The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update

Cambrian Park Real Estate Market graphicThe Cambrian Park real estate market remains a strong seller’s market.

For those new to the area, Cambrian is most of the 95124 zip code (south of Foxworthy) and most of 95118 (west of Almaden Expressway). It borders Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen, and Blossom Valley.

The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market

QUICK STATS from the MLS today, April 10, 2024:

  • 33 single family homes (SFH) for sale in Cambrian (MLS area 14)
    • 19 of these are NOT syndicated right now
    • 12 are “members only, do not show”
    • 7 are “members only, show” – if buyers are only looking at the big portals, they will be unaware that 7 additional homes are for sale!
  • 0 contingent sale (most sales have no contingencies right now)
  • 40 SFH which are “sale pending” (no contingencies)
  • 52 houses sold in the last month
    • Average list price $1,673,149
    • Average sale price $1,908,608
    • Average sale price to list price ratio 116% (lowest was 99%, highest was 182% !!!)
    • Average home square footage 1606 SF
    • Average lot size 6,999 SF
    • Lowest sale price $1,330,000
    • Highest sale price $3,275,000

The chart below is from the RE Report.  The number of sales continues to rise – not that there are 40 pending sales and 26 closed ones! With just 15 active listings, it seems like nearly everything is selling well.

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a GlanceFeb 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$1,932,500 (+10.1%)$1,755,000$1,525,000 (+26.7%)
Average Price$1,996,490 (-1.8%)$2,032,290$1,584,780 (+26.0%)
No. of Sales26 (+52.9%)1719 (+36.8%)
Pending40 (+25.0%)3228 (+42.9%)
Active15 (+114.3%)724 (-37.5%)
Sale vs. List Price112.0% (+5.1%)106.6%103.3% (+8.4%)
Days on Market(-50.6%)1519 (-60.0%)
Days of Inventory16 (+30.8%)1234 (-52.6%)

 

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Check the months of inventory to see if it’s a good time to sell your home!

Months of Inventory explained with an hourglassIs 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 with an eye to selling or buying is with the months of inventory (MOI), also known as the absorption rate. This is the months of supply of housing for sale.

The months of inventory tells us how fast the current inventory of properties will be sold off if sales were to continue at the same rate with no new inventory were to come on the market.

The easiest analogy is with a bathtub full of water. If we added no more water to the tub, and the drain were opened, how much time would it take for the water to be depleted if it continued to empty at the same rate? That’s the question being answered with the absorption rate of inventory.

Or, simpler still, if you have an hourglass that you turn over, how long does it take for the sand to empty from the top (since you cannot add more sand to that end)?

How to calculate the months of inventory or MOI

The way to calculate the months of inventory is simple:  find the current available inventory of homes for sale (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. Or, I can just use the stats program on the MLS to generate that number, as I did today.

Earlier I pulled this data from 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. Separately, I also ran this same query for the City of San Jose by district.

The months of inventory by city or town in Santa Clara County

A balanced market for our area is 2-3 months of inventory (for most of the US it’s 4-6 months). Two months or less is a seller’s market, and one month or less is a very hot seller’s market.

Here’s a look at the months of inventory by city or town in SCC in April 2023 for single family homes.  As you can see, the vast majority of the county is a strong seller’s market, with the only exception being Los Altos Hills.

 

Santa Clara County months of inventory by city in Santa Clara County - single family homes for April 2023

 

Which are the hottest markets?  They’re the ones with the smallest months of inventory -Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Milpitas and many more are well under the 2 month market. A few are a tad higher and in the “balanced market” area, and only one is in a deep buyer’s market.

The months of inventory by area within the City of San Jose

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Cambrian months of inventory

Cambrian Park Plaza SignThe Cambrian area of San Jose, like much of Santa Clara County, is a very “hot market” overall, but it can be confusing to know how hot it really is because there are multiple school districts – and schools are probably the number one driver of home values in this highly educated valley. On top of that, the market was hot before the pandemic began in the spring of 2020 and has become even more fierce since then with heightened demand and almost no inventory. The best homes across all of Cambrian are selling quickly and with multiple-offers.

An explanation of “months of inventory”

What does “months of inventory” mean? This figure references how long it would take to sell a property if homes continued to sell and close at the current pace with no new inventory coming on the market. A good analogy is to consider a bathtub which drains. If you add no new water to the tub, how long will it take to empty out?

The months of inventory is sometimes called the absorption rate. The question is simple: how long will it take for the current inventory of homes for sale to get absorbed by the home buyers purchasing them? It doesn’t have to be calculated by months. It could be in days, weeks, or years. But months is probably most common.

The months of inventory for any part of the real estate market can vary, depending on many factors, including age of home, house size, lot size, and school district, whether or not there’s a pool, and many other things. It can be very useful to understand this metric when selling a Silicon Valley home. I’ve done market numbers crunching tied to the specific characteristics of a property (say, small yard with pool or big yard with no pool) to find the impact of those characteristics on the probability that a home will sell – or how fast.

The Cambrian area of San Jose’s months of inventory as a whole, and in one price point

Cambrian was once an enormous zone of the Santa Clara Valley. Today we mostly think of it as within San Jose in the 95124 and 95118 zip codes. Part of it is adjacent to Campbell – a very tiny sliver is IN Campbell, and a tinier still area is in San Jose and within the Campbell School Union District! However most of this area is in one of three elementary school districts: Cambrian, Union, or San Jose Unified.

Here’s the breakdown of the charts below – first, sales and active listings for single family homes in ALL of Cambrian (MLS area 14 for my Realtor readers) and then by elementary school district. Below that, we will narrow this down to active and sold listings only in a price range of $900K – $1.2M, the entry-level price point for single family homes in this market. The part of this area within Campbell Elementary is so small that the numbers are usually not statistically useful (no offense to the Campbell school residents), and frequently there is no usable data for it anyways.

The Latest Update: February 25, 2022

Please have a look at the latest chart. While Cambrian Elementary has the fastest MOI, the majority of sales and listings are happening in the highly sought after Union school district! Once again San Jose Unified holds the majority of the lower-price market, practically monopolizing it on our chart. That said, there’s almost nothing selling in that price bracket any more, and all 4 sales in the last 60 days went over $1M. All areas are showing extremely fast turnover with market absorption remaining below 1 month across the board.

Cambrian MOI by school district 0-60day 02-25-2022

 

Homes are flying off the market this winter. A majority of sales and active inventory are coming from the Union Elementary School District, followed by San Jose Unified with roughly half the sales and inventory. On the other hand, the Cambrian Elementary District has fewer sales and active inventory, but is a very active market (currently the second fastest MOI overall) and is significantly hotter than it has been in the past few years. Inventory remains low and struggles to keep up with the high levels of demand fueling a hot seller’s market in San Jose’s Cambrian district.

 

Below we have past charts for comparison. I usually do this analysis a few times a year, and it is good to see the long view.

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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

 

 

 

Silicon Valley real estate sales to “all cash” buyers: how prevalent are they?

Ten dollar bill (shown in part) with the words "Cash Is King" - all cash offers are preferred by home sellersHow common are “all cash” transactions for Silicon Valley real estate right now?  During the first couple of years after the downturn ended and the recovery cycle began, we had a large percentage of all cash buyers in Santa Clara County and nearby. In recent years, though, that ratio has been declining. Where are we now?

Some areas and some types of sales are more frequently all cash than others.  Here are a few quick stats for the last 60 days  (numbers from MLSListings, crunched by me – disclaimer on good intentions but no guarantee) for single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums (not included are multi-family homes, apartment buildings, mobile homes, farms / ranches etc.). Also, please note that this is for closed sales, not pending sales.

What percentage of sales are all cash?

  • Santa Clara County: 12% all cash
  • San Mateo County: 20% all cash
  • Santa Cruz County: 18% all cash

Few areas in Santa Clara County

  • San Jose (entire city): 10% all cash
  • Los Gatos: 12% all cash
  • Cupertino: 11%
  • Milpitas: 4%
  • Morgan Hill: 13%
  • Campbell: 10%

All cash sales close escrow without a loan. In higher priced homes, some new owners will put financing on the property after close of escrow.  Particularly in lower priced homes, though, these are investor buyers who will be renting out the property.  This is often the case with the lower priced distressed properties in particular.

With the crazy new demands that keep coming at us from banks and new requirements being imposed on appraisers, now more than ever, cash is king.  That doesn’t mean that the cash buyer will get a deep discount, but there will be a slight one in most cases and certainly preferential treatment that will create a great advantage in multiple offer situations.

Learn more about buying and selling Silicon Valley real estate with cash offers:

Cash offers: what do you need to know if buying “all cash”?

Finding Your Next Home

What’s My Silicon Valley Home Worth? Estimating the Probable Buyer’s Value  (financing impacts market value)

 

 

 

Help for Almaden Senior Home Sellers

Almaden Senior Home Seller with Mt UmFor retirees or senior home owners in Almaden who’ve been in their houses a very long time, the prospect of selling that beloved San Jose home can be quite daunting.  The longer you’ve been there, the more memories you’ve created and most of the time the harder it is to decide to sell and then do all the work needed to maximize that decision. This article is intended as a help for Almaden senior home sellers, their families and friends.

In today’s post we’ll go over the decision to sell the home (or not), the timing elements for selling and getting help in doing so.

Deciding it’s time to sell your Almaden Valley home

Perhaps the biggest hurdle is not the physical work involved with preparing a home for the real estate market or moving, but instead is the difficult decision of whether or not to move (and if so, when to do it).

As people age, there are a lot of losses.  There may be retirement that wasn’t chosen, but forced.  Loved ones pass away.  Vision diminishes.  It may become necessary to limit driving, or worse, give it up altogether. It is not hard for those over 65, 70  or 80 years of age to feel like it’s one unhappy challenge after the next. There’s a lot of change but it’s not all positive.

The prospect of also changing one’s residence can seem like one of the biggest, toughest and most unwelcome of all.     (more…)

The Silicon Valley real estate market bubble – it’s back! Or is it?

Another Silicon Valley real estate market bubble?Hearing the real estate market “war stories” about dozens of offers on Silicon Valley properties and overbids ranging from 20 – 55% had convinced me that we were in a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble back in early 2013. At least, this is what a bubble looks like, sounds like, feels like, and acts like.   At the time I thought, “how much longer could this continue?”  Four years and counting – that is the answer.

I tell my family and friends that we are in “crazyland” as buyers purchase homes with no contingencies of any kind, houses sell in 10 days or less (if everything is right, which seems to be the case 75% of the time), and those same properties are selling at well over list price and with much more than 20% down.

The absorption rate, or months of inventory: it is a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble?

What do the numbers say?  I just logged into MLSListings.com and see that right now, in all of Santa Clara County there are 817 single family homes (houses + duet or attached single family homes).  The pending and contingent homes measure 1074, far more! That ratio alone suggests that the market is in overdrive.  In the last 30 days, 950 single family  homes have sold & closed escrow.  So the months of inventory is 817 divided by 950 = .86 of a month of inventory, so about 3.5 weeks of inventory. (When I originally blogged about the potential bubble, it was 1.8 months of inventory.)

In other words, things are flying off the shelves. And they have been, with only a few minor blips here and there, since early 2012. Does that sound like a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble to you – a crazy strong seller’s market lasting 4.5 years?  I could be wrong, but I think of bubbles as being something fairly swift, not a multi year trend.

Homes are selling faster than new ones are coming onto the market!

It’s one thing to say that one city, town, or school district has a very low months of inventory (or high absorption rate).  It is another altogether to say an entire county is that low.  This is a major trend, not a tiny blip in the statistics.

How soon we forget that after the outrageously deep seller’s market in 2000, we had a steep drop in 2001.  Or that all the crazy buying in the San Jose area (and other places) in 2005-06, combined with bad financial regulations, lead to the crash of 2007-2009. But perhaps that enormous “correction”, in which Santa Clara County lost about 50% of its value on average, had more room to recover than we initially realized. Jobs keep flowing in, and housing starts are not keeping up. Supply and demand – the age old equation. That would seem to refute the idea that this is a Silicon Valley real estate market bubble. Perhaps low inventory and strong demand are what we should be expecting going forward. (more…)

Cambrian months of inventory by elementary school district

If you are house hunting in the Cambrian area of San Jose, you are probably aware that home prices and the real estate climate generally differ based on a number of things, but the most important factor of all is the schools.   While it is helpful to view the Cambrian real estate market as a whole, it’s more accurate to look at a smaller segment of that realty market and study it by school district.

One data point we use to analyse the market is the absorption rate, or months of inventory.  The question is this: if no new inventory came on the market, how long would it take for the current supply of houses for sale take to sell, if sales continue at the same rate?  For this we look at the currently available list of homes for sale (some people including pending with contingency in place, but nearly all of these do close, so I omit them) and also those of the same criteria which have sold and closed escrow in the last 30 days.  The same study could be done on a weekly basis rather than monthly, but with such small numbers of inventory, that would likely not be so reliable.  I ran these numbers from MLSListings.com this morning?

Cambrian Months of Inventory

Cambrian months of inventory by elementary school district as of 2-5-2016

 

Cambrian as a whole has 1.07 months of inventory – that’s pretty good if you are a seller, and a bit scary if you are a buyer.  A closer look, though, and you see quite a huge difference between either the Cambrian or Union School District, which both have a very brisk .83 months of inventory, versus the homes in the San Jose Unified School District area, which are moving at 3 months of inventory – a great market for most of the U.S., but sluggish compared to the other areas.

For a home owner wanting to sell in the SJ Unfied section of Cambrian, this is critically important information to understand so that you don’t overestimate the enthusiasm for your house.  It is going to be more important for you to price aggressively, stage well, market thoroughly than in the other areas, which may be more self-selling due to the very high quality of the public schools.

For a home buyer wanting to purchase in any of these areas, knowledge is power!  You might be able to get away with contingencies in your offers in the San Jose Unified neighborhoods as you may be the only offer in some cases, but that may not get you into your next home in the more competitive areas where many people are just trying to get their children into excellent schools and you’ve got multiple offers and overbids in that superheated market.   (We Realtors do not love seeing our buyers get into contract with few or no contingencies, by the way.  We prefer where there’s a little more balance.  This imbalanced situation is a classic case of supply and demand: too much demand, not much supply.)

Finally, it should be noted that schools are a major driver all of Silicon Valley.  I have similar studies, using high school districts, for Saratoga (on this site) and Los Gatos (on the Live in Los Gatos blog),  if you’d like to check those out also.  Because those areas have a really big spread in pricing, the absorption rates have been considered by price point too.

Check out what’s happening in the Cambrian market in the map below.

 

 

Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match the specified search criteria.

 

 

 

The Santa Clara County Real Estate Market is Calming Down

At last, home buyers are beginning to see an easing up in the Santa Clara County real estate market. Although it remains a strong seller’s market, it’s inching back in the direction of more normalcy with fewer numbers of offers and a flattening of prices.  It’s way overdue.

This morning I logged onto MLSListings and ran some quick stats for the county as a whole for single family homes. We see the months of inventory rising, the gap between available and sold inventory widening, the sale price to list price ratio dropping and prices flat.

First  – Santa Clara County months of inventory last 12 months as of July 1 2013

 

Santa Clara County months of inventory last 12 months as of July 1 2013

 

How does this look compared to a longer period of our local real estate history?  I ran it back to January 2004:

 

Santa Clara County Months of Inventory Jan 2004 through June 2013 single family homes

 

Overall, 3.6 months of inventory looks pretty healthy (anything under 4 months is a seller’s market, though the National Association of Realtors says that 6 months is balanced). The question is whether this was a blip or a trend reversal.  We’ll have to watch and see. (more…)

Ratio of closed sales versus new listings in Santa Clara County underlines the inventory crisis

Many of the statistics quoted by news agencies and real estate information analysts refer to the “active” inventory as not just the homes which are truly available, but also those which are sale pending but with contingencies still in place (whether huge contingencies, such as bank approval on a short sale or the normal ones, such as property inspection and loan approval).  This often results in a more bloated look at what’s available than what is really the case, and it gives buyers the sense that it’s easier to purchase than it truly is. Let’s look at some statistics to see what’s happening over the last year, when it shifted from being a buyer’s market to a severe seller’s market for houses in Santa Clara County.

Normally there are more homes available (for sale, without a “sale pending” status attached) than there are closed sales each month.  But right now, the available properties are being gobbled up much faster than new ones are getting put onto the multiple listing.  Let’s view the graph to see the relationship between these two figures for houses listed and sold in Santa Clara County in 2012.

 

New listings vs sold throughout 2012 in Santa Clara County CA

 

At the beginning of 2012, please note that the new listings (the red line) outpaced the sold and closed properties (green line).   The delta between them shrinks over the course of the year, until in the fall they are nearly equal until closed sales far outstrip new listings.   That is a complete flip in the market, and it represents a shift in power from the buyer to the seller, too.  For those who prefer just the numbers, here they are: (more…)