The condominium & townhouse market is improving dramatically now.  It is evident both in looking at the stats countywide and in my recent experiences holding open my townhouse listings in Saratoga and Sunnyvale as well as recently participating in the sale of a townhome in Almaden Valley (representing a buyer) – all different areas and price points but all very active.

Here are the numbers for May sales of condos and townhomes for all of Santa Clara  County:


Trends At a GlanceMay 2010Previous MonthYear-over Year
Median Price$383,500$345,000 (+11.2%)$310,000 (+23.7%)
Average Price$402,766$378,978 (+6.3%)$355,881 (+13.2%)
No. of Sales434297 (+46.1%)314 (+38.2%)
Pending Properties1,0091,154 (-12.6%)526 (+91.8%)
Active927873 (+6.2%)1,037 (-10.6%)
Sale vs. List Price99.9%100.6% (-0.7%)97.6% (+2.4%)
Days on Market4759 (-20.1%)75 (-37.2%)


As you can see, the days on market are shrinking and prices (both median and average) are rising.  A few numbers cut back slightly in May: the sale to list price ratio retreated a little to 99.9% and the pending properties went down a little too.  But the number of sales were up.

The “months of inventory” or absorption rate is a great way to know how much of a buyer’s or seller’s market it is in any given place. Six months is considered balanced, less is a seller’s market and more is a buyer’s market.  Here are the months of inventory for selected communities in the “west valley” area of Silicon Valley – they are all “seller’s markets”, but some are strong and some are approaching balanced:


Cambrian (SJ)1.86
San Jose1.93
Santa Clara2.08
SC County (all)2.14
Almaden (SJ)3.00
Palo Alto3.67
Los Altos4.00
Los Gatos5.13
Willow Glen (SJ)5.71


Of course, this is still painting with a broad brush.  The absorption rate for any of these areas may not be accurate for the various price points or school districts that might be found there.  For instance, a large luxury townhouse in Los Gatos which is downtown might be a really different type of market than a small, entry level one bordering Campbell or Cambrian Park.

What everyone’s wondering is if this seller’s market for condominiums and townhouses will continue despite the end of the federal home buyer credit.  To utilize that credit, homes had to be in contract by April 30th.  Most of those should be closed now, or nearing that date at best.  So we’ll really know more as we move into summer. My sense, though, is that what’s driving this market is much more the affordable prices of homes and of loans. The credits are a bonus, but many in Silicon Valley make too much money to be able to use them.

For information on your particular part of the Silicon Valley condo or townhome market, please give me a call or email me!