That Elusive 4-Bedroom Home in San Carlos.

August 21, 2013


The Sweet Spot.

If you've lived in San Carlos, or are currently shopping for a home here, you probably suspect that there are a lot of 3-bedroom homes that make up the housing stock in the city.  And your suspicion would be correct — the 3-bedroom floor-plan comprises the largest percentage of homes sales every year in San Carlos.   So far in 2013, 3-bedroom homes have represented a full 50% of all homes sold in the city; in all of 2012, they accounted for 45%.

But many homeowners are finding that the coziness of the typical 3-bedroom San Carlos home is just a bit too confining.  Whether it's because of a growing family, or the need for a home office, or simply a spare room to house frequent guests, they know that having that 4th bedroom would solve many of those space problems.

For some lucky homeowners, they have a large enough lot and an accommodating floor-plan such that adding that magical 4th bedroom is relatively straightforward.  But for many others, moving out of their tiny 3BR home is their only option.   And ignoring for a moment the complexities of selling one house and buying another at the same time, where are you going to find a 4-bedroom house in San Carlos?   When's the last time you saw one for sale?

They may not be as elusive as you think.  You just may not be looking in the right place.

Head to the Hills.

As rare is it may seem to see a 4-bedroom house for sale in San Carlos, you may be surprised to find out they have accounted for 27% of all home sales so far this year, which is almost identical to the percentage in all of 2012.   That's not an insignificant number by itself.    But if you're looking to stay in the “flats” of San Carlos (aka, White Oaks, Howard Park, or Clearfield Park), then you're not going as much luck finding one.   Only 18 four-bedroom homes have sold in theses area so far this year.  That's just 31% of all of the 4-bedroom homes that have sold so far this year in San Carlos, and 8.5% of the total San Carlos market.   It's not quite like finding a needle in the haystack, but there certainly is not an abundance of choice.

San Carlos Home Sales: 2013

So where all of the 4BR homes selling?   In the hills.   The remaining three sections in San Carlos (Alder Manor, Beverly Terrace, and Cordes) accounted for the other 69% of 4BR home sales in 2013.     This should not be a total surprise if you understand how San Carlos was developed.   The homes west of the Alameda were developed a decade or two later than those in the flats.   Lot sizes on the west side were generally subdivided larger than those in the flatlands, so developers were able to design and build larger homes for the growing California family.

The bottom line is that if you love your White Oaks or Howard Park neighborhood but you're outgrowing your space,  you'll either need to to find a way to add on to your existing structure…. or head west — to the hills.

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  1. Thomas on August 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Chuck – Another great post. Do you see a difference in price per square foot in 3 vrs 4 bedrooms? I know that $/foot is a blunt metric but just curious if there are trends. Thanks!

  2. Chuck Gillooley on August 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm


    That’s a very good question. For the homes that sold so far this year, here is the data.
    Avg $/sq foot = $609
    Avg sales price = $1,511,869

    Avg $/sq foot = $713
    Avg sales price = $1,217,973

    At first blush, it doesn’t appear that the 4BR homes command a premium since the $/sq foot is lower. But it’s important to know that the average size of these 4BR homes is 42% larger than the 3BR sold during the same time period, and we know that $/sq foot generally declines as the homes get bigger (higher proportion of lower value floorspace.)

    What it does tell us is that people are willing to pop and additional $300,000 to get that extra BR and space!

    Thanks for your question.

  3. Terri on September 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Thanks for the info! We are selling our 4BR home in Alder Manor!

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