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The San Jose Real Estate Market Analysis

The San Jose real estate market is intensifying as a deep seller’s market. Some areas are hotter than others, but every area has risen by double digits at a minimum. The Santa Teresa real estate market saw appreciation of over 29% in the last 12 months. Evergreen was closer to 20%. Willow Glen was more like 14% (surprising, given the proximity to the upcoming Google Village). Beyond San Jose’s borders, the Los Altos real estate market has risen about 30% over the last year, too!

This data is from my RE Report. There appears to be either an undercount on RE Report or an overcount on MLS Listings (inventory was 130 on MLS Listings but 80 on RE Report – pretty substantial). I’ll post MLS stats that I have pulled directly myself also.

  • The December 2021 sale price to list price ratio was at 112.3%, which is highly unusual for December.
  • San Jose homes are selling faster than they can come on the market:  available houses were just 199 (on the last day of November), there were 426 homes under contract, and there were 527 closed sales. When you hear that “sales are down”, it is ONLY because inventory is down!
  • The days on market inched up from 14 days in October to 15 in November (the same as a year ago).

The data below in the “trends” chart is from our Real Estate Report for the City of San Jose.

Trends at a Glance from the RE Report

Trends At a Glance Dec 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,480,000 (+0.7%) $1,470,000 $1,227,500 (+20.6%)
Average Price $1,622,930 (+2.5%) $1,583,800 $1,316,240 (+23.3%)
No. of Sales 345 (-20.3%) 433 446 (-22.6%)
Pending 431 (-22.1%) 553 381 (+13.1%)
Active 88 (-36.7%) 139 165 (-46.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 112.3% (+2.0%) 110.0% 104.1% (+7.9%)
Days on Market 14 (-11.9%) 15 16 (-16.3%)
Days of Inventory (-17.8%) 9 11 (-31.1%)

 

Next, the San Jose real estate market info that I pulled from the MLS this afternoon. (The display is 700 pixels, but the actual size is a bit larger, so click to see a slightly bigger view.)

Inventory levels for houses for sale in the city of San Jose. December was less than half of what it was a year ago. I wondered how it’s shaping up halfway through January and have found it to be about half of last year. We should see a little more come on between now and January 31.

San Jose Inventory - single family homes Jan 2012 through part of Jan 2022

More charts to follow – keep reading!
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New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for Silicon Valley Real Estate Purchase, Sale, Remodeling

New Year's Real Estate ResolutionsAs 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to start looking forward to 2022. What are your real estate related goals and resolutions for this new year? Do you plan to buy, sell, or remodel your Silicon Valley home?  If so, this is a great time to sketch out your objectives and start early preparations to get the wheels in motion.

For South Bay home owners who want to make 2022 the year to sell and move, it’s wise to plan ahead so you can maximize your return on investment of time and money. A clean, well-prepared listing gives buyers greater confidence, and confident buyers tend to make higher offers! Take the time to do it right and you will reap the rewards of your effort.

Quick Tips for Planning to Sell a Home in 2022

  • Hire your real estate professional early in the process so that she or he may provide additional guidance from the beginning. It won’t cost more to hire early and you get more help. You may even save money by avoiding costly mistakes. A good agent will help you prepare your listing and determine a timeline to sell, whether you plan on selling this spring, next year, or next month.
  • Decluttering is one of the biggest task for home sellers and it can be where you get the most bang for your buck. Presenting a property to buyers in a way that feels like home, but not your home is a balancing act. Some homeowners choose to move out and stage their home to sell, which has been increasing in popularity and is certainly a successful way to declutter! Sellers occupying a listing should commit to depersonalizing the house and creating a marketable space. Some sellers will discover this is a much bigger undertaking than expected, and requires more time and energy than originally planned. This can be particularly challenging for long-term residents, sellers who are downsizing, and seniors. Talk to your Realtor before embarking, as some items may be helpful for staging and you don’t want to totally empty the house! Completely empty homes do not sell as well as those which are thoughtfully furnished.
  • Fix everything that is broken or in disrepair. No home is perfect, and buyers will not expect it to be (unless it’s brand new, of course), but everything you can repair is one less thing the buyers will worry about when writing an offer. That lightbulb that’s burnt out? Replace it now so that it doesn’t wind up in inspections or worrying buyers about the electrical system! Low cost repairs are often an excellent investment, but so can some more expensive fixes. I have had sellers who willingly go above and beyond preparing their home, from repiping to reroofing, see a clear return on investment for their efforts! However most sellers don’t want or need to do that much work. A bid with a price for the work from a reputable company is usually enough. Speak with your listing agent before tackling any major projects.
  • Clean everything: windows, window tracks, hardware, lamps, mossy patios, etc. A clean home is inviting and feels well cared for. Professional cleaning can make lightly used carpets look new again. Areas that easily show wear, like grout, caulk, and kitchen appliances, can give that “new home” feel when they are looking fresh!
  • Plan to have pre-sale inspections, but hire inspectors with your real estate salesperson.

Tips for Silicon Valley Home Buyers This Year

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Seasonal Pricing Patterns

The Silicon Valley real estate market tends to have seasonal pricing patterns. They are not rigid, and some years the typical or expected patterns don’t really hold. Generally, though, we expect the Spring market to be hot and the winter period to be cool. Is that true? Let’s take a look at the stats that I pulled today from MLS Listings.

I spot checked the median sale price as well as the average sale price for houses in Santa Clara County, and they both followed the same seasonal pricing patterns. In the chart below, we have data from January 2013 (when the recovery really began) to November 2021. I’ve named the months with the peak prices and also the biggest dip each year. The pattern is a bit like the stock market – it does not only move up or down, but there are a lot of both with a generally upward trend.

This image is best seen on a tablet or desktop computer. If it is too small, please click on the image to view a larger version of it.

 

Seasonal pricing patters via the average sale price in SCC for SFH

 

 

If you prefer a data table, here’s one with just the peak bolded (please click to view larger image):
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Are home prices dropping in San Jose CA?

Are home prices dropping in San Jose CA and nearby? Is the Silicon Valley real estate market seeing price reductions? San Jose is a large, sprawling city with about 1 million residents, so checking the San Jose real estate market a good marker for how the region is doing as a whole.

About the price drops, the quick answer is yes and no. Month over month, it’s true that home prices have inched down slightly. But year over year, they are still up significantly. The year over year part is more significant, because many years, maybe most, prices pull back a little from May to June and June to July. In other words, it is seasonally typical for prices to fall a little during this time of the year.

Are home prices dropping in San Jose CA? What does the data say?

Here’s a look at the average sale prices in S.J. from  2004 to the present for single family homes. The month of July is highlighted in yellow, generally. Most years are the darker yellow, but the “off” years where prices are a lower are in a paler yellow.
Are home prices dropping in San Jose CA? Not year over year with the average sale prices! Chart of single family homes 2004 to present.

This same data may be better understood visually by some readers, so here’s a graph of the average home price in San Jose, CA,  from 2004 to the present.

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Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicHow’s Cambrian Park condo & townhouse market? Normally we answer this question in brief with regular monthly updates over on the Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update. However with fantastic neighborhoods like Montanas de Los Gatos, Cambrian condos are not to be missed! So today we’ll take a closer look at the condominium and townhome market in this popular San Jose district!

Before we dive in, let’s see what’s selling now in the Cambrian Park condo & townhouse  segment of the market.

Just now (as of April 15, 2021), I looked into the MLS to see the condo and townhome sales in Cambrian over the last 30 days. Out of 11 sales, 9 were listed as condos and 2 were listed as townhomes (all were held in in condo ownership). Condos sold between $430,000 – $1,005,000 and townhome sales closed between $855,000 – $980,000. Most sold in under 2 weeks and over list price, although the 3 properties that took longer than 2 weeks to sell closed under list price. Properties ranged from a 1 bed 1 bath to a 3 bed 2.5 bath, although most were 2 bed 1 bath units. The majority were built in the 1970s – 1980s, although the youngest property was built in 2007.

Now let’s have a look at some of the numbers from my Real Estate Report:

Real Estate Report: Cambrian Park Condo & Townhouse Market – San Jose

It’s a hot spring market for the Cambrian condo market!

Trends At a Glance Mar 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $699,500 (-13.6%) $810,000 $730,000 (-4.2%)
Average Price $727,350 (-9.0%) $799,333 $756,377 (-3.8%)
No. of Sales 10 (+11.1%) 9 11 (-9.1%)
Pending 14 (+40.0%) 10 (+55.6%)
Active 11 (+57.1%) 7 11 (0.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 102.0% (-0.5%) 102.5% 103.1% (-1.0%)
Days on Market 24 (+242.9%) 7 12 (+94.1%)
Days of Inventory 33 (+57.1%) 21 30 (+10.0%)

 

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Silicon Valley’s real estate market by school district: Santa Clara County

Today I want to share with you some stats provided by my real estate brokerage, Sereno Group. One of our own has crunched the numbers by school districts across various counties. Schools are a major driver in the real estate market, often more than zip code or city name, so here’s a very valuable approach to understanding the local housing market a bit better: a view from the vantage point of school districts.

Most of Silicon Valley is in Santa Clara County, followed by San Mateo County and a few neighboring areas. (It is sneaking into San Francisco and has also been present in pockets of Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties also.) Today, I’ll just focus on Santa Clara County.

Many cities or towns have multiple school districts. For instance, in Los Gatos, students may be served by Campbell, Los Gatos, or Union schools – depending on the address. San Jose, being the largest city in the county, has far more school districts than that.

First up, here are the numbers for Santa Clara County by high school district, a market update for May 2020:

Santa Clara County real estate market by high school district 2020 single family homes

 

Continue reading to see Santa Clara County’s real estate market data sorted by elementary school district.

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The months of inventory indicate how tough or easy it is to buy a Silicon Valley house

How can you tell if it’s really a buyer’s market or seller’s market? One important data point is the months or inventory, also known as the absorption rate.

The months of inventory (MOI) tells us how long it would take for the current inventory to be absorbed if sales continue at the same rate and no new inventory were to be added.

What is the months of inventory?

The best explanation given to me for the absorption rate uses the analogy of a bathtub draining. If the tub has water in it, and no new water is added, and the drain is opened (and drains at a constant rate), how long will it take for the water to all be eliminated?

So too with Silicon Valley homes for sale. How long would it take for the current supply to be bought up if no new listings came on the market? That’s the question. It can be days of inventory, weeks of inventory, or months of inventory – or any other chunk of time you want to use.  My monthly Silicon Valley RE Report uses days of inventory, referenced via DOI in the chart below, where you can see that the average days of inventory for the county is 61, or about 2 months. A quick scan down that column will provide a sense of the market for each city and town.

Santa Clara County SFH Market - May 2020

 

The faster the absorption rate, the easier it is for sellers to sell and the harder it is for buyers to buy. In the U.S., about 5- 6 months of inventory is a balanced market. Here in Silicon Valley, balanced is probably closer to 4 months of inventory.

Readers of this blog know that I really like the multi year view of data, and I think with the months of inventory that’s also really helpful. Here’s the rate for Santa Clara County, single family homes, from January 2014 to May 2020 (needs a full month to be accurate).

 

Santa Clara County months of inventory - multi year view - click on image to enlarge

 

For the month of may, the months of inventory was 2.2, which is significantly more than most of the last six years, and double the height of the market in 2017 and 2018. Translation: buyers, this is the best it’s been for you to buy in years. Yes there may be multiple offers – but if so, it is very likely to be much calmer than this time last year or at any other time for this same season in years.

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Hot seller’s market – what is it?

Hot Seller's Market!What does it mean when real estate professionals, journalists and consumers refer to a “hot seller’s market“?  Simply put, it means there’s an imbalance in the market which is very much in the seller’s favor.  In terms of supply and demand, it translates to far more demand than available inventory for sale (supply). It’s a good time to sell, but a hard time to buy.

The Elements of a Hot Seller’s Market

We measure or note the market conditions using a variety of data points;

  • days to sell (and days on market for all homes, including unsold)
  • sale price to list price ratio
  • absorption rate (months of inventory, weeks or days of inventory)
  • number of listings available vs pendings and recently closed homes
  • rapid rise in home sale prices, especially if to unsustainable levels
  • number of offers received on a property at once (multiple offers)
  • buyers upping their price and improving their terms voluntarily, without getting a counter offer
  • buyers writing offers with few or no contingencies, fast close of escrow or other extremely strong terms
  • overall market trends of inventory lessening, prices rising, buyers getting more desperate – how all of these look when viewed as a whole

Basically, when buyers are competing against one another with multiple offers, when properties are selling quickly and over list price, and prices rise, the ball is in the seller’s court and you’ve got a hot seller’s market!

While some of the above can be easily tracked on our multiple listing service, some are not findable anywhere except in conversations with real estate agents who are actively working the market, writing and receiving contracts. What isn’t tracked includes the number of offers placed on a home for sale, whether buyers are engaging in “bidding war” tactics such as upping their price before even getting a counter offer, or offers with no contingencies.

Related reading:

A summary of tips for multiple-offer situations in Silicon Valley real estate contracts

Should you write an offer with no contingencies? What is the risk with a non-contingent offer?

Mistakes that buyers’ agents make which damage their clients’ chances of winning in multiple offers

 

 

 

Comparing cost of housing in West Valley communities from Palo Alto to Los Gatos to Blossom Valley: what will a 4 bedroom home cost?

Sketch of houseIt can be really challenging for people moving to Silicon Valley to get a sense of real estate prices, and perhaps more, comparing cost of from one town or district to another.

One question I get a lot is this: what does it cost to buy a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house of about 2000 square feet?

So to answer this question, let’s see what houses like this are selling for (4 bed, 2 bath, appx 2000 SF or 185 square meters) and see how the cost looks in one Santa Clara County / Silicon Valley area versus another.

Comparing Costs

Today I compared several areas and cities using this criteria: single family homes of 1800 – 2200 SF, 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, on lot sizes of 6000 SF to 10,000 SF. Normally I would chart this over the last 2 months, or 60 days, but because of the low inventory causing the sellers market I have expanded the search to the last 3 months, or 90 days, for a better range. Because some areas have had a scarcity of inventory, I’ve added an addition to the chart titled NoS for Number of Sales within the given range.

Here’s how it shakes out in the “west valley areas” along the Highway 85 corridor, most of which are known to have good to great public schools. What areas are most affordable? One way of analyzing this is the “price per square foot” figure. Whenever I update the chart, I re-arrange the order of the cities from high to low based on the price per square foot, although there’s usually minimal movement.

 

Feb 2020 Sales Comparisons

 

Within this range, Campbell only had one sale over the last 90 days, so data for that segment may or may not be a good average. Both Los Altos and Saratoga had no sales within the last 90 days within these criteria, so their searches have been expanded to 0-180 days (or 6 months / half a year) and 0-120 days (or 4 months / a quarter year) respectively to provide data for comparison for this chart. Now that we have the data, let’s analyze it!

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

Silicon Valley home prices are sky high, if lower than the peak of the market in Spring 2018. The median sale price of houses across all of Santa Clara County as of February is $1,182,000, and the average is about $1,449,000. Would you be able to buy a house in Cambrian for that sale price, or a little lower? If so, what would it look like? What can you buy in Cambrian for about $1.25 million today? Here we’ll consider the cost of Cambrian housing.

Cambrian offers good schools, a reasonable commute to places like Apple in Cupertino, and a nice location near Los Gatos and Campbell with lower real estate prices than those two areas. For that reason, it’s become a magnet for smart home buyers over the last 20 years. If you have the budget for a median priced Santa Clara County home, how far would it go in Cambrian?  Here’s the data, pulled this week from MLSListings, to answer that question.

What Can You Buy in Cambrian?

For the charts below: CUHSD refers to Campbell Union High School District, and SJUSD is San Jose Unified School District. Cambrian housing is most expensive in the Union SD, 2nd priciest is Cambrian, and most affordable is San Jose Unified.

 

Cambrian housing costs - What can you buy in Cambrian for $1.25 mil 02-2020

I need to add something very important here about the cost of  Cambrian housing, and that’s that the numbers above reflect CLOSED prices.

Pending sales right now are usually higher. Many homes with Union Schools especially, but in all areas, are experiencing multiple offers and overbids. In some cases, homes are selling for $250,000 or $300,000 over list price. 

Houses that had been modest 3 bed, 2 bath, 1250 SF homes that were selling for about $1,250,000 are now often selling for $1,350,000 or more, depending on walkability, lot size, and of course condition.

Despite what the closed numbers say, it is very difficult to find a house in Cambrian with Union or Cambrian schools that will actually sell for under $1.3 now. Cambrian housing prices are going through the roof at this point, particularly in areas with the best schools.

 

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