Economic indicators have been challenging since the fall selling season began: Interest rates continued to rise through early October and stock markets generally continued to fall from mid- summer, YTD highs. The country faced yet another threat of a federal government shutdown, which happily didn’t occur, but, unbelievably, another such crisis may soon confront us again. Markets remain volatile and hard to predict, often reacting negatively to positive economic news (such as strong employment statistics) as they wait for new inflation numbers and try to parse the possible reaction of the Fed. Any definitive impacts on real estate markets of these recent developments, should they continue, won’t substantially show up until Q4 data begins to become available, and, of course, volatility also means that indicators can turn around quickly.
In the meantime, the Stanford Circle Q3 median house sales price was up about 11% from Q3 2022, but a major cause was a big jump in the average size of homes sold. New listings spiked up in September – a common seasonal trend – which resulted in a similar spike in listings going into contract. Year over year, the number of home sales in Q3 was down about 12%, but there was a 36% increase in the number of homes selling for $5 million+. Of total year-to-date Bay Area sales of $10m+, almost half occurred in the 7 Stanford Circle communities.
The CA Association of Realtors® (CAR) recently issued their initial 2024 market forecast:
“California housing market will rebound in 2024”
CAR forecast: Existing, single-family home sales will increase in 2024 by approximately 23 percent, and the CA median home price is expected to climb by 6.2%. The average 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rate is projected to decline to 6%. Housing supply will remain below normal despite a 10% to 20% increase in active listings, as market conditions and the lending environment continue to improve. [However] the percentage of CA households able to purchase a median-priced single family dwelling will remain very low by long-term standards. CAR Chief Economist, 9/20/23
Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.
Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.
Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.
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Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.