It’s January 7, 2012. Unemployment rates are the lowest they have been in almost 3 years. The mortgage interest rates are at all time lows. There are more buyers ready to buy than there have been since 2008. So, what’s the problem now? There are almost no homes available to buy!
Yep, the interest and unemployment rates aren’t the only factors that are notably low. Listings here on the San Francisco Peninsula are few in numbers, too. Here’s a sampling of what we’re experiencing in 3 of my favorite peninsula cities.
In Menlo Park, the number of available homes on the Multiple Listing Service for sale is currently 31, 22 if you subtract the condominiums and townhouses. That’s less than 2 dozen single residences in all price ranges, the highest being $3,999,999 and the lowest being $279,900. Of the 31, a mere 3 new listings were added this week. And the number of active listings has been trending down. According to Clarus Market Metrics, December, 2011 inventory (52 homes) decreased by 46% from December, 2010 (96 homes).
Atherton is experiencing even less with 17 homes, all single, detached residences, currently available for sale, and 1 new listing being added to the inventory in the past week. Prices range from $24,000,000 down to $988,000. Atherton registered a 32% decrease in inventory last month, with only 28 homes for sale in December, 2011, compared to 41 homes in December, 2010.
Redwood City, usually offering the most homes to choose from, continues that role with a total of 91 properties for sale, ranging in price between $3,450,000 to $235,000. 11 of the 91 are condominiums or town houses, and there have been a total of 14 new listings in the new year. The Redwood City December decrease in inventory reflects a drop of 29%, based on 165 homes for sale in December, 2011, compared to 234 homes in December, 2010.
Where did all the homes go, you might be asking? Most of them sold. Some didn’t and cycled off the market, either to be sold at another time or to face the auction block at foreclosure sale (though around here, that remains a rare occurence for properties valued over $700,000). Currently, the majority of the standing inventory is old, with average Days on the Market for the 3 cities above reported at 73 in December, 2011. That’s up a bit from the previous December when it was 68 days. Over the past few years there has also been a growing trend, particularly in the higher end market, of sellers keeping their listings private. In other words, there are some homes that are being sold by word of mouth in the realtor community and not being listed on the Multiple Listing Service.
Will it get better, you might be wondering? Yes! Traditionally, the new year marks the low point of our inventory. In talking with my clients and other agents, I know of several homes that will be coming on the market for sale in the next few months. Spring holds the promise of being a busy time for home sales this year.
If you’re considering buying a home, get ready! There will be many more to choose from, and having your preapproval and down payment in hand now will give you the advantage when the right home comes along. If you’re thinking of selling a home, now is the time to get started! You can be at the forefront and get a great price with some thoughtful preparation.
What should I do, you might be thinking? Call me, and I’ll help you get a jump on the San Francisco Peninsula real estate market now!