The inventory of single family homes for sale in Palo Alto has never been lower in last two decades. There are about 30 homes for sale in any given week. In The boom years of 2000-208 there were generally 60-90 homes on the market at any given time. In 2009 when the market was at it's worst there were 110-140 homes on the market at any time.
So why are we so devoid of choices now?
No one has the definitive answer to this but I have a few thoughts.
1. The inventory is low everywhere so this is just part of a national trend, but to an extreme in Palo Alto
2. Homes are selling quickly with the average days on market being 13. The rapid sales pace helps keep the number of homes for sale very low.
3. There are not a lot of empty nestors or retired homeowners selling and moving down. Many of these people who used to sell homes allowing new people to come into Palo Alto are reluctant to sell. It is not because prices are down, because by the end of 2012 I suspect we will have regained the equity lost in 2009. the reason is that there are fewer and fewer empty nest homes. Many young people are moving back home, sometimes after college, and sometimes with their own families. Many children who grew up in Palo Alto can not afford to live here, and some are having problems finding jobs in other areas so they come home to work. the great job market in the Silicon Valley is attracting natives to come back.
4. Many long time Palo Altans are working much longer than previous generations. It is not unusual for people to be working into their 70's and beyond which keeps people in their homes rather than selling and moving to a retirement area.
5. Palo Alto is a great place to live at any age so why leave?
6. As I said before there is a great employment market in the Silicon Valley. People are coming here to get jobs, not leaving to find a job.
There are probably more reasons but these are the ones that make sense to me.
If you have any questions about buying or selling homes in Palo Alto please feel free to contact me.