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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: 9-27-15.

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The Scoop.

For the second week in a row, the inventory of homes for sale in San Carlos stayed at a moderately higher level than what we’ve seen for most of 2015. We started last week with 21 homes for sale, and after a fairly active week of buying that saw seven of those homes go into contract, the inventory is still sitting at 16. What’s interesting to note with the current inventory list is the average days on the market (DOM). In market where we are accustomed to seeing homes being locked up in contract in less than two weeks, it’s a bit surprising to see the average DOM of the existing inventory at 19. That’s a number that we certainly didn’t see earlier this year.

There are more than a few homes that are sitting on the market, and it seems to be especially acute for the upper price range. Homes that are currently listed at $1.5M and above in San Carlos have been on the market for an average of 25 days. The homes that are listed below $1.5M are averaging 13 days on the market. Even the seven homes that were put into contract this week were out there for 12 days on average before they were scooped up. These are all slightly longer numbers than normal, and it’s something we’ll be keeping a close eye on as we say goodbye to September this week.

For the first time in countless months, we are also building a little bit of inventory for condo and townhouse buyers. As of this morning, there are 10 units for sale in the City. This may not sound like much, but for most of the year we’ve been averaging half to one-third of this amount for any given week.

Here’s the recap from last week:

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 9-27-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-27-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 3
Average Sold Price: $1,742,000 $3,226,667
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $914 $727
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 114% 107%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 10 13
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 20 18
No. of New Listings: 2 9
Total # of Active Listings: 16 21
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,720,859 $1,634,226
Average DOM of Active Listings: 19 13
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $827 $825
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.8 : 1 1.2 : 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 City-Wide Garage Sale 2015.

September 25, 2015 Living in San Carlos No Comments
Garage Sale Image

Sign-Up Deadline: September 26.

Are you weary of staring at a garage full of junk left over from the summer? Are you ready to clear out the yard and get ready for Fall? If so, there’s no better time than right now to get it done, because it’s time once again for the annual San Carlos City-Wide Garage Sale!

This year’s event, which is coordinated every year by San Carlos Together, will be held on Saturday October 3rd from 9AM – 4PM throughout the City of San Carlos, and is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all of your junk valuable items, since there will be hundreds of garage sale shoppers cruising the streets of San Carlos that day.

To ensure that you get an optimal turnout at your home on Saturday, it’s important that you get your sale posted on the master list of participating homes that is distributed to all bargain hunters. That means that you must register your sale on the City Wide garage sale page of the San Carlos Together website before the registration deadline — which just happens to be tomorrow – September 26.

So clean up your act, San Carlos… And hopefully make a few bucks in the process!
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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Larger Homes, or Just Higher Prices?

September 23, 2015 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
Calculator and house plan blueprints close up , shallow DOF photo

What You’re Paying For…

There is no doubt that home prices are on a rocket ride upward in San Carlos, and in other communities along the Peninsula. Believe it or not, the price for a single-family residence in San Carlos will now set you back an average of $1,600,000 — the highest average ever, according to the MLS. Only 5 years ago, that very same “average” home sold for just under $1M, or about 38% less…which, admittedly, seemed like a lot back then too.

When you try to wrap your head around a meteoric growth rate like this, you have to wonder about the characteristics of the houses that are being sold in San Carlos. Are homes suddenly that much larger than they were 5 years ago? Or are people simply spending over 60% more for the same size houses? I think you already know the answer to these questions before you even look below, but according to the data it’s some of both — but much more the latter.

Price Per Square Foot, and Average Home Size.

One of the metrics that I often use when analyzing home prices is the price per square foot ratio.  This is simply the final sales price of a home divided by its square footage. This is somewhat useful because it creates a normalized measurement that you can use to compare prices of different sized homes. Take a look a the chart below, which shows the average price per square foot of all home sold in San Carlos since 2008:

 

SC PPSF - SFRSource:  Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

 

What this chart obviously tells you is that the average price per square foot of a single-family residence sold in San Carlos has climbed nearly 60% in the 6 years since the Great Recession. Back in 2009, we only talked about the $600/square foot milestone when discussing brand new construction, or a nice recently remodeled home. Today, those same homes are fetching closer to $1,000/square foot.

But what that chart does not tell you is the trend of the size of homes being sold in San Carlos. With the remodeling boom in full swing, one may assume that homes being sold today are quite a bit larger than 6 years ago…but is that really the case?

Here is a chart of those very same homes above that sold in San Carlos since 2008, but this time the data is sorted by average square footage.  It tells a slightly different tale:

 

SC Home SizeSource: Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The average size of a home that has sold in San Carlos since 2009 has only grown by 200 square feet, or about the size of a modest one-car garage! Although the relative direction of the arrows may be a bit deceiving at first glance, what these two charts clearly show is that while the price of a San Carlos home has jumped nearly 60% since 2009, the size of those very homes has only grown 11% on average.

If you take nothing else away from this post, that’s it in a nutshell.

Spending More for the Same.

This data makes sense, since price per square foot is not a linear relationship across all home sizes.  Smaller homes tend to have higher $/sq foot numbers because the value of the lot sometimes is greater than the value of the house, and the fact that there’s simply a floor to home values of any size in San Carlos.  So it’s quite common to see numbers close to $1,000/sq foot for smaller homes – almost regardless of condition.

Conversely, large homes tend to have lower $/sq foot results because these homes have lots of lower value square footage (huge family rooms, living rooms). And we’re simply not at the point where every 3,000 square foot home is going to fetch $3,000,000.  At least not yet…

What this data does tell us is home buyers are paying a much higher price for only a slightly larger house than they would have only a half decade ago. And that may not be comforting news to many…
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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: 9-20-15.

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The Scoop.

What a difference a single week makes. At this very same time just last week we only had 13 single-family homes for sale in all of San Carlos. This week, we officially say goodbye to Summer and welcome Fall in with a relative avalanche of inventory. It has been many weeks since our inventory popped above the 20, so this is significant. It certainly gives home buyers some additional options to see, and a renewed hope that they will be able to actually secure a home with a tad less competition than what we saw in the Spring market.

It took a flurry of listing activity last week to get the inventory back up over 20. Nine homes debuted on the market over the past 7 days, making it a rather busy open house weekend for many buyers. But aside from the crazy summer heat, I’m sure buyers didn’t mind being busy — especially after so many weekends of slim pickings.  And I believe this little rally has some legs, as there will be additional listings hitting the market over the next two weeks.

Although many buyers that are still active out there are probably weary after an entire year of battling to get their home, this next 45-60 day period will be rewarding for those that can remain on task.

Here’s the recap from last week:

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 9-20-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-20-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 7
Average Sold Price: $3,226,667 $1,400,357
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $727 $825
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 107% 107%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 13
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 18 19
No. of New Listings: 9 6
Total # of Active Listings: 21 13
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,634,226 $1,748,688
Average DOM of Active Listings: 13 13
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $825 $864
Active-Pending Ratio: 1.2 : 1 0.68 : 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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San Carlos Notches Its First $5M Home Sale.

September 18, 2015 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
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An Exclusive Club.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later…

With the way the economy has been driving San Carlos home prices upward in leaps and bounds over the past 4 years, it was only a matter of time — after all, it was just less than two years ago that the $4M barrier in San Carlos was broken for the first time (on the MLS) with the sale of 5 Coronado Avenue at $4,500,000. That sale was a slightly different animal, since the value of that purchase was more in the 7+ acres of land, and not so much the ~800 square foot house that resided on it.

But the San Carlos real estate world was abuzz yesterday when the largest single-family residence sale (of those listed on the MLS) closed and became the exclusive member of the $5M Club in San Carlos.

168 Queens Court.

If a home in San Carlos was going to set that mark, then it makes sense that it was one of the homes up in Hyde Park. This little enclave in the upper reaches of Devonshire Canyon is home to some of the largest and most regal homes in all of San Carlos (hence the street names King and Queens Court.) The homes in Hyde Park are grand in their scale and architecture, and many sport fabulous views of the San Francisco Bay.

 

168 Queens Court, San Carlos

168 Queens Court, San Carlos

 

168 Queens Court, which was listed by Jim Arbeed of Coldwell Banker and just closed for $5,380,000, was no exception to that standard. It’s a massive house, at 6,510 square feet with 5 bedrooms, and 4.5 bathrooms. It’s situated on nearly 3/4 of an acre at the end of Queens Court, so you know the views are sublime. And the finishes are all top-notch throughout. (Click on the picture above for all of the listing details and photos.)

If a home was to be the charter member of an exclusive club, this one is certainly worthy.

Top 5 Home Sales in San Carlos.

While I was digging through the history of San Carlos single-family home sales yesterday, I was wondering what other homes 168 Queens Court surpassed on the MLS to become the top dog.  Here is a list of the top 5 homes sales in San Carlos that were reported on the MLS (unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account any private sales that were not recorded.)

San Carlos Address Sales Price Year Sold
168 Queens Court $5,380,000 2015
5 Coronado Avenue $4,500,000 2012
108 Queens Court
$3,300,000 2002
39 Oak Creek Lane
$3,200,000 2013
39 Oak Creek Lane
$3,100,000 2006

A few things of interest popped up when I was compiling this list.  First, it’s not a typo that 39 Oak Creek Lane is included in the list twice. It made the top 5 list both times it sold.

Second, the number of home sales does not grow exponentially when we look at the next segment below –  the $3M range.  There have only been 4 of those sales reported on the MLS in the history of San Carlos, and 39 Oak Creek Lane was two of those four.  So the class of homes that have sold for $3,000,000 or higher in San Carlos remains quite exclusive with a membership of 5.

But the way house prices are climbing in San Carlos, I have a hunch that club will be getting quite a few new members in the coming years…
_____________________________________________________________________________

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 Honeymoon Period for San Carlos Home Listings.

September 16, 2015 San Carlos Real Estate No Comments
honeymoon

A Shelf Life.

There is a conversation that I have with every one of my home sellers that revolves around what I refer to as the “Honeymoon Period” of their listing. Just like the institution of marriage that the term originates from, it’s the period of time when everything is fresh, new and exciting about the house. It’s a brand new listing that buyers are excited to see, and (hopefully) will be anxiously anticipating writing an offer on.

But unlike that period of bliss in a marriage, which hopefully lasts for months or even years, the honeymoon period for a listing in San Carlos is not nearly that long.  How long would you guess that period is?  3 weeks?  A month?  Well, the reality is that the “best sold by” label on listings in San Carlos is exactly 14 days. When I tell this to people who live out of the area where homes commonly take 30-60 days (or more) to get into contract, they simply cannot believe this figure. But after years of battling in a white-hot housing market on the mid-Peninsula where houses commonly sell very quickly with multiple offers,  home buyers have simply become accustomed to homes selling in the first two weeks on the market — and coincidentally, quite wary of homes that have not.

Why 14 days? That’s two full weeks, which is ample time to list the property, conduct the normal Tuesday broker’s tour, and have two full open house weekends. The conventional wisdom with buyers in this market is that if a home has not sold in this period of time after that much exposure, then something is amiss.

The numbers back up this thinking, too. I took the data for all single family homes that have sold in San Carlos since the beginning of 2015 (and were listed on the MLS) and created a dividing line at 14 days from when the home was first listed until an offer was accepted on the house.  The results are very telling:

Days on Market Average Sales Price
Sales/List Price
Avg $/Sq Foot
# of Homes Sold
0-13 $1,609,578 117% $888 114 (67%)
14+ $1,571,173 105% $779 55 (33%)

Source: MLS.

In a nutshell, the homes that sold either pre-emptively or by the 14th day on the market fetched a higher price, a greater premium over the list price (17% vs 5%), and a higher price per square foot than those that took longer than two weeks.

The size of the home certainly doesn’t play much of a factor — the average size of a home in the 0-13 day group is 1,894 square feet, while the slower group was only slightly larger at 2,154 square feet, or only 12% larger.

Every Home Has Its Price.

One can look at this data in a variety of ways, and can draw an equal number of conclusions.  For example, one may wonder which factor is the cause, and which is the effect?  In other words, did a home fetch a lower price because it was on the market for too long? Or was it on the market so long because it wasn’t priced right to begin with?

My belief is the latter. There’s an old saying that goes something like “every home will sell for a certain price”, and that certainly holds true with our hyperactive local real estate market. Even homes that are borderline uninhabitable will sell in this market for the “right” price. And therein lies the answer — pricing the home “right” to begin with.

That’s not to say that buyers don’t look at homes that have been on the market for longer than 14 days with somewhat of a wary eye. The first question I always hear from buyers when they ask about one of these homes is “Is there something wrong with the house? Why hasn’t it sold already?”  It’s almost as if everyone jumps to the unwarranted conclusion that the house is sliding down the hill, or has a 6-figure foundation problem!

No — while the length of time on the market may be a factor that scares away a buyer or two, in the end the house always sells, but sometimes after chasing the market downward.

Get it Right – Price it Right.

This data proves a critical element of the listing strategy that everyone already knew intuitively, but until now not quantitatively: If you want to get top dollar for your house, you have to price it in such a way that it will sell in less than 14 days on the market, ideally with multiple offers.

This may mean pricing the house somewhat below what you think the market value may be for your home, which is a concept that understandably makes many sellers uneasy. But that’s often a necessary step to garner those extra offers that will ultimately help drive the price upward. Of course, there are homes that will be an exception to this strategy because they are unique in feature or location in such a way that will make multiple offers unlikely, so a different approach is required. This also reminds us that there’s no “one size fits all” strategy for getting the best price for your home.

When I meet with sellers, we always review a number of “go-to-market” strategies that are all slightly different in timing, listing date, open houses, etc.. But they all share a common goal of getting the home sold during the honeymoon period, and not after.

Because the numbers show just how important that dividing line truly is.
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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It’s a Dog’s Day in San Carlos.

San Carlos City of Good Living

New San Carlos Dog Park Opens Tonight.

Much to the delight of local dog owners, the City of San Carlos will officially open a dedicated pooch park tonight at 5:00 PM. After an ambitious pilot program that allowed off-leash hours at Burton Park was discontinued this year, dog owners in San Carlos were left without a dedicated park to exercise their dogs.

The City of San Carlos stepped in recently and dedicated the City Hall Park on the corner of San Carlos Avenue and Elm Street as the new canine playground.  They have spent the past few weeks getting park ready and installing a safety fence around the perimeter of the park, with double safety gates so that the dogs aren’t able to accidentally exit the park right onto San Carlos Avenue.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony tonight and some prizes will be given away to some lucky dogs, according to the press release on the City website. So if you’re out on an early walk with your best pal, stop by the new San Carlos City Dog Park for all of the festivities.
_____________________________________________________________________________

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: 9-13-15.

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The Scoop.

One big difference that you’ll notice when you compare the Fall real estate market to the Spring market in San Carlos is that while the Fall market has its ebbs and flows from week to week. Some weeks are simply more active and intense than others, compared to the Spring market of this year, which was pretty much on full afterburner every single day up until June.

Last week we made note of the huge premium that the homes that closed escrow last week fetched compared to the original list price (21% over). This week’s closings, while still averaging more than 100% of the list price, were not nearly as strong as the prior week at only 7% above. In fact, 3 of the 7 homes that closed escrow last week sold below their original asking price. Is that just one of those weekly ebbs, or a sign of a change in the market? Most likely it’s the former and not the latter, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.

Here’s the recap from last week:

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 9-13-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-13-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 7 5
Average Sold Price: $1,400,357 $1,834,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $825 $872
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 107% 121%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 13 13
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 19 22
No. of New Listings: 6 6
Total # of Active Listings: 13 10
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,748,688 $1,742,895
Average DOM of Active Listings: 13 12
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $864 $809
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.68 : 1 0.45 : 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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