Thursday, May 10, 2012

May Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Comments

Here are my observations of the most recent April transactions for Santa Clara County real estate and San Mateo County real estate. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you see something in your neighborhood that you are curious about or have a question, please don't hesitate to share with us. If you have questions or a comment, please leave them here, or feel free to contact me through my website.

General Market Observations and Comments -- The amount of homes (single family and condos and townhouses) available for sale, after a short spurt, continue to languish at low levels and have actually turned back down! At this time of the year, normal market activity would be an increasing inventory.  As buyers enter the market, they have fewer choices and we see many instances of multiple offer situations with sale prices much higher than list prices. This has created a seller's market situation in most areas in both counties. The market is more brisk in Santa Clara County than San Mateo County at present, no change from recent past.

Where Have All the Regular Sellers Gone? -- Part 2 -- I make recommendations to sellers contemplating a sale of a home or property that they've owned a long time to get counsel from their professional tax preparer or CPA.  If new legislation is not enacted before the end of 2012 to either extend the current capital gains tax rates or substantially modify them, the capital gains tax rates will about double next year. Definitely, something that must enter into any discussions BEFORE deciding on a timeline for a sale.  Of course, you can also gamble that Congress will act just in time!

Want to Be First Time Buyers? --  If you or someone you know are complaining about a recent large rent increase, it may be actually cheaper to own than to rent!  Mortgage rates at virtually at 60-year lows and about 85% of borrowers choose a fixed rate loan product - smart to lock in the low rates providing you have a reasonable time horizon.

Median Prices Increase -- Beware of the month to month numbers you read in the press or see on the internet -- they don't mean much! Year over year is much more meaningful as it eliminates the seasonality of the market. For April, Santa Clara County's median price for single family residences, half above and half below or the middle transaction, increased to $635,500, up 9.9% from $578,000 in April 2011. San Mateo County's median price stood at $725,000, up 3.6% from $700,000 the same month a year ago.

For condos/townhouses, Santa Clara County's median price was $347,500 in April versus $282,250 the same month a year ago, representing a 23.1% increase. For San Mateo County, the median stood at $405,000, up 3.2% from $392,500 in April 2011.

Lender Controlled Transaction Update -- A lender controlled transaction is either a short sale (pre foreclosure) or a bank-owned (REO or real estate owned by a bank). The range in Santa Clara County was 3% in Cupertino/Sunnyvale/Los Altos/Palo Alto area to a high in South County (Morgan Hill/San Martin/Gilroy of 62%. For San Mateo County the range was a low of 13% in Foster City/Redwood Shores to a high of 24% in the Coastal areas.

Days of Unsold Inventory (DUI) continues steady drop in each county/area -- For Santa Clara County, the lowest DUI (fastest market) was 28 days in the Santa Clara/Willow Glen/Cambrian/Campbell area whereas the highest DUI was 75 days in Los Gatos/Monte Sereno/Saratoga area. San Mateo County had a DUI of 27 days in Foster City/Redwood Shores to a high of 133 in the expensive areas of Hillsborough/Portola Valley/Woodside/Atherton. See your Realtor for information on a particular area or neighborhood market condition.

Sale Price to List Price Ratio (single family residences) -- For Santa Clara County, this ratio is running about 40% or about two in five closings had a sale price above list price. The range was a low of 29% in South County (Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy) to a high of 60% in Los Altos/Palo Alto with the Cupertino/Sunnyvale area coming in at 52%. For San Mateo County, the ratio stood at about 35% or about one in three. The range was a low of 16% in Coastal (Half Moon Bay) to a high of 44% in Foster City/Redwood Shores.

Thanks for reading my blog. I'm Tom McEvoy, Realtor with RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley -- Let me know if you have any comments, questions, observations or any future topics you'd like me to address.

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