Clear Signs of Price Appreciation
All signs point to recent price appreciation in the residential real estate markets in San Mateo County. While some of the submarkets have been strong since the end of 2011, data for the whole county suggests that the general market turned upward in the spring of 2012. In May 2012, the average sales price to list price ratio surpassed 100% and it has remained that way through September 2012. When the ratio is above 100%, then it means that on average, homes are selling for more than their final list price. It does not mean that every home is selling for above asking, nor that many homes languish on the market for many months with no offers. The ratio has been at approximately 102% for the past four months.
Another data point is that the average price per square foot has been above $500 in each of the last five months. In the prior three years, the average price per square foot was in between $450 and $500. We have not seen sustained values above $500 since 2008.
Because data can jump around a lot month-to-month, it is also good to look at a smoothed view. The 12 month moving average chart shows a clear uptick in average and median selling values, as well as, the average price per square foot. It reverses the flat to slight declining prices that were the present in late 2010/early 2011.
Sales Activity Down Noticeably in September
What makes September 2012 different from the first eight months of 2012 in terms of San Mateo County real estate? In each of the first eight months the monthly sales total was higher than the corresponding month from the prior year. That streak ended in September 2012, as 348 homes were sold, down from 449 in September 2011 (though about even with the 358 homes sold in September 2010).
A decline in sales activity was expected and is not a sign of lax buyer demand. There is just not enough inventory out there to sustain a high rate of sales. Through the first nine months of 2012, there have been nearly 700 fewer newly listed homes for sale. At the same time, sales are up by more than 300. Fewer new listings and higher sales has pushed inventory levels to historical lows. In 2012, the average number of unsold homes at the end of the month has been 828 homes. That might seem like a lot, but in prior years it has averaged closer to 1,500.
While many homes still end up not selling, more and more homes are selling and doing so quickly. The average days on market for recent home sales in San Mateo County has been between 30-35 days, as compared to 55-60 days last year. Fewer listings are expiring or being cancelled, suggesting that sellers are more able to find buyers. In the first nine months of 2012, about 1,000 listings have expired or been cancelled. Some of those instances represent sellers unable to find buyers and others may represent a change of plans/timing. In the first nine months of 2011, 1,500 listings expired or were cancelled. Expired or cancelled listings peaked at 3,700 in 2008 when many sellers were unwilling to drop their prices fast enough to sell.
By The Numbers - San Mateo County Real Estate for 2012
|Current Month||YTD Total or Average|
|September 2011||September 2012||Jan - Sep 2011||Jan - Sep 2012|
|Days on Market||61||32||57||45|
|Months of Supply||3.4||2.0||3.8||1.9|
|Avg $ per Sq Ft||$436||$524||$466||$495|
Thinking of buying or selling a home in San Mateo County?
If you're interested in learning more about the San Mateo County real estate market, considering selling your home in San Mateo County, or thinking about moving to San Mateo County, please drop me a line and I'd love to connect with you. Raziel is an expert in Burlingame real estate, San Mateo real estate, and Hillsborough real estate.