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How is the Saratoga real estate market? One barometer is the amount of inventory, that is the number of homes for sale. Today we’ll take a look at that, both in terms of “what’s normal” and what’s been happening in the recent past and now for Saratoga houses on the market.

First, here are the typical patterns over the last five years. As you can see, inventory is normally at its lowest point in winter, and highest point in summer. Usually inventory continues to rise from January through June or July, sometimes August, before falling again.

 

Saratoga-ca-inventory-2005-to-2010

 

If we simply look at the last 12 months of Saratoga homes for sale, we’ll really appreciate how different the market was then vs now.

 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 

Is this much different from last year? Inventory of Saratoga houses for sale now versus one year ago:

 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 

Interesting to see how different the years are for actual inventory (far less available this year) but both are now following the seasonally typical pattern of increasing inventory in the new year.

The absorption rate, or months of inventory, factors together both the new sales with the inventory levels. It’s a very solid way to see how well homes are selling overall.

 

absorption-rate-saratoga-ca-real-estate-jan-09-to-mar-10

 

Six months of inventory is a balanced market. More is a buyer’s market (so January 2009 was a very deep buyer’s market!) and the fewer the months of inventory beyond 6, the more of a seller’s market it is.

What does this mean to you if you’re a Saratoga home buyer or seller?
If you’re a buyer, it means that there’s not so much to choose from (and that your better opportunity for selection was last year, when the market was softer). In the entry level homes for sale in Saratoga, prices are up substantially from a year ago. Saratoga home buyers who have been looking casually for a year or more are now kicking themselves for bein indecisive when these houses were attainable. Many homebuyers are now “priced out of the market” because they had trouble committing when it was a soft, buyer’s market.

If you’re a seller, this is mostly good news for you. If your home is well priced, in good condition and well marketed, you should be able to sell without too much difficulty (especially in the more affordable price ranges). It is not a strong seller’s market, but it’s infinitely better than 15 months ago. If you want or need to sell, don’t wait. Who knows if this favorable climate will last or not.

Of course, there are many nuances within the Saratoga real estate market. Today we’ve only really looked at one factor, inventory, and that in relation to sales, meaning the absorption rate. Other factors to consider include the days on market, the median list price, the median sales price, and much more.

For personalized help with your real estate questions, whether in Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell or San Jose, please contact me. I’m happy to chat with you about your real estate questions, hopes, wants and needs.