fact that many buyers would eschew the picturesque Redwood City neighborhood and hold out for the higher ranked school district in San Carlos.   But this past week, two 3-bedroom homes went pending in Mount Carmel at prices that certainly seem much more San Carlos-like than Redwood City.  The gap between the two cities certainly seems to be closing.

Here are the details from last week:

By the Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 2-15-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 2-15-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 1
Average Sold Price: $1,593,333 $1,350,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $632 $785
Average Sold – Percentage Of List Price: 113% 113%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 55 6
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 23 22
No. of Active Listings: 10 10
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,331,500 $1,297,900
Average DOM of Active Listings: 47 7
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $753 $729
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.43 : 1 0.45: 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Friday Fun: Girl Scouts Invade San Carlos.

February 13, 2015 Living in San Carlos No Comments
Traffic Signs

It’s That Time of Year.

It’s now about a month or so into the new year, and you’re hopefully still working on at least one of the few New Year’s resolutions left that you didn’t scrap during the first week of January.  One of those is probably exercise, right?  By now, you’ve probably settled into a good workout routine, and are starting to see some positive results.  You’re feeling good, and you’re eating well — avoiding dietary temptations at every turn.  Your will power is impenetrable.

And then it happens…

The doorbell rings innocently enough.  You open the door, and suddenly you’re face to face with your diet killer — all of 4 feet tall, in a brown vest, and packing heat in a red wagon. Heat, as in the form of Samoa’s, Thin Mints, and lord knows what other kinds of dietary sins they can dream up with peanut butter and chocolate.

It’s Game Over for your diet.

GirlScoutCookies

You may think for a split second of all of the normal excuses you’d give to a telemarketer for not purchasing, but not here. Before you know it, you’re filling in the order sheet, clearing out freezer space, and shaking down that poor little girl for her last box of cookies.

And it’s all good.  Load up.

The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies in our neighborhood ever since we moved to San Carlos 25+ years ago.  And we have never missed the opportunity to support this great organization, while inheriting a few good calories along the way.

This weekend downtown you’ll probably see a few stands set up along Laurel Street where the Girl Scouts will be selling their wares. Support them, even if you don’t eat cookies. Take a few boxes to work, where you’ll be the most popular person in your office, while at the same time amazed at how fast they disappear.

Just like the four seasons, we can always count on that time of year when the Girl Scouts invade San Carlos. Let’s hope that never changes.

Have a marvelous weekend!
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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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San Carlos Enacts Emergency Drought Ordinance.

February 12, 2015 Living in San Carlos No Comments
Dripping taps

Official Drought Declaration.

Back in November 2014, the City Council passed Ordinance 1479, which gave the City tools for the enforcement of water restrictions if/when a declaration of drought emergency is declared. This means that “non-essential” uses of water in San Carlos would become unlawful during the declaration period, and financial penalties would be enforced by the City.  It mirrors the ordinances that many other communities around the Bay Area already have in place, or will soon.

Well San Carlos residents, that day has come.  On Monday, February 9, 2015, the City Council voted to declare a state of drought emergency in San Carlos.  The decision came down even though we saw ample rain in December 2014, and most recently just this past week.  But January 2015 was the driest and hottest year the Bay Area has ever recorded, and marks the fourth consecutive year of drought in California. According to the news release, local water storage is still only 58% of its maximum capacity.

The Penalty for Water Waste.

If you are caught wasting water after the commencement of the declaration period, which will take effect on 5/15/2015, it’s going to cost you some money. San Carlos Municipal Code Chapter 1.20 outlines the penalties for violations of Ordinance 1479:

  • $100 for the first violation;
  • $200 for the second violation within the same year;
  • $500 for each additional violation within the same year;
  • For each day a violator continues the unlawful action, he or she is guilty of a separate offense.

Curious about what you can and cannot do with water this summer?  You can read the ordinance and see a complete list of all nonessential water uses by clicking the following link:  San Carlos Ordinance 1479.

Spoiler Alert:  You’re probably going to have to keep the Slip ‘n Slide packed away this summer…
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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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3-Bedroom Homes Dominate Sales (Again) in San Carlos.

CR3Bed

The Staple of the San Carlos Housing Market.

Do you ever get the feeling when you’re looking at homes for sale in San Carlos that everything seems to be a 3-bedroom home?  And that finding a decent 4 or 5 bedroom home is like finding a needle in a haystack? Well, rest assured that it’s not your imagination.  The sales figures in San Carlos very much back up that perception, as you will see from the chart below.  The standard 3-bedroom home has been the staple of the San Carlos real estate landscape since the inception of the City, and families have been raised in these cozy confines for decades.  But in this booming economy, there is an unprecedented demand for more space than what the quintessential 3BR San Carlos home can offer.

What is driving this demand? The first and most obvious factor is simply that the population of San Carlos is exploding, especially with kids. There are lots of families in San Carlos now with small children, and many other families that want to live here to enjoy the small-town feel and great schools that San Carlos offers. Many of them are looking for more home than the standard 3-bedroom option can offer.  Having raised three children in San Carlos, I can tell you first-hand that it doesn’t take much to outgrow a 3-bedroom home with a family of 5. Those numbers just don’t line up.

The second factor that is driving the demand for that extra bedroom or two comes from the other direction — people needing that extra living space for the eventuality that a parent (or parents) may be coming back to live with them permanently; or to accommodate guests for extended periods of time.  Because of these factors, many of the older homes in San Carlos are being remodeled to add that extra space that is so important to today’s homeowners.

If you’re looking to buy that larger 4 or 5 bedroom home in San Carlos (as opposed to building it yourself), the numbers are not in your favor.  Take a look at the following chart that breaks down all of the single-family homes sold in San Carlos in 2014 by bedroom count:

San Carlos 2014 Home Sales - Bedroom Count

San Carlos 2014 Home Sales – Bedroom Count

Of the 284 single-family homes that sold in San Carlos last year, a whopping 47% of them were 3-bedroom.  30% were the 4-bedroom variety, and less than 20% had 5 bedrooms.

If there’s any good news in these numbers, it’s that this represents a slightly positive trend from 2013 — when 3-bedroom homes account for 51% of all sales, 4-bedroom notched 26%, and 5-bedroom homes had 6% of the market.  But regardless, it’s still evident that the 3-bedroom home is still the bread-and-butter of the San Carlos home inventory.

4 Bedroom Scarcity.

As I have written about before on the blog, it seems as if the “holy grail” for many San Carlos home buyers AND move-up buyers is to find a 4-bedroom home in the “flats” of San Carlos — i.e. in either the White Oaks, Oak Park, or Howard Park neighborhoods, so that they can be relatively close to downtown and have a flat yard.

There is some more good news hidden in these numbers.  There were quite a few more 4-bedroom homes to sell in the flats in 2014 than there were in 2013 — a trend that should bring some hope to home buyers, especially if it continues in 2015:

2014:

  • 4-bedroom homes sold in the flats:  35
  • % of all 4-bedroom homes sold:  41%

2013:

  • 4-bedroom homes sold in the flats:  20
  • % of all 4-bedroom homes sold: 25%

While these numbers are not statistically large, they are trending in the right direction for those home buyers who are looking for a larger home close to downtown.  And as more homes get renovated in this remodeling boom that we are experiencing right now, I think it’s a safe bet that these percentages will continue to improve in the coming years, as more of the 3-bedroom homes are expanded and converted.

For now, though, your dream 4-bedroom home in the flats is going to remain somewhat elusive…and very much sought after by other buyers.
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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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Wheeler Plaza Community Meeting – Thursday February 12.

Wheeler Plaza

Project Moving Forward.

The long awaited and often-stalled Wheeler Plaza Development in downtown San Carlos appears to be back on track again, with groundbreaking possibly happening in the next few months according to this article in the Daily Journal. This project has been the vision of community leaders for the past two decades, but has had to endure numerous delays and design changes to account for the changing political climate in California, and to address community feedback on the scope of the project.  If you’re not familiar with the Wheeler Plaza area, it’s the city-owned parcel that incorporates all of the parking lot behind Wells Fargo and Le Boulanger, as well most of the buildings along San Carlos Avenue between Laurel and Walnut Streets.  There’s good summary of the project on the City’s website.

What is now a parking lot and a collection of old and tired buildings is slated to be come a modern development with over 100 condos and about 10,000 square feet of brand new ground-level retail.   The artist renderings of the final project are very impressive, as they have obviously gone to great lengths to maintain the heritage of San Carlos in what will be the showcase of the downtown area.

WheelerSiteArea_1

Community Update Meeting.

But with the major hurdles now hopefully in their rear-view mirror, the City is ready to move forward and actually start putting shovels to dirt. In order to bring the local community back up to date on the latest iteration of the design and the anticipated development schedule, the City of San Carlos is hosting a Wheeler Plaza Community Update Meeting this coming week.   Here are the details:

When:  February 12, 2015
Time:    7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where:  San Carlos Library, 610 Elm Street, 2nd Floor Community Room

If you’re at all interested in finding out about the Wheeler Plaza project, this is the meeting to get all of your questions answered.  I have been following and documenting the progress of this project on the White Oaks Blog for the past 5 years, so I’m excited to see the latest update on what will be a spectacular addition to downtown San Carlos!
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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: 2-8-15.

calendar21

January of 2015 is officially in the books, and it was a robust month by January standards.  As I noted earlier on the blog, there were more new single family listings in January of this year than in any January in the past four years. And historically, January’s performance tends to be an indicator of how the year will go.  So if that logic holds true, buyers should have a slightly better inventory to choose from this Spring. Let’s see if that holds up.

Along those very lines, February is off to a promising start with 6 single-family homes and 3 town homes making their market debut this past week.  Market demand has remained very strong so far this year — of the four homes that went pending this past week, at least two of them fetched a significant number of  offers.  The listing at 205 Clifton raised everyone’s eyebrows when it was disclosed that it received 29 offers.  That has not been the norm this Spring, or at any time in San Carlos, but it does highlight the fact that the market between $1M and $1.5M remains incredibly hot in this market.

Here are the details from last week:

By the Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 2-8-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 2-8-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 1 4
Average Sold Price: $1,350,000 $1,228,675
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $785 $703
Average Sold – Percentage Of List Price: 113% 103%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 6 11
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 22 19
No. of Active Listings: 10 8
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,297,900 $1,282,494
Average DOM of Active Listings: 7 18
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $729 $689
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.45 : 1 0.42: 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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San Carlos School District to Issue Ballot Measure for Bundled, Increased School Tax.

February 4, 2015 San Carlos Schools 6 Comments
schoolfunding

Re-Ante the School Tax.

Facing the upcoming expiration in June of Measure B, the $78/yer parcel tax for San Carlos schools that has been in place since 2009, the San Carlos School District Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to put a new, bundled parcel tax on the ballot this Spring which will not only extend the timeline of both Measure B and Measure A funding, but will also increase the overall school tax that is levied per household.

In what will be a mail-only ballot, the school district will ask San Carlos homeowners to approve an extension of Measure B and increase that tax by 74%, or an additional $58 per year.  This revised tax will then be bundled with the  Measure A tax, the $110/year tax that was passed in 2011 and is set to expire in May of 2019.  The net result would be a combined new annual school tax of $246/year, which would then run through 2021.

According to this article in the Daily Journal, the District is optimistic that this revised tax will be embraced by the San Carlos community. Past history has shown that mail-only ballots of this sort tend to pass more often than not. The measure will require a full 2/3 majority to pass, and seniors will have the ability to opt out of paying the tax.  The funds will be prioritized “to attract and retain top-level educators, and implement curriculum that is focused on 21st century teaching methods”, according to the article.

If the tax initiative fails, it will cost the District over $720,000 in lost tax revenue, so a lot is on the line for the District.

What Do You Think?

Time for another White Oaks Blog poll — what do you think about the proposed school tax?  Will you vote in favor of it, or against it?  Feel free to cast your vote below. If you have more to say about it, make your opinion known in the comment section at the bottom of the post.

How Will You Vote on the Upcoming Combined School Parcel Tax?

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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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