What’s Happening With House Prices in White Oaks?

July 20, 2011

The Numbers Tell a Mixed Story.

In the recent San Carlos 2011 Real Estate Mid-Year Report, we discussed an interesting trend that has developed this year with respect to San Carlos real estate — namely, that the number of homes sold is up dramatically from last year, but the sales prices are not following suit.    It's a remarkable trend that mirrors the schizophrenic behavior of our general economy right now.  Some things are up, and some are definitely not.

Several readers have subsequently asked if that trend was mirrored in the sale figures for the White Oaks neighborhood of San Carlos.   Great question!  The short answer is yes…but the numbers make it look far more worse than it really is.   Let's take a closer look…

Home Sales Way Up.

First, the good news.   Like the rest of San Carlos, the White Oaks and Oak Park neighborhoods of San Carlos saw a huge spike in both pending and closed home sales in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.   Take a look at the following familiar-looking chart:

White Oaks/Oak Park Pending and Closed Sales.

The same trends that we discussed in the mid-year review are on display in dramatic fashion in White Oaks. Consider the following from these figures:

  • Pending Sales increased by 95% in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2010.   The 18 homes that pended in April represented 44 % of all homes that went pending in San Carlos that month, and is nearly as many as went pending in the entire second quarter of 2010.    For the year-to-date in 2011, pending sales are up a whopping 42%.
  • Closed Sales weren't far behind, as they increased by 74% in Q2'11, and were up 43% year to date in 2011.

Average Home Price Doesn't Follow.

Much like the rest of San Carlos, White Oaks and Oak Park did not see the same upside in home values.  The following charts may be extraordinarily depressing if you own a home in White Oaks:

White Oaks Average Sales Price – 1H2011

And the following chart shows the median prices for White Oaks and Oak Park:

Median Sales Price for White Oaks/Oak Park Homes.

What do both of these charts tell us?

  • Average Sales Price dropped a shocking 16.3% in the most recent quarter (April-June) — a much bigger drop than was experienced by the greater San Carlos market during the same period.
  • Median Sales Price also dropped by 11% in the same period.

What's up with these numbers?  Is the bottom falling out of the White Oaks real estate market?  Absolutely not.

Two Homes Wreak Havoc on the Numbers.

Part of the danger of running statistical analysis on a relatively small sample size is that a couple of extraneous data points on either extreme (high or low) can really skew the outcome of the numbers — that phenomenon is definitely at play here.    Back in May of 2010 (the red circle in Figure 2), two homes sold in White Oaks no more than a week apart from each other.  If you were watching the market back then, you'll remember when  2033 White Oak Way sold for $2,005,000 and 1340 Orange Avenue followed only a week later at $2,050,000.   Well, $2 million home sales are a rarity in White Oaks, considering that the average house price less than half of that figure, so getting 2 in the same month is akin to lightning striking the same place twice.  And that lightning lit up the numbers in Q1 of 2010.   Removing those two homes brings the drop in the average sales price back into the single-digit range, which is much more in line with the overall performance in San Carlos over the same period.


The real estate market in White Oaks emulated the rest of the San Carlos market pretty closely in the first half of this year, although the paradox that we've been discussing about increasing home sales versus declining home prices was a bit more pronounced than the rest of the city.    There is still a very strong demand for homes in White Oaks, and this should keep the pace of sales running high for the near future.  Over time, I believe this demand will help push pricing slowly upward, which is good news for sellers.

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  1. Andy on July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Keep up the great work on your blog, it definitely is full of useful information.

    I do have one question, but do real estate agents ever predict housing prices will go down? I will be first to admit however, that I haven’t read all your entries in detail nor do I know how far they date back (whether before housing bubble burst or not) so its quite possible you have predicted prices to drop at times and I just missed it.

  2. adam on July 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    the data i’d really like to see is price/sq ft inside the White Oaks school district boundary

  3. Chuck Gillooley on July 21, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for your kind words about the site. I’m glad you find the info useful!

    That’s a great question about housing prices dropping. From the perspective of San Carlos, there simply haven’t been many times in the past 20 years where housing prices have actually dropped. With the exception of the dot-com bust in 2001 and recession and credit crash of 2008, home prices in San Carlos have been on a steady climb upward. That’s great news if you’re a homeowner, but pretty daunting if you’re looking to buy.

    This latest anomaly has everyone baffled, myself included. When there’s a combination of a (slightly) strengthening economy, low interest rates, and increased sales, that’s a textbook recipe for an increase in home prices. But we’re simply not seeing it. The impetus for this post came from a simple gut feeling that home prices were not rising, despite the fact that sales volume seemed to be shooting through the roof. The numbers simply proved what I already thought.

    Thanks again for your comment!

  4. Chuck Gillooley on July 21, 2011 at 12:50 am


    You got it. I have a chart for that as well, and I’ll post it later this evening.


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