Saratoga CA Real Estate Market Update

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California - photo for article on the Saratoga CA real estate market

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

The Saratoga CA real estate market is a strengthening sellers’ market for single family homes :

  • the average sale price rose both monthly and annually
  • inventory of Saratoga houses for sale is up both month over month and year over year
  • the sale to list price ratio slipped from 106.8% in March to 106.3% in April, still a strong seller’s market

How’s the Saratoga CA real estate market?

Saratoga has a diverse real estate market due to a wide range of home prices, square footage, lot sizes, school districts, and more. The luxury tier, generally $4 million and up (but in Saratoga, that’s really still just a house in an expensive part of town) normally moves slower than other price points. Saratoga’s entry level housing is usually the strongest. If the numbers swing wildly at any given month, it could be that more or fewer homes in a particular school district and pricing tier.

To really understand the Saratoga CA real estate market, you’ll need to get hyper local data for that home’s pricing tier, school district, and any other impactful data points.

 

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

Here’s a quick overview from the RE Report details below or please view the full data here.

Trends At a GlanceApr 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$4,215,000 (+0.4%)$4,200,000$3,780,000 (+11.5%)
Average Price$4,533,660 (+5.4%)$4,299,500$4,008,360 (+13.1%)
No. of Sales18 (-14.3%)2122 (-18.2%)
Pending22 (+69.2%)1319 (+15.8%)
Active35 (+66.7%)2125 (+40.0%)
Sale vs. List Price106.3% (-0.5%)106.8%98.7% (+7.6%)
Days on Market29 (+24.8%)2351 (-43.5%)
Days of Inventory56 (+88.0%)3033 (+71.1%)

 

Altos Research real estate market data for Saratoga, CA single family homes

Next, a quick glance at the Altos Research market profile for a quick summary of the Saratoga CA real estate market conditions. Altos uses LIST prices, not sold prices, for this chart and the others, below.

Market profile for Saratoga CA 95070

 

Real-Time Market Profile Saratoga, CA 95070

 

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Updating the Campbell Real Estate Market

Tudor style house on graphic that says - How's the Campbell real estate market?How is the Campbell real estate market? Campbell is in a strong seller’s market that continues to outstrip this time last year. This article, updated monthly, offers data and analysis on the residential real estate market within this popular Silicon Valley community. Here are a few details from the latest update on Campbell’s single family housing market:

  • Inventory is growing inch by inch with 15 active listings at the end of April, still just a drop in the bucket! Smaller pools of data can cause more dramatic swings in these statistics, so take these numbers with a grain of salt.
  • The average sales to list price ratio for homes sold last month slipped to 110.2% of asking – that’s red hot, and up +4.8% from this time last year.
  • Average and median sales prices are up +23.4% and +35.5% from last year respectively, and rose +12.3% and 22.0% from the month before.
  • Average time on market slowed to just 12 days while market absorption sped to a slightly shorter 24 days.
  • Closed and pending sales continued to rise above last month and last year despite lower available inventory year-over-year.

The market in this popular west valley city is red hot overall!

The Campbell, CA Real Estate Market

It’s hard to predict what’s coming next, especially since Silicon Valley real estate is connected to the global economy and many buyers rely on stocks and mortgage loans to finance their purchase. On top of that, we’re emerging from an already wild few years!

If you’re selling a well prepared, beautifully staged, and aggressively priced house, you’ll likely see multiple offers on your home for sale. We’ve been seeing more bidding wars, but not with overbids quite as high as last spring. Competition for homes has undoubtebly waned from it’s peak as buyers financial power shrank with rising interest rates. That said, with even fewer homes being listed this year there’s still far more demand than there is inventory, especially for a move-in ready home!

Desperate and worn out buyers want to get their foot in the door before they are priced out of the market altogether by either climbing interest rates or rising home prices.

Don’t expect a balanced market any time soon – the Bay Area still has a severe housing shortage and buyers are clamoring to get property!

Here’s a quick view of the Campbell real estate market stats from Altos Research, using list prices (not sales price) which updates automatically about once per week:

 

Campbell Altos Real-Time Market Profile

The Altos chart is showing Campbell, CA single family homes in a strong seller’s market with continued rises in market action paired with perpetually low inventory. Available listings remain well below typical, and these few homes continue to sell quickly.

And now –  here are some quick stats, pulled from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) through the RE Report:

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Multiple offers are common right now in Silicon Valley

Multiple offers are common - sellers and listing agent discussing the open house and biddingMultiple offers are common right now in the Silicon Valley real estate market. With them typically come overbids and sky high sales prices. Clair and I have shown several homes that our buyers did not bid on but which got many offer contracts and which sold for 15 – 20% over list price just over the last 30 days or so.

The hottest part of the market seems to be properties under $2 or $3 million, depending on the area.

When there are tons of buyers lining up to purchase a home, the sellers have usually put a substantial amount of time, energy, and money into making their property look fantastic, and they also take a risk in pricing it low to attract a large number of home buyers.

Multiple offers are common when property sells fast – but it doesn’t always!

When there aren’t multiple offers, it could be location issues, condition of the property (or neighborhood), overpricing (the most common culprit), difficulty in viewing the home, or other missteps on the selling side.  Buyers today want a turnkey home in a superior location that’s in great shape – not remodeled 20 years ago or more – and they will pay a premium price for it.

When homes have been on the market for 3 weeks or more, this may be a great opportunity for buyers to be the lone bidder on it. Does it have the right things wrong? Can what is off be fixed? Is it only overpriced? I would suggest buyers focusing on all of the inventory and not just the hot new inventory.

Why is it that multiple offers are common now?

There are a couple of reasons why homes that are in great shape, priced low, and given good exposure to the market are selling so strongly now.

  • First, there is a dire shortage of inventory, or lack of supply.  This is a chronic problem, but it’s acutely so now due to the higher interest rates and home owners not wanting to sell. It’s unlikely for this to change anytime soon, unfortunately.
  • Second, because Silicon Valley residential real estate has a long track record with good appreciation, those who can buy want to do so. Many are empowered by the rising stock market. If they are here for the long haul, buying makes more sense than renting.
    • Many are purchasing with more than 20% down, and they will watch for an opportunity to refinance.
    • Others are buying all cash. Those buyers may be anywhere from 15% to 35 % of the successful home buyers.

The inventory crisis will likely improve a little as the year goes on because inventory normally rises with the peak being somewhere in the summer most years.  No guarantee – sometimes it doesn’t behave “as usual”.

How can you tell if a home is going to get multiple offers or what the selling price will be?

These are really two different, but related, questions.
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Silicon Valley real estate market predictions

Photo of Mary Pope-Handy, crystal ball, Mary's logo and the words "Mary's Predictions" - Silicon Valley real estate market predictionsSilicon Valley real estate market predictions – it’s time for a mid-December 2023 update. As always, this is a best guess based upon the major influences that we see at play.

My Silicon Valley real estate market predictions in brief:

  • Home prices in Silicon Valley have been rising this year. They hit their trough or low point one year ago.
  • Interest rates are down from their peak. That often happens this time of year since rates are also impacted by supply and demand.
  • Inventory remains painfully and increasingly low as sellers do not want to sell. This is likely to remain the case. The bottom line is supply and demand. If demand remains strong and inventory low, prices will go up and only be tempered by the rate issue. That’s what we are seeing now. Many buyers are sitting this market out, but those who are active continue bidding prices up.
  • Many factors could swing the market one way or the other: Covid (new variant is more immune evasive), layoffs, the stock market, how much rates rise, a big quake, weather and disaster related issues, and more.
  • Home prices are up from a year ago but still down a little from the peak. If the current trends continue, though, we’ll surpass that peak in not too long. And that is precisely my prediction.
  • The low point in pricing is usually in January, but sometimes a month earlier, and the contracts for those sales are ratified 30 days before that (so November or December). If you can find a good home to buy, this will probably be the best possible time to do it. (If interest rates go down more in 2024, it would be wise to refinance.)
  • Mike Simonson of Altos Research says that if interest rates go down, inventory will also decline since people are more likely to hold onto their first home when moving up if they can swing it without having to sell the first place. Check out his YouTube page here.
  • Many buyers are waiting this out. I believe that they risk being priced out of the market if the typical pattern continues and we see large price jumps in the new year. I expect home prices will rise in the first half of 2024, which is often the case.

3 minute video on the current market and future predictions

I just re-watched this video from two months ago. It’s still applicable, with one change: the market has heated up a little and I would no longer call it sluggish.  We are often finding homes getting 10+ offers if they are good.

Supply and Demand + Seasonal Patterns

This odd market with home prices rising despite interest rates rising comes down to highly motivated buyers fighting over a scarcity of homes for sale.  Below is a chart from MLS Listings which displays the inventory of active listings of single family homes (houses and duet homes) from January 2004 to today. Since we are close to the end of September, I am including the month to date.

Take a look:

Inventory SFH pre-pandemic and now

 

From about 2006 – 2012 we had the impact of the financial collapse with many foreclosures and short sales inflating the number of listings. Beginning in 2013, though, the market followed more normal seasonal patterns. Since then, most years the peak of inventory came close to 2000 houses on the market (except in 2017, when prices skyrocketed). From 2020 on, meaning the pandemic years, inventory has not gotten close to those levels.

This lack of inventory is the main issue, and the corresponding result is increasing home prices.

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Why is inventory so low, and when will it get better?

Why is inventory so low? As of today, October 26, 2023, there are 796 single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County (population appx 2 million people). A year ago it was about 1165 and the end of October. Where have all the listings gone? And when will it get better for home buyers? (You can check Santa Clara County inventory and other real estate stats on this blog.)

Why is inventory so low: historical perspective, how low IS it?

Here’s a look at our houses for sale from Jan 1999 to today. Please note that the MLS has a problem with its data sharing feeds, and if I pull this same info in a month, some of the numbers (not just this month) will likely change.

Inventory 1999 - Oct 2023 for single family homes in Santa Clara County

 

Inventory Averages:

  • Inventory Oct 1999 through October 2022 (only Octobers, 24 months) = 2640.  Inventory was bloated during the Great Recession, so that’s not representative of “normal”.
  • If we consider just 2013 – Oct 2022 (10 Octobers), which I think is much more typical, the average inventory is 1403.5
  • The current inventory level is 57% of the last 10 years and 30% of the last 24 years (not including 2023 in the averages).

The lack of inventory is causing a lack of sales, layoffs in various real estate related industries, and pretty much economically challenging for Realtors, lenders, title and escrow people, inspectors, stagers, photographers, and anyone else involved in the buying and selling of homes.

We have a supply and demand imbalance, with demand outpacing supply but available homes for sale low.

Why is inventory so low?  What is causing the shortage?

Next, let’s consider the root causes of the problem, and which ones may not be ongoing.
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Listing syndication matters to buyers and sellers

Listing syndication - you may be missing 15 percent or more if that is all you're seeingListing syndication matters to buyers and sellers, even if they don’t know it!

What is listing syndication?

Listing syndication refers to the distribution of listings of homes for sale to other websites from the multiple listing service or MLS. The information about the home is input into the MLS for members online, and also for those visiting the MLS directly as guests or those receiving email updates from that system. When it’s sent further, say to Realtor.com for example, that’s syndication.

Put more simply, listing syndication is distributing and displaying listings online.

Today most listings can be found on real estate web portals large and small, including real estate agents’ own websites (we have it, too). On real estate agent websites, that is accomplished through either an IDX feed (Internet Data Exchange) or VOW (Virtual Office Website). The main difference between IDX and VOW is that with the VOW more can be displayed, but it’s behind a login / password wall. The IDX feed shows information without having to register.

 

 

Why it matters for home sellers

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When will Silicon Valley housing inventory begin to rise again?

The inventory of available homes to buy is painfully low throughout San Jose, Santa Clara County, and Silicon Valley. When will inventory begin to rise again? I’m getting this question from many of my home buyer clients right now.

When can we expect inventory to increase?

There are seasonal patterns which become clear with a few images. Here’s a view of San Jose’s real estate listings inventory over the last few years: it gives a good idea of how far out of balance the supply and demand formula is.  The amount of housing supply normally is lowest in December and January, and it usually begins to increase after the SuperBowl or by the middle of February.

In the chart below, you can see a marked point downward at around the 1st of each year.  In recent years, though, that’s not the only time when it dips to the low side.  Also it should be noted that we have seen lower inventory in the last few years – just not during this season.

 

 

If we step back and consider all of Santa Clara County instead, the pattern looks much the same. (more…)

Market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos

Market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los AltosToday we’re looking at the real estate market for houses in some of the “west valleycommunities along the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains – areas where schools are good, crime is low, residents enjoy scenic views of the hills (or of the valley from the hills, depending on the location) and overall, a highly educated population not too far from Highway 85. This will be a real estate market comparison for Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

Of the four municipalities, three are really very similar to each other in several regards.  Cupertino has the largest population – about 61,000 people – but Los Altos, Los Gatos and Saratoga are all similarly sized, somewhere between 31,000 residents.  The latter three also enjoy a traditional “downtown” area which is popular with pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike. (Monte Sereno has under 4,000 residents, which is so small that the statistics are very easily thrown from month to month, so it is omitted in this quick study.)  Of the four, Cupertino, then, is the least similar due to size and lack of a central downtown area for now. This may feel different once the Vallco Mall is redeveloped.

We’ll take a quick look at these areas now in terms of the real estate market trends and statistics for each area, considering just “class 1” (houses and duet homes).  The charts used below are from Altos Research, to which I have a subscription, and they will be automatically updated each week.

Please note:  the Los Gatos data is probably a little artificially low as it will include all 3 zip codes, meaning also the Los Gatos Mountains, which are quite a bit more affordable than the areas “in town”.

In addition, as of this writing we are in the shelter-in-place phase 1 of the pandemic. This post is updated approximately every quarter or half-year, so we’re just starting to see the results of these changes to the market,  but it will take a while to see the full picture. For now you can read more about the Coronavirus impact on real estate sales in my post on the topic.

Also, during the shutdown so far, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) stopped the timer on all Days on Market (DOM). Therefore these numbers will be off beginning from March 17th through around 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.

Now on with the analysis!

Market Comparisons

(1) Median List Price (per Altos Research):

 

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

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Is it too early in the season to be house hunting in Silicon Valley?

Photo of ranch style house with the question - Is it too early to begin house huntingIt’s a January that feels like March, if a dry one.  The weather is clear, mild, and temps are sixty to seventy degrees, the skies are blue and trees are beginning to blossom – a great environment for house hunting. Is it too early in the season to begin your search for the right home in Silicon Valley?

Each prospective home owner’s situation is different, but for many people, January is a great time to jump in with house hunting, before the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day or some other point a little later in the calendar year.

Weather, Inventory, Interest Rates and Silicon Valley house hunting

First, to note the obvious: there is no weather related reason to wait. (Sellers: pay attention!)

Second, let’s discuss selection. Inventory is horribly low (see the inventory data table in my 2020 predictions article). Most people expect the number of available listings to be higher in Spring.  Seasoned Realtors know that while this often happens, it doesn’t always, so we cannot count on it. (Check the Santa Clara County monthly real estate statistics here.)

How bad is it?  I’m on the MLS right now.  For single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Santa Clara County, there are 411 for sale right this moment which are not sale pending or under contract. This is for the whole county, where there are 1.8 million people residing.

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Is buying a home in late fall or winter a good idea, or is it better to wait until spring?

Home Buying In Silicon ValleyFirst time home buyers in Silicon Valley and folks relocating from out of the San Francisco Bay Area often ask me if buying a home in late fall or winter is a good idea, or if it would be  better to wait until spring, when there’s presumably more inventory. We sell a good number of homes year-round here, thanks to our sub-tropical climate.  This is true even when we get a whole lot of rain.

The real estate market is a little different each year, but there are some general trends – you just cannot count on them, that’s all!  Here are some “usually” situations, but please know that this may or may not apply the year you want to purchase a property!

  • Usually we see the most inventory in summer (followed by spring)
  • Usually we see the least inventory in winter (especially between about Thanksgiving and the Superbowl)
  • Prices are normally softest in winter – closings in January (sales in December) tend to be the lowest
  • Interest rates on mortgages or loans are normally at their lowest during the winter (it’s supply and demand related)

If you want a better deal, shop in the late fall and winter.  If you want more selection, shop in spring and summer (but it will often cost more!). It is up to you!

What I normally tell my clients is this:  buy the home you want to live in, when you’re ready, regardless of the time of year. If you can find what you like now, buy it! We never know what the coming year will bring, but right now, it’s expected that prices will rise in 2019.

See what’s currently for sale in Santa Clara County on the map below: