It’s a sizzling hot seller’s market in Silicon Valley, meaning the San Jose area, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County generally have critically low housing inventory and extremly strong buyer demand. But it’s not equally hot in every city, area, school district or price point. Some home buyers may be interested in more than one area. For instance, often I have clients looking at both Almaden and Cupertino, or Cambrian (San Jose) and Campbell, or Los Gatos and Monte Sereno…. So if you are looking for a less crazed area in which to buy, it might be useful to compare the months of inventory* to see where it might be more possible to buy a home, especially if you’ve been beat out on multiple offers a few times.
Today we’ll just consider where these houses are located, but know that it is also possible to run the data by school district, pricing tier, sale type (regular vs short sale vs bank owned) whether or not there’s a pool or garage, etc. I pulled the info from MLSListings.com and then ranked them from hottest to coolest. (Not all areas are represented.)
What can we learn from this information? The first question might be “why are some areas selling so much faster than others?” Although sometimes we can say that only inexpensive, moderate or expensive areas are moving fast, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Palo Alto is one of the priciest points nearby, and yet it has less than 3 weeks of inventory. At other times we say “it’s all about the schools” but Santa Clara, which aside for a sliver served by Cupertino schools, is the #1 hottest segment of the market – and it is not highly prized for academics. (Same with Blossom Valley.) Cupertino is usually at the top of the pile for desirability, but it’s behind several other communities. What I’m seeing from this one angle is that there aren’t any easy answers, much as I’d like to present some clear cut trend with a big Ah Ha.
Although the underlying “why” may remain a mystery for right now, it’s still helpful for home buyers who are looking for relief. Been beat out 5 or 10 times? Your odds will be improved in the areas listed at the bottom of the sheet: Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Almaden Valley are all just a bit easier places in which to buy. They are all great communities with strong schools. This kind of info could help you to move from frustrated shopper to happy home owner. Continue reading
Is it a good time to sell a home in Silicon Valley? One of the best ways to get a pulse on the real estate market is with the months of inventory (MOI), also known as the absorption rate. The way we calculate it is simple: find the current available inventory (not under contract or sale pending), then find the number of homes with that exact criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days. Divide the first by the second and you get the months of inventory.
Today I spent a little time on MLSListings.com, our local mls association (of which I am a member) and I ran the numbers for single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (all areas combined), Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and three of San Jose’s districts: Almaden, Cambrian, and Willow Glen. Below, please find the results of that study. (This is for single family homes of any price range or school district in each city or area named.)
Which are the hottest markets? They’re the ones with the smallest MOI – Mountain View is at .56 of a month (about 2 weeks), Sunnyvale at .66 month (about 2.5 – 3 weeks), Cupertino at .8 of a month, Palo Alto .81. All of these are very, very red hot seller’s markets. Every area, city or town studied was a hot market except for Monte Sereno, which at any given time has few listings and few sales plus a wide range of pricing, so often for this small city it’s best to look at the Los Gatos and Saratoga stats to see what’s really happening. A few very high priced listings may make the whole area look slow, when it fact it may be just a function of the pricing tier. Continue reading
A common buyer question right now is whether or not the real estate market in Silicon Valley is overheated, if we are experiencing “another bubble”. If you visit open houses in places like Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and in many parts of the Peninsula, you may see droves of buyers and be convinced that the market is, in fact, overheated.
Silicon Valley encompasses a large area, primarily Santa Clara County and some of San Mateo County, but a few sections of neighboring counties as well. Generalizing about huge regions is tricky. Overall, though, it is a deep seller’s market throughout Silicon Valley. But there is a great deal of variation from one city or town to the next, as well as between ages of homes, quality of schools and neighborhoods, and price point. Today we will focus primarily on a couple of statistics: the ratio of sales price to list price for houses in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and ratio of new listings to sold and closed ones of houses in these counties.
First, though, a look at the two counties combined to show the broadest common real estate trends for Silicon Valley in relation to the sales price to list price ratio and “days to sell”.
The chart above gives a snapshot of the Silicon Valley market, which appears to have had a peak in about October – November 2012. likely reflecting sales 45-60 days earlier, when the days to sell hit a yearlong low. Since that time, though, things appear to have calmed down.
New listings of houses for sale versus sold homes in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties
A few days ago, before getting the stats for closed sales in January 2013, I wrote about the trends for new listings of houses in relation to the closed sales in Santa Clara County in late fall 2012. What we were seeing was that homes in escrow were closing or finalizing the sales faster than new inventory was coming on the market. The closings in January, though,reflecting sales which began in December, a trend reversal, back to a more normal ratio, in both Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. December is often the softest month of the year, with few listings relative to the rest of the year and sales at lower price points. Looks like this December followed that pattern to a point. Have a look at the charts for both counties and notice the trend reversal, below.
What’s Are The Fun Places for Kids In and Near San Jose?
In San Jose, Santa Clara and nearby
In Los Gatos: Oak Meadow Park (12 acres) and Vasona Lake County Park (150 acres – these are adjacent, interconnected parks). Oak Meadow is a town of Los Gatos park, Vasona is a county park, but they are connected! Of special note at Oak Meadow are the real Air Force jet that kids can climb on (local kids often refer to it as “the airplane park”), the hand painted carousel and Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad train which begins in Oak Meadow but mostly rides through Vasona, and the paddle boats on Vasona Lake. (Post on Live In Los Gatos about these 2 parks.) There is a fee to park at Vasona. Los Gatos town residents can park for free at Oak Meadow – but places fill up fast!
The Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose can’t be beat, especially on a too warm, too cold, or too rainy day! It is a hands on, fun place for kids. One of the most popular items is a stagecoach which kids can climb into. Warning to parents: the acoustics could be better and sometimes it’s overly loud in there.
California’s Great America in Santa Clara. Suitable for all ages but teens will like this best! This park does offer some water play areas and some little kid areas (but it’s expensive for that). Shows in air conditioned theaters will be welcome on warm days. Check out the Wow Card (or VIP Pass if you want to park close) if you’ll be back again in the same season.
List of Attractions Throughout Santa Clara County and Beyond
Gilroy (south of San Jose)
Gilroy Gardens (formerly Bonfante Gardens)Want to make a bigger trip of it to The Garlic Capital of the World? Gilroy offers great shopping to dress up those kids (or yourself)!
******** SOLD with 20 offers after 6 days on the market******
So cute, updated, staged – a turnkey Santa Clara condo in a great location near Central Park!
966 Kiely Blvd, # D (cross street Kaiser Drive), Santa Clara
Fabulous kitchen with dishwasher, new refrigerator, new oven!
One bed, one bath, 670 square feet of easy living in an upstairs unit.
Great closet space – big walk in closet in master, hall closet for guests, oversized storage – linen closet PLUS another storage area in the carport.
Living room with wet bar and private balcony – wonderful for relaxing.
Seller has worked hard to make this home absolutely ready. There are even a home & pest inspection. Regular sale too. Hurry, it’s ready to sell!
The Santa Clara Condo Market is red hot – but very few properties are similar to this in being updated, a regular sale (not a short sale, not a bank owned property) and ready to go with inspections & disclosures online. (Click the link to read up on the real estate market for condominiums and townhomes in Santa Clara. Real estate agents can get the link for the disclosures on the MLS.)
Offered at $158,888
HOA dues $340 per month
Woodborough community with pool, spa, playground & more (see photos and all details below)
The annual market report is out at popehandy.REReport.com and we can now learn how 2011 compared to 2010. The median sales price for houses in Santa Clara County was off 5.3% overall. But from one part of the valley to the next it varied wildly with 6 cities or areas finding themselves in positive territory while others were off by double digits.
What is it that makes Gilroy, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Mountain View and Palo Alto “in the black”?
Most of these cities/towns are upscale, west valley communities. But so are Saratoga, Cupertino, and Monte Sereno.
Gilroy was especially hard-hit with the housing downturn so perhaps in that case, it’s just coming back into more of a balance. (Then again, so was Morgan Hill and it’s still off by 12%.)
The LinkedIn IPO and others in the Palo Alto area drove prices up for some parts of the housing market nearby and it’s likely that this explains the positive growth for Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos Hills. That said, it would seem that Los Altos, and perhaps even Sunnyvale would have seen stronger numbers on the same account. Perhaps school scores are the key driver here.
Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno often behave somewhat similarly as they are adjacent to one another and often attract similar home buyers who want good schools, a nice downtown area nearby and scenic beauty with the hills. The annual numbers show Monte Sereno down 6.7%, Saratoga down 2% but Los Gatos up 6.4%. With Monte Sereno, there are very few sales each month and each year (only about 4,000 residents), so there can be a wider swing without it necessarily being accurate. Saratoga and Los Gatos each have about 30,000 people who call these areas home, though, so the data is much more helpful. Saratoga and Los Gatos both have multiple school districts, views, homes with better proximity to “downtown” and more variables – I think we’d have to dig a lot deeper to learn why these two neighboring markets are so diverse. We might also have to look at multiple years of data to see if Saratoga spiked while LG slumped to explain the difference. Continue reading
People often ask me, “how’s the market?” The answer is, it depends. It depends on whether it’s a short sale, REO or regular sale, the schools, view, condition, etc. The Silicon Valley real estate market really isn’t “one market“. It’s a bunch of smaller markets woven together. So the answer depends on what you’re looking at.
Today we’ll focus on the sale type and take a broad view of regular sales vs short sales with Silicon Valley houses/duet homes and condos/townhouses. The data comes from MLSListings.com, our local multiple listing service, of which I am a member. I crunched the numbers today. I have made every effort to provide accurate info, but can’t guarantee it.
To arrive at the months of inventory, I get the number of active listings (not pending, but available, or “status 1” for my local Realtor readers) and the number of closed listings for the same area/home type which have closed in the last month. Divide the first number by the second and you get months of inventory or MOI. Below please find the numbers for Santa Clara County as a whole, San Jose as a whole, and various cities or areas of San Jose.
The condominium & townhouse market is improving dramatically now. It is evident both in looking at the stats countywide and in my recent experiences holding open my townhouse listings in Saratoga and Sunnyvale as well as recently participating in the sale of a townhome in Almaden Valley (representing a buyer) – all different areas and price points but all very active.
Here are the numbers for May sales of condos and townhomes for all of Santa Clara County:
|Trends At a Glance||May 2010||Previous Month||Year-over Year|
|Median Price||$383,500||$345,000 (+11.2%)||$310,000 (+23.7%)|
|Average Price||$402,766||$378,978 (+6.3%)||$355,881 (+13.2%)|
|No. of Sales||434||297 (+46.1%)||314 (+38.2%)|
|Pending Properties||1,009||1,154 (-12.6%)||526 (+91.8%)|
|Active||927||873 (+6.2%)||1,037 (-10.6%)|
|Sale vs. List Price||99.9%||100.6% (-0.7%)||97.6% (+2.4%)|
|Days on Market||47||59 (-20.1%)||75 (-37.2%)|
As you can see, the days on market are shrinking and prices (both median and average) are rising. A few numbers cut back slightly in May: the sale to list price ratio retreated a little to 99.9% and the pending properties went down a little too. But the number of sales were up.
The “months of inventory” or absorption rate is a great way to know how much of a buyer’s or seller’s market it is in any given place. Six months is considered balanced, less is a seller’s market and more is a buyer’s market. Here are the months of inventory for selected communities in the “west valley” area of Silicon Valley – they are all “seller’s markets”, but some are strong and some are approaching balanced:
|SC County (all)||2.14|
|Willow Glen (SJ)||5.71|
Of course, this is still painting with a broad brush. The absorption rate for any of these areas may not be accurate for the various price points or school districts that might be found there. For instance, a large luxury townhouse in Los Gatos which is downtown might be a really different type of market than a small, entry level one bordering Campbell or Cambrian Park.
What everyone’s wondering is if this seller’s market for condominiums and townhouses will continue despite the end of the federal home buyer credit. To utilize that credit, homes had to be in contract by April 30th. Most of those should be closed now, or nearing that date at best. So we’ll really know more as we move into summer. My sense, though, is that what’s driving this market is much more the affordable prices of homes and of loans. The credits are a bonus, but many in Silicon Valley make too much money to be able to use them.
For information on your particular part of the Silicon Valley condo or townhome market, please give me a call or email me!
The real estate news is so mixed it’s mind boggling, whether it’s a national perspective, one specific to California, the San Francisco Bay Area, the “south Bay”, Silicon Valley or even San Jose in particular. It is anything but a uniform, monolithic market. Even so, it’s good to look at the big picture along side the hyper local level, and that’s what we’ll do today.
Today’s San Jose Mercury News featured a front page article by Sue McAllister (an excellent reporter) on Santa Clara County housing values. She shares that Zillow says that we’ve hit bottom here in Santa Clara County. That is certainly good news to home owners accross Silicon Valley! And I don’t disagree that countywide, we’re definitely looking up right now. No guarantees for the future, but Zillow says that the threat of a second or double dip no longer seems likely. Whew!
Unfortunately, there’s another real risk to this recovery and it’s not the “shadow industry”. This time it’s homeowners walking away because they’re underwater (not because they can’t afford to stay, but because they choose not to). Sixty Minutes did a segment on this phenomena of home owners walking away last night., which you can watch via this link.
How many of the Silicon Valley homes for sale are listed as short sales? How many are bank owned properties? This morning I did some time pulling the numbers out for my readers so that you can see the actual real estate figures.
What’s being counted below are homes for sale, including houses, duet homes, condominiums and townhouses (or townhomes) in the various areas of Santa Clara County listed below.
|Area, City or Town||Available||Short Sale||Bank Owned|
|Los Gatos Mtns||68||4||6|
|Almaden Valley – SJ||103||4||1|
|Cambrian Park – SJ||134||28||6|
|Blossom Valley – SJ||198||83||29|
|Willow Glen – SJ||228||27||14|
|San Jose (all areas)||1944||574||183|
As was the case a year or two ago, most of the short sale activity is taking place in the most affordable price ranges. The higher priced areas are not immune, though – but because there are fewer distressed properties to choose from, they get purchased rather quickly, so we’d see a higher percentage of them among the pending sales rather than the available listings.
Today I did a post on this subject focusing specifically on the Los Gatos real estate market in terms of short sales today vs the last couple of years (and the question of whether or not the trend is to rising numbers of short sales available). To learn more, visit the article on my Live in Los Gatos blog.
For bargain hunting buyers of high end properties, then, it’s slim pickings! In the entry level areas, there’s much more selection but also lots of competition. Last week I was involved with some buyers in a bidding frenzy in a terribly underpriced Cambrian short sale: it got 43 offers! (So please remember that the list price may be completely unrelated to the sales price.)
If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Silicon Valley, it helps to have the assistance of a Realtor with a pulse on the market. Please contact me for a confidential & no-obligation meeting today!