The months of inventory for any part of the real estate market can vary, depending on many factors, including age of home, house size, lot size, and school district, whether or not there’s a pool, and many other things. It can be very useful to understand this metric when selling a Silicon Valley home. I’ve done market numbers crunching tied to the specific characteristics of a property (say, small yard with pool or big yard with no pool) to find the impact of those characteristics on the probability that a home will sell – or how fast.
The Cambrian area of San Jose is a very “hot market” overall, but it can be confusing to know how hot it really is, just like the rest of Santa Clara County, because there are multiple school districts – and schools are probably the number one driver of home values in this highly educated valley.
An explanation of “months of inventory”
What does “months of inventory” mean? This figure references how long it would take to sell a property if homes continued to sell and close at the current pace with no new inventory coming on the market. A good analogy is to consider a bathtub which drains. If you add no new water to the tub, how long will it take to empty out?
The months of inventory is sometimes called the absorption rate. The question is simple: how long will it take for the current inventory of homes for sale to get absorbed by the home buyers purchasing them? It doesn’t have to be calculated by months. It could be in days, weeks, or years. But months is probably most common.
The Cambrian area of San Jose’s months of inventory as a whole, and in one price point
Cambrian was once an enormous zone of the Santa Clara Valley. Today we mostly think of it as within San Jose in the 95124 and 95118 zip codes. Some of it it adjacent to Campbell – a very tiny sliver is IN Campbell (we’re only dealing with the San Jose portion in our charts), and a tinier still area is in San Jose and is under the Campbell School Union District. Most of this area is in one of three elementary school districts: Cambrian, Union, or San Jose Unified.
Here’s the breakdown – first, for ALL of Cambrian (MLS area 14 for my Realtor readers) that’s within the City of San Jose and second, by elementary school district. The area for Campbell Elementary is so small that the numbers are usually not of use (no offense to the Campbell school residents). It can just jump around too much to be helpful and often gives us no usable data. Please have a look:
I highlighted the Union Elementary School District in both charts as the current lowest MOI. You’ll see that past charts show the fastest market shifts around. Aside from Campbell, which has numbers too small to register a MOI, these are the hottest tickets in the district.
Here are the numbers from last September for comparison:
The message I’d like to convey is this: you can read about information for your part of Silicon Valley, or your city or zip code, but it’s not until you drill things down to an area that closely matches your own home will you have a better sense of your own home’s “real estate marker.” It’s never “how is the market?” so much as “how’s the market for YOUR home – or the one you want to buy?”
If you were only tracking the whole of Cambrian, you might see .341 months of inventory. That’s a lightning fast seller’s market. But it’s not quite so fast if you’re selling a Cambrian home in the San Jose Unified Elementary Schools area of the entry-level market. There, you’re seeing 0.667 months of inventory for homes around $1 million, while the same price point with Union Schools is a low 0.4.
Years ago, I had a Willow Glen listing where the whole back yard was the pool. I did a study on the months of inventory and learned that pools in properties with that lot size took substantially more time to be absorbed. Likewise, I had a Los Gatos estate property on an acre of land, and the reverse was also true: the months of inventory showed that large lots on $2 million and up homes for sale did not sell nearly as well without a pool.
The math is simple: using the same criteria, divide the number of active listings by those of homes sold in the last 30 days. The criteria can be anything you like – a property’s size, location, number of bathrooms, price, age, etc. Often I include approximately the same home and lot size together with the school district. That usually provides much more accurate info on “how’s the market” as compared to just getting it by zip code alone.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Cambrian, or anywhere in San Jose or Santa Clara County, this kind of information is really important. It is not hard to do, but very few real estate agents will provide this information before you list or before you make the final determination on the list price of your home.
Looking for a good Silicon Valley Realtor who will get you that extra data? Please call or email me. I would love to chat to see about possibly working together.