In other parts of the country, it may be typical to see a slowdown in real estate exchanging hands leading up to the year-end holidays, but not in Northern California. The region is among the most in-demand and most expensive markets in the nation as recently reported by Forbes magazine, where California – and Northern California in particular – dominates 2017’s list of America’s most expensive ZIP codes. From Atherton, Ross, Los Altos, Palo Alto to Hillsborough and Woodside, the region rules in luxury homes and premium prices. Other counties and cities may see a slight dip during the holidays, but overall demand remains strong. Read more about what’s happening from our Northern California offices.
East Bay – In Oakland, inventory has decreased mostly due to the holiday season. However, there are still serious buyers and sellers in the market – both motivated and ready to make a deal and that move.
Monterey County – Monterey Peninsula offices saw a slight slowing in new listings, with some sellers opting to wait until the new year. Buyer demand remained strong, especially on properties with recent price reductions. Many sellers sold their homes faster than expected; a client reported anticipating a six-month listing period, but was made a full price offer in two days.
North Bay – The Santa Rosa Mission office experienced a frenzied market after the wildfires. Properties that were priced right received multiple offers, often selling for over list price post bidding wars. Buyers in the entry-level market and even luxury segment are encouraged to act quickly with their strongest offers.
Placer County – In mid-November, Tahoe saw inventory down approximately 9% from the end of October with 462 properties for sale. Active inventory is down from 601 properties, or 16%, in a year-over-year comparison. Coldwell Banker continues to be the listing market leader with over 13% of active listings in the market. Luxury sales over $1 million are increasing for the first time in 2017.
Sacramento County – Sacramento Fair Oaks experienced a continued lack of housing supply, which impacted pricing and maintained a sellers’ market. But buyers should not be discouraged, there are still good deals in the market. Luxury homes are seeing a buyers’ market, especially in prices over $1 million. Buyers can choose from a variety of properties and currently have leverage to negotiate.
Sierra Oaks saw inventory up over 2016 in a year-over-year comparison. Activity continues to be strong in the luxury market.
San Francisco – In San Francisco Lombard, market activity was varied. While there were 23 offers on a single property, other homes didn’t fare as well. Activity generally slowed as prices increased. To help spur offers, sellers should price their homes competitively and make sure that their property is turn-key. The luxury market slowed over $3 million and we witnessed ample inventory in the $5-6 million range.
SF Peninsula – In San Mateo, homes continued to sell with multiple offers in short timeframes, even with the holiday season upon us. The luxury market slowed, especially in the price range over $3 million.
Silicon Valley – Cupertino saw continued sales with multiple offers and an uncharacteristically active market considering the time of year. The luxury market was also strong with several sales over $6 million.
Gilroy and Morgan Hill inventory remained tight. Because of the unequal supply and demand, prices have increased to record levels. Sellers looking to move quickly should consider listing now as they can also receive top-dollar for their property. Buyers also must be prepared for a multiple-offer scenario. They should be able to make a strong offer above asking with no contingencies to be taken seriously.
Los Altos’ sellers’ market continued throughout the month with many homes selling over asking price. Average days on market year-to-date is 17 for Los Altos, 35 for Los Altos Hills, 14 for Mountain View and 13 for Sunnyvale. In these markets, more homes have sold YTD than all last year.
Sellers must be aware that buyers are knowledgeable. Therefore, asking for a price over-value will likely cause the property to sit on the market. However, with the help of an experienced agent, sellers will be able to get the highest possible price for their home. Preparation is key. Financing should be lined up and buyers are encouraged to be aggressive with their offers. The Los Altos luxury market is steady but flat, as most properties are on the market for 44 days.
Las Gatos experienced a lot of buyer competition with multiple offers on almost every property. Pre-emptive offers are becoming more common as buyers hunt for coming soon and exclusive properties that are not yet listed. This is a great market for sellers wanting to have a quick sale. The luxury market saw prices steadily increasing.
San Jose Almaden had an active month with increasing sales and only 50% of available inventory as compared to 2015 and 2016. Prices are also rising with increased sales. As inventory declines, the area is still in a sellers’ market. Buyers should be ready to offer up to 20% over asking price unless a property has been on the market for over two weeks. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage affiliated agents can help both buyers and sellers navigate the market.
San Jose Main had little inventory with only 437 homes for sale in Santa Clara County, as compared to 2600 homes in 2011. This has created motivated buyers and multiple offers on most properties. Regardless, sellers still need to price their homes well and be thorough in preparing their property to go on the market. This includes staging and decluttering as needed. Buyers still have a chance of landing their dream home, but must have realistic expectations and remain persistent.
Market Watch is a monthly column exploring the Northern California housing market. Click here to view past issues.