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The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicThe Cambrian or Cambrian Park district is a popular residential market with good “bang for your buck.” It remains a strong seller’s market, although it appears to have passed the spring peak. This article provides a detailed look at the residential real estate markets of Cambrian with live and monthly updates. Here are some points of note from the latest monthly data for Cambrian Park single family homes:

  • The sales to list price ratio cooled a hair more, now at 110.8% of asking (it was at it’s highest at 115% in May)
  • Days on market have maintained a lighting fast 11 day average
  • Available inventory has more than doubled from them month before

The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market

The days of lockdown, PEAD forms, appointment only showings, and other restrictions is coming to an end. Despite the lifting restrictions, home buyers are still very motivated to get out of San Francisco and into more space in the suburbs – especially more yard, and more rooms in the house for separate “work from home” offices as many schools and businesses continue to physically distance. Strong public school districts remain a big draw.

Cambrian single family homes trends at a glance – numbers from the RE Report

Here’s the RE Report info for last month’s sales:

(Mobile viewers, swipe to scroll if the graph you are viewing extends beyond the screen.)

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Jul 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,560,000 (+8.8%) $1,433,500 $1,300,000 (+20.0%)
Average Price $1,628,370 (+4.2%) $1,563,240 $1,349,440 (+20.7%)
No. of Sales 71 (+4.4%) 68 79 (-10.1%)
Pending 70 (-10.3%) 78 57 (+22.8%)
Active 46 (+119.0%) 21 49 (-6.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 110.8% (-1.2%) 112.1% 102.6% (+8.0%)
Days on Market 11 (+9.3%) 10 17 (-33.8%)
Days of Inventory 19 (+117.0%) 9 19 (+4.5%)

It is a prolonged, strong seller’s market. Sellers and buyers today continue to face restrictions under the coronavirus order that affect the market. While homes may still be appreciating (on a case by case basis – much has to do with the exact location, condition, etc.), before you list you should know how your sale would be affected by these changes.

Please see the whole Cambrian Real Estate Report for charts, stats and more.

Learn about the Cambrian months of inventory, or absorption rate, by elementary school district. (Please note that the months of inventory post is not updated as often as this monthly market analysis.)

The condo and townhouse real estate market for San Jose 95124 & 95118

The townhouse and condo market (also from my Real Estate Report) – with great schools and relatively affordable pricing, this market segment is usually popular and remains hot, although nowhere near as hot as the single family housing market! Last month condos had some ups and downs with a boost of pending sales and cooling across most other data points. July sales averaged at 102.4% of list price in just over 2 weeks.

 

Trends at a Glance – Cambrian condos

Trends At a Glance Jul 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $635,000 (-15.9%) $755,500 $655,000 (-3.1%)
Average Price $788,467 (+2.9%) $766,323 $748,308 (+5.4%)
No. of Sales 15 (-25.0%) 20 13 (+15.4%)
Pending 22 (+69.2%) 13 16 (+37.5%)
Active (-50.0%) 10 (-44.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.4% (-1.8%) 104.3% 102.2% (+0.2%)
Days on Market 16 (+12.2%) 14 21 (-24.6%)
Days of Inventory 10 (-31.0%) 15 21 (-51.9%)

 

The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update for San Jose 95124 – Altos

Here’s a different kind of chart for the Cambrian Park real estate market courtesy of Altos Research (which uses LIST prices for its charts). The next few data sheets show the housing market trends, live and updated weekly. My observations are from the most recent data at the time of writing, August 16th. This first item reflects the weekly Altos Research report right now for San Jose 95124 and will provide an approximation of how much home your money can buy in this district of San Jose.

The median list price is at $1.598 million, stable from last month.

San Jose, CA 95124 Real-Time Market Profile by Altos

 

The chart above shows extremely low days on market beginning to slowing down (14 days), continued low inventory, and a recent drop in market action. Overall San Jose 95124 remains in a fiercely strong seller’s market with some seasonal cooling into summer.

The Real Estate Market Update for San Jose 95118

Next let’s look at the listing data from Altos Research for 95118, single family homes (east side of Cambrian Park).

Normally, prices are distinctly different between 95118 and 95124 – we’re seeing that now, though it can be more pronounced when demand isn’t as high and inventory isn’t so low.

And below, market data from Altos for this part of the district.

 

Cambrian 95118 Altos Real-Time Market

 

Inventory in 95118 is severely lacking, days on market are low, and overall it is strong seller’s market with just a slight dip in market action.

Please see the Condominium & Townhouse Real Estate Report for all of the numbers in this area and the rest of Santa Clara County! Now let’s work with Altos Research’s graphs and get a feel for the realty market in “real time.” These use list prices, whereas my RE Report uses sold data.

First, the statistics by quartile for houses in San Jose 95118. A quick note: most of 95118 has San Jose Unified Schools, while 95124 has Cambrian and Union schools, which are normally preferred.

Quick profile of 95118 and 95124 from Altos – this is dynamic and should update automatically each week:

 

Cambrian 95124 Real-Time Market Profile by Altos

and

Cambrian 95118 Real-Time Market Profile by Altos

Here, both 95124 and 95118 remain a strong sellers’ market with elevated market action. Currently both zip codes are showing the same market action across the condo market. However, with such small inventory these charts can have severe swings in data, so take this data with a grain of salt.

What is happening with the Cambrian real estate market? A lot of it seems to depend on the price point, school district, and condition of the property.

Turnkey houses, townhomes, and condominiums in Cambrian Park which have a contemporary look and are priced aggressively are selling fast. They need to look like 2019 and not like 2010 or 2012, though. Home buyers are very fussy and most households are either 2 income or 1 income and 1 very busy parent home with little ones. They don’t have the time or the energy to remodel. (Most buyers want grey hardwood or high quality laminate that looks like wood throughout – they don’t want 4 or 5 different types of floor covering.)

Cambrian home buyers often move to 95124 or 95118 for a combination of strong schools and relative affordability. Having a worry free home that does not look like it will cost a fortune to be made ready is a big plus and will help tremendously with the sale-ability of that residential property.

The part with Union schools continues to have the strongest demand (mostly 95124 but also part of 95118), followed by the area with Cambrian schools, and then those with San Jose Unified. All of them are doing well, but some areas are stronger than others.

How's The Silicon Valley Real Estate Market? If you live in Cambrian Park now, or are thinking you’d like to buy a home there, you’ll want to get a better understanding of the current reaty market conditions for your part of the market.

The information above is naturally a little generic, applying to either all of Cambrian or to either 95124 or 95118. All real estate is local, though. It may be different by pricing tier, exact location, home style, or amenities (such as pool versus no pool, large garage vs no garage, walking distance to elementary school or really having to drive there). All of these things can be factored in and may apply to your particular home – or dream home – market.

For the most specific to you data, please reach out to me by email to request a phone conversation. If it seems like a good fit at that point, we can arrange to meet in person and formulate a plan.

See also:

What can you buy in Cambrian for about $1.25 million?

Cambrian Park homes for sale

Getting priced out of the market when housing prices rise rapidly

Home being carried up and away from earth by balloons with the words "Priced out of the market?"Are you getting priced out of the market? If so, you’re not alone. In Silicon Valley, the prices of houses are rising dramatically right now. In some cases, homes are selling for 20% or more than list  price. Recently I’ve heard of at least 2-3 homes which sold $400,000 or more over the asking price. This is happening in prices up to $3 million especially, but I’m also hearing it in the luxury tier.

With rapid housing price appreciation in Silicon Valley, home buyers who are “patiently waiting” for more inventory and just the right house to come on the market can end up finding themselves “priced out of the market“.

What does it mean to be “priced out of the market”?

In a nutshell, it means that while a few months before, you could afford the type of house you wanted (more or less), but prices have risen so fast that now you feel that you cannot buy anything at all.

If that’s the case, you feel that it’s no longer worth it to buy – so you continue to rent (or not purchase that investment property).

The waiting strategy may backfire

Have you been patiently waiting for just the right house to come on the market?  Let me suggest to you that it may not be forthcoming. What you could afford a year ago is no longer possible today, and we do not see that situation changing anytime soon. In fact, appreciation would appear to be steeper now than it was 12 months ago. Waiting can be very expensive in a market like this one.

Why do buyers wait when they might do better to jump in?

Want to be a home owner in the San Jose area? Hire a great agent, but then LISTEN to him or her! (more…)

No more love letters

Love Letters and Implicit Bias word balloonFor years, Realtors have encouraged their home buyers to write “love letters” to go with their purchase offer on the home the buyers were trying to buy. The idea was to be more likeable so that the sellers would want to sell to them, as opposed to any competing home buyers. But as of now, the guidance from the National Association of Realtors is different: no more love letters.

What is wrong with buyer love letters?

The U.S. Fair Housing Act protects home buyers and renters from discrimination or bias under protected categories of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. (In California, there are even more protected areas.) Put another way, when a home seller looks at a buyer package, the decision should be based on the offer price and terms, not on who the buyers are.

The concern with love letters is the risk of implicit bias: that the sellers would like or dislike buyers, even unconsciously, because of non-contractual facets that are protected.  While it’s not illegal for a doctor to want to sell to another doctor, it is illegal for one member of a religious group to give preferential treatment to another member of the same religious group. It’s also illegal to give preferential treatment to buyers who have children versus those who do not. Photos are especially risky as they may enable things from the protected class list to be known.

Last October the National Association of Realtors published an article for its members in Realtor Magazine on this topic, Why a Buyer Love Letter Could Turn Into a Poison Pen. This short piece admonishes that even innocuous sounding statements are problematic:

Even a mention within a letter of envisioning “children running down the stairs on Christmas morning” could stir up trouble. After all, such a statement reveals the buyer’s familial status and religion, which are both protected under fair housing laws.

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Why do you keep losing out on multiple offers?

A crowd running to an open house - many of these losing out on multiple offers

Multiple Offers

The real estate market in Silicon Valley is a hot seller’s market, and that means that often there are multiple offers, overbids, and sales with no contingencies. (I would say it’s the most overheated market I’ve seen in my 28 year career.) Some buyers may get it on the first attempt, but many are bidding over and over – why do they keep losing out on multiple offers?

Over the course of my career, I have noticed that often there is a consistent “spread” of offers.  Most of the time, there’s a pack or band of offers at about the same level, sometimes 10% or more over list price, then a couple higher that that, and maybe one or two (once in awhile 3) at the top of the heap in terms of both price and terms which are attractive to the seller.

Not everyone is losing out on multiple offers: what are the winners doing?

  1. The top offer frequently has the highest price and best terms. It is 10-20% over list price or more, 25-30% down at least, and has no contingencies for inspection, loan, and most of all, appraisal (the percentage over has to do with whether the home was priced spot on the value or strategically under).  But that’s not all. The winning offer’s buyers and agent followed directions. Normally that means that they come with all disclosures signed, and the buyer’s agent has even done her or his Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure.  They include the proof of funds (all needed) which prove that the buyer can absorb any appraisal shortfall and is prepared to do so. ( Right now, many homes are not appraising to sale price, so this is awfully important for sellers.) Sometimes the listing agent asks for a particular contract to be used or a particular summary sheet to be filled out. The best agents do all of that. The 2nd tier offers often are incomplete – the listing agents may or may not circle back and ask about missing items, so it’s important to remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression.
  2. The best offer is also someone who’s been SURE that he or she or they wanted the home from the very beginning and looks ROCK SOLID. NO WAVERING, not a “last minute” offer. Any hesitation on your side will cause the seller to not feel good about your odds of closing the sale. Be consistently interested if you want the sale. A shaky looking buyer may not include their proof of funds. They don’t come across as certain about buying this property and need a few days to see the property again, or show it to their parents, or otherwise confirm the decision to buy. Their agent is not so thorough. If the TDS is not fully signed off, is the buyers’ agent trying to sneak a 3 day right of cancellation into the contract? The best buyer’s offer doesn’t look shaky – it looks dead set on buying the home and has done everything possible to convince the seller of their conviction and competence.
  3. The second best or next runner up is usually strong on terms (at least 25% down, few or no contingencies) but perhaps made an offer price a little under the top value.  Sometimes the next runner up has a good price and mostly good terms, but something is not quite as solid – they didn’t offer to put the deposit into the escrow account the next day, they didn’t check all the needed boxes in the offer, they have a contingency when all the competing bids have none..  If the offers are tied but one buyer has no contingencies and the other has any, that will be the tie-breaker.
  4. Middle of the pack is usually a combination of a price where the home should appraise, a solid down payment, and few or no contingencies. It may be a price that seems “reasonable”. Buyers may feel that it is “a fair offer” or a win-win. Often the fair offers aren’t good enough to take the prize in multiple offers. If you can project what most buyers think a home will be worth, maybe you might want to consider getting ahead of that pack and seeing where the pricing trajectory will take you. The folks in the middle of the pack are usually the ones, together at the bottom, who keep losing out on multiple offers. (They will say things like “we are cautious…)
  5. Bottom offers are under, at, or barely over list price, and include an appraisal contingency as well as others (one for loan or one for property condition). If there’s a rent back, they want their PITI covered.

If you  repeatedly find yourself losing out on multiple offers, try to see your own pattern in this spread.  Is there one thing, or perhaps are there two or more things, you’re just not ready to do?

Why it is so hard

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How long does it take to write an offer?

ClockIn the current hot seller’s market here in Silicon Valley, most real estate agents representing the seller set an “offer date” for would be buyers and their Realtors to submit their offer packages, also known as their bids, for the property. How long does it take to write an offer? You may be tempted to do it on short notice.

The time commitment it varies – I would say you want to give yourself 2 days for a reasonably comfortable amount of time to read and absorb everything and to write your offer.  It is difficult if you only have 24 hours between when you see and like a home and when the offer is due.  It is possible, but only if you (and your Realtor) drop everything and only focus on this for the next 24 hours.  And let me tell you, that is not fun – in fact, it’s miserable!  Much better is to have several days.

Last week, though, I showed a home at 9 a.m. and turned in an offer before the 4 p.m. deadline. Never again. It was incredibly stressful and there was no way that we could all review everything as much as we should have done. The stress of it was sickening (literally) for me –  I take my fiduciary obligations seriously and felt like I was cutting corners left and right to make a deadline. And I had to ignore all my other clients for a few hours to make it happen. (And no, my clients did not get it. Their offer was far too low, unfortunately.)

Most of the time, right now offers in the San Jose – Los Gatos – Saratoga – Campbell area are due on Tuesday.  Once in awhile they are due on Monday and rarely on Wednesday.   Seeing a potential target on Sunday is possible but it is still really hard (and about impossible if the due date is Monday).  Much better is seeing it on Saturday, or, if possible, before the weekend even begins.  If you can do that, it will be immensely easier and less stressful!

Why does it take so long to write an offer?

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How many offers will there be on that Silicon Valley home?

Graphic of person with computer and cell phone and words "How many offers are expected for that listed home?"The deep sellers’ market continues to frustrate Silicon Valley home buyers.  With scant inventory and sales, sometimes there’s very little to pick from, and many, many buyers all vying for the same property. A common question from Realtors and buyers alike to listing agents is this: “how many offers are you expecting?”

In short:

  • when showings change from 30 minute windows to 15 or 20 minute viewing times, you know that there’s a lot of interest
  • online, look to see if Redfin calls it a “hot home” – those are more likely to attract multiple offers (also, watch the Redfin price estimate, it changes with its website traffic)
  • the ratio of disclosure packages out to offers written is about 1 in 3 for most homes (a near perfect house will have a higher ratio – perhaps 50% or a little more, a home with issues will have a lower ratio)
  • it’s not an exact science – some buyers will drop out even after writing an offer, and some buyers will swoop in at the last minute
  • the overbids are often proportional to the number of contracts received, but not always (an old rule of thumb is 1% per offer)
  • listing agents may play down the number of offers expected since they don’t want to discourage anyone from writing

It can be hard to know.  While some real estate agents advise their sellers to market the home with an unrealistically low price in an effort to obtain an avalanche of bids, most do not, but instead caution that it’s better to list on the lower end of the probable buyer’s value than the high end. If it’s a little low, the market will correct it (at least in a sellers’ market) but if it’s too high you may see no contracts on it at all.

How many offers? Communication is key

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Can you change your purchase offer after it’s signed?

Pen and edited text with the words - Can you change your offer? With multiple offer situations in Silicon Valley real estate bids, sometimes buyers write an offer and later decide that it’s too much or too little, or that some other change is warranted (before it’s submitted).  Can you change your purchase offer after it’s written, or is it a “done deal” once you’ve signed it?

The good news is that you can change your offer before it has been given to the listing agent / sellers. Many buyers do, either because they changed their mind or strategy, or because they just got new information. What is key is circling back to your buyer agent quickly, before the email is sent.

Why would you change your purchase offer?

Awhile back, some of my buyers were bidding on a San Jose home. As I asked the listing agent more questions and we got a little more information from that agent on the numbers of offers being received, my clients wanted to improve their offer. We redid page 1 of the contract, which is where all the financial basics are listed. Their improved offer went to the listing agent and it was seamless.

At other times, even after the offer is submitted, I have had buyers ask to improve their offer. The pages of the contract which were involved in the change were redone, signed and resubmitted. This is a bit like going through the counter offer process yourself. (more…)

Why listing agents don’t like to issue counter offers in today’s hot market

Gotta Get That Call!It’s a little funny that when Silicon Valley home sellers and their listing agents get contracts or offers, many do not want to deal with issuing or negotiating counter offers.  In many cases, it can go like this fictional bidding scenario:

Offer due date set, and let’s say there are 5 offers.  Of the five, perhaps one is all cash, one is half cash, and the rest are 20-25% down.  Most offers will be in a tight cluster of pricing (this is probably “true market value”).  One may be far higher than the rest. Or perhaps two a little higher than the others.

  • The seller wants the highest price, no contingencies, and preferably, all cash.
  • If the all cash offer is non-contingent (no contingencies for inspection, loan or appraisal) and is the highest price, there will be a straight acceptance in almost all cases.  No counters.
  • If the best combination of cash and contingencies and pricing is the half-cash offer, most likely the listing agent will phone that buyers’ agent and ask if those buyers would match the highest price.  If those buyers say yes, one counter offer will be issued and it will have a short deadline for response.
  • If the “best combination” buyers say no, the listing agent and sellers will move to the next best offer, however they decide “best” looks, and phone them, giving them the opportunity to come up.
  • In these scenarios, meanwhile, the rest of the buyers and their agents wait – and hear nothing in the meantime.

Once in awhile, there are a few good offers that are all neck-and-neck, and perhaps there’s one flaky looking offer at a higher price.  If that happens, the listing agent and sellers may issue a multiple counter offer to most or all bidders.  That used to be really common, but today, I’m finding the most typical scenario is the “one phone call” approach instead.  (more…)

Why do sellers care if the offer has a loan or is all cash?

Image of $20 and $10 bills with the words "Why do sellers care if it's a loan or all cash?"Buyers who are getting slammed out of the Silicon Valley real estate market due to low inventory and multiple offers are extremely frustrated. Part of the problem may be the amount of cash in their offer. It can be hard to compete with bids with smaller loan amounts or which are “all cash, no loans”.

The question arises all the time: why isn’t my 20% down offer just as good as the 50% down or the all cash offer? Isn’t 20% down good enough? Or for that matter, why wouldn’t a 3.5% FHA backed loan be suitable?

All cash is better because there’s less risk

Twenty percent down is “good enough” if there are no other offers. If it’s multiple offers, though, it’s probably not sufficient for most sellers provided that the all cash offers are written with realistic pricing. Right now, about 15% of home sales in Santa Clara County are all cash, and sellers would far rather deal with an offer that includes no finance or appraisal contingencies.  For sellers, the fewer contingencies the better and no contingencies is ideal.  Particularly now, when we are seeing a very sudden and dramatic upswing in pricing, appraisal contingencies can kill an offer’s chances of success due to the fear of a low appraisal. With all cash, there is no appraisal at all – it’s a slam dunk on that front. (more…)

Listings with few photographs

Forbidden symbol over a large camera and a house to represent homes with no or few photographsListings with few photographs or none at all typically are skipped by most home buyers. The reason is simple: if it’s not showing, the room (or yard, or whole house) is assumed to be in terrible condition.

The seller’s loss, though, is a buyer’s gain.  The poorly marketed house can be an opportunity for home buyers who are having trouble in multiple offer situations. With few or no images, the odds of having multiple offers go way down.

Why would there be few photographs, or none at all, in an active listing?

The home may have no or few photographs for other reasons: the seller is extremely private, the home is occupied by tenants, the seller has not yet decluttered or made the home show ready, etc.

It’s also possible that a photographer will be at the home at some point, but has not yet been available.

The bottom line is that a property with no or few photographs online presents a possible opportunity for the home buyer who would like to purchase a home that not so many others are vying for. The home may not show as well as one that is properly staged and marketed, but it could be the thing that gets you into your next home sooner rather than later.

 

Related reading:

Why didn’t my San Jose home sell?

Selling your home in a declining market

What do you need to know when selling your Silicon Valley home?