Whether you are a first time buyer or seller, or have been through multiple transactions, you might be surprised by how quickly the real estate market changes in Los Altos, Palo Alto and surrounding communities. You need hard-hitting historical data, current market analysis, and insider experience to stay informed and succeed in these real estate markets.
As a service to their clients, Jeff Stricker and Steve TenBroeck of Alain Pinel Realtors provide regular market analysis and commentary. You are invited to read the entries below, add your comments, ask questions or contact them directly.
The residential real estate market was very strong in May, with the majority of homes selling at or over the asking price. Sales activity included more high-end homes. This is typical of the late stages of a real estate market cycle. Today’s market shows striking similarities to the red-hot market of 2000. Homes are selling very quickly and sales prices averaging in excess of 100% of asking price. The month-end inventory of homes for sale is at a record low – also dating back to 2000. The scarcity of homes continues to fuel multiple offer activity (so far) in 2014.
Will the current strong, appreciating market hold until next year? We believe so, unless the stock market takes a significant hit like it did in April of 2000. Here in early June, there are some signs of buyer fatigue. Fewer buyers are touring open houses and there are offers on homes for sale. It will be interesting to see if the typical summer slowdown from mid-June to the end of July occurs this year – last year, it didn’t. This year, weary home buyers (and their agents!) may choose to focus on summer vacations, once children are out of school. And we hope you’ll enjoy your summer, too!
In the charts below, you’ll find 15 years of data for market activity and median sales price for the month of May for Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park and Mountain View. You can’t find this level of historical data all in one place anywhere else, so if you have any questions or wish to get more info about your community, don’t hesitate to contact us.
April 2014 was another hot, hot real estate month, as the charts below will show. Look at the increase in median sales prices since 2009 and the decrease in the number of homes for sale:
After 5 years of double-digit price appreciation on average, those thinking of selling need to ask themselves how long they think this market will last. Typically the strong “rising price phase” of the market lasts only 2-3 years. Double-digit home appreciation is unsustainable for extended periods of time. If current home price appreciation rates continue, homes would double in value again within 3-4 years. Will that happen before the market corrects? We think not! For more information on home values or market cycles, give us a call.
In the charts below, you’ll find 15 years of data for market activity and median sales price for the month of April for Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park and Mountain View. You can’t find this level of historical data all in one place anywhere else, so if you have any questions or wish to get more info about your community, don’t hesitate to contact us.
SF Peninsula & Silicon Valley: How Q1-‘14 compared to: Q1-‘13, Q1-‘09, and 15yr Averages
BUYERS NERVOUSNESS INCREASES WHILE HOMES APPRECIATE RAPIDLY
Lack of homes for sale remained the greatest factor in the local housing maket in the first quarter of 2014. Warnings of an imminent “market top” and a “housing bubble” echoed throughout the various news services and media. Yet, it did little to dampen the numbers of offers on homes. Nor did it stop buyers from offering to pay greatly over the asking prices for the few homes available each week. How long will this housing market boom continue? That is now the question everyone is asking!
On average, among the cities in the charts below, during the first quarter of ’14 new listings were down by 34% from their 15 year averages. As a result, sales were down by 17%. It took half as long for a home to sell in Q1 ’14, compared to the 15 year average. Until buyers begin to balk at the asking prices – which has yet to happen with any frequency – or when a financial shock of some magnitude causes a drop in consumer confidence, we anticipate that the current “seller’s market” will continue unimpeded.
Median sales prices were up, on average, by 45% since 2009! Buyers paid 5% over asking price, on average, in 2014 compared to 5% under the asking price in 2009. The price of homes per square foot was up by 42%, on average, compared to 2009. Location, location, location: Homes that are the most volatile (that rise and fall the most in value in each cycle) are those with “unremediable issues” – negative location issues or poorly designed floor plans. There is very little discount for homes with negative attributes in today’s hot market, but they drop greatly in value in a slower market. Folks in homes with location “issues” are wise to sell now, before the market turns. Conversely, buyers must now select very carefully!
WANT MORE SPECIFIC INFORMATION?
The towns included above have diverse neighborhoods and prices. When we look at averages we get clues to the overall market, but not the details. If you would like an in-depth analysis of market trends in your particular town or neighborhood, simply call Jeff at 650/823-8057 or Steve at 650/450-0160, or email us: [email protected], or visit our website: JeffAndSteve.com. We’ll be happy to help!
Home buyers have faced a red-hot real estate market for more than two years. It has been common in past hot markets for buyers to become “fatigued” after an extended time of difficult hot market conditions (low inventory, multiple offers, and highly over-asking offers). Some Realtors have indicated to us that they are starting to experience more home buyers backing away from multiple offers and/or becoming more selective. This may indicate they are becoming cautious as a result of “market fatigue”. We will keep you apprised of whether this is a continuing trend or only a short-lived lull in the market. Meanwhile, multiple offers are still the norm due to low inventory. This is also reflected in the few closed home sales in during the month of February.
In the charts below, you’ll find 15 years of data for market activity and median sales price for the month of February for Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park and Mountain View. You can’t find this level of historical data all in one place anywhere else, so if you have any questions or wish to get more info about your community, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Check out this chart that visualizes the inventory of single family homes that are currently on the market compared to the 15 year averages for Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Atherton.
Record low inventory is the “new normal” in Palo Alto, but check out the two communities closest to Google. There are only 7 active listings in Mountain View and 7 in Los Altos. Typically, the spring market starts sprouting after the Super Bowl. Let’s see what the rest of February brings for rainfall and homes for sale.