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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, but nowhere near as wild as 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:

  • Low inventory and few sales cause more dramatic swings in data, so take these numbers with a grain of salt.
  • The average sales to list price ratio for homes sold last month dropped to 103.8% of asking. Homes are regularly selling above list price, but with lower overbids and with fewer offers than last year.
  • The median sales price was $1,800,000 (-4.3% since last month and down -17.2% from last year.)
  • The average sales price was $2,019,350 (-0.4% month-over-month and -9.9% year-over-year)
  • Average sales sped to 8 days on market, and market absorption shrank to 33 days. The best homes are being snatched up quickly, while others may linger longer on the market.
  • April saw a steady number of closed sales, higher pending sales, and a drop in available inventory month-over-month, further signals of a warming market, though inventory is still well below seasonally normal trends.

The market in this popular west valley city overall shows signs of a warming market.

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 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’re beginning to see more bidding wars again, but not with overbids anything like last spring. Competition for homes has waned compared to spring 2022 as buyers financial power shrank. That said, most accepted offers we are seeing are coming in over asking and non-contingent.

Desperate and worn out buyers want to get their foot in the door before the market heats up again or interest rates rise further. However we’re also seeing worn out and priced-out buyers exiting the market. Motivated buyers will go after the best properties in their market, and the outlier listings linger.

The market has been overdue for a correction and we’re beginning to see where this transitioning market is taking us. Don’t expect a balanced market any time soon – California still has a severe housing shortage and buyers are still 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 a recent rise in market action paired with some leveling out of inventory. Inventory remains well below typical, and these few homes continue to sell quickly, but prices are, somewhat surprisingly, not rising.

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


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 has been giving us some mixed signals over the last few months with home prices jiggling up and down. Here’s a quick overview from the RE Report – please view the full data here:

  • Saratoga average house prices fell by 3.8% to $4,008,360 as compared to the month before, and is down 5% from the year before
  • The median sale price for houses slipped both monthly and annually to $3,780,000 (-8.4% monthly and -7.8% annually)
  • The days of inventory in April dropped to 37 (-27.1% as compared to March and +64.4% from April 2022 )
  • The sale to list price ratio declined to 98.7% (-3.4% from March 2022 and -14.3% from April 2022 )
  • The condo and townhome market are a strong seller’s market – see all the data below.


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 zip code) 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

Data below for the Saratoga CA real estate market is from the ReReport.


Trends At a Glance Apr-23 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,780,000 (-8.4%) $4,125,000 $4,100,000 (-7.8%)
Average Price $4,008,360 (-3.8%) $4,166,240 $4,217,770 (-5.0%)
No. of Sales 22 (+37.5%) 16 31 (-29.0%)
Pending 46 (+17.9%) 39 45 (+2.2%)
Active 28 (+3.7%) 27 24 (+16.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.7% (-3.4%) 102.20% 115.2% (-14.3%)
Days on Market 51 (+175.8%) 19 10 (+432.5%)
Days of Inventory 37 (-27.1%) 51 22 (+64.4%)



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.


Real-Time Market Profile Saratoga, CA 95070


Altos Research – list prices for Saratoga CA 95070 (more…)

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 2023 update. As always, this is a best guess based upon the major influences that we see at play.

My thoughts in brief:

  • Home prices in Silicon Valley are generally likely to drop a little as interest rates more gradually rise. For all cash and no loan buyers, it may make sense to wait to buy. For everyone who needs a loan, not so much.
  • Inventory is painfully low as sellers do not want to sell. This is likely to remain the case. We’ll go into that more below. 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.
  • 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, weather and disaster related issues, and more.
  • Home prices are down anywhere from 10-25% from the peak of Spring 2022 depending on the particular property. They may go down another 5% at most in my opinion IF the Fed raises rates until we go into a recession. Most likely it will be less than that, I believe. It really depends on the micro market (condos in one area versus a luxury home in another, areas with shorter or longer commutes, etc.).

Silicon Valley real estate market predictions and these major factors

Fed rate hikes and your buying power - words over image of cashRates

Nationally, we know that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise rates, though at a calmer pace than we experienced in 2022. There seems to be disagreement about how large these will be. When interest rates go up, home  prices normally go down, though it’s not always a perfect correlation. Even so, less dramatic interest rate hikes should track with less dramatic home sale price declines if everything else remains about the same. Check out the Bankrate article on this topic of how much rates will rise.

Inventory issues – most sellers aren’t selling

Generally, only those who have to sell are selling now. It could be a change in their employment (relocating, layoffs), a change in their mortgage rate (if they bought with an adjustable rate but cannot really afford the new payment amount), a change in their life (marriage and combining households, birth, death, divorce, serious illness, moving to care for an elderly relative, etc.).

Here there are many reasons why sellers aren’t selling right now.

  1. To sell and buy another home will mean paying a much higher interest rate for most home owners. The e xception is cash buyers.
  2. To sell and buy another home will mean paying much more in property taxes. The exception is for 55 + consumers who can transfer their property tax rate.
  3. For long term home owners, there may be capital gains tax due. Not fun and de-motivating!
  4. Home owners fear that if they sell their current home they won’t be able to find an acceptable replacement home.
  5. Some home owners are keeping their first house while buying the second. They become “mom and pop landlords”.
  6. Covid is a factor for some, who don’t want to live in the home while it’s on the market but shudder at the cost of storing all of their stuff and staying in a short term rental (and moving twice).

Yesterday I ran the inventory of single family homes (mostly houses but a few duet or attached single family homes – these are not duplexes or townhomes). Here’s a look at the situation in Santa Clara County now with the 11 year average in the far right side.

Santa Clara County inventory - single family homes - Jan 2012 to December 2022


In 2012 our housing market was starting to recover and by 2013 it was strongly underway (you can see the drop in inventory between the two years). Most of the next few years saw lower and lower inventory and higher and higher realty sale prices. That was especially true in late 2017 and in late  2021 – early 2022. After both of those, the market cooled again, which is normal. It does not just go up, but rolls both up and down – with up being the major trend over time.


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

Home for sale with sold already sign - why is inventory so low

Why is inventory so low? Part of it is that homes are selling as fast as the come on the market.

Why is inventory so low? As of today, January 24, 2022, there are 426 single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County (population appx 2 million people). A year ago it was about 800 and the end of January. 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.)

We have a supply and demand imbalance, with demand strong but available homes for sale low. One question involves equity. Since home prices have doubled in the last few years, home owners can afford to sell. With so much equity, why is inventory so low? After the downturn from 2008 – 2010, we knew that many sellers could not afford to sell. But now they can. Some homes have appreciated enough in 6 months that there is sufficient equity to sell and at least break even. What gives?

Why is inventory so low?  When will it get better?

First, let’s consider the root causes of the problem, and which ones may not be ongoing.

Reasons for the low supply of homes for sale include these:

  • Tax considerations (ongoing)
    • for long term home owners, there will be a significant capital gains consideration in many cases
    • for property owners under age 55, moving will likely mean an increase of property taxes
    • last year, CA Prop 19 was passed, making it possible for older sellers to transfer their property tax base anywhere in the state, but that has not helped as much as hoped with the inventory crisis
  • Fear of selling and not being able to buy a replacement property keeps many people from selling (ongoing as long as inventory is so restricted)
  • If home owners refinanced at a lower rate, they may be concerned about selling at the low interest rate and then buying with a higher rate tomorrow
  • Covid may be causing temporary slowdowns with homes coming onto the market. Some sellers cannot get their homes ready as planned due to being sick themselves. having workers for sprucing the property up become ill with the coronavirus, or supply chain issues with needed items coming slowly. Some clients just don’t want to sell during the pandemic, period, so that angle may not be more long lasting.

Often we see more listings hit the market in January and even more in February. It’s way down now, and I am suspecting that Covid and its impact has become a bigger issue with the Omicron surge. If that’s the case, as Omicron recedes, we should see that seasonally typical rise in available properties. The usual February increase may end up happening in March (possibly April). We may still be asking in April “why is inventory so low?”, but hopefully it will be much improved over the current numbers by then.

When will it get better? (more…)

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


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.


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:




Santa Clara County’s critically low housing inventory

Buying a home in Silicon Valley is seldom easy, but right now, it’s nearly impossible with Santa Clara County’s critically low housing inventory.  With slightly rising interest rates getting folks off the fence and strong job growth in the San Jose area – especially since Google announced its expansion in downtown, there are many more home buyers than home sellers.   While this isn’t unusual, the severity of the problem certainly is extreme.    How bad is it?  Here’s a visual cue dating from January 2001 to March 2018 which indicates that this month’s inventory of single family homes for sale in Santa Clara County is the lowest we’ve had for March since 2001 (that’s as far back as I can get the data from MLS Listings). I’ve been selling homes for 25 years and have never seen it so dire.


2018-03-23 Inventory of Single Family Homes for Sale in Santa Clara County (status 1 only)


This is sort of like “inventory limbo” – how low can you go? To me, this is uncharted territory for our region.

I am really wondering if other cities around the world have had this kind of inventory crisis in the past, and if so, what happened to pull them out of it. Obviously, we need more inventory, and that will mean either more new construction, incentives for current owners to sell, an easier way for people to commute long distances to work, or some combination of the three.

How does this impact you?

Many long time residents may recall that we have had a shortage for a few years here.  In January 2012, I wrote about it here: Why is it so hard to buy Silicon Valley real estate right now?  Compared to the recession that had just ended, inventory was low – I can look back now and think “wow, we had no right to complain!  We had a lot more inventory then as we do now!”  What also happened is that with the restricted inventory, home prices rose.  A lot.

If you are a renter and want to be a home buyer, you  now have two things going against you: rising interest rates and rising home prices (due to strong demand and critically low supply of homes to buy).  If you wait a year, there’s a good chance that you will lose quite a lot of buying power as interest rates continue to go up and home prices do, too.   Please check out my article on rates: How will rising interest rates impact your home buying power?  Super low inventories tend to cause rapid price appreciation, and if you aren’t careful you could be priced out of the market (either because of home prices or because of those rising interest rates).

Normally, I’d be saying “take heart, buyers, inventory usually starts to rise after the SuperBowl” or “inventory rises after Valentine’s Day” or “we’ll see more homes coming on the market in March”. Well, it just hasn’t happened to any kind of significant degree.

If you are a seller, this is great news for you as it’s very likely that your equity will be increasing with the tight inventory.  Buyer demand is good and interest rates are still very tolerable.  It is hard if you want to sell and buy something else, but if you are down-sizing, you may be able to capitalize by purchasing all cash.

If you are a buyer, it’s important to realize that these days, most homes are selling with no contingencies of any kind (loan, appraisal, inspection). Purchasing a condo, townhome, or house is not for the faint of heart! Being not just pre-approved, but having an underwriter’s approval subject only to the ratified contract, a preliminary title report, and a satisfactory appraisal will put you into a better position. Cash is king, of course, so being able to absorb any appraisal shortfall is crucial. However, don’t let the all cash buyers scare you as some of them over estimate the value of cash. Most sellers will wait a few extra days if it means making more money on the sale.




Why is it so hard to buy Silicon Valley real estate right now?

Severe Inventory Shortage

Why is it so hard to buy a home in Silicon Valley?  Most of it has to do with our ongoing and severe inventory shortage.

I initially wrote the article below on Feb 9, 2012.  I thought it was bad then – and I suppose that relatively speaking, it was. But it’s much worse now!

Today is May 1, 2017, and I ran the numbers of available single family homes in Santa Clara County in a chart comparing since January of 2012.  Have a look, and please note the year over year numbers:


2017-05-01 Santa Clara County Inventory of Single Family Homes


The situation has only intensified since I first wrote this article in early 2012.  There are many reasons for the problem: older people won’t sell for tax reasons (mostly capital gains). move up buyers who elect to stay and add on rather than deal with hugely increased property taxes.  In general, home owners are opting to “buy and hold”.

Is it hard to buy a house in the San Jose area? You bet.  And unfortunately, I don’t see an end in sight anytime soon.


Original article: Feb 9, 2012

Right now I’m working with a number of very frustrated home buyers.  Silicon Valley real estate inventory is painfully low, and in the lower price ranges especially, that means multiple offers are fairly common.  FHA home buyers, in particular, are getting out bid and out negotiated by all cash buyers, many of whom are investors.

How low is the inventory?  Let’s have a look at January’s inventory for houses & duet homes (“class 1” or single family homes) over the last ten years in Santa Clara County (San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, etc.):

2012  1,382
2011  2,007
2010  2,426
2009  4,759
2008  4,872
2007  2,698
2006  2,202
2005  1,285
2004  1,612
2003  3,119

The average January inventory of available houses over the last 10 years is 2,636.  At 1,382, January 2012’s available inventory of houses for sale in the San Jose area was just 52% of normal(more…)