Friday, February 15, 2013

February Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Update

Here are my observations of the most recent January 2013 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 or send me an email.

General Market Observations and Comments -- At the end of the year the amount of homes  (single family and condos and townhouses) available broke new record low levels! In Santa Clara County, there were just 727 single family residences on the market, 394 in San Mateo County. Even though the amount of available homes for sale seemingly jumped from the levels witnessed at year end, they're climbing from record lows! The average annual cycle sees inventory build from early in the year so we're experiencing that once again. The current market condition continues to place most buyers at a disadvantage. Still, 522 homes closed escrow last month in Santa Clara County and 234 did so in San Mateo County. Both counties have the characteristics of a seller's market in most market areas but not all. During January, more than half of the closings had a sales price greater than a list price (55% in Santa Clara County and 53% in San Mateo County). It bears repeating that a well-priced listing has a tendency to develop more activity and have a much higher chance of generating multiple offers. For owners thinking of selling, it is a very good time to sell.

Which Half Are You? --  In January, it took just 16 days to sell half of the homes in Santa Clara County and 17 in San Mateo County! Keep in mind that these are countywide averages and both saw a slight increase from from the month prior. This is not to infer that the market is cooling down. Quite the contrary, even though it's cold outside, generally, the real estate markets are HOT!

In Santa Clara County, the fastest market area is Santa Clara, Willow Glen, Cambrian, Campbell with a median sale price of $703,000 has a median days on market of just 12 days followed closely by Cupertino and Sunnyvale (zip codes 95014, 94087, 94086) with a median sale price of $1,123,000 has a median days on market of 13. The slowest is East, Central, South San Jose with a median price of $403,000 has a median days on market of 30. For San Mateo County, the fastest market area is the Bay Cities of Belmont, Burlingame, Millbrae, San Carlos, San Mateo with a median sale price of $940,000 has a median days on market of 14 whereas the slowest is the expensive areas of San Mateo County comprising the communities of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside, Hillsborough with a median sale price of $2,036 has  median days on market of 52.

Median Prices Continue to Increase -- The trend of median prices of single family, condo and townhouse homes continue upwards. For single family residences, January saw Santa Clara County's median price, half above and half below or the middle transaction, at $661,000 and the median sales price for San Mateo County decreased slightly to $715,000 from the previous month. The upwards trend has been evident since the Spring of 2009 --  not in a straight line but a varied line.

Recent Overbidding Levels Remain High -- The percentage where sale price is greater than list price gives us an indication of multiple offers. The talked about the frequency of overbidding (sale price greater than list price 55% of the time in Santa Clara County and 53% in San Mateo County) but a more telling aspect is the magnitude or sales price to list price ratio (SP/LP). In Santa Clara County, the average SP/LP ratio is 102.4% or in the average transaction the seller gets 2.4% above the list price. Hottest area is Cupertino and Sunnyvale with 106.0. In San Mateo County the numbers look similar. Overall, the average is 102.4 and the highest is Foster City/Redwood Shores with 104.9.

Murphy Avenue called Murphy Street in Sunnyvale, CA
Distress Property in Decline -- In Santa Clara County, there were just 4% of the available listings that were short sales and 4% bank-owned which means regular listings accounted for more than 90%! This is a far cry from even last year when these combined for a quarter of the listings. 


Mortgage Rates Bottom? -- While mortgage rates remain at or near recent lows, buyers contemplating a purchase may be surprised to learn that rates have moved up. A new issue of U.S. Treasury 10-year notes were sold at a price to yield 2.02%. This is an increase from the record low of about 1.50%.  The Fed continues to monitize debt (buy mortgage-backed and other debt-securities to the tune of about $85 billion a month -- an annual rate of $1+ trillion). This puts money into the banking system and investors have to put it somewhere. Since the economy remains generally sluggish, the money predominately ends up in assets (e.g., stocks, commodities and yes, real estate). I
t remains long-term prudent to lock in rates before the market moves much farther away from these levels.

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

Thursday, February 7, 2013

World Class Chocolates and More in the Valley of Hearts Delight

You've made dinner reservations at a romantic restaurant (I did at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto - and you might have picked up a little something for her at her favorite store, perhaps even some nice long-stems. Of course, there's always sweets for your Sweets for Valentine's Day.

Here is a selection of some world class chocolatiers from Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Los Gatos and Santa Cruz:

Chocolate Dream Box - Handcrafted European style chocolates specializing in gifts for holidays such as Valentine's Day

* 710 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos. 408-356-2626 

Fleur e Cocoa Patisserie Chocolaterie - Offering cakes, pastries, chocolates, light lunch & more

* 39 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos. 408-354-3574 

Richard Donnelly Chocolates - Handmade, award winning chocolates

* 1509 Mission Street, Santa Cruz. 888-685-1871 

Saratoga Chocolates

* 14572-B Big Basin Way, Saratoga. 408-872-1431 

Chocolatier Desiree - Featuring Belgian chocolates

* 165 S. Murphy Avenue, #C, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 408-306-3127 

Shokolaat - CLOSED on July 1, 2012.  If you have purchased or received a gift certificate please email them a scanned copy of the gift certificate at and they will refund your gift certificate in full.

SBF - 12 Piece Box Set

Sugar Butter Flour - (SBF) Desserts, chocolates & more

* 669 S. Bernardo Avenue, Sunnyvale. 408-732-8597 

How About Wine with Chocolate? Selections from Los Gatos and San Jose...

Testarossa Vineyards
Testarossa Vineyards (formerly Novitiate of Los Gatos Winery) is hosting a wine, cheese and chocolate tasting on Saturday, February 11th from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Reservations strongly recommended at 408-354-6150 x21 or email

J. Lohr Winery
Valentine's Day Dinner, Thursday, February 14th is unfortunately SOLD OUT. Keep them in mind for another day/year!  For instance, they have wine and cheese pairings on most Fridays!

Happy Valentine's Day!