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Sunnyvale real estate market trends & statistics

Spring is coming in hot in the Sunnyvale real estate market! Buyers are competing against multiple offers for practically every listing in this red hot seller’s market. Here are a few quick points from the single family home market below:

  • The sale to list price ratio heats up again with homes selling on average at 113% of asking. That’s a raging sellers market!
  • Properties are selling quickly with an average time on market of only 10 days.
  • Active inventory is a little short of where it was a year ago, but sales and sale pendings are much higher.

First a quick note before we dive into the Sunnyvale real estate market trends and statistics. A lot has changed since last March and while a reaction to the pandemic is visible in this data and analysis it will take a long time for us to see the full impact on the market. To read more about how the pandemic is affecting real estate sales, please read my post: Coronavirus impact on real estate sales.

Last spring, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM) between March 17th through roughly May 17th. In the data below, this will affect any numbers related to the days on market, the absorption rate, and the days of inventory for those past months, but not current data.

Sunnyvale Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics

Just now I pulled the March sales of single family homes for the Sunnyvale real estate market trends and statistics. In that time the MLS reports there were 62 single family homes (mostly houses, but possibly duet homes) that closed escrow. The range in sale price was from $1,000,000 to $3,490,000 (31 sold between $1 – $2 mil, and the other 31 sold between $2.01 – $3.49 mil). For this Sunnyvale group:

  • the average list price came in at $1,790,550
  • average sale price was $2,016,960 – over $226K more!
  • average age 56 years
  • average square footage 1,663 SF
  • average lot size 6,338 SF
  • average days on market 16 (up from 15 last month)
  • average price per SF for all 22 houses: $1,245.32 (down from $1,265.60 the month before)

Not all homes sold $226K over list price, however. Here’s a bit more data on that part of the Sunnyvale housing market.

There were 55 homes (out of 62, or roughly 89%) which sold in 14 days or less. Of those hot listings, the average list price was $1,819,131 and average sale price $2,072,118, that’s almost $253K more! Only 3 of these properties sold below list price, 2 at asking, and the remaining 50 sold above. Home size average 1,693 SF and lot size average 6,390 SF, so slightly larger homes on larger lots compared to the whole. It seems that if the home sells quickly, in two weeks or less, the odds are better for a higher sale. Price per SF for the fast sales group: $1,260.92, or $15.60/SqFt higher than the total market average.

If we focus on just the slower 15 days or more to sell homes, the numbers are all bleaker for sellers and better for buyers. The days on market for this group ranged from 16 days – 370 days! Most took between 5 – 2.5 weeks. Among those 7 sales, 4 sold above list price and 3 sold below asking price. Their average list price (may include price reductions) was $1,565,984, and average sale price was $1,583,571 or a little under $17.6K above list price. Average price per SF $1,122.71, or a whopping $122.61/SqFt less than the total market average!

This kind of result is why Realtors so often try to get the home sold fast. We can look for similarities between the slower selling homes compared to the faster ones, and sometimes pinpoint what market is selling best, perhaps by price or age of house. Maybe they are a little more remodeled or in a slightly better area? It would be a longer study to pick that apart, but it is worth noting the correlation between the speed of the sale and the list to sale price difference.

The sale price to list price ratio is all over the board when houses are viewed individually as opposed to by how fast they sell alone.

The Sunnyvale real estate market also varies by location (east of El Camino is generally not as desirable as west of it), school district (the portion with Cupertino schools is likely the strongest part of the market), and as mentioned above, price point. Being too close to train tracks, being in a flood plain, or other location issues will make it more challenging to sell.

Do you find this kind of info useful? If so, I’d love to hear from you – my email address is mary@popehandy.com. Please tell your friends, especially if they are interested in buying or selling residential property here!

The Real Estate Report numbers for Sunnyvale (entire city), single family  homes

Feel free to visit the same statistics, trends, and more at my ReReport page.

(If you’re viewing this on a mobile phone, swipe horizontally to see the full chart if it goes off the screen.)

Sunnyvale realty market statistics

Trends At a Glance Mar 2021 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,020,000 (+1.5%) $1,990,000 $1,965,000 (+2.8%)
Average Price $2,037,590 (+13.4%) $1,797,340 $1,950,010 (+4.5%)
No. of Sales 55 (+175.0%) 20 40 (+37.5%)
Pending 62 (+19.2%) 52 35 (+77.1%)
Active 24 (-4.0%) 25 30 (-20.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 113.0% (+1.4%) 111.4% 110.4% (+2.4%)
Days on Market 10 (-31.9%) 15 17 (-36.8%)
Days of Inventory 13 (-61.2%) 34 23 (-41.8%)

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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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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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Sellers: should you have an “offer deadline”?

Offer DeadlinesIt’s a seller’s market in Silicon Valley right now.  Many sellers are getting multiple offers and overbids, especially in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Menlo Park.  For home owners trying to maximize their sales price, does it make sense to have an “offer deadline”?

Maybe.

If you are pretty confident that you can get multiple offers, the deadline helps in a few ways.

  • it prevents the offer situation from being a mere “foot race” (fastest one wins, rather than highest offer and best terms)
  • it allows everyone enough time to see the house, read the inspections, disclosures etc.
  • it provides enough time for the sellers and agents to plan

As with all strategic plans, this one can backfire too.  If you or your agent publishes an offer deadline and then no bids are forthcoming, it’s more than just a let down.  It’s a market signal that this home is overvalued by its owner and agent.  Then, suddenly, it can appear to be an old or stale listing, even if it’s just been on the market 7 to 10 days.

Many real estate agents take a middle path, saying nothing about offers until agents ask. If they are asked, they will give a date in the future – usually a couple of days after the open house.  But the MLS won’t say it for these agents unless they hear many buyers’ agents asking about offer presentation.  They don’t want to look bad, they don’t want your house to look bad.

We never know until a property goes on the market how it will fare.  It is wise to be cautious about advertising an offer date unless you are very certain that you will be seeing multiples! The market right now is a little funny. Homes priced aggressively are getting multiple offers. Homes priced AT value are not moving quite so fast. And homes price for values in spring of 2018 are not selling well at all.

 

 

 

 

Santa Clara County Market Update By School District Q1 2014

Today I’m sharing with you Silicon Valley real estate statistics which were presented to me by my company, Sereno Group. These are “by school district” and I think you will find them immensely insightful! First, though, a brief commentary on the overall findings, then statistics for single family homes (mostly houses but a few “duet homes”) in Santa Clara County, and lastly, the same info but for condominiums and townhouses.

 

Sereno Market Report Intro May 10 2014

 

Please find the real estate market statistics by school district in the Santa Clara County area next.  Please note that the San Jose Unified School District is extremely large and varied, and the numbers would be very different if you were narrowing it to Almaden Valley with Leland High School as opposed to some areas which are not performing nearly as well.

 

Market Report By School District Quarter 1 2004 Single Family Homes

 

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Finding Mid-Century Modern and Eichler Homes in Silicon Valley’s West Side

Mid-century modern homes, including those designed by Joseph Eichler, dot the Silicon Valley & South Bay Area real estate landscape.  There are probably more than 5,000 Eichlers in Santa Clara County altogether, plus all the other homes of that genre with the similar modern style, which was influenced by the ranch and prarie styles as well as the dramatic work by Frank Lloyd Wright (open beam ceilings, nearly flat roofs, lots of exposed wood & glass windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling).  Eichlers, especially, put a premium on privacy from the street but open to the outdoors otherwise.

Not every community in Santa Clara County has Eichler homes, but most have the mid-century modern style homes & neighborhoods. These homes vary from tiny, modest cottages of 1100 square feet to large & elegant  houses of nearly 3,000 square feet, featuring big, central atriums or courtyards.  (There are also some co-ops in the valley too.)  The quality varies, as the homes were constructed by several different builders with different home buying budgets in mind.  Real estate prices range from “entry level” to very expensive, depending on the location (city and schools), size of the home & lot, and condition of the property. Most of them are now about 50 years old, though some are a little younger.

Some of the West Side Silicon Valley Communities which feature Eichler and Mid Century Modern Homes

In Los Gatos there are no Eichlers but there are a small handful of single family homes which are mid-century modern on Eastridge Drive (just off Blossom Hill Road and Hillbrook). There are a couple more at the end of Magnuson Terrace (off Magnuson Loop and Los Gatos Blvd).  Additionally, there are some smaller mid-50s homes on El Gato (and adjacent portions of Escobar) off of Los Gatos-Almaden Road. Unfortunately, not all of these homes are “well kept”, though many are.

Monte Sereno is home to 16 Eichler designed houses on Via Sereno beginning at the intersection of Winchester Blvd with Via Sereno.  These houses were built in the late 60s to early 70s.
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Incredible year over year appreciation in Sunnyvale

It costs whatToday I spent a little time gathering the month over month and year over year median sales price changes in Sunnyvale from my Santa Clara County ReReport (you can do it too, it just takes time). Sunnyvale has felt like a bubble in that the appreciation has been too steep, too long for it to be sustainable.

Is it a bubble?  The market is calming down or leveling out a bit in many places – but how about Sunnyvale?.  Jobs are strong. Many firms are hiring. There remains a housing shortage.  But the rate of appreciation has been crazy high.  Rather than speculate about how good (sellers) or bad (buyers) it is, let’s see how strong the change has been.

The image below shows the increase or decrease of the median sales price for single family homes in Sunnyvale, first month over month, and then year over year from May 2011 to May 2013. The the last 12 months, the year over year average change to the median sales price has been a whopping 22%.  One month it was 60%! (It was when that was happening that I screamed “bubble” on this blog.) (more…)

Comparing the real estate markets in Almaden, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Los Altos

Days on market for several "west valley" communities within Silicon Valley

Days on market for several “west valley” communities within Silicon Valley

For people relocating to Silicon Valley, often there’s not just one city, town or area which seems like a good fit.  Sometimes it may come down to what your money can buy or how difficult it is to purchase in one area versus another.   This is frequently the case with the “West Valley” areas where schools are good and the neighborhoods are tidy.

There are two statistics which are especially helpful in understanding the Santa Clara County real estate market.  One is the “days on market” or DOM.  The shorter this is, the hotter the market – and the harder it is to purchase.   The second is the sale price to list price ratio, which hints at the existence of multiple offers, overbids, and buyers giving away all of their rights.

Today, then, we’ll have a look at these, starting with Almaden, the southernmost area, and working our way north along the coastal range.  The charts below are all for single family homes (houses and duet homes, not condos or townhomes).

Almaden Valley is a district within the city of San Jose.  Its boundaries roughly follow the 95120 zip code, though there are some parts of nearby zip codes which somewhat overlap into Almaden too. How’s the Almaden market?  Red hot!  Days on market is crazy low – a mere 16! And the average sale price is almost 104% of list price…and rising!

Trends At a Glance May 2013 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $0 (N/A) $0 $0 (N/A)
Average Price $0 (N/A) $0 $0 (N/A)
No. of Sales (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Pending (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Active (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Sale vs. List Price 0.0% (N/A) 0.0% 0.0% (N/A)
Days on Market (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Days of Inventory (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Los Gatos is a bit north of Almaden and has many micro-markets within it based on proximity to downtown Los Gatos, the school districts, view of the hills or valley and many other factors. (This is “in town”, zip codes 95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033.)  The market is also red hot in Los Gatos! The days on market are significantly longer (36 as opposed to Almaden’s 16), but the sale price to list price ratio is a tad higher here. (more…)

Historic Topigraphical Maps of Saratoga, Los Gatos, Almaden, and Nearby Areas

Saratoga Historical Map ShadowThe other day I was hunting for local maps of Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) dating back 100 years or so, and although I didn’t find exactly what I wanted, I did find a treasure trove that I hadn’t expected to find at all.

Here please find a tiny snippet of a USGS Map from the late 1890s (actually part of the Palo Alto Map). According to my husband, who has a hobby of viewing and collecting maps, each “dot” on this image represents a house. If that is the case, you can see how sparcely populated Saratoga and Cupertino were at this time.

And what is that Azule Springs? Was it another hot springs type resort, like Saratoga Springs? A map like this raises a lot of questions!

If you love – or at least enjoy – history, I invite you to visit the USGS website and look at the historic maps there. One section includes Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and the coastal areas such as Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. Another section of the map includes Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Almaden, Cambrian Park, Santa Clara and many parts of San Jose.

It’s fun to see where things “used to be” and how they “used to be called”. Take a few minutes and enjoy!

Is now a good time to sell your Silicon Valley home? Have a look at the months of inventory to see if it is.

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.)

 

Months of Inventory for many Silicon Valley Communitites

 

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. (more…)