Last month we heard that residential real estate sales were off about 25% nationwide year over year (closed sales) and it was just as bad for home sales in San Jose (statistics show that sales were off 34.8% for closed sales of houses but up 5% for pending sales) and in Silicon Valley generally (closed house sales in Santa Clara County down 28.5% and pending sales up 5.3%).  Pending sales were up around 10% month over month.

Houses in Silicon Valley are Selling Faster and Faster

Pending house sales are on the rise and it’s  now dramatic.  At first I thought it was just me: in the last 30 days, I’ve put five sales together of houses and townhouses (one in Livermore, one in Foster City, one in Campbell and two in San Jose – both in the Almaden Winery neighborhood on the Cambrian/Almaden border).   But it’s not just this faithful blogger who’s seeing a surge in selling activity and accepted offers.  These are clearly trends in the local south bay market.

I just spent a little time on and checked the numbers of newly pending sales in the city of San Jose:

  • Nov 1 to Nov 7, 2010:  159 new pending sales in San Jose
  • Nov 8 to Nov 14, 2010: 163 new pending sales in San Jose
  • Nov 15 to Nov 21, 2010: 198 new under contract or pending sales in San Jose

If I check sales from 11-1-2010 through 11-22-2010 there were 566 this year but just 386 for the same period last year in San Jose.

Ditto that for all of Santa Clara County: from Nov 1 – 22, 2009 there were 666 pending sales but Nov 1 – 22, 2010 it was 954! 

What’s the cause of all this? Most likely it’s the incredibly low interest rates, which are scraping the bottom and are at about 60 year lows.  My mortgage broker and mortgage banker friends are insanely busy with sales and refinances.

And what does this mean for you, a home buyer or seller in Silicon Valley?  A couple of things:

Silicon Valley Home Sellers: often people pull their homes off the market between Thanksgiving and the New Year or wait until after the holidays to put their home on the market.  This year, perhaps you want to rethink that strategy.  Homes that have been “just sitting” on the market are in some cases now seeing multiple offers.  I have seen this in my own practice.

Silicon Valley Home Buyers: you may not be able to get away with “low balling” homes even if they’ve been on the market awhile because many other buyers who have been watching the market are now jumping in with both feet.  Study the comps and write a realistic offer if you want the home!