Friday, April 12, 2013

April Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Update

Here are my observations of the most recent March 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 -- Inventory, those homes available for sale have continued to increase, but remain well below the average level for this time of year.  In Santa Clara County, there were just 908 single family residences on the market versus 857 last month. In San Mateo County, there were 446 compared to 433. These levels are running about 50% of the average over the last 10+ years!

The median days on the market or what it takes to sell one-half of those on the market, sell in just 11 days in Santa Clara County and 12 days in San Mateo County -- indicating a hot seller's market. For March, 792 homes closed escrow last month in Santa Clara County, up from 621 in February and 333 did so in San Mateo County versus 247 last month. Comparing March of 2013 with previous Marches, this month was the third slowest in terms of closings.  

Both counties continue to have the characteristics of a seller's market generally. During March, more than half of the closings had a sales price greater than a list price (68% in Santa Clara County and 62% in San Mateo County with both percentages increasing from February). For owners thinking of selling, it is important to understand the market dynamics in their particular market area. For many, this remains an excellent time to sell.

Seller's -- Should You List on the MLS or Not? --  More recently, we've run into listings that are "not advertised" and not on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).  I advise my sellers that in order to assure the maximum exposure to the market, it is imperative to have their home on the MLS.  That way, all agents may be exposed to it.  If not, we call those listings "pocket" listings.  The term denotes that the listing is for the listing agent/broker only and its purpose is to increase the likelihood that that listing agent will handle both sides of the transaction, not to get the maximum price and best terms for the seller!  As listing agents, we Realtors sign an agency relationship form that states the agent will use full fiduciary duties to their client but pocket listings don't adhere to this as it doesn't place their client's interest before their own.  Be wary of agents advising NOT to list it on the MLS which is designed to open up the market and as a result is a benefit to the seller.  This might be used in an extreme circumstance.  For example, when a famous personality wants to sell but there are still ways to circumvent this approach that gives the seller access to the entire market.  Watch out for the legal battles when sellers who have been told that they will receive market value without the "mess" of having their home on the market only to find out they've been financially sucker-punched.   

Hot, Hotter, Hottest Market Areas -- In Santa Clara County, the hottest market area is Cupertino, Sunnyvale (zip codes 95014, 94086, 94087). It sports a median sale price of $1,245,000 and has a median days on market of just 9 days! A hotter market is Los Altos and Palo Alto with a median sale price of $2,288,000 has a median days on market of 10. Only a hot market is Santa Clara, Willow Glen, Cambrian and Campbell with a median sale price of $750,000 and has a median days on market also of 10.  

Beautiful and Abundant Trees - Los Altos, CA

For San Mateo County, the hottest market area is Foster City and Redwood Shores with a median sale price of $1,006,000 and a median days on market of 10, followed by a hotter market of the Bay Cities area including Belmont, Burlingame, Milbrae, San Carlos, San Mateo with a median sale price of $1,051,000 and a median days on the market of 10.   

Median Prices are Jumping -- The trends of median prices of single family, condo and townhouse homes continue upwards. For single family residences, March saw Santa Clara County's median price, half above and half below or the middle transaction, at $731,000 and the median sales price for San Mateo County increased to $950,000. The upwards trend has been evident since the Spring of 2009. By the way, market bottoms were also established during this time in both stock indices and commodities.

Recent Overbidding Levels Remain High -- The percentage where sale price is greater than list price gives us an indication of the incidence of multiple offers. Already mentioned is the frequency of overbidding (sale price greater than list price 68% of the time in Santa Clara County and 62% 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 105.2 or in the average transaction the seller gets 5.2% above the list price. Hottest area is Los Altos and Palo Alto with 109.7. The Cupertino and Sunnyvale market area was just behind with a ratio of 108.9. In San Mateo County the numbers look similar. Overall, the county average is 104.8 and the highest is Bay Cities market area of Belmont, Burlingame, Millbrae, San Carlos, San Mateo with 107.4.

Yahoo! World Headquarters - Sunnyvale, CA

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.